Showing posts with label Esther. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Esther. Show all posts

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Esther 10

The Triumph of Mordecai by Pieter Lastman, 1624.

The Greatness of Mordecai
This is a short chapter serving as an epilogue. It mentions the glory of king Xerxes and that of Mordecai.

Mordcecai was promoted as the second in the kingdom.
Esther 10:3 Mordecai the Jew was second in rank to King Xerxes, preeminent among the Jews, and held in high esteem by his many fellow Jews, because he worked for the good of his people and spoke up for the welfare of all the Jews.
Queen Esther remains as a marvelous testimony of the overruling power of the LORD, and the brave and courageous woman who risked her own life to save the entire Jewish population.

The Book of Esther is unique in the Bible as the name of God is never directly mentioned there.

Esther 9

The Triumph of the Jews (Contd...)
Moredecai's reputation spread through the province. The tables had turned and the Jews now had an upper hand over their enemies. The nobles helped them.
2 The Jews assembled in their cities in all the provinces of King Xerxes to attack those determined to destroy them. No one could stand against them, because the people of all the other nationalities were afraid of them.

Enemies of the Jews were stuck down and killed. Upon Queen Esther's request, the ten sons of Haman were impaled on poles. Over Seventy-five thousand enemies were killed. On the fifteenth they rested and made it a day of feasting and joy.

Purim Established
In memory of this great deliverance, a yearly feast was instituted. Mordecai suggested giving presents of food to one another and gifts to the poor.

The passage describes how purim was established, and how generations remember this occasion. 

Esther 8

Esther before Ahasuerus - Tintoretto, Jacopo 1547-48

The King’s Edict in Behalf of the Jews
On the same day, Haman's estate was given to Queen Esther and Haman's role was given to Mordecai.
Esther 8:3 Esther again pleaded with the king, falling at his feet and weeping. She begged him to put an end to the evil plan of Haman the Agagite, which he had devised against the Jews. 
The king issued a royal decree sparing all Jews, and was circulated as far east as India.
Esther 8:11 The king’s edict granted the Jews in every city the right to assemble and protect themselves; to destroy, kill and annihilate the armed men of any nationality or province who might attack them and their women and children, and to plunder the property of their enemies.
The Triumph of the Jews
Moredecai was wearing royal garments of blue and white, and wore a large golden crown and purple robe. It was an occasion of joy for the Jews, with feasting and celebration. 

Esther 7

The Banquet of Esther and Ahasuerus by Jan Victors 1640

Haman Impaled
At the queen's banquet on the second day, the the king asked the queen again, “Queen Esther, what is your petition? It will be given you. What is your request? Even up to half the kingdom, it will be granted.”

The queen petitioned the king to spare her life, and that of her people.

When the king inquired who dared to do such a thing, Esther said, “An adversary and enemy! This vile Haman!”

The king left in a rage, while Haman stayed behind begging Esther for his life. The king then asked to impale Haman upon the same pole that he had erected for Mordecai.

Esther 6

Triumph of Mordecai by Jean Francois de Troy

Mordecai Honored
The king could not sleep that night and thoughts about Mordecai saving his life flashed through his mind. He realized that Mordecai was not rewarded for that.

When Haman came to the court, the king asked him, “What should be done for the man the king delights to honor?”
Esther 6:7 So he answered the king, “For the man the king delights to honor, 8 have them bring a royal robe the king has worn and a horse the king has ridden, one with a royal crest placed on its head. 9 Then let the robe and horse be entrusted to one of the king’s most noble princes. Let them robe the man the king delights to honor, and lead him on the horse through the city streets, proclaiming before him, ‘This is what is done for the man the king delights to honor!’”
The king commanded Haman to go honor Mordecai, and Haman did so unwillingly. When he reaced home, his wife and friends foretold his doom.

Haman then went for Esther's banquet.


Esther 5

Esther approaches the king

Esther’s Request to the King
Dressed in her royal robes, Esther approached the inner court of the king.
Esther 5:2 When he saw Queen Esther standing in the court, he was pleased with her and held out to her the gold scepter that was in his hand. So Esther approached and touched the tip of the scepter.
3 Then the king asked, “What is it, Queen Esther? What is your request? Even up to half the kingdom, it will be given you.”
Esther said all she wanted was to have the king and Haman for a banquet. Soon Haman was summon and the two attend her banquet.

At the banquet, the king asked what her request was. Esther then requested the two for another banquet the following day.

Haman’s Rage Against Mordecai
Haman was filled with rage that Mordecai showed no fear in his presence. He boasted about the banquet invitation he received.

Based on his wife's suggestion, Haman erected a pole about 75 ft high, to impale Mordecai, before enjoying the banquet with the king and queen the following day.

Esther 4

Mordecai mourning

Mordecai Persuades Esther to Help
When Mordecai heard about this decree, he tore his clothes and mourned bitterly. Every Jew in the kingdom took part in fasting and mourning.

When Esther learned about Mordecai, she was in distress. She sent him clothes, but Mordecai would not accept them. She then made an attempt to find out what was bothering Mordecai so much.

Mordecai explained the situation and shared a copy of the decree. He asked Esther to go to King's presence and ask for mercy.

Anyone who approached the king in the inner court without being summoned could be put to death unless the king extended the gold scepter to them and spared their lives.

Esther said that she had not seen the king for a month. She then asked all the Jews to keep a solemn fast for three days and three nights. She was going to do the same and then go visit the king. "And if I perish, I perish,” Esther concluded.

Esther 3

Haman’s Plot to Destroy the Jews
The king promoted Haman above other nobles. However, Mordecai would not honor him. Haman was offended and enraged at Mordecai.
Esther 3:6 Yet having learned who Mordecai’s people were, he scorned the idea of killing only Mordecai. Instead Haman looked for a way to destroy all Mordecai’s people, the Jews, throughout the whole kingdom of Xerxes.
A lot was cast to nail down the date for this execution, which fell almost a year later. Meanwhile, Haman offered the King large amount (375 tons) of silver to authorize the murder. The king gave in.
Esther 3:10 So the king took his signet ring from his finger and gave it to Haman son of Hammedatha, the Agagite, the enemy of the Jews. 11 “Keep the money,” the king said to Haman, “and do with the people as you please.”
Without wasting any time, Haman wrote the decree to kill every Jew in the kingdom. The decree was sent out everywhere in the kingdom.

Esther 2

Esther Made Queen
The king had a disastrous Greek Campaign and returned home a bitter man, with nobody at home to comfort him. He repented his actions for disposing queen Vashti.

The king's advisor's suggested the virgins of the kingdom to be gathered together and a woman be picked in place of queen Vashti.

Mordecai was carried into Persia during the exile and was taking care of his cousin's daughter Esther. Esther meant Venus, who had a lovely figure and was beautiful. Mordecai asked Esther to enter the contest and told her to hide her Jewish identity.

Beauty treatments were provided for the virgins.
Esther 2:12 Before a young woman’s turn came to go in to King Xerxes, she had to complete twelve months of beauty treatments prescribed for the women, six months with oil of myrrh and six with perfumes and cosmetics. 
Then the women would be examined by the king's chamberlain, before taken to the king. Esther demanded no beauty treatment and found favor with everyone. The king liked her and crowned her the queen. A large banquet was thrown in her name.

Mordecai Uncovers a Conspiracy
A conspiracy to kill the King was uncovered by Mordecai. He then shared it with Esther. Esther informed the king, giving credit to Mordecai. The king ordered an investigation and found it to be true. The officials were impaled on poles.

Esther 1

Vashti Deposed - Ernest Normand 1890

Queen Vashti Deposed
King Xerxes of Persia in the third year of his reign gave a banquet for all his nobles and officials. Those present were:
- The military leaders of Persia,
- The Media,
- The princes, and
- The nobles of the provinces.
Esther 1:4 For a full 180 days he displayed the vast wealth of his kingdom and the splendor and glory of his majesty. 5 When these days were over, the king gave a banquet, lasting seven days, in the enclosed garden of the king’s palace, for all the people from the least to the greatest who were in the citadel of Susa.
Wine was served in golden goblets without any restriction, and everyone was drunk.

Queen Vashti served another banquet for the royal women. Vashti means 'beautiful woman.'

During the banquet, a topic arose saying which kingdom had the most beautiful women. King Xerxes, who was drunk thought his kingdom had the best women. To prove his point, he sent seven eunuchs to Queen Vashti, asking her to come wearing only her crown and to display her beauty in front of his guests. Vashti knew the king and his guests were under the influence of alcohol and the banquet hall was no place for her. She therefore refused to do so.

Those present at the banquet teased the king as she publicly refused to cater to his whims. The men advised him to depose Vashti. Deposing in those days meant death. This was supposed to serve as a warning for the rest of the women in the country as well. The king's men were pleased at the king's decision to dispose queen Vashti.

Queen Vashti was willing to bend to grief, but unwilling to bow to shame.

Executive Summary - The Book of Esther

The Feast of Esther by Jan Lievens, 1625

The Five Characters in Esther
Introducing the five characters in the Book of Esther. This book never mentions the word God or LORD. However, the name of the king is mentioned at least twenty eight times.

The story is told about how a woman named Esther saved the nation of Israel.

1. Ahasuerus the King
Ahasuerus was the title given to the Persian King. His name was Xerxes, who ruled from 486 to 465 BC. The king was essentially a puppet in the hands of his several chiefs.

2. Queen Vashti
Vashti was Nebuchadnezzar's great granddaughter. Vashti, unknowing of her father's death, ran to her father's quarters. There she was kidnapped by King Darius of Persia. But Darius took pity on her and gave her to his son, Ahasuerus, to marry. She was that woman who had too much dignity to be paraded naked before a drunken horde.

3. Esther the Queen
Esther was a Jew from the tribe of Benjamin who grew up as an exile in Persia. Esther was an orphan who was brought up by her older cousin, Mordecai. Esther was her Persian name. Her Jewish name was Hadassah. The name Esther means 'Venus' and is a derivation of the root name of the goddess Ishtar. Hadassah, which means 'Myrtle', is a branch that signifies peace and thanksgiving.

4. Haman the Enemy
Haman and his wife Zeresh instigated a plot to kill all of the Jews of ancient Persia. Haman attempted to convince Ahasuerus to order the killing of Mordecai and all the Jews of the lands he ruled. The plot was foiled by Queen Esther, the king's recent wife, who herself was a Jew.

5. Mordecai the Protector
Mordecai resided in Susa (Susan), which is now Iran. He adopted his Uncle's daughter, Esther, an orphan child, whom he brought up as if she were his own daughter. Mordecai is referred to subsequently as one of those who "sat in the king's gate" to indicate his position of closeness to the king.