by Larry Stockstill
Society's hatred for the Jews has always been extreme and inexplicable. The magnitude of their suffering defies reason. The fact remains, however, that Satan knew salvation (Jesus) would come from the Jews, and thus he sought at every turn to destroy the Jewish people.
The Jews' worship of the true God and their rejection of idolatry led Mordecai to refuse to worship any human being (Esther 3:5). Haman's well-conceived plot looked foolproof, but God had been engineering a rescue operation about which Haman knew nothing. Working her way up to the right hand of the king was a little orphan (Esther), who would ultimately be the tool of deliverance in the hand of God.
Satan is enraged by anyone who refuses to bow down and worship him, and he will do whatever he can to destroy such a person. Satan's best plans, however, are no match for God, who knows the end from the beginning and the "way out" of the problem before the "way in" even existed!
Stand still and wait on God, for He has known the solution to your problem since before it came into existence!
1 These events happened in the days of King Xerxes,
5 When it was all over, the king gave a banquet for all the people, from the greatest to the least, who were in the fortress of Susa. It lasted for seven days and was held in the courtyard of the palace garden.6 The courtyard was beautifully decorated with white cotton curtains and blue hangings, which were fastened with white linen cords and purple ribbons to silver rings embedded in marble pillars. Gold and silver couches stood on a mosaic pavement of porphyry, marble, mother-of-pearl, and other costly stones.
7 Drinks were served in gold goblets of many designs, and there was an abundance of royal wine, reflecting the king’s generosity.8 By edict of the king, no limits were placed on the drinking, for the king had instructed all his palace officials to serve each man as much as he wanted.
9 At the same time, Queen Vashti gave a banquet for the women in the royal palace of King Xerxes.
10 On the seventh day of the feast, when King Xerxes was in high spirits because of the wine, he told the seven eunuchs who attended him—Mehuman, Biztha, Harbona, Bigtha, Abagtha, Zethar, and Carcas—11 to bring Queen Vashti to him with the royal crown on her head. He wanted the nobles and all the other men to gaze on her beauty, for she was a very beautiful woman.12 But when they conveyed the king’s order to Queen Vashti, she refused to come. This made the king furious, and he burned with anger.
13 He immediately consulted with his wise advisers, who knew all the Persian laws and customs, for he always asked their advice.14 The names of these men were Carshena, Shethar, Admatha, Tarshish, Meres, Marsena, and Memucan—seven nobles of Persia and Media. They met with the king regularly and held the highest positions in the empire.
15 “What must be done to Queen Vashti?” the king demanded. “What penalty does the law provide for a queen who refuses to obey the king’s orders, properly sent through his eunuchs?”
16 Memucan answered the king and his nobles, “Queen Vashti has wronged not only the king but also every noble and citizen throughout your empire.17 Women everywhere will begin to despise their husbands when they learn that Queen Vashti has refused to appear before the king.18 Before this day is out, the wives of all the king’s nobles throughout Persia and Media will hear what the queen did and will start treating their husbands the same way. There will be no end to their contempt and anger.
19 “So if it please the king, we suggest that you issue a written decree, a law of the Persians and Medes that cannot be revoked. It should order that Queen Vashti be forever banished from the presence of King Xerxes, and that the king should choose another queen more worthy than she.20 When this decree is published throughout the king’s vast empire, husbands everywhere, whatever their rank, will receive proper respect from their wives!”
21 The king and his nobles thought this made good sense, so he followed Memucan’s counsel.22 He sent letters to all parts of the empire, to each province in its own script and language, proclaiming that every man should be the ruler of his own home and should say whatever he pleases.
2 But after Xerxes’ anger had subsided, he began thinking about Vashti and what she had done and the decree he had made.2 So his personal attendants suggested, “Let us search the empire to find beautiful young virgins for the king.3 Let the king appoint agents in each province to bring these beautiful young women into the royal harem at the fortress of Susa. Hegai, the king’s eunuch in charge of the harem, will see that they are all given beauty treatments.4 After that, the young woman who most pleases the king will be made queen instead of Vashti.” This advice was very appealing to the king, so he put the plan into effect.
5 At that time there was a Jewish man in the fortress of Susa whose name was Mordecai son of Jair. He was from the tribe of Benjamin and was a descendant of Kish and Shimei.6 His family
8 As a result of the king’s decree, Esther, along with many other young women, was brought to the king’s harem at the fortress of Susa and placed in Hegai’s care.9 Hegai was very impressed with Esther and treated her kindly. He quickly ordered a special menu for her and provided her with beauty treatments. He also assigned her seven maids specially chosen from the king’s palace, and he moved her and her maids into the best place in the harem.
10 Esther had not told anyone of her nationality and family background, because Mordecai had directed her not to do so.11 Every day Mordecai would take a walk near the courtyard of the harem to find out about Esther and what was happening to her.
12 Before each young woman was taken to the king’s bed, she was given the prescribed twelve months of beauty treatments—six months with oil of myrrh, followed by six months with special perfumes and ointments.13 When it was time for her to go to the king’s palace, she was given her choice of whatever clothing or jewelry she wanted to take from the harem.14 That evening she was taken to the king’s private rooms, and the next morning she was brought to the second harem,
15 Esther was the daughter of Abihail, who was Mordecai’s uncle. (Mordecai had adopted his younger cousin Esther.) When it was Esther’s turn to go to the king, she accepted the advice of Hegai, the eunuch in charge of the harem. She asked for nothing except what he suggested, and she was admired by everyone who saw her.
16 Esther was taken to King Xerxes at the royal palace in early winter
19 Even after all the young women had been transferred to the second harem
21 One day as Mordecai was on duty at the king’s gate, two of the king’s eunuchs, Bigthana
3 Some time later King Xerxes promoted Haman son of Hammedatha the Agagite over all the other nobles, making him the most powerful official in the empire.2 All the king’s officials would bow down before Haman to show him respect whenever he passed by, for so the king had commanded. But Mordecai refused to bow down or show him respect.
3 Then the palace officials at the king’s gate asked Mordecai, “Why are you disobeying the king’s command?”4 They spoke to him day after day, but still he refused to comply with the order. So they spoke to Haman about this to see if he would tolerate Mordecai’s conduct, since Mordecai had told them he was a Jew.
5 When Haman saw that Mordecai would not bow down or show him respect, he was filled with rage.6 He had learned of Mordecai’s nationality, so he decided it was not enough to lay hands on Mordecai alone. Instead, he looked for a way to destroy all the Jews throughout the entire empire of Xerxes.
7 So in the month of April,
8 Then Haman approached King Xerxes and said, “There is a certain race of people scattered through all the provinces of your empire who keep themselves separate from everyone else. Their laws are different from those of any other people, and they refuse to obey the laws of the king. So it is not in the king’s interest to let them live.9 If it please the king, issue a decree that they be destroyed, and I will give 10,000 large sacks
10 The king agreed, confirming his decision by removing his signet ring from his finger and giving it to Haman son of Hammedatha the Agagite, the enemy of the Jews.11 The king said, “The money and the people are both yours to do with as you see fit.”
12 So on April 17
14 A copy of this decree was to be issued as law in every province and proclaimed to all peoples, so that they would be ready to do their duty on the appointed day.15 At the king’s command, the decree went out by swift messengers, and it was also proclaimed in the fortress of Susa. Then the king and Haman sat down to drink, but the city of Susa fell into confusion.
17 But in the following instructions, I cannot praise you. For it sounds as if more harm than good is done when you meet together.18 First, I hear that there are divisions among you when you meet as a church, and to some extent I believe it.19 But, of course, there must be divisions among you so that you who have God’s approval will be recognized!
20 When you meet together, you are not really interested in the Lord’s Supper.21 For some of you hurry to eat your own meal without sharing with others. As a result, some go hungry while others get drunk.22 What? Don’t you have your own homes for eating and drinking? Or do you really want to disgrace God’s church and shame the poor? What am I supposed to say? Do you want me to praise you? Well, I certainly will not praise you for this!
23 For I pass on to you what I received from the Lord himself. On the night when he was betrayed, the Lord Jesus took some bread24 and gave thanks to God for it. Then he broke it in pieces and said, “This is my body, which is given for you.
27 So anyone who eats this bread or drinks this cup of the Lord unworthily is guilty of sinning against
31 But if we would examine ourselves, we would not be judged by God in this way.32 Yet when we are judged by the Lord, we are being disciplined so that we will not be condemned along with the world.
33 So, my dear brothers and sisters,
17 How long, O Lord, will you look on and do nothing?
Rescue me from their fierce attacks.
Protect my life from these lions!
18 Then I will thank you in front of the great assembly.
I will praise you before all the people.
19 Don’t let my treacherous enemies rejoice over my defeat.
Don’t let those who hate me without cause gloat over my sorrow.
20 They don’t talk of peace;
they plot against innocent people who mind their own business.
21 They shout, “Aha! Aha!
With our own eyes we saw him do it!”
22 O Lord, you know all about this.
Do not stay silent.
Do not abandon me now, O Lord.
23 Wake up! Rise to my defense!
Take up my case, my God and my Lord.
24 Declare me not guilty, O Lord my God, for you give justice.
Don’t let my enemies laugh about me in my troubles.
25 Don’t let them say, “Look, we got what we wanted!
Now we will eat him alive!”
26 May those who rejoice at my troubles
be humiliated and disgraced.
May those who triumph over me
be covered with shame and dishonor.
27 But give great joy to those who came to my defense.
Let them continually say, “Great is the Lord,
who delights in blessing his servant with peace!”
28 Then I will proclaim your justice,
and I will praise you all day long.
19 It’s better to live alone in the desert
than with a quarrelsome, complaining wife.
20 The wise have wealth and luxury,
but fools spend whatever they get.