Perhaps she realised that the best way to survive the harem was to listen to Mordecai who had experience with palace politics and to Hegai who knew all about life in the harem. We also seek status and authority out of conflicting motives, one of which might be a desire to serve God — if we are feeling particularly holy that day. 5:17; Gal. Become a Patron! Michael V. Fox, “The Women in Esther,” TheTorah.com, (1) Setting the Scene (Introduction and Esther chapter 1) Required fields are marked *. Thanks Marg. I despise it as I would a menstrual rag, and I don’t wear it when I am in private. As we saw yesterday, Esther and Mordecai were not perfect saints. 4:1–5:2). For Such a Time as This “If you keep silent at this time, relief and deliverance will rise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. So Esther summons Hathack, one of the king’s eunuchs who attend her, and orders him to find out why Mordecai is mourning. The Jews are saved. It is Esther who is now instructing Mordecai and she says, “Go and assemble all the Jews who can be found in Susa and fast for me. Notify me of follow-up comments by email. . He orders Haman hanged on the very gallows he has erected for Mordecai. The question would be whether Esther would be able to trust the character of God, would she have true faith. God is still not mentioned in the Hebrew text, but Josephus makes it clear in his retelling of the story that, as part of the fast, God was sought and prayed to by Esther and by Mordecai. In the book of Esther, Haman loses his position as viceroy which is given to Mordecai. She obeys Mordecai who tells her not to disclose her Jewish race. The very real problem facing Esther was that there was an official decree that if she approached the king uninvited, it would be his prerogative to have her executed for the presumption, or he could incline the scepter as a sign that she was forgiven the impertinence and welcome to approach. It is mysterious that he not only allows us to participate in bringing about his will but that we can disobey and somehow this is also part of his will. In Esther 2:8 we read that Esther is one of the virgins “taken” (laqakh, לָקַח) to the palace in Susa. But Mordecai’s warning to Esther was that she would have no part in the glory if she did not submit to God’s plan for her, and not only that, in his estimation, their whole family would perish, including her, if she allowed this to take place with no attempt at intervention. 3:28). 4:14). 2:3, 4, 12). He is a powerful figure and has become the highest-ranking political advisor to Xerxes. Posted by Marg | Feb 27, 2020 | All Posts on Equality, Bible Women | 6. 3:1). Tension is building in the story, and in part 3 we see Esther in action. Gender Obsessions: Emphasizing our Differences or our Similarities? (3) Esther in Action (Esther chapters 5-10). Was it her sexual expertise? Even our disobedience won’t ultimately stop him. When we look at this with modern eyes and with modern sensibilities, we realise she has been trafficked. Vashti’s departure makes way for a new queen. These are the brave and determined words of a heroine. . Esther was understandably reluctant but could not argue with her cousin, Mordecai, who spoke the words of 4:14. Marg has a BTh from the Australian College of Ministries and an MA with a specialisation in early Christian and Jewish studies from Macquarie University. Our values and customs today, especially in modern societies, are very different from those way back then. It was written in the name of King Ahasuerus [i.e. [7] Michael V. Fox, “The Women in Esther.” The Torah.com. Esther 4:14 “For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. Don’t waste a minute! After all, Scripture orders us to honor our leaders as long as they do not ask us to disobey God’s law. The author does not tell us the motives for such secrecy. Esther’s prayer also reveals how she feels about being Xerxes’ wife and queen: “I detest sharing the bed of this uncircumcised king or indeed of any foreigner. Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email. (Antiquities 11.6.2 §200). Live into it! . . NLT If you keep quiet at a time like this, deliverance and relief for the Jews will arise from some other place, but you and your relatives will die. [3] As providence would have it, she wins Xerxes’ favour. Four times in Esther, Haman is described as the “enemy of the Jews” (Esth. The two eunuchs are dealt with and details of the episode, including Mordecai’s role as informant, are recorded in the royal annals. [4] Did the king choose his queens solely on looks? Then the young woman who pleases the king will become queen instead of Vashti.” Esther 2:2-4 CSB, Note that the king’s attendants say, “all the beautiful young virgins.” Excess and farcical extravagance are repeated ideas in the book of Esther. Josephus states that Vashti “exceeded all other women in beauty.” (Ant. For Such a Time as This (Esther 4:12-14) Esther 4:12-13. And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” (Est. It may refer to jewelry and clothing, but also to aphrodisiac potions or other such items to enhance pleasure.” Jobes, Esther (The NIV Application Commentary; Zondervan Academic) Kindle Edition, location 1882. From the day of my crowning until now, your servant hasn’t had any joy except in you, Lord, God of Abraham.” (Greek Esther C:26-29 CEB). (2:16–17). [6] The Hebrew Bible does not give a reason for Vashti’s refusal of the king’s summons in Esther 1, and it does not tell us why Mordecai did not bow to Haman in Esther 3. The Ligonier Ministries site requires Javascript, but you’ve got Javascript disabled. She had to rely on God’s hidden providence, trusting that He had allowed her, despite any ungodly motives, to ascend the throne in her day to save His people (4:14). Was pride, or male ego, behind the mutual hatred between Mordecai and Haman, or something deeper? “Don’t think that you will escape the fate of all the Jews because you are in the king’s palace. Esther is referred to as a korasion (“girl”) in 2:7 and again in 2:9 where she is also given seven korasia as maids. Bible Commentary Bible Verses Devotionals Faith Prayers Coloring Pages Pros and Cons, 30 Compelling Bible Scriptures on Poverty, Genesis 2:24 Meaning of They Become One Flesh, Isaiah 45:7 Meaning of I Form the Light and Create Darkness, Hebrews 9:27 Meaning of People Are Destined to Die Once, Genesis 3:22 Meaning of the Man Has Now Become like One of Us, Galatians 5:13 Meaning of Serve One Another Humbly in Love, 10 Powerful Prayers for a Wedding Reception, Whatever Your Hand Finds to Do Meaning and Meditation, Ephesians 5:11 Meaning of Fruitless Deeds of Darkness, Ephesians 4:30 Meaning of Do Not Grieve the Holy Spirit. Or was Esther being shrewd? Of course, the people did so in fear for their lives. You can support my work for as little as $3 a month. Most could have been taken against their will and against the hopes of their families who might never see their girls again. [1] They weren’t volunteering for a wonderful opportunity. And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this? The reflexive use of the Hebrew verb laqakh is applied three times to Esther: she was “taken” in by Mordechai as a foster child, which was presumably a good thing; she is “taken” to the king’s harem; and later she is “taken” before the king. This reversal may be seen as correcting a centuries-old failure. Xerxes] and sealed with the royal signet ring. [2] Wendy Amsellem, Vashti and Esther: A Feminist Perspective, MyJewishLearning.com. Chapter 4 in the Hebrew Bible, however, simply closes with the line, “So Mordecai went and did everything Esther had commanded him” (Esth. So they told Mordecai Esther’s words. We do not know the answer. Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this? Mordecai passes on this information to Esther who passes it onto the king. It is in chapter three of Esther that we are introduced to Haman. [5] Karen Jobes provides a time frame for elements in the story. 4:14). 15:1-35). She strongly believes that if we are in Christ we are part of the New Creation and part of a community where old social paradigms of hierarchies and caste or class systems have no place (2 Cor. Haman goes to king Xerxes and tells him that the Jews are a threat to his realm. During the intervening years Xerxes was off fighting a disastrous war with Greece. “If you keep silent at this time, relief and deliverance will rise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. Esther 3:12-13 CSB, In the Septuagint, the king’s letter is recorded (Greek Esther B:1-14). And she obeys Hegai the eunuch in charge of the harem who quickly takes a shine to her and treats her well. This record will later cause Mordecai to be honoured and Haman to be humiliated. And having sex with a toughened warlord like Xerxes sounds like an unappealing prospect. He was no Prince Charming. The tables are turned. - Esther 3–4. [3] Karen Jobes writes, “After twelve months of preparation, the woman was given ‘anything she wanted’ to take with her to the king. I and my female servants will also fast in the same way. 3:10; 8:1; 9:10, 24). And it seems to be up to Esther. Life inside a harem was heavily supervised and greatly restricted, and it was competitive. Letters were sent by couriers to each of the royal provinces telling the officials to destroy, kill, and annihilate all the Jewish people—young and old, women and children—and plunder their possessions on a single day, the thirteenth day of Adar, the twelfth month. Fix that problem! Vashti refused to come to King Xerxes in the third year of his reign, 483 B.C. Yes, the book of Ether is all about power inversions and reversals of fortune. ESV For if you keep silent at this time, relief and deliverance will rise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. A proper understanding of God would suggest that Mordecai was correct. First published in Tabletalk Magazine, an outreach of Ligonier. If I perish, I perish.” Esther 4:16 CSB. After that, I will go to the king even if it is against the law. I have often heard teaching and been on the receiving end of the “maybe you were put in (whatever painful situation I find myself in) for such a time as this” line. Seeing this story now through different lenses. 1 Sam. Like Daniel, they lived in a foreign land, but unlike him, they cared little to be known as God’s holy people (Dan. And sometime later, when Xerxes has cooled off, his attendants suggest to him, “Let a search be made for beautiful young virgins for the king. Quite the 21st century tale of sex traffic , social protests and Gods sovereignty. Expressing grief by wearing sackcloth and covering oneself with ashes doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with God. 11.6.1 §190) Karen Jobes provides a time frame for elements in the story. Your email address will not be published. It was against Persian law for anyone to appear before the king unbidden, and this law had a death penalty for those who disobeyed and displeased the king. The question is whether we will speak up when called upon, or will we “remain silent.”. 2:10). 4 facts that show “head” does not mean “leader” in 1 Corinthians 11:3, The Family and Faith of Eunice, Timothy’s Mother, In the Image of God (Gen 1:26-28) in a Nutshell. This is what happened with Mordecai and Esther, and just as He did with them, we too can be sure the Lord will also wake us from our spiritual stupor to serve the kingdom.