Notes: Esther
Part One: The Threat to the Jews (1:1—4:17)
I.
The Selection of Esther as Queen
A. The Divorce of Vashti
1:1—2:20
1
1. The Feasts of Ahasuerus 1:1-8
2. Refusal of Queen Vashti 1:9-12
3. Removal of Vashti 1:13-22
B. The Marriage to Esther
2:1-20
1. Decree to Search for Vashti's
Replacement
2. Preparation of Esther
2:5-14
3. Selection of Queen Esther 2:15-20
II. The Formulation of the Plot by Haman
2:21—4:17
A. Mordecai Reveals the Plot to Murder the King
B. Haman Plots to Murder the Jews
2:1-4
2:21-23
3:1—4:17
1. Haman Is Promoted 3:1
2. The Reason for Haman's Plot
3:2-6
3. Ahasuerus' Decree to Destroy the Jews 3:7—4:17
Part Two: The Triumph of the Jews (5:1—10:3)
I.
The Triumph of Mordecai over Haman
A. Setting for the Triumph
5:1—8:3
5:1—6:3
1. Esther's First Feast 5:1-8
2. Haman Plots to Kill Mordecai 5:9-14
3. King Ahasuerus' Plan to Honor Mordecai 6:1-3
B. Mordecai Is Honored
6:4-14
1. Haman's Plan to Honor Himself 6:4-9
2. Haman Is Forced to Honor Mordecai 6:10-14
C. Haman Dies on Gallows Prepared for Mordecai 7
1. Esther's Second Feast 7:1-4
2. Haman Is Indicted 7:5-8
3. Haman Is Hanged 7:9-10
D. Mordecai Is Given Haman's House
II. The Triumph of Israel Over Her Enemies
A. Preparation for the Victory of Israel
1. Esther's Petition to King Ahasuerus
Esther Notes.docx
8:1-3
8:4—10:3
8:4-17
8:4-6
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2. King Ahasuerus' Counter-Decree 8:7-14
3. Many Gentiles Are Converted
8:15-17
B. Israel's Victory over Her Enemies
9:1-16
1. Victories on the First Day 9:1-11
2. Victories on the Second Day 9:12-16
C. Israel's Celebration
9:17—10:3
1. The Feast of Purim 9:17-32
2. The Fame of Mordecai 10
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Purim
Significance: Remembers the defeat of a plot to exterminate the Jews
Observances: Public reading of the book of Esther while "blotting out"
the villain's name
Length: 1 day
Customs: Costume parties; drinking; eating fruit-filled triangular cookies
In the twelfth month, which is the month of Adar, on its thirteenth day ...
on the day that the enemies of the Jews were expected to prevail over
them, it was turned about: the Jews prevailed over their adversaries. Esther 9:1
And they gained relief on the fourteenth, making it a day of feasting and
gladness. - Esther 9:17
[Mordecai instructed them] to observe them as days of feasting and
gladness, and sending delicacies to one another, and gifts to the poor. Esther 9:22
Purim is one of the most joyous and fun holidays on the Jewish calendar.
It commemorates a time when the Jewish people living in Persia were
saved from extermination.
The Book of Esther
The book of Esther is unusual in that it is the only book of the Bible that
does not contain the name of G-d. In fact, it includes virtually no
reference to G-d. Mordecai makes a vague reference to the fact that the
Jews will be saved by someone else, if not by Esther, but that is the
closest the book comes to mentioning G-d. Thus, one important
message that can be gained from the story is that G-d often works in
ways that are not apparent, in ways that appear to be chance,
coincidence or ordinary good luck.
Modern Echoes of Purim
The Pesach (Passover) seder reminds us that in every generation, there
are those who rise up to destroy us, but G-d saves us from their hand. In
the time of the Book of Esther, Haman was the one who tried to destroy
us. In modern times, there have been two significant figures who have
threatened the Jewish people, and there are echoes of Purim in their
stories.
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Many have noted the echoes of Purim in the Nuremberg war crime
trials. In the Book of Esther, Haman's ten sons were hanged (Esther
9:13); in 1946, ten of Hitler's top associates were put to death by
hanging for their war crimes (including the crime of murdering 6
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million Jews). An 11th associate of Hitler, Hermann Göring,
committed suicide the night before the execution, a parallel to the
suicide of Haman's daughter recorded in the Talmud (Megillah 16a).
There are rumors that Göring was a transvestite, making that an
even more accurate parallel.
One of the men seems to have been aware of the parallel: on the
way to the gallows, Julius Streicher shouted "Purim Fest 1946!"
See: The Execution of Nazi War Criminals. It is also interesting
that, in the traditional text of the Megillah (Book of Esther), in the
list of the names of Haman's sons, the letters Tav in the first
name, Shin in the seventh name and Zayin in the tenth name are
written in smaller letters than the rest. The numerical value of
Tav-Shin-Zayin is 707, and these ten men were hanged in the
Jewish year 5707 (the thousands digit is routinely skipped when
writing Jewish years; there are no numerals for thousands in
Hebrew numbering). They were not hanged on Purim, though -they were hanged on Hoshanah Rabbah.
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Another echo of Purim is found in the Soviet Union a few years later.
In early 1953, Stalin was planning to deport most of the Jews in the
Soviet Union to Siberia, but just before his plans came to fruition, he
suffered a stroke and died a few days later. He suffered that stroke
on the night of March 1, 1953: the night after Purim (note: Jewish
days end at sunset; you will see March 1 on the calendar as Purim).
The plan to deport Jews was not carried out.
A story is told in Chabad (Lubavitcher Chasidic Judaism) of that
1953 Purim: the Lubavitcher Rebbe led a Purim gathering and
was asked to give a blessing for the Jews of the Soviet Union,
who were known to be in great danger. The Rebbe instead told
a cryptic story about a man who was voting in the Soviet Union
and heard people cheering for the candidate, "Hoorah! Hoorah!"
The man did not want to cheer, but was afraid to not cheer, so
he said "hoorah," but in his heart, he meant it in Hebrew: hu ra,
which means, "he is evil"! The crowd at the Rebbe's 1953
gathering began chanting "hu ra!" regarding Stalin, and that
night, Stalin suffered the stroke that lead to his death a few days
later.
Purim Customs and Observances
Purim is celebrated on the 14th day of Adar, which is usually in March.
The 13th of Adar is the day that Haman chose for the extermination of
the Jews, and the day that the Jews battled their enemies for their lives.
On the day afterwards, the 14th, they celebrated their survival. In cities
that were walled in the time of Joshua, Purim is celebrated on the 15th of
the month, because the book of Esther says that in Shushan (a walled
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city), deliverance from the massacre was not complete until the next day.
The 15th is referred to as Shushan Purim.
In leap years, when there are two months of Adar, Purim is celebrated in
the second month of Adar, so it is always one month before Passover.
The 14th day of the first Adar in a leap year is celebrated as a minor
holiday called Purim Katan, which means "little Purim." There are no
specific observances for Purim Katan; however, a person should
celebrate the holiday and should not mourn or fast. Some communities
also observe a "Purim Katan" on the anniversary of any day when their
community was saved from a catastrophe, destruction, evil or
oppression.
The word "Purim" means "lots" and refers to the lottery that Haman used
to choose the date for the massacre.
The Purim holiday is preceded by a minor fast, the Fast of Esther, which
commemorates Esther's three days of fasting in preparation for her
meeting with the king.
The primary commandment related to Purim is to hear the reading of the
book of Esther. The book of Esther is commonly known as the Megillah,
which means scroll. Although there are five books of Jewish scripture
that are properly referred to as megillahs (Esther, Ruth, Ecclesiastes,
Song of Songs, and Lamentations), this is the one people usually mean
when they speak of The Megillah.
It is customary to boo, hiss, stamp feet and rattle
gragers (noisemakers; see illustration) whenever the
name of Haman is mentioned in the service. The
purpose of this custom is to "blot out the name of
Haman."
We are also commanded to eat, drink and be merry. According to the
Talmud, a person is required to drink until he cannot tell the difference
between "cursed be Haman" and "blessed be Mordecai," though
opinions differ as to exactly how drunk that is. A person certainly should
not become so drunk that he might violate other commandments or get
seriously ill. In addition, recovering alcoholics or others who might suffer
serious harm from alcohol are exempt from this obligation.
In addition, we are commanded to send out gifts of food
or drink, and to make gifts to charity. The sending of
gifts of food and drink is referred to as shalach manos
(lit. sending out portions). Among Ashkenazic Jews, a
common treat at this time of year is hamentaschen (lit.
Haman's pockets). These triangular fruit-filled cookies
are supposed to represent Haman's three-cornered hat.
My recipe is included below.
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It is customary to hold carnival-like celebrations on Purim, to perform
plays and parodies, and to hold beauty contests. I have heard that the
usual prohibitions against cross-dressing are lifted during this holiday,
but I am not certain about that. Americans sometimes refer to Purim as
the Jewish Mardi Gras.
Purim is not subject to the sabbath-like restrictions on work that some
other holidays are; however, some sources indicate that we should not
go about our ordinary business on Purim out of respect for the holiday.
Recipe for Hamentaschen
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2/3 cup butter or margarine
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg
1/4 cup orange juice (the smooth kind, not the pulpy)
1 cup white flour
1 cup wheat flour (DO NOT substitute white flour! The wheat
flour is necessary to achieve the right texture!)
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. cinnamon
Various preserves, fruit butters and/or pie fillings.
Blend butter and sugar thoroughly.
Add the egg and blend thoroughly.
Add OJ and blend thoroughly.
Add flour, 1/2 cup at a time, alternating white and wheat, blending
thoroughly between each.
Add the baking powder and cinnamon with the last half cup of flour.
Refrigerate batter overnight or at least a few hours.
Roll as thin as you can without getting holes in the batter (roll it between
two sheets of wax paper lightly dusted with flour for best results).
Cut out 3 or 4 inch circles.
Put a dollop of filling in the
middle of each circle.
Fold up the sides to make a
triangle, folding the last corner
under the starting point, so
that each side has corner that
folds over and a corner that
folds under (see picture at right).
Folding in this "pinwheel" style will reduce the likelihood that the last
side will fall open while cooking, spilling out the filling. It also tends
to make a better triangle shape.
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Bake at 350 degrees for about 15-20 minutes, until golden brown but
before the filling boils over!
Traditional fillings are poppy seed and prune, but apricot is my favorite.
Apple butter, pineapple preserves, and cherry pie filling all work quite
well. I usually use Pathmark grocery store brand fruit preserves, and of
course the traditional Simon Fischer brand prune lekvar. I have also
made some with Nutella (chocolate-hazelnut spread); I find it a bit dry
that way, but some people like it.
The number of cookies this recipe makes depends on the size of your
cutting tool and the thickness you roll. I use a 4-1/4 inch cutting tool and
roll to a medium thickness, and I get 20-24 cookies out of this recipe.
Wheat-Free, Gluten-Free Variation
If you are on a wheat-free diet for wheat allergies or a gluten-free diet for
celiac-sprue, substitute 2 cups of buckwheat flour and 1/2 cup of milled
flax seed for the white and wheat flour. Reduce the baking powder to 1
tsp. The resulting hamentaschen will have an unusual pumpernickel
color, but they taste great!
Make sure the buckwheat flour you use is wheat-free/gluten-free!
Sometimes buckwheat flour is mixed with white or wheat flour. The
Hodgson Mill buckwheat and flax linked above are gluten-free and have
reliable kosher certification.
List of Dates
Purim will occur on the following days of the Gregorian calendar:
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Jewish Year 5771: sunset March 19, 2011 - nightfall March 20, 2011
Jewish Year 5772: sunset March 7, 2012 - nightfall March 8, 2012
Jewish Year 5773: sunset Febr 23, 2013 - nightfall Febr 24, 2013
Jewish Year 5774: sunset March 15, 2014 - nightfall March 16, 2014
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TIMELINE
559 BC Cyrus II, The Great, founded of the Persian Empire, ascended
the throne in Anshan
538 BC
The Babylonian Empire fell to the Persians, setting the stage
for the 1st return of the Hebrew people to Jerusalem about 538445 BC, near the end of Daniel’s life following 50 years of
Babylonian captivity
530-522 BC
Cambyses II the son of Cyrus, reigned after his father.
522-486 BC
Darius I, The Great (522-486 BC),
485-465 BC
Xerxes (followed his father Darius on the Persian
throne.
In the Book of Esther, he is called Ahasuerus (a title of the ancient
Median kings dating from 700 BC)
After his return from his defeat in Greece (480 BC), Herodotus
states that he paid attention to his harem (9.108).
478 BC
60 years following the the 1st return
Esther did not become queen until the seventh year of Xerxes
(Ahasuerus) reign, which would be about 478 BC, two years
after his devastating defeat at Salamis (480 BC), which ended
Persia's last hope for conquering Greece.
464-423 BC
Artaxerxes I Longimanus succeeded Xerxes.
Nehemiah was his cupbearer and visited Jerusalem <Neh. 2:1>.
2nd return The second return was apparently under Ezra. This was
made possible because of the generosity of Artaxerxes.
The Elephantine Papyri, discovered in 1903 on the island of
Elephantine at the First Cataract of Egypt, shed important light
on the Artaxerxes-Nehemiah era. <Ezra 7:1-8> specifies that
Ezra journeyed to Jerusalem in Artaxerxes' seventh year. This
would have been 458 BC, if Artaxerxes I is meant. In such a
case Ezra precedes Nehemiah.
Some construe Artaxerxes to be Artaxerxes II, the seventh year
of whose reign would be 398 BC (cf. <Ezra 10:6>). This minor
Persian king was of major importance because his connection
with the Hebrew people. Apparently two of the three returns of
the Jewish people from captivity in Babylon occurred during his
reign.
445 BC The 3rd return occurred in 445 BC<Neh. 1:1>. The specific
purpose of this return to Jerusalem was to rebuild the city walls.
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This was the command that signaled the beginning of the Daniel
9:24-27 prophetic clock to the events of Messiah’s first and
second coming
Time Period
Chronologically, the events of the Book of Esthert antedates (pre-date)
the Book of Nehemiah by about 30 years.
Esther makes possible Nehemiah.
It was Esther’s marriage to the King of Persia that ultimately
leads to the rebuilding of Jerusalem.
Historical events, not just a story to highlight a moral.
It deals with an escape from annihilation after their return from
Babylonian captivity... and enables the chain of events that led to
the Messiah five centuries later.
The book takes place in the Persian period (539-331 BC) after many
Israelites had returned from the Exile to the land of Palestine to rebuild
the temple.
Most Israelite captives, however, chose not to return to their homeland.
They should have done so for Isaiah and Jeremiah had urged the yet-tobe-exiled nation to come out of Babylon after 70 years and return to the
place where the Lord could bless them under the promises (Deut 28).
Hos 1:9: “Then said God, Call his name Lo-Ammi: for ye are not my
people, and I will not be your God.”
Isa 48:20 Go ye forth of Babylon, flee ye from the Chaldeans,
with a voice of singing declare ye, tell this, utter it even to the
end of the earth; say ye, The Lord hath redeemed his servant
Jacob.
Jer 50:8 Remove out of the midst of Babylon, and go forth out
of the land of the Chaldeans, and be as the he goats before the
flocks.
Jer 51:6 Flee out of the midst of Babylon, and deliver every
man his soul: be not cut off in her iniquity; for this is the time of
the Lord's vengeance; he will render unto her a recompence.
Jer 29:10
For thus saith the Lord, That after seventy years
be accomplished at Babylon I will visit you, and perform my
good word toward you, in causing you to return to this place.
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A Summary Review
King Xerxes (Ahahuerus) is famous in history for his parties and his
drinking.
He inherited a kingdom of 127 provinces stretching from India to
Egypt. Trying to expand it northward he was soundly defeated in
Greece and lost a great amount of his forces and finances in the
effort.
Returning to Sushan, he focused on “Domestic Affairs”.
During one long drunken party he called for his #1 wife – Queen
Vashti to appear before his male guests – to show her off.
She refused and fearing the start of a “Women’s Lib: movement in the
kingdom Xerxes advisors convinced him to depose her and find a
replacement.
Esther: She was a Jewess named Hadas’sah (the myrtle), but when
she entered the royal harem she received the name Esther by which she
is better known to us.
Gesenius, one of the greatest Hebrew authorities, says that
Hadas’sah is taken from the word meaning, “to hide;” it means,
“Something Hidden.”
The book of Esther contains many ‘hidden codes’ and clues
within and underneath the text…
She was the daughter of Abihail, a Benjamite.
Her father and mother being dead, she did not avail herself (nor did
Mordecai) of the permission granted to the Jewish exiles in
Persia/Babylon to return to the land and to Jerusalem,
Instead, she resided with her cousin Mordecai, who held some office
in the household of the Persian king at “Shushan in the palace.”
Her cousin, Mordecai took her into his home as his own
daughter.
1:7] And he [Mordecai] brought up Hadassah, that is, Esther, his
uncle’s daughter: for she had neither father nor mother, and the
maid was fair and beautiful; whom Mordecai, when her father
and mother were dead, took for his own daughter.
Esther was ‘fair of form and face’… NASB She was a ‘knock out;…
Esther – descended from a Jewish captive of Babylon;s Nebuchadnezar
was orphaned as a child so she and her siblings were brought up by her
cousin, Mordecai.
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Mordecai was a descendant of Shemei who had ridiculed David and
who David’s mighty men wanted killed. David would not permit it.
2 Samuel 16:5-13
1 Kings 2:36-46
2006 Movie – “One Night with the King”
Do not let your favorite version of God’s Word become the
Revised Screen Gems version.
Esther was selected by King Ahasuerus from Persia’s finest and fairest
[AFTER A YEAR LONG PREPARTION TIME] to replace the queen
when Vashti was disgraced.
Mordecai was a familiar sight at the Palace square gate
He daily went to check on Esther’s well being
He uncovered and stopped a plot to kill Xerxes at that gate
Haman, [HISS –HISS] the power hungry Agagite (Amalikite / Elamite,
descendant of Esau) who eventually became the prime minister.
Genesis 36:12
Exo 17
1 Sam 15
Every time Haman’s name is mentioned, traditional Jews hiss…
Haman [HISS – HISS], persuaded the king to issue an edict of
extermination of all the Jews in the Persian Empire.
Xerxes apparently did not know Esther was a Jewess.
She was born and was raised in Persia which was the only
home she knew.
All her Jewishness was through Mordecai’s teaching and
training; which he very likely got through the teaching
and training of his father.
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Perhaps Haman’s hatred of the Jews was due to jealousy of
Mordecia.
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Perhaps Haman was an unknown, unindicted, co-conspirator behind
the assassination plot that Mordecai uncovered.
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Perhaps due to his national history – or lack of it at the hands of the
Jews.
King Saul, haing been ordered by God to kill all Agagities let
Agag’s household live.
This is why Haman was alive (and why Saul was replaced
by God).
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Haman may have been inline for the Agagite throne had there
been one.
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Most likely it was due the fact the Mordecia fully understood who and
what Haman was and he simply would not recognize him or his
position.
Est 3:5] And when Haman saw that Mordecai bowed not, nor
did him reverence, then was Haman full of wrath.
6] And he thought scorn to lay hands on Mordecai alone;
for they had shewed him the people of Mordecai:
wherefore Haman sought to destroy all the Jews that were
throughout the whole kingdom of Ahasuerus, even the
people of Mordecai.
Haman, now prime minister, convinced Xerxes to issue a command to
destroy the Jews and to allow anyone who killed a Jew to confiscate their
possessions
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The Book of Esther
Introduction
Esther is an obscure book to many. It is a story of human love,
palace intrigue, and the glory days of the Persian Empire.
A Jewish maiden, elevated to the Throne of Persia as queen, is used
by God to preserve His people against a Hitler-like annihilation...
Even to this day, the Feast of Purim commemorates the memory of
this deliverance. (The Book of Esther is usually read...)
Puzzles
No mention of the name of God; (except hidden in the text)
No reference to worship or faith;
No prediction of the Messiah;
No mention of heaven or hell;
...there is nothing “religious” about it.
It is a gripping tale, but why is it here in the Bible?
Revelation of God’s providence?
Martin Luther believed it should not be part of the Canon!
Esther = means “Something Hidden”(!)
[The name of YHWH is hidden inside the text in several ways...]
Models/Types
Paul reveals that the historic incidents that happened to Israel are
intended as types for us
1 Corinthians 10:11, “Now all these things happened unto them
for ensamples [as a warning]: and they are written for our
admonition [instruction]...”
Romans 15:4, “For whatsoever things were written aforetime
were written for our learning, that we through patience and
comfort of the scriptures might have hope.”
Examples:
Feasts of Israel = prophetic implications (Passover, et al);
Days of Noah;
Abraham’s Offering of Isaac;
Jonah, three days...
The story behind the story: Ourselves.
Bible = To know God;
To know ourselves!
Key: New Testament (Acts 17:11).
Esther: An OT preview of the Book of Romans.
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PERSIA.
A world empire that flourished from 539 to 331 BC
The Early History.
The Persians apparently sprang from a people from the hills of Russia
known as Indo-Aryans. As early as 2000 BC, they began to settle in Iran
and along the Black Sea coast.
Two of these Indo-European tribes settled on the Elamite border and
to the east of the Zagros mountain range.
The first references to them are made in the inscriptions of
Shalmaneser III (858-824 BC).
They are noted as the Parsua (Persians) and Madai (Medes).
The original native name Parsa, or Persia, was descriptive of the
homeland of the Persians in the western and larger part of the Iranian
plateau that extended from the Indus on the E to the Tigris on the W.
Iran was another native designation of the land. This name was
officially restored in 1935 by the Persian government and means "the
[land] of the Aryans."
It is descriptive of the people of Aryan language who came into the
highland (c. 1500 BC).
The Amadai, or Medes, and the inhabitants of the land of Parsua W of
Lake Urmia, or Persians, were the two Aryan tribes that were to come
into the greatest prominence.
The Medes occupied the NW portion of the territory.
Their capital city was Hagmatana, later Ecbatana, modern Hamadan.
Cyaxares, the Mede, was confederate with Nabopolassar in the fall
of Nineveh in 612 BC
Gradually the Persians migrated southward and settled in Anshan in
a portion of country that they called Parsamash, in recollection of
their old homeland of Parsua.
Around 700 BC their leader was named Achaemenes.
This name prevailed in the later Persian kings.
About the middle of the seventh century BC the king of Parsamash
was called Tiespes.
He was a notable conqueror and increased the territories of the
Persians E of Anshan and N of the Persian Gulf.
This extended country became known as Parsa or Persian Land.
The Babylonian Empire fell to the Persians, setting the stage for the
return of the Hebrew people to Jerusalem about 538-445 BC, following
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their long period of captivity by the Babylonians.
OT References
The Old Testament contains many references to the nation of Persia and
its representatives.
<Ezra 9:9> refers to the "kings of Persia."
<Ezra 6:14> cites "Cyrus, Darius, and Artaxerxes king of Persia."
<Daniel 8:20> speaks of the "kings of Media and Persia."
<Daniel 10:13> mentions the "prince of the kingdom of Persia."
The Book of Esther refers to the "powers of Persia and Media"
<1:3>,
the "seven princes of Persia and Media" <1:14>, and
the "ladies of Persia and Media" <1:18>.
<Daniel 5:28> prophesied that Belshazzar's kingdom would be
"given to the Medes and Persians."
The Persian Kings
The first mention of a Persian chieftain refers to his role as an ally
aligned against Sennacherib of Assyria.
His son was called "King, Great King, King of the City of Anshan."
His grandson fathered Cyrus II, who was one of the most celebrated
kings of history. He is called by the prophet Isaiah "My shepherd"
<Is. 44:28>.
In another passage he is referred to as "His [the Lord's]
Anointed" <Is, 45:1>, a term used in the Old Testament of the
Messiah.
Cyrus II, The Great, founder of the mighty Persian Empire, ascended
the throne in Anshan in 559 BC
He conquered Astyages, the Mede.
Cyrus who took Ecbatana.
Henceforth Cyrus grew greater and greater with Parsa taking the
lead, Media coming second, and Elam third
With lightning-like rapidity Cyrus extended his conquests,
defeating Croesus of Lydia (c. 546 BC) and Babylon (539 BC),
thus establishing the mighty Persian Empire.
This last conquest is referred to in <Daniel 5>.
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The supremacy of the Persians was hereafter established, although
the Medes continued to be held in high esteem.
Reference is made in Scripture to "Persia and Media" <Esther
1:19>, as well as "the Medes and Persians" <Dan. 5:28>.
Cyrus's capital was Pasargadae in the land of Parsa.
On his ruined palace can still be read the repeated words, "I,
Cyrus the king, the Achaemenid."
Cyrus' rule was a result of the sovereignty of God.
In contrast to previous rulers, especially the Assyrians, Cyrus was
humane and benevolent toward those whom he defeated (cf. <Isa.
45:1-4>).
Cyrus was the Persian king who issued the decree restoring the
Jews to their homeland, following their long period of captivity by the
Babylonians <2 Chr. 36:22-23; Ezra 1:1-4>.
Archaeology has demonstrated that Cyrus's concession to the
exiles was not an isolated account of generosity but a general
policy of a remarkably beneficent leader of winning the favor of
his new subjects by showing consideration for their religious
beliefs.
Cyrus was the founder of the system under which each province, or
Persian satrapy, was governed by an official who answered to the
great king.
However, he allowed a remarkable degree of freedom of religion and
customs for the vassal states, including Palestine.
He developed roads, cities, postal systems, and legal codes, and
treated the subject nations kindly and humanely.
Cyrus accomplished all of this because he was God's tool-just as
Assyria, who conquered Israel, was God's rod of anger. Hence the
Bible refers to Cyrus in favorable terms <Is. 44:28--45:3>.
Cyrus was killed in battle in 530 BC
His body was returned to Pasargadae and buried in a tomb that
is still extant. Plutarch (c. A.D. 46-120) says the inscription on
the tomb ran thus:
"O man, whosoever thou art and whensoever thou comest,
for I know that thou wilt come, I am Cyrus and I won for the
Persians their empire. Do not, therefore, begrudge me this
little earth which covers my body."
Cambyses II (530-522 BC), the son of Cyrus, reigned after his father.
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During his reign, Egypt was added to the list of nations conquered by
Persia.
Shortly after his Egyptian triumphs civil war broke out, evidently led
by his brother Bardiya or Smerdis.
According to the Greek historian Herodotus, Cambyses is believed to
have suffered a self-inflicted wound in 522 BC as he leaped on his
horse in a hurry and in an excited state to ride off to deal with the
insurrection.
Reportedly the chape of Cambyses' dagger sheath came off,
and he accidently stabbed himself in the thigh and died about
three weeks later somewhere in Syria.
Some believe he committed suicide.
Darius I, The Great (522-486 BC), the next Persian king, was not a
direct descendant of Cyrus but was of royal, Achaemenid blood.
The Persian Empire almost collapsed in the confusion that followed
the death of Cambyses II; but Darius seems to have assassinated
Bardiya, won the throne for himself, and subdued the revolts that
broke out in the various provinces.
He defeated nine kings to claim all 23 Persian satrapies.
This powerful ruler recorded his victory over his enemies on the
famous Rock of Behistun, visible from the old caravan road from
Ecbatana to Babylon.
This was written in the Akkadian, Elamite, and Old Persian
languages.
This pivotal monument, with its trilingual inscriptions describing
Darius's quelling of the insurrection, furnished the key to the
decipherment of Akkad cuneiform, just as the Rosetta Stone
opened up the ancient language of the Nile River.
Darius I further unified the Persian Empire by using an efficient gold
coinage, state highways, and a more efficient postal system.
Darius ruled a vast empire.
The mighty empire over which Darius and his successors ruled
extended from the Grecian Archipelago on the W, the Caucasus
Mountains and the Caspian Sea on the N, to the Arabian and
Nubian deserts on the S (cf. <Esther 1:1; 10:1>) and the Indus
River on the E.
The vast territory was nearly 4,900 kilometers (3,000 miles) long
and 800-2,400 kilometers (500 to 1,500 miles) wide, constituting
an area of some 2 million square miles.
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In this huge kingdom Judah was a tiny dependency practically lost in
the vast stretch of empire.
This is the same Darius who, in his second year, ordered the
Jewish Temple at Jerusalem to be rebuilt after work on it had
been discontinued for 14 years <Ezra 4:24; 6:1>.
He also gave a generous subsidy that made it possible to
complete the Temple.
The closing years of his reign saw the outbreak of the
Graeco-Persian wars and the defeat of Persia at Marathon (490 BC),
a precursor to the later defeat at Salamis (480 BC).
Xerxes (485-465 BC) followed his father Darius on the Persian throne.
He was the Ahasuerus of the Book of Esther.
After his return from his defeat in Greece (480 BC), Herodotus states
that he paid attention to his harem (9.108).
Esther did not become queen until the seventh year of his reign,
which would be about 478 BC, two years after his devastating
defeat at Salamis (480 BC), which ended Persia's last hope for
conquering Greece.
Although the queen at this time is said to have been
Amestris, certainly Xerxes, from what we know of him, may
well have had other wives.
This king, as well as his father, was devoted to Ahura-Mazda.
The religion of the Persians centered around a reformation of the
old Iranian religions developed by Zoroaster.
He believed in a dualism in which:
Ahura Mazda (or Ormazd) headed the gods of goodness
(Amesha Spentas) and Angra Mainyu (or Ahriman)
headed the gods of evil (daevas).
Some of this is revealed in the Jewish
apocryphal literature which developed from the
fifth century BCto the time of Christ.
Artaxerxes I Longimanus (464-423 BC). Artaxerxes I succeeded
Xerxes.
In his reign Nehemiah was cupbearer and visited Jerusalem <Neh.
2:1>.
The Elephantine Papyri, discovered in 1903 on the island of
Elephantine at the First Cataract of Egypt, shed important light on
Esther Notes.docx
Page 19
the Artaxerxes-Nehemiah era. <Ezra 7:1-8> specifies that Ezra
journeyed to Jerusalem in Artaxerxes' seventh year.
This was 458 BC, if Artaxerxes I is meant.
In such a case Ezra precedes Nehemiah.
However, some construe Artaxerxes to be Artaxerxes II, the
seventh year of whose reign would be 398 BC (cf. <Ezra
10:6>).
This minor Persian king was of major importance because of his
connection with the Hebrew people.
Apparently two of the three returns of the Jewish people from
captivity in Babylon occurred during his reign.
The second return was apparently under Ezra.
This was made possible because of the generosity of
Artaxerxes.
The third return occurred in 445 BC<Neh. 1:1>.
The specific purpose of this return to Jerusalem was to
rebuild the city walls.
Following Artaxerxes I the splendid Persian throne was occupied by
Darius II (423-404 BC),
Artaxerxes II Mnemon (404-359 BC),
Artaxerxes III Ochus (359-338 BC),
Arses (338-335 BC), and
Darius III (335-331 BC), when the far-flung Persian Empire fell to the
conquests of Alexander the Great.
Persia and Archaeology.
Among the kingdoms of the ancient world, Persia is remembered
because it built many important cities.
PERSEPOLIS was a showpiece of Persian power.
Pasargadae was the ancestral capital rapidly supplanted in
importance.
ECBATANA served as the capital of the Median Empire and became
a resort area for the Persians.
SUSA (the Shushan of Esther) was the former capital of the Elamite
Empire.
Persian archaeology may be said to have had its beginning in 1835,
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Page 20
when Henry C. Rawlinson, with the British army in Iran, began to copy
the famous Behistun inscription, the great trilingual inscription (Persian,
Akkad., and Elamite) cut by Darius on a cliff about five hundred feet
above a plain W of Ecbatana.
Rawlinson himself was to decipher the Persian and Akkad. parts of
this inscription.
Actual excavation began at Susa (biblical Shushan) in 1854 when the
British archaeologist W. K. Loftus sank the first trial trenches there and
identified it as Susa.
Marcel and Jeanne Dieulafoy conducted excavations at the site (150
miles N of the head of the Persian Gulf) from 1884 to 1886.
Then in 1897 the French Delegation in Persia started work at Susa
under the leadership of Jacques de Morgan and continued until
World War I.
R. de Mequenem assumed directorship after the war, to be followed
by Roman Ghirshman and since 1967 by M. Jean Perrot.
One of de Morgan's greatest finds was the Code of Hammurabi,
which turned up in three pieces in December 1901 and January
1902.
Susa is a large site.
Four gigantic mounds, covering an area of 300 acres, stand on
the E bank of the Shaur River, and a smaller mound rises W of
the river.
Between World Wars I and II Persian archaeology was put on a more
firm footing. In 1927 the Iranian Archaeological Service was established,
and national activity began in the field of archaeology.
Andre Godard, a distinguished French archaeologist, directed the
service from 1931 to 1960.
Though many sites have been attacked by domestic and foreign teams,
the two sites most important for the present study are Pasargadae and
Persepolis.
Cyrus the Great established his main capital at Pasargadae, about
forty-five miles NE of the later complex at Persepolis.
Pasargadae is said to have been founded on the site of Cyrus's
victory over Astyages the Mede, which gave him control over the
empire.
The first archaeological soundings were made at Pasargadae in the
first decade of the twentieth century by Ernst Herzfeld.
Ali Sami, the director of the Archaeological Institute at
Esther Notes.docx
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Persepolis, began a five-year dig in 1949.
David Stronach, director of the British Institute of Persian
Studies in Tehran, excavated there from 1961 to 1963.
At the SW edge of Pasargadae stands the tomb of Cyrus. Its
stepped stone base measures about forty-five by thirty-eight feet and
the tomb chamber itself about seventeen by seventeen feet and
nineteen feet high.
Its gabled roof stands to a height of about thirty-five feet from the
ground.
About a half mile to the NE of the tomb is a complex of palaces:
an audience hall, a garden pavilion, a gatehouse, and a
residential palace.
These structures were built of black and white limestone.
The residential palace consisted of a central hall with thirty stone
columns on black and white square subbases.
Another half mile to the NE lay the citadel area of Pasargadae.
Persepolis (thirty miles NE of Shiraz in central western Iran) was built
between about 520 and 450 BC, not so much as a political capital as a
ceremonial shrine for the celebration of the Persian new year festival.
Although some archaeological work was done there as early as
1878, the first definitive and major excavation at the site was carried
on by the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago under the
leadership of Ernst Herzfeld and Erich Schmidt (1931-39).
The Iranian Archaeological Service continued work there during and
after World War II.
Persepolis is a great complex built at an elevation of 5,800 feet on a
massive stone platform 40 feet high and covering 33 acres.
Darius I constructed the platform and worked out the master plan for
the structures in advance.
He also built a stairway up to the platform, his private palace,
and the treasury, and began the Apadana or audience hall.
Xerxes completed the Apadana, a monumental gateway, his own
palace, and the so-called harem.
Artaxerxes I completed the Throne Hall and may have
constructed a private palace.
The great Apadana was 197 feet square and its roof was
supported by 36 65-foot columns, 13 of which remain
standing.
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About 6 miles N of Persepolis is Naksh-i Rustam, a rock cliff with royal
tombs cut into it.
These are commonly believed to be of Darius II, Artaxerxes I, Darius
I, and Xerxes I. (m.f.u.; h.f.v.)
bibliography: G. G. Cameron, The History of Early Iran (1936); id.,
Persepolis Treasury Tablets (1948); A. T. Olmstead, History of the
Persian Empire (1948); D. J. Wiseman, ed., Peoples of Old
Testament Times (1973), pp. 312-57; J. M. Cook, The Persian
Empire (1983).
(from New Unger's Bible Dictionary) (originally published by Moody
Press of Chicago, Illinois. (C) 1988.)
(from Nelson's Illustrated Bible Dictionary)
Thomas Nelson Publishers)
Esther Notes.docx
(Copyright (C) 1986,
Page 23
Hebrew calendar and holidays
Hebrew Months
Holiday
Gregorian Months
1) Nissan (30 days) Passover (14th)
March April
(Abib)
Unleavened Bread (15th - 21st)
Holocaust Memorial Day (27th)
2) Iyyar (29 days)
Israel Independence Day (5th)
33rd Day of Omer(18th)
Jerusalem Day (28th)
April May
3) Sivan (30 days) Pentecost (6th)
4) Tammuz (29 days)
5) Av (30 days)
Ninth of Av
May June
June July
July August
6) Elul (29 days)
August Sept
7) Tishri (30 days) New Year (1st)
Day of Atonement (10th)
Tabernacles (15th 22nd)
Sept October
8) Cheshvan (29 or 30 days, "swing month")
October Nov
9) Kislev (29 or 30 days, "swing month")
Chanukah (15th), for 8 days Nov Dec
10) Tevat (30 days)
December January
11) Shvat (30 days) T’u B’Shvat (15th)
January February
12) Adar (29 days) Purim (14th)
February March
13) Adar II (one month added 7 times in 19 years (in the 3rd, 6th, 8th,
11th, 14th, 17th, and 19th years)
To assist in the confusion there are 2 Hebrew annual monthly calendars’
a religious and a secular calendar. The religious calendar’s 1st month is
Nissan.
The Jewish calendar measures a day by daylight.
Each new day begins after the sun has gone down.
The new day begins in the dark and lasts until the following
sundown.
The Jewish calendar bases the measurement of each month on the
appearance on the new month.
Thus, the 12 Jewish months alternate between 29 and 30 days.
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A sidereal lunar month, the length of time it takes for the moon to
make one revolution around the earth, is measured by observing
how long it takes the Moon to pass a fixed star on the celestial
sphere.
The Moon's orbital period in a non-rotating frame of reference
(which on average is equal to its rotation period) is about 27.32
days (27 days, 7 hours, 43 minutes, 11.6 seconds).
A synodic month is 29.53 days (29 days, 12 hours, 44 minutes, 2.8
seconds) and is measured from New Moon to New Moon.
The beginning of each month or new moon is considered a holy day.
In Old Testament days, the shofar, or trumpet, was blown while burnt
offerings were given as a memorial before the Lord (Num. 10:10).
The new month or new moon is known as Rosh Hodesh (the head of
the month).
Since the destruction of the Temple, the celebration of the new moon
has become less significant, but to this day it is observed with special
prayers recited on its arrival.
12 lunar months of 291/2 days yield 354 days, a difference of 11 days
each year from our solar calendar.
The Bible mandates that holidays be kept in "their appointed season"
(Num. 9:2 3).
In light of that mandate, periodic adjustments must be made with the
calendar.
Therefore, one leap month is added seven times every 19 years. It
is during these times that the Jewish calendar shifts from the
customary 12 months to 13.
The Jewish calendar bases its year on Judaism’s traditional belief that
the earth was created 3,761 years before Christ.
To establish the Jewish year, simply add the number of the current
Gregorian year to 3,761.
To avoid designating Christ as Lord, the Jewish calendar Uses BCE.
(before the common era) or CE. (common era) instead of BC (before
Christ) and A.D. (Anno Domini, in the year of our Lord).
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Esther 1
1] Now it came to pass in the days of Ahasuerus, (this is Ahasuerus
which reigned, from India even unto Ethiopia, over an hundred and
seven and twenty provinces):
Ahasuerus: There are three kings designated by this title in Scripture.
It is a title, like Pharaoh, Caesar..
1) The father of Darius the Mede, mentioned in (Dan 9:1).
This was probably the Cyaxares I. known by this name in
secular history, the king of Media and the conqueror of Nineveh.
2) The king mentioned in (Ezra 4:6) probably the Cambyses of
secular history, the son and successor of Cyrus (529 BC).
3) The son of Darius Hystaspes, the king named in the Book of
Esther.
He ruled over the kingdoms of Persia, Media, and Babylonia,
“from India to Ethiopia.”
This was in all probability the Xerxes of secular history, who
succeeded his father Darius (485-465 BC).
In the LXX. version of the Book of Esther, the name Artaxerxes
(Xerxes I) occurs where Ahasuerus is mentioned in the English
versions.
According to Jalm, it is probable that "the Artaxerxes of Ezra, who is
mentioned next after Darius Hystaspis, and the Ahasuerus of
Esther, are both names of Xerxes I."
If so, it was under him that the second caravan of Jews went to
Judea, under the direction of Ezra (Ezra 7)
If Xerxes was the prince referred to, he gave Ezra an ample
commission in regard to the temple at Jerusalem, granting him
full power to do all that was necessary to maintain public
worship there, and committing to him the vessels of gold and
silver in Babylon, pertaining to the temple, etc.
The decree, found in Ezra 7:13-26 , relates wholly to the
temple - the "house of God."
There was no order for rebuilding the city in this decree
There is no evidence that anything material was done in
building the city, or the walls.
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The command which started the clock of Dan 9:24-27
was issued by Artexerxes Longimonis, who was
Xerxes I grandson.
Artexerxes Longimonis began to rule 40 years after his
grandfathers death following Xerxes II, his father.
The events in the Book of Esther cover a decade
from 483 BC (Xerxes’ 3rd year; Esther 1:3)
to 473 BC (the end of Xerxes’ 12th year; Esther 3:7).
These events occurred between those recorded in Ezra 6-7 and
before the events related in Nehemiah.
“Ethiopia” [“Cush”] was a term for the upper Nile region, which
included present-day southern Egypt, all of Sudan, and northern
Ethiopia.
Artaxerxes = Xerxes I = Ahasuerus of Esther

Reigned for 21 years (485-465 BC)

Led his vast armies against Greece.
The first part of his reign was marked by the famous campaign into
Greece, beginning in 483.
After the defeat at Salamis in 480, Xerxes himself withdrew from
the expedition and it was finally discontinued in the next year.

During the remainder of his reign, Xerxes seems to have spent a
listless existence.
He was distinguished for gluttony, voluptuousness, and cruelty.
He was absorbed in intrigues of the harem, and leaving the
government to be carried on by his ministers and favorites (often
slaves).

In the year 464 BC , the 21st year of his reign, he was murdered by
Artabanus, commander of his life-guard.
2] That in those days, when the king Ahasuerus sat on the throne of
his kingdom, which was in Shushan the palace,
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Shushan: 200 miles E of Babylon, capital of Elam; site of the winter
residence of Persian kings.
Loftus in 1852 found an inscription of Artaxerxes II (405-358 BC):
“My ancestor Darius (521-485 BC) built this palace in former times.
In the reign of my grandfather (Artaxerxes I, 465-425 BC) it was
burned. I have restored it.”
[An author from a later period probably would not have known
about the palace so it can be inferred that the author of this book
was someone who was close to the events chronologically.]
This palace was also the residence of:
o
o
o
Darius, who authorized the rebuilding of the Temple;
Xerxes, Esther’s husband;
Aretaxerxes I Longimonus who authorized Nehemiah to
rebuild Jerusalem.
Dieulafoy, a Frenchman, continued the excavations (1884-86) and
located the ruins of:
• the “king’s gate” (4:2)
• the “inner court” (5:1)
• the “outer court” (6:4)
• the “palace garden” (7:7) and even
• one of the dice (“Pur”) with which they cast lots (3:7).
The Great Feast
3] In the third year of his reign, he made a feast unto all his princes
and his servants; the power of Persia and Media, the nobles and
princes of the provinces, being before him:
Xerxes drinking parties were well known.
Xerxes had an irrational temper, occasionally exhibiting fits of rage (1:12;
7:10). Especially when inebriated – he was a bad drunk…
He had a palace in Susa and a large harem there.
The great feast described in this chapter, it is inferred from Persian
inscriptions, was held in preparation for the expedition against Greece.
Sources suggest that he wanted to avenge his father’s defeat at
Marathon (490 BC) near Athens.
According to Herodotus it took Xerxes four years to get ready for the
invasion he launched in 481 BC..
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(Herodotus’ four years would extend from the beginning of Xerxes’
reign in 485 BC.)
4] When he shewed the riches of his glorious kingdom and the
honour of his excellent majesty many days, even an hundred and
fourscore days.
The 180 days likely included the planning sessions in which all the
provinces’ leaders were being prepared for the new Grecian war
effort.
[Xerxes will marry Esther 4 years later, in the 7th year of his reign
(2:16)].
5] And when these days were expired, the king made a feast unto all
the people that were present in Shushan the palace, both unto great
and small, seven days, in the court of the garden of the king’s
palace;
Most likely a 7 day long open house in Shushan at the palace to stir
up public support for the coming war effort.
Great and small were invited to the King’s ‘open house reception:…
6] Where were white, green, and blue, hangings, fastened with
cords of fine linen and purple to silver rings and pillars of marble:
the beds were of gold and silver, upon a pavement of red, and blue,
and white, and black, marble.
7] And they gave them drink in vessels of gold (the vessels being
diverse one from another) and royal wine in abundance, according
to the state of the king.
According to the state of the king - Whether drunk or sober….???
8] And the drinking was according to the law; none did compel: for
so the king had appointed to all the officers of his house, that they
should do according to every man’s pleasure.
No one was forced to drink – but by all indications, the king didn’t
like to drink alone…
Queen Vashti
9] Also Vashti the queen made a feast for the women in the royal
house which belonged to king Ahasuerus.
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(Vashti is identified as a granddaughter of Nebuchadnezzer in some
Rabbinic sources.)
10] On the seventh day, when the heart of the king was merry with
wine, he commanded Mehuman, Biztha, Harbona, Bigtha, and
Abagtha, Zethar, and Carcas, the seven chamberlains that served in
the presence of Ahasuerus the king,
11] To bring Vashti the queen before the king with the crown royal,
to shew the people and the princes her beauty: for she was fair to
look on.
At the conclusion of the 7 day citywide reception, Xerxes’ being
drunk … ordered Queen Vashti to leave her banquet and
appear before him and his special guests:
wearing only her crown…
(according to some commentators)
Vashti may have been drunk too…she was also hosting a ‘banquet’ for
the women.
The Queen Refuses
12] But the queen Vashti refused to come at the king’s
commandment by his chamberlains: therefore was the king very
wroth, and his anger burned in him.
Being drunk and not thinking clearly, prone to fits of rage when under
the influence the king was infuriated and fuming…
13] Then the king said to the wise men, which knew the times, (for
so was the king’s manner toward all that knew law and judgment:
14] And the next unto him was Carshena, Shethar, Admatha,
Tarshish, Meres, Marsena, and Memucan, the seven princes of
Persia and Media, which saw the king’s face, and which sat the first
in the kingdom;)
15] What shall we do unto the queen Vashti according to law,
because she hath not performed the commandment of the king
Ahasuerus by the chamberlains?
The king did not do too much on his own – he left most details to
others.
16] And Memucan answered before the king and the princes, Vashti
the queen hath not done wrong to the king only, but also to all the
Esther Notes.docx
Page 30
princes, and to all the people that are in all the provinces of the king
Ahasuerus.
17] For this deed of the queen shall come abroad unto all women,
so that they shall despise their husbands in their eyes, when it shall
be reported, The king Ahasuerus commanded Vashti the queen to
be brought in before him, but she came not.
18] Likewise shall the ladies of Persia and Media say this day unto
all the king’s princes, which have heard of the deed of the queen.
Thus shall there arise too much contempt and wrath.
Can’t let any rebellious woman become a women’s lib leader – the
men were afraid of losing control of their households and of their
women…
19] If it please the king, let there go a royal commandment from him,
and let it be written among the laws of the Persians and the Medes,
that it be not altered, That Vashti come no more before king
Ahasuerus; and let the king give her royal estate unto another that
is better than she.
Banish the rebellious womoan and replace here with one more
obedient and compliant … younger and more beautiful wouldn’t hurt
either…
20] And when the king’s decree which he shall make shall be
published throughout all his empire, (for it is great,) all the wives
shall give to their husbands honour, both to great and small.
21] And the saying pleased the king and the princes; and the king
did according to the word of Memucan:
22] For he sent letters into all the king’s provinces, into every
province according to the writing thereof, and to every people after
their language, that every man should bear rule in his own house,
and that it should be published according to the language of every
people.
A command of the king would be written in all the languages and
scripts used throughout his 127 provinces from Ethiopia to India.
It would be carried by ‘pony express’, read and posted in every
province.
Once signed and seal with his signate, it could not be rescinded or
altered.
Not even the king could change his own laws and proclamations.
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He had to ‘obey’ himself…not a good thing for a drunk with
power and authority.
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Esther 2
A Call for a New Queen
Xerxes invaded Greece with an army of more than 2,000,000
soldiers.
Only 5,000 returned with him.
Xerxes’ immense fleet defeated the Greeks at Thermopylae but was
defeated disastrously by Themistocles at the famous Battle of
Salamis in 480 BC and the Battle of Plataea in 479.
He had to retreat home.
It was after his return from this disastrous invasion that he
‘remembered’ that Vashti wasn’t at home waiting – he had banished
her for life.
Esther was chosen as his queen. (478 BC)

He will live another 13 years.

She will live into the reign of her stepson Artaxerxes and
Nehemiah’s request to rebuild Jerusalem, Neh 2:6)
1] After these things, when the wrath of king Ahasuerus was
appeased, he remembered Vashti, and what she had done, and what
was decreed against her.
2] Then said the king’s servants that ministered unto him, Let there
be fair young virgins sought for the king:
3] And let the king appoint officers in all the provinces of his
kingdom, that they may gather together all the fair young virgins
unto Shushan the palace, to the house of the women, unto the
custody of Hege the king’s chamberlain, keeper of the women; and
let their things for purification be given them:
4] And let the maiden which pleaseth the king be queen instead of
Vashti. And the thing pleased the king; and he did so.
The king’s counselors certainly did not want Xerxes to reinstate her she would turn against them.
Neither did they want a newly defeated king alone and unhappy on
the throne back home in Sushan.
Appoint a committee to locate and bring the best and the
beautiful of the kingdom’s virgins to Sushan for the king to look
over, sample and choose a new Queen to sit in Vashti’s place.
Surprise !!! The suggestion appealed to the king and he followed it.
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Mordecai and His Cousin
5] Now in Shushan the palace there was a certain Jew, whose name
was Mordecai, the son of Jair, the son of Shimei, the son of Kish, a
Benjamite;
King Saul was also a son of Kish, of the tribe of Benjamin.
Josephus refers to Esther as of the royal family (Ant. vi. I).
Not because she was Queen in Persia as much as because she
was ‘related’ in some way to King Saul, Israel’s first king.
This will also figure in Saul’s failure (1 Sam 15:22, 23).
1 Samuel 15:22-23 And Samuel said, Hath the Lord as
great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying
the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than
sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams. [23] For
rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as
iniquity and idolatry. Because thou hast rejected the word
of the Lord, he hath also rejected thee from being king.
6] Who had been carried away from Jerusalem with the captivity
which had been carried away with Jeconiah king of Judah, whom
Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon had carried away.
The deportation of Judah under Jeconiah by Nebuchadnezzar
began some 80 years earlier.
7] And he brought up Hadassah, that is, Esther, his uncle’s
daughter: for she had neither father nor mother, and the maid was
fair and beautiful; whom Mordecai, when her father and mother
were dead, took for his own daughter.
Esther: She was a Jewess named Hadas’sah (the myrtle), but when
she entered the royal harem she received the name Esther by which
she is better known to us.
Gesenius, one of the greatest Hebrew authorities, says that
Hadas’sah is taken from the word meaning, “to hide;” it means,
“Something Hidden.”
The book of Esther contains many ‘hidden codes’ and clues
within and underneath the text…
She was the daughter of Abihail, a Benjamite.
Her father and mother being dead, she did not avail herself(nor did
Mordecai) of the permission granted by King Cyrus to the exiles in
Persia/Babylon to return to Jerusalem,
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Instead, she resided with her cousin Mordecai, who held some office
in the household of the Persian king at “Shushan in the palace.”
Her cousin, Mordecai took her into his home as his own
daughter.
Esther was ‘fair of form and face’… NASB
She was a ‘knock out;…
Esther Is Brought to the Palace
8] So it came to pass, when the king’s commandment and his
decree was heard, and when many maidens were gathered together
unto Shushan the palace, to the custody of Hegai, that Esther was
brought also unto the king’s house, to the custody of Hegai, keeper
of the women.
9] And the maiden pleased him, and she obtained kindness of him;
and he speedily gave her her things for purification, with such
things as belonged to her, and seven maidens, which were meet to
be given her, out of the king’s house: and he preferred her and her
maids unto the best place of the house of the women.
10] Esther had not shewed her people nor her kindred: for Mordecai
had charged her that she should not shew it.
11] And Mordecai walked every day before the court of the women’s
house, to know how Esther did, and what should become of her.
Esther knew how to work a crowd – she was not only beautiful, she
was charismatic.
Under Mordecai’s counsel and advice, she quickly gained favor in
the court and the Harem chamberlain, Hegai, quickly spotted her and
advanced her position among the thousands gathered from the
kingdom.
There appears to be much to the pre-story events we do not know.
Mordecai had a problem with some among the King;s counselors
and there appears to be some significant anti-Semitic influence
present.
Esther, a Jewish girl, born and raised her entire life in
Babylon/Persia could easily hid her nationality and heritage. She
had never ever visited or lived in Israel or Judah as far as we
know.
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12] Now when every maid’s turn was come to go in to king
Ahasuerus, after that she had been twelve months, according to the
manner of the women (for so were the days of their purifications
accomplished, to wit, six months with oil of myrrh, and six months
with sweet odours, and with other things for the purifying of the
women;)
13] Then thus came every maiden unto the king; whatsoever she
desired was given her to go with her out of the house of the women
unto the king’s house.
14] In the evening she went, and on the morrow she returned into
the second house of the women, to the custody of Shaashgaz, the
king’s chamberlain, which kept the concubines: she came in unto
the king no more, except the king delighted in her, and that she
were called by name.
Every maiden brought to the palace for the King’s review went through a
12 month preparation process – in the pre-review harem.
They had one night with the King – to impress him with themselves.
All beautiful – all given 12 months to prepare – all given everything
they could want of need to make themselves desirable to the King,
each was given the choice of taking something with them into the
King
Once they had their ‘meeting’ with the King, they went into the second
harem under the Chamberlain Shaashgaz to await the King’s decision.
Esther Obtains Favor
15] Now when the turn of Esther, the daughter of Abihail the uncle
of Mordecai, who had taken her for his daughter, was come to go in
unto the king, she required nothing but what Hegai the king’s
chamberlain, the keeper of the women, appointed. And Esther
obtained favour in the sight of all them that looked upon her.
Esther didn’t decide what to take – she took the counsel of Hegai –
someone who knew the King and what impressed him very well.
16] So Esther was taken unto king Ahasuerus into his house royal
in the tenth month, which is the month Tebeth, in the seventh year
of his reign.
Tebeth – Tevet the 10th month of the 7th year of Ahasuerus reign.
(The great feast was four years earlier.)
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17] And the king loved Esther above all the women, and she
obtained grace and favour in his sight more than all the virgins; so
that he set the royal crown upon her head, and made her queen
instead of Vashti.
18] Then the king made a great feast unto all his princes and his
servants, even Esther’s feast; and he made a release to the
provinces, and gave gifts, according to the state of the king.
Contest over – meet the new Queen Esther
She ‘captured’ Ahasuerus – mind and body…
There was a great feast – a party.
Gifts came from every corner and every politician in the kingdom.
19] And when the virgins were gathered together the second time,
then Mordecai sat in the king’s gate.
Mordecai is at the gate (place of the judges);
not yet at the palace (place of control).
20] Esther had not yet shewed her kindred nor her people; as
Mordecai had charged her: for Esther did the commandment of
Mordecai, like as when she was brought up with him.
King’s gate – the entrance passage to the palace through which all
visitors must come and go.
Mordecai also loved his ‘daughter’ Esther and wanted to keep tabs
on things within the palace given Ahasuerus’ resume and reputation.
Mordecai continued to counsel Esther as she sent servants out
to him with questions and messages….
Mordecai Uncovers a Plot
21] In those days, while Mordecai sat in the king’s gate, two of the
king’s chamberlains, Bigthan and Teresh, of those which kept the
door, were wroth, and sought to lay hand on the king Ahasuerus.
22] And the thing was known to Mordecai, who told it unto Esther
the queen; and Esther certified the king thereof in Mordecai’s name.
While sitting at the gate, Mordecai, becomes aware of an
assassination plot by 2 of the gatekeepers – Bigthan and Teresh against the King.
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He makes Esther aware of it.
She goes and tells the king what Mordecai had told her.
She could have claimed the credit for herself but instead gain
Mordecai his due, crediting him with his role in the expose’.
Was she truly magnanimous or was she afraid of what
whould happen the plot story was false?
23] And when inquisition was made of the matter, it was found out;
therefore they were both hanged on a tree: and it was written in the
book of the chronicles before the king.
After an investigation, the 2 plotting gatekeepers are found guilty and
hanged probably by being impaled on a stake or post (cf. Ezra 6:11).
This was not an unusual method of execution in the Persian Empire
and is what they called ‘hanging’
Darius, Xerxes’ father, was known to have once impaled 3,000
men.
The bodies were impaled on a tall post and left to rot in public view
as a lesson for all.
A record of this assassination plot and its discovery was written in the
annals, the official royal record (cf. Esther 6:1-2).
This will prove to of pivotal significance later in the tale...
Next: The Introduction of the Villain of the piece: Haman!
But here the thread begins in Genesis, and also involves a notable
ancestor of Mordecai’s family, the first king of Israel...
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Esther 3 & 4 - The Wrath of the Amalekite
A break of some years separates Chapters 2 and 3.
Review = here we meet Mordecai, descendant of Shimei and
Haman, descendant of Esau, Elam, the Agag’s of the Amalekites
Mordecai’s Background
Est 1:5] Now in Shushan the palace there was a certain Jew, whose
name was Mordecai, the son of Jair, the son of Shimei, the son of
Kish, a Benjamite;
David refuses to take vengeance upon Shimei when his men want him
killed for disrespecting David and them…
2 Samuel 16:5-13 And when king David came to Bahurim,
behold, thence came out a man of the family of the house of
Saul, whose name was Shimei, the son of Gera [Jair]: he came
forth, and cursed still as he came. [6] And he cast stones at
David, and at all the servants of king David: and all the people
and all the mighty men were on his right hand and on his left.
[7] And thus said Shimei when he cursed, Come out, come out,
thou bloody man, and thou man of Belial: [8] The Lord hath
returned upon thee all the blood of the house of Saul, in whose
stead thou hast reigned; and the Lord hath delivered the
kingdom into the hand of Absalom thy son: and, behold, thou
art taken in thy mischief, because thou art a bloody man.
[9] Then said Abishai the son of Zeruiah unto the king, Why
should this dead dog curse my lord the king? let me go over, I
pray thee, and take off his head. [10] And the king said, What
have I to do with you, ye sons of Zeruiah? so let him curse,
because the Lord hath said unto him, Curse David. Who shall
then say, Wherefore hast thou done so? [11] And David said to
Abishai, and to all his servants, Behold, my son, which came
forth of my bowels, seeketh my life: how much more now may
this Benjamite do it? let him alone, and let him curse; for the
Lord hath bidden him. [12] It may be that the Lord will look on
mine affliction, and that the Lord will requite me good for his
cursing this day. [13] And as David and his men went by the
way, Shimei went along on the hill's side over against him, and
cursed as he went, and threw stones at him, and cast dust.
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Later, Shemei repents and asks David for forgiveness
2 Samuel 19:16-23 And Shimei the son of Gera, a Benjamite,
which was of Bahurim, hasted and came down with the men of
Judah to meet king David. [17] And there were a thousand men
of Benjamin with him, and Ziba the servant of the house of Saul,
and his fifteen sons and his twenty servants with him; and they
went over Jordan before the king. [18] And there went over a
ferry boat to carry over the king's household, and to do what he
thought good. And Shimei the son of Gera fell down before the
king, as he was come over Jordan; [19] And said unto the king,
Let not my lord impute iniquity unto me, neither do thou
remember that which thy servant did perversely the day that my
lord the king went out of Jerusalem, that the king should take it
to his heart. [20] For thy servant doth know that I have sinned:
therefore, behold, I am come the first this day of all the house of
Joseph to go down to meet my lord the king. [21] But Abishai
the son of Zeruiah answered and said, Shall not Shimei be put
to death for this, because he cursed the Lord's anointed? [22]
And David said, What have I to do with you, ye sons of Zeruiah,
that ye should this day be adversaries unto me? shall there any
man be put to death this day in Israel? for do not I know that I
am this day king over Israel? [23] Therefore the king said unto
Shimei, Thou shalt not die. And the king sware unto him.
David’s men still want no part of Shemei so Solomon puts him under his
personal edict of protection.
1 Kings 2:36-46 And the king sent and called for Shimei, and
said unto him, Build thee an house in Jerusalem, and dwell
there, and go not forth thence any whither. [37] For it shall be,
that on the day thou goest out, and passest over the brook
Kidron, thou shalt know for certain that thou shalt surely die:
thy blood shall be upon thine own head. [38] And Shimei said
unto the king, The saying is good: as my lord the king hath said,
so will thy servant do. And Shimei dwelt in Jerusalem many
days. [39] And it came to pass at the end of three years, that
two of the servants of Shimei ran away unto Achish son of
Maachah king of Gath. And they told Shimei, saying, Behold,
thy servants be in Gath. [40] And Shimei arose, and saddled his
ass, and went to Gath to Achish to seek his servants: and
Shimei went, and brought his servants from Gath. [41] And it
was told Solomon that Shimei had gone from Jerusalem to
Gath, and was come again. [42] And the king sent and called
for Shimei, and said unto him, Did I not make thee to swear by
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the Lord, and protested unto thee, saying, Know for a certain,
on the day thou goest out, and walkest abroad any whither, that
thou shalt surely die? and thou saidst unto me, The word that I
have heard is good. [43] Why then hast thou not kept the oath
of the Lord, and the commandment that I have charged thee
with? [44] The king said moreover to Shimei, Thou knowest all
the wickedness which thine heart is privy to, that thou didst to
David my father: therefore the Lord shall return thy wickedness
upon thine own head; [45] And king Solomon shall be blessed,
and the throne of David shall be established before the Lord for
ever. [46] So the king commanded Benaiah the son of
Jehoiada; which went out, and fell upon him, that he died. And
the kingdom was established in the hand of Solomon.
Good thing Shemei was saved by David and protected by Solomon or
Mordecai and Estaher would not.have been there when God needed
them.
Too bad King Saul spared Agag. It is why Haman was around in
Esther’s timie.
Esther 3
Haman’s Promotion
1] After these things did king Ahasuerus promote Haman the son of
Hammedatha the Agagite, and advanced him, and set his seat
above all the princes that were with him.
A break of some years separates Chapters 2 and 3.
Haman’s Background = Saul’s Failure = this story never should
have happened
Amalek descended from his grandfather, Esau:
Genesis 36:12: “And Timna was concubine to Eliphaz Esau’s
son; and she bare to Eliphaz Amalek: these were the sons of
Adah Esau’s wife.” Cf. 1 Chr 1:36.
Amalek was the first, and persistent, of Israel’s enemies;
Israel had just enjoyed God’s provision of water from the “rock of Horeb”
Exo 17:5-7 And the LORD said unto Moses, Go on before the
people, and take with thee of the elders of Israel; and thy rod,
wherewith thou smotest the river, take in thine hand, and go. 6
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Behold, I will stand before thee there upon the rock in Horeb;
and thou shalt smite the rock, and there shall come water out of
it, that the people may drink. And Moses did so in the sight of
the elders of Israel. 7 And he called the name of the place
Massah, and Meribah, because of the chiding of the children of
Israel, and because they tempted the LORD, saying, Is the
LORD among us, or not?
“Then came Amalek and fought with Israel in Rephidim.”
Exo 17:8-11 Then came Amalek, and fought with Israel in
Rephidim. 9 And Moses said unto Joshua, Choose us out men,
and go out, fight with Amalek: to morrow I will stand on the top
of the hill with the rod of God in mine hand. 10 So Joshua did
as Moses had said to him, and fought with Amalek: and Moses,
Aaron, and Hur went up to the top of the hill. 11 And it came to
pass, when Moses held up his hand, that Israel prevailed: and
when he let down his hand, Amalek prevailed.
Exodus 17:14-16 And the Lord said unto Moses, Write this for
a memorial in a book, and rehearse it in the ears of Joshua: for I
will utterly put out the remembrance of Amalek from under
heaven. [15] And Moses built an altar, and called the name of it
Jehovah-nissi: [16] For he said, Because the Lord hath sworn
that the Lord will have war with Amalek from generation to
generation.
Amalekites become an idiom for the principle of evil in the OT as Judas
is an idiom for a betrayer in our day
Samuel commissioned Saul to “go and smite Amalek, and utterly destroy
all that they have, and spare them not.”
(1 Sam 15:1-3) Samuel also said unto Saul, The Lord sent me
to anoint thee to be king over his people, over Israel: now
therefore hearken thou unto the voice of the words of the Lord.
[2] Thus saith the Lord of hosts, I remember that which Amalek
did to Israel, how he laid wait for him in the way, when he came
up from Egypt. [3] Now go and smite Amalek, and utterly
destroy all that they have, and spare them not; but slay both
man and woman, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and
ass.
(1Sam 15:8-9) And he took Agag the king of the Amalekites
alive, and utterly destroyed all the people with the edge of the
sword. 9) But Saul and the people spared Agag, and the best
of the sheep, and of the oxen, and of the fatlings, and the lambs,
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and all that was good, and would not utterly destroy them: but
every thing that was vile and refuse, that they destroyed utterly.
Saul failed to carry out God’s instructions
He spared Agag (and apparently some of Agag;s royal family), and
so God took the kingdom from Saul.
“Agag” was the name given to the kings of Amalek, the people
“against whom the Lord hath indignation forever.”
1Sa 15:17 And Samuel said, … 18 And the LORD sent thee on a
journey, and said, Go and utterly destroy the sinners the
Amalekites, and fight against them until they be consumed. 19
Wherefore then didst thou not obey the voice of the LORD, but
didst fly upon the spoil, and didst evil in the sight of the LORD?
1Sa 15:20 And Saul said unto Samuel, Yea, I have obeyed the
voice of the LORD, and have gone the way which the LORD sent
me, and have brought Agag the king of Amalek, and have utterly
destroyed the Amalekites. 21 But the people took of the spoil,
sheep and oxen, the chief of the things which should have been
utterly destroyed, to sacrifice unto the LORD thy God in Gilgal.
1Sa 15:22 And Samuel said, Hath the LORD as great delight in
burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the
LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken
than the fat of rams. 23 For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft,
and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because thou
hast rejected the word of the LORD, he hath also rejected thee
from being king.
1Sa 15:24 And Saul said unto Samuel, I have sinned: for I have
transgressed the commandment of the LORD, and thy words:
because I feared the people, and obeyed their voice.
(1Sa 15:32-33) Then said Samuel, Bring ye hither to me Agag
the king of the Amalekites. And Agag came unto him delicately.
And Agag said, Surely the bitterness of death is past. 33) And
Samuel said, As thy sword hath made women childless, so shall
thy mother be childless among women. And Samuel hewed
Agag in pieces before the LORD in Gilgal.
Samuel showed Agag no mercy; but some of Agag’s children escaped
Samuel.
600 years later, a royal Amalekite by the name of Haman and a
descendant of the house of Kish, the father of King Saul, Mordecai,
confront each other!
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Haman is an “Agagite,” a royal Amalekite, the last of his proud house
to occupy a position of influence and power. (Josephus, Antiquities,
xi 6,§ 5)
With his death, and that of his ten sons, the name of Amalek will
finally be blotted out from under heaven (Chapter 9).
Had Saul been obedient, Haman could never have appeared on the
scene.
Sin not judged, evil propensities not mortified, will result in grave
trouble later.
Num 32:20 And Moses said unto them, If ye will do this
thing, if ye will go armed before the LORD to war, 21 And
will go all of you armed over Jordan before the LORD, until
he hath driven out his enemies from before him, 22 And the
land be subdued before the LORD: then afterward ye shall
return, and be guiltless before the LORD, and before Israel;
and this land shall be your possession before the LORD. 23
But if ye will not do so, behold, ye have sinned against the
LORD: and be sure your sin will find you out.
Gal 6:7 Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for
whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. 8 For he
that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption;
but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life
everlasting.
Birth of Esau and Jacob: Genesis 25:21-34.
The twins—Jacob and Esau—struggling together are a picture of the
flesh and Spirit struggling against one another.
Esau is the firstborn and then Jacob:
1 Corinthians 15:46, “Howbeit that was not first which is
spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is
spiritual.”
This is again and again pictured in Scripture:
the firstborn is set aside to make room for one who might stand for
and set forth the Second Man.
o
Cain is set aside, and Abel, replaced in Seth, is given preeminent place.
o
Ishmael must be cast out so that Isaac be honored.
o
Manasseh gives way to Ephraim,
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o
Joseph had been given the place of the firstborn in preference
to Reuben.
Amalek sprang from Esau (Edom) who is always viewed as a type of the
flesh.
What comes from the flesh?
Only ungodly lusts and passions. Amalek is the type.
Ephesians 2:3: “Among whom also we all had our
conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling
the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature
the children of wrath, even as others.”
History of Elam
We first read of the land of the Amalekites in the valleys of southern
Palestine, involved in the great conflicts of the Elamite ascendancy.
Genesis 14:7 And they returned, and came to En-mishpat,
which is Kadesh, and smote all the country of the Amalekites,
and also the Amorites that dwelt in Hazezon-tamar.
Elam was a son of Shem
Genesis 10:22 The children of Shem; Elam, and Asshur, and
Arphaxad, and Lud, and Aram.
Elam became the name of the country inhabited by his descendants
Genesis 14:1-9 And it came to pass in the days of Amraphel
king of Shinar, Arioch king of Ellasar, Chedorlaomer king of
Elam, and Tidal king of nations; [2] That these made war with
Bera king of Sodom, and with Birsha king of Gomorrah, Shinab
king of Admah, and Shemeber king of Zeboiim, and the king of
Bela, which is Zoar. [3] All these were joined together in the
vale of Siddim, which is the salt sea. [4] Twelve years they
served Chedorlaomer, and in the thirteenth year they rebelled.
[5] And in the fourteenth year came Chedorlaomer, and the
kings that were with him, and smote the Rephaims in Ashteroth
Karnaim, and the Zuzims in Ham, and the Emims in Shaveh
Kiriathaim, [6] And the Horites in their mount Seir, unto Elparan, which is by the wilderness. [7] And they returned, and
came to En-mishpat, which is Kadesh, and smote all the country
of the Amalekites, and also the Amorites that dwelt in Hazezon-
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tamar. [8] And there went out the king of Sodom, and the king
of Gomorrah, and the king of Admah, and the king of Zeboiim,
and the king of Bela (the same is Zoar;) and they joined battle
with them in the vale of Siddim; [9] With Chedorlaomer the king
of Elam, and with Tidal king of nations, and Amraphel king of
Shinar, and Arioch king of Ellasar; four kings with five.
Isa 11:11 And it shall come to pass in that day, that the Lord
shall set his hand again the second time to recover the remnant
of his people, which shall be left, from Assyria, and from Egypt,
and from Pathros, and from Cush, and from Elam, and from
Shinar, and from Hamath, and from the islands of the sea.
Isa 21:2 A grievous vision is declared unto me; the
treacherous dealer dealeth treacherously, and the spoiler
spoileth. Go up, O Elam: besiege, O Media; all the sighing
thereof have I made to cease.
Elam was located east of Babylonia, and extending to the shore of the
Mediterranean, a distance in a direct line of about 1,000 miles.
The name Elam is an Assyrian word meaning “high.”
The inhabitants of Elam, or “the Highlands,” to the east of Babylon,
were called Elamites.
They were divided into several branches, speaking different
dialects of the same agglutinative language.
They were the forebears of the Persians.
In the time of Abraham, Shushan or Susa appears to have already
become the capital of the country.
Babylonia was frequently invaded by the Elamite kings, who at times
asserted their supremacy over it (as in the case of, in Gen 14,
Chedorlaomer, the Kudur-Lagamar, or “servant of the goddess
Lagamar,” of the cuneiform texts).
The later Assyrian monarchs made several campaigns against Elam,
and finally Assur-bani-pal (about 650 BC) succeeded in conquering the
country, which was ravaged with fire and sword.
On the fall of the Assyrian Empire, Elam passed into the hands of the
Persians.
God delivered His people from the Egyptian oppression and took them
under His care.
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The waters of Marah He sweetened; gave them bread (and quails).
Exodus 17:1-7 And all the congregation of the children of
Israel journeyed from the wilderness of Sin, after their
journeys, according to the commandment of the Lord, and
pitched in Rephidim: and there was no water for the people
to drink. [2] Wherefore the people did chide with Moses,
and said, Give us water that we may drink. And Moses said
unto them, Why chide ye with me? wherefore do ye tempt
the Lord? [3] And the people thirsted there for water; and
the people murmured against Moses, and said, Wherefore is
this that thou hast brought us up out of Egypt, to kill us and
our children and our cattle with thirst? [4] And Moses cried
unto the Lord, saying, What shall I do unto this people? they
be almost ready to stone me. [5] And the Lord said unto
Moses, Go on before the people, and take with thee of the
elders of Israel; and thy rod, wherewith thou smotest the
river, take in thine hand, and go. [6] Behold, I will stand
before thee there upon the rock in Horeb; and thou shalt
smite the rock, and there shall come water out of it, that the
people may drink. And Moses did so in the sight of the
elders of Israel. [7] And he called the name of the place
Massah, and Meribah, because of the chiding of the children
of Israel, and because they tempted the Lord, saying, Is the
Lord among us, or not?
In addition to the actual historical narrative, these episodes are also for
our learning ;
Romans 15:4 For whatsoever things were written aforetime
were written for our learning, that we through patience and
comfort of the scriptures might have hope.
the Rock in Horeb (Ex 17:5-6); “  That Rock was Christ”
1 Cor. 10:4 And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for
they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and
that Rock was Christ.
1 Cor. 10:10-11 Neither murmur ye, as some of them also
murmured, and were destroyed of the destroyer. [11] Now
all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and
they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of
the world are come.
John 7:37-39 In the last day, that great day of the feast,
Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him
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come unto me, and drink. [38] He that believeth on me, as
the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of
living water. [39] (But this spake he of the Spirit, which they
that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was
not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.)
Amalek fought with Israel at Rephidim.
(Exo 17:8-16) Then came Amalek, and fought with Israel in
Rephidim. [9] And Moses said unto Joshua, Choose us out
men, and go out, fight with Amalek: to morrow I will stand on
the top of the hill with the rod of God in mine hand. [10] So
Joshua did as Moses had said to him, and fought with Amalek:
and Moses, Aaron, and Hur went up to the top of the hill. [11]
And it came to pass, when Moses held up his hand, that Israel
prevailed: and when he let down his hand, Amalek prevailed.
[12] But Moses' hands were heavy; and they took a stone, and
put it under him, and he sat thereon; and Aaron and Hur stayed
up his hands, the one on the one side, and the other on the
other side; and his hands were steady until the going down of
the sun. [13] And Joshua discomfited Amalek and his people
with the edge of the sword. [14] And the Lord said unto Moses,
Write this for a memorial in a book, and rehearse it in the ears of
Joshua: for I will utterly put out the remembrance of Amalek
from under heaven. [15] And Moses built an altar, and called
the name of it Jehovah-nissi: [16] For he said, Because the Lord
hath sworn that the Lord will have war with Amalek from
generation to generation.
“YHWH will have war with Amalek from generation to generation”
Gal 5:16, 17: “This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not
fulfil the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit,
and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to
the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.
Israel, presuming to go up in their own strength (the flesh), got
clobbered.
Numbers 14:44-45 But they presumed to go up unto the hill
top: nevertheless the ark of the covenant of the Lord, and
Moses, departed not out of the camp. [45] Then the Amalekites
came down, and the Canaanites which dwelt in that hill, and
smote them, and discomfited them, even unto Hormah.
Balaam foretold the doom of this haughty foe.
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(Numbers 24:20) And when he looked on Amalek, he took up
his parable, and said, Amalek was the first of the nations; but
his latter end shall be that he perish for ever.
Moses, too,.
(Deut. 25:17-19) Remember what Amalek did unto thee by the
way, when ye were come forth out of Egypt; [18] How he met
thee by the way, and smote the hindmost of thee, even all that
were feeble behind thee, when thou wast faint and weary; and
he feared not God. [19] Therefore it shall be, when the Lord thy
God hath given thee rest from all thine enemies round about, in
the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee for an inheritance
to possess it, that thou shalt blot out the remembrance of
Amalek from under heaven; thou shalt not forget it.
Study Judges 5, 6, and 10:
every time Israel rose up in faith and the lowliness of self-judgment,
Amalek’s power was broken.
Back to Haman’s Promotion
1] After these things did king Ahasuerus promote Haman the son of
Hammedatha the Agagite, and advanced him, and set his seat
above all the princes that were with him.
Haman is promoted to Grand Vizier, or prime minister.
This occurred after Mordecai had saved the king from the
assassination and the two men were executed.
It is reasonable to suppose that Mordecai expected a reward for
his effort on behalf of the king.
But no reward was given then, probably because of some
bureaucratic bungle.
Later this neglect surprised and appalled the king (cf. 6:1-3).
God’s timing is always perfect.
2] And all the king’s servants, that were in the king’s gate, bowed,
and reverenced Haman: for the king had so commanded concerning
him. But Mordecai bowed not, nor did him reverence.
Haman’s promotion meant that the other nobles had to kneel down to
him, that is, they had to pay him special respect. . . . all but one
unyielding old man, insignificant, and unacknowledged.
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This was somewhat similar to what was commanded of the three
Hebrew young men in Daniel 3:8-15.
3] Then the king’s servants, which were in the king’s gate, said unto
Mordecai, Why transgressest thou the king’s commandment?
Why not just “go with the crowd”?
Why make waves?
Politically Incorrect
4] Now it came to pass, when they spake daily unto him, and he
hearkened not unto them, that they told Haman, to see whether
Mordecai’s matters would stand: for he had told them that he was a
Jew.
The judge in the gate is one of the despised captives, risking all.
No longer the manipulator of Chapter 2, he takes his stand as one of
God’s chosen: he no longer hides his heritage, and cannot bow to
the blatant enemy of YHWH.
He is, indeed, “politically incorrect.”
He sides with God, who has perpetual indignation against
Amalek (Re: Ex 17:14-18).
5] And when Haman saw that Mordecai bowed not, nor did him
reverence, then was Haman full of wrath.
6] And he thought scorn to lay hands on Mordecai alone; for they
had shewed him the people of Mordecai: wherefore Haman sought
to destroy all the Jews that were throughout the whole kingdom of
Ahasuerus, even the people of Mordecai.
Satan’s stratagem through Haman becomes clear:
Haman enraged by Mordecai’s refusal (cf. 5:9), set out to find a way
to kill all the Jews, not just Mordecai.
All anti-Semitism stems from Satan’s schemes to thwart the plan of God.
Couldn’t this one obstinate Jew have kept his convictions to himself
and kept out of harm’s way?
Couldn’t he have simply conformed and thus prevented the jeopardy
of his entire people?
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Doesn’t he know that things are different now from what they were in
the days of Moses, of the time of the Judges, and of Samuel?
No. He trusted in the Lord.
This is what distinguishes the man of God in all generations.
“It was this spirit that sustained Noah in his testimony against the corrupt,
sin-loving world that mocked him as he built his barge in his driveway.
It was in this confidence of faith that Moses forsook Egypt.
It was in this energy of faith that Caleb took on the Nephilim; the
Amalekites and the Anakim.
It was this chutzpa that led to Gideon’s war with lamps and pitchers,
and David’s fight with an armored giant with a shepherd’s sling and
stones.
It was this confidence Daniel to open his Babylonian windows toward
Jerusalem to pray;
. . .and to drive Paul in his life of ordeal in devotion to his Lord.
It was this same spirit that Athanasius suffered banishment rather than
bow to the Arianism of the times;
. . .that Savonarola defied the licentious and avaricious officials of
church and state;
. . .that Martin Luther uttered his mighty “No!” in the presence of the
emperor and bishops of the empire;
. . .that Farel tossed venerated images into the river in the midst of
furious priests and populace;
. . .that Knox caused a queen to tremble;
. . .that the Covenanters chose rather to be hunted as beasts of the
field than own the spiritual authority of degenerate kings and bishops;
. . .and a mighty host,
[As H. A. Ironside highlighted]
“Who through faith
subdued kingdoms,
wrought righteousness,
obtained promises,
stopped the mouths of lions,
Quenched the violence of fire,
escaped the edge of the sword,
out of weakness were made strong,
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waxed valiant in fight,
turned to flight the armies of the aliens.
Women received their dead raised to life again: and others were
tortured,
not accepting deliverance;
that they might obtain a better resurrection:
And others had trial of cruel mockings and scourgings,
yea, moreover of bonds and imprisonment:
They were stoned,
they were sawn asunder,
were tempted,
were slain with the sword:
they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins;
being destitute, afflicted, tormented;
they wandered in deserts, and in mountains,
and in dens and caves of the earth
(Of whom the world was not worthy:).”
Hebrews 11:33-38
Some of us–you and I–may yet have an opportunity as they had. . .
Satan’s Plan
The proud Agagite, Haman, was but a mere puppet in the hands of
Satan, who sought to make void the promises of God: that
from David’s house should arise the One who was to bruise his
head; One who was to “destroy him that had the power of death,
that is, the devil; And deliver them who through fear of death
were all their lifetime subject to bondage” (Hebrews 2:14-15).
The entire Bible can be mapped as a drama in which Satan’s stratagems
are repeatedly foiled:






the death of Abel at Cain’s hand;
the corruption of Adam’s line in Genesis 6;
the attacks on Abraham’s seed (Gen 12, 20, 50)...
The destruction of the babes by Pharaoh;
Pharaoh’s pursuit through the Red Sea;
the populating of Canaan in anticipation of Abraham’s
promised inheritance (a denial which the world continues to
this day).
As God declared that He would be accomplish His program through the
house of David, the intrigues continued against David’s line:


with Saul’s javelin at youthful David;
when Jehoram kills his brothers (2 Chr 21);
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




when the Arabians kill all (but Ahazariah);
when Athaliah kills all (but Joash);
when Hezekiah is assaulted; etc.
Even the infanticide in Bethlehem continued Satan’s
attempts
as will his continued attempts at Armageddon. . .
If the Jews were killed throughout the whole kingdom of Xerxes, this
would include those in the land of Palestine, and those Jews who
were faithful to the Lord, worshiping in the rebuilt temple and living
according to the stipulations of the Law.
A massive execution of thousands of Jews was an attempt to thwart
God’s program.
However, God cannot be thwarted (Job 42:2).
Job 42:2 I know that thou canst do every thing, and that no
thought can be withholden from thee.
God can always overturn man’s diabolical efforts,
sometimes by miraculous acts, and
sometimes through seeming acts of “coincidence”
God is always working on behalf of His people.
In Esther He is hidden behind the scenes (and His Name will be
discovered hidden behind the text!).
They Cast Pur (or Lots – rolling the Dice)
7] In the first month, that is, the month Nisan, in the twelfth year of
king Ahasuerus, they cast Pur, that is, the lot, before Haman from
day to day, and from month to month, to the twelfth month, that is,
the month Adar.
“Nisan” was a Babylonian name for the Hebrew month “Abib” which
was superseded upon the return from the captivity. “Adar” was also
a Babylonian label adopted.
A little more than four years had gone by since Esther had become
queen, in 478 BC (Esther 2:16).
Haman, along with many people in the Persian Empire, was extremely
superstitious (cf. 6:13). The Persian religious system stressed fate and
chance.
Haman used a pur, an Old Persian word for the lot, to decide when
the Jews should be killed.
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On the first day of the year, in Nisan (April-May) 474 BC, at the
beginning of Xerxes’ 12th year, the pur was cast to select a day and
month.
Haman was allowing fate, by the casting of the lot, to dictate his move
against the Jewish nation.
But, God who created all things and controls all events was also in
control of the lot-casting. “
The Lot is in the lap of the Lord” (Prov. 16:33).
It is interesting that true randomness proves to be elusive in our physical
reality.
A new field of mathematics, called Chaos Theory, attempts to explore
stochastic processes that we regard as random.
The spilling of tacks on a floor,
the distribution of debris from an explosion,
the curling of smoke from a pipe, etc.
They are concluding that nothing is truly “random” or by
“chance.”
Both “infinity” and “randomness” appear to be elusive in our
physical universe.
The month chosen by the lot was the 12th month (February-March) —
almost a year later.
The day, (stated later, Esther 3:13), was the 13th of the month (cf.
8:12; 9:1).
The Pur is the basis of the name of the Feast of Purim (Esther 9:26),
which celebrates the deliverance of the Jews—which will occur as the
plot unfolds...
Haman’s Plan
8] And Haman said unto king Ahasuerus, There is a certain people
scattered abroad and dispersed among the people in all the
provinces of thy kingdom; and their laws are diverse from all
people; neither keep they the king’s laws: therefore it is not for the
king’s profit to suffer them.
Haman, exploiting his access and intimacy, went in to the king to present
his plan.
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Falsely accusing all Jews of refusing to obey the king’s laws, he
suggested that the king would be better off if the Jews, scattered
throughout the empire—including those attempting to rebuild the
Temple—were exterminated.
Note that Haman apparently doesn’t even have to name the race of
people involved. . .
9] If it please the king, let it be written that they may be destroyed:
and I will pay ten thousand talents of silver to the hands of those
that have the charge of the business, to bring it into the king’s
treasuries.
Haman said he himself was willing to bear the costs involved in carrying
out this decree.
Haman may have been a man of immense wealth since, as the highest
official, he undoubtedly had many opportunities to add to his personal
fortune.
However, he may also have factored in the wealth he would be
confiscating from the Jews he planned to exterminate.
In 8:11, the property of those of the Jews’ enemies who should suffer
death is granted to those who should slay them.
At that time Persia used silver as its monetary standard.
A talent of silver contained 3,000 shekels (Ex 38:25,26) and was
equal to 94 3/7 lbs.avoirdupois.
The Greek talent, however, as in the LXX, was only 82 1/ 4 lbs.
A talent of gold was double the weight of a talent of silver (2 Sam
12:30).
Parable of the talents (Mt 18:24; 25:15)
Ten thousand talents of silver weighed over 13 million ounces,
or over $460 million on today’s market.
The King may well have exhausted his resources with his disastrous
Greek war and may have been desperate to replenish his treasury.
The King’s Approval
10] And the king took his ring from his hand, and gave it unto
Haman the son of Hammedatha the Agagite, the Jews’ enemy.
Xerxes, as before, was easily influenced by his officials (cf. 1:16-22;
2:2-4).
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He accepted Haman’s advice and acquiesced, disregarding the human
lives involved (and apparently without even knowing which people would
be affected!)
His foolish confidence—accepting Haman’s report without
investigation—is inexcusable.
There is probably more misery caused by irresponsibility and want of
thought than be evil intention.
By giving his signet ring to Haman, Xerxes was allowing “the enemy of
the Jews,” as Haman was now called, to send out a proclamation to the
empire in the king’s name.
Five times in the Book of Esther, Haman is called the Jews’ enemy
(cf. 7:6; 8:1; 9:10, 24).
The signet ring, when impressed on clay, made a special imprint, which,
like a signature, represented the king’s authority (Herodotus iii. 128; cf.
Esther 3:12; 8:2, 8; Gen. 41:42; Dan 6:17; Hag 2:23).
11] And the king said unto Haman, The silver is given to thee, the
people also, to do with them as it seemeth good to thee.
The king noted that Haman could do with the people as he pleased.
“The silver (of the people) is given to thee.”
He also granted the confiscation proceeds to Haman.
Confiscation accompanied execution;
the goods of those put to death naturally escheat to the crown. (Cf.
The Inquisition; Nazi Germany; America in the 90s; etc.)
In the ancient East, human life was not held in much regard, and the
caprices of absolute monarchs determine the course of history.
There had been a general massacre of the Magi upon the accession of
Darius Hystaspis, the father of Xerxes (Herodotus, iii. 79)
and one of the Scythians about a century before (Ibid. I. 106).
A later one was the Roman massacre of Mithridates in 85 BC
The king did not realize that his queen, Esther, was a Jewess and would
be included in this hideous plan.
The Edict is Written
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12] Then were the king’s scribes called on the thirteenth day of the
first month, and there was written according to all that Haman had
commanded unto the king’s lieutenants, and to the governors that
were over every province, and to the rulers of every people of every
province according to the writing thereof, and to every people after
their language; in the name of king Ahasuerus was it written, and
sealed with the king’s ring.
13] And the letters were sent by posts into all the king’s provinces,
to destroy, to kill, and to cause to perish, all Jews, both young and
old, little children and women, in one day, even upon the thirteenth
day of the twelfth month, which is the month Adar, and to take the
spoil of them for a prey.
You can tell from the excess legal language that this may have been a
quote from the edict.
Haman’s proclamation, sent out under the king’s name to all the
provinces and in various languages (cf. 1:22), called for the death of all
Jewish people including women and little children.
Haman intended to rid the world of God’s covenant people.
Also the executioners were ordered to confiscate property owned by
Jews.
The Persian system of posts is described by Xenophon and consisted of
arrangements very similar to the famed “Pony Express,” with fresh
horses and riders spaced day-distanced, with conveyance even
continuing in the night, etc.
Persian postal facilities: -- The postal service for that age was
exceedingly good, but only the king could take advantage of it.
Indeed, it was one of the means used by him for the government of
the empire, and was very largely, according to Herodotus, the device
of this same Xerxes. Along the chief lines of travel he established, at
intervals of fourteen miles, post-houses, at each of which relays of
horses and couriers were always in readiness. One of these
messengers, receiving an official document, rode with it at his utmost
speed to the next post-house, where it was taken onward by another
courier with another horse, and in this way a proclamation like that
here described would reach the farthest limits of the empire in five or
six weeks.
(W. M. Taylor, D. D.) (from The Biblical Illustrator Copyright ©
2002, 2003, 2006 Ages Software, Inc. and Biblesoft, Inc.)
14] The copy of the writing for a commandment to be given in every
province was published unto all people, that they should be ready
against that day.
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The decree was dispatched in March 474 BC
They had almost a year to get ready ... on both sides...
15] The posts went out, being hastened by the king’s
commandment, and the decree was given in Shushan the palace.
And the king and Haman sat down to drink; but the city Shushan
was perplexed.
The edict bewildered the people in the city of Susa (cf. 8:15).
Apparently such a decree had never before come from the royal
court.
Haman’s bloodthirstiness, along with Xerxes’ seeming indifference to
such atrocities, appeared incredible even to a sophisticated society
which was used to cruel behavior.
Perhaps other minority populations wondered if they would be the
next to be annihilated.
Where was the outcry from the pulpits, what is the world’s (or the U.S.’s)
concern over the Palestinian Authority or Fatah or Hamas or Hezbollah
or Iran’s commitment to the same to present-day Israel?
What is the difference from Haman’s plan?
Esther, on Mordecai’s advice, was asked to endanger her own life by
appearing before the king, without her being invited, in order to intercede
for her people.
Seeing that the king was well disposed toward her, she invited him and
Haman to a private banquet, during which she did not reveal her desire
but invited them to yet another banquet, thus misleading Haman by
making him think that he was in the queen’s good graces.
Her real intention was to take revenge on him.
During a second banquet, Queen Esther revealed her Jewish origin to
the king, begged for her life and the life of her people, and named her
enemy.6
Angry with Haman, King Ahasuerus retreated into the palace garden.
Haman, in great fear, remained to plead for his life from the Queen.
While imploring, Haman fell on Esther’s couch and was found in this
ostensibly compromising situation upon the king’s return.
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He was immediately condemned to be hung on the very gallows which
he had previously prepared for Mordecai.
The King complied with Esther’s request, and the edict of destruction
was then added to giving permission for the Jews to avenge themselves
on their enemies.
The Feast of Purim was instituted by Mordecai to celebrate the
deliverance of the Jews from Haman’s plot to kill them.
Our Jewish friends continue to celebrate this feast to this day, which is
based on the events in the Book of Esther.
Purim (from Akkadian, puru, “lots”) is so called after the lots cast by
Haman in order to determine the month in which the slaughter was to
take place.7
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Esther 4
Mordecai’s Reaction
1] When Mordecai perceived all that was done, Mordecai rent his
clothes, and put on sackcloth with ashes, and went out into the
midst of the city, and cried with a loud and a bitter cry;
Rent his clothes. . .sackcloth with ashes
possible.
i.e., deepest grief
Whatever had been Mordecai’s reasons for not bowing to Haman, he
was now in great mourning.
His feud with Haman, whether legitimate or not, had caused a great
crisis for his whole nation.
Many if not all of his country were going to die – throughout
Persia including those who had returned to Israel which was still
under Persian control.
He feared that God’s Chosen People would be destroyed and God’s
program thwarted.
He knew the amount of money Haman had agreed to spend on this
vast project as he had a copy of the edict (vv. 7-8).
Ten thousand talents of silver Haman offered to pay into Xerxes
depleted treasury (from lost wars) weighed over 13 million
ounces, or over $60 million on today’s market.
Wearing sackcloth and ashes and crying publicly signified mourning (
Genesis 37:34 And Jacob rent his clothes, and put sackcloth
upon his loins, and mourned for his son many days.
Jeremiah 49:3 Howl, O Heshbon, for Ai is spoiled: cry, ye
daughters of Rabbah, gird you with sackcloth; lament, and run
to and fro by the hedges; for their king shall go into captivity,
and his priests and his princes together.
Daniel 9:3 And I set my face unto the Lord God, to seek by
prayer and supplications, with fasting, and sackcloth, and
ashes:
Joel 1:13 Gird yourselves, and lament, ye priests: howl, ye
ministers of the altar: come, lie all night in sackcloth, ye
ministers of my God: for the meat offering and the drink offering
is withholden from the house of your God.
Jonah 3:6 For word came unto the king of Nineveh, and he
arose from his throne, and he laid his robe from him, and
covered him with sackcloth, and sat in ashes.
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Mordecai was identifying himself to the public as one in great distress.
What is it today that we show the world is worth ‘sackcloth and
ashes’ mourning by the Church?
What do we bring before God as the world’s attack issue against His
people?
2] And came even before the king’s gate: for none might enter into
the king’s gate clothed with sackcloth.
3] And in every province, whithersoever the king’s commandment
and his decree came, there was great mourning among the Jews,
and fasting, and weeping, and wailing; and many lay in sackcloth
and ashes.
Everywhere Jews heard of the edict, and they knew they were under the
sentence of death.
Certainly many Jewish people must have prayed fervently, though
the Book of Esther does not specifically mention it.
Yet, meanwhile, God was working behind the scenes to deliver His
people.
Esther, embarrassed by Mordecai’s actions, Sends Clothes to him
4] So Esther’s maids and her chamberlains came and told it her.
Then was the queen exceedingly grieved; and she sent raiment to
clothe Mordecai, and to take away his sackcloth from him: but he
received it not.
Though Esther had not been in the presence of the king for a month (v.
11), this did not mean that she had fallen from his favor.
As his queen she had many luxuries and was waited on by maids and
eunuchs, who told her about Mordecai’s mourning.
2:11] And Mordecai walked every day before the court of the
women’s house, to know how Esther did, and what should
become of her.
Mordecai was a familiar face at the gate to the Palace court.
In fact he had thwarted a plot to assassinate Xerxes at the
gate to the Palace.
He and Esther apparently communicated through a go between,
Hathach.
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She assigned Hathach to find out why Mordecai was carrying on that
way in public places.
Esther’s unique position in the harem apparently shut her off from normal
lines of communication.
Esther may have been embarrassed about him.
Or perhaps she was concerned for his welfare since she sent out
new clothes for him to wear so he would not be seen in sackcloth
and ashes.
His outward “habit” was a reflection in inward grief.
Does one find fine raiment on the gallows?
We often attempt to change our outward appearance but without
dealing with the inward condition. . .we are what ever we are within.
5] Then called Esther for Hathach, one of the king’s chamberlains,
whom he had appointed to attend upon her, and gave him a
commandment to Mordecai, to know what it was, and why it was.
She was apparently unaware of the edict concerning the execution of
the Jews.
Hathach may have been Esther and Mordecai’s confidante go
between – they both trusted him to carry secret’s and messages
of importance.
6] So Hatach went forth to Mordecai unto the street of the city,
which was before the king’s gate.
“Street” = the square. . .in front of and at the entrance to the Palace
courtyard.
Separated the public from the Palace environs.
.
7] And Mordecai told him of all that had happened unto him, and of
the sum of the money that Haman had promised to pay to the king’s
treasuries for the Jews, to destroy them.
Money was apparently a key motive.
Ten thousand talents of silver Haman offered to pay into Xerxes
depleted treasury (from lost wars) weighed over 13 million
ounces, or over $60 million on today’s market.
He like thought he would confiscate much, much more from the
slaughtered Jews.
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8] Also he gave him the copy of the writing of the decree that was
given at Shushan to destroy them, to shew it unto Esther, and to
declare it unto her, and to charge her that she should go in unto the
king, to make supplication unto him, and to make request before
him for her people.
In response to Hathach’s inquiry to Mordecai in the open square,
Mordecai gave him a copy of the edict to show to Esther.
He also told Hathach to tell her all the details of how the edict came
about and to urge her to go to the king on behalf of her people to beg
for their lives.
The words “her people” revealed to the eunuch Hathach, if he
did not know it before, that Esther was a Jewess.
Without some reprieve from the king, Esther and Mordecai and
all their people would die.
9] And Hatach came and told Esther the words of Mordecai.
THE REAL BATTLE WAS ON – WOULD ESTHER PROTECT HER
POSITION AND STATUS OR WOULD WHE BE WILLING TO RISK IT
AND HER LIFE TO DO RIGHT…
When you have the opportunity to serve God – to do what you
know He says is right,
Do you hesitate and consider what you might lose –ORDo you consider the opportunity God is presenting you with
to experience His power and might – in your life and the the
lives of those around you?
"To everything there is a season; and a time to every purpose
under heaven. Eccl 3:1
Therefore withhold not good from them to whom it is due when
it is in the power of thy hand to do it." Pro 3:27
10] Again Esther spake unto Hatach, and gave him commandment
unto Mordecai;
I can’t do anything – I haven’t been to the King in 30 days - To go is
to risk one’s life
11] All the king’s servants, and the people of the king’s provinces,
do know, that whosoever, whether man or woman, shall come unto
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the king into the inner court, who is not called, there is one law of
his to put him to death, except such to whom the king shall hold out
the golden sceptre, that he may live: but I have not been called to
come in unto the king these thirty days.
Persian monarchs (like those in most ancient nations) were protected
against unwanted visitors.
Esther reminded Mordecai that she could not simply enter the king’s
inner chambers unannounced or she might be put to death.
The king had the power to execute anyone who disturbed him
without an appointment.
For the king to extend the golden scepter to someone showed that he
approved of the visit and that the person was welcome and not in danger
of death (cf. 5:2).
Herodotus records that the law excepted six persons, but confirms
the general rule (iii. 84, 118).
Since Esther had not been summoned by him for a month [30 days].
Sshe did not know whether his attitude toward her would be favorable.
(She was probably not the only wife. . .)

Had she fallen out of favor – remember what happened to
Vashti.

Was the King hung over from one of his world famous drinking
parties.

Was he just in a mood and out of sorts?
12] And they told to Mordecai Esther’s words.
Esther’s response to Mordecai was not encouraging . . .
Mordecai had to speak to her like a stern Uncle / Father / cousin…
13] Then Mordecai commanded to answer Esther, Think not with
thyself that thou shalt escape in the king’s house, more than all the
Jews.
Mordecai calls Esther out
– Don’t think you are special
– What happens to all of us happens to you
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Haman’s edict would even reach to the throne.
– You better consider that God put you where you are for this
very reason.
– If you don’t go, you will miss God’s blessing and plan for
you…God’s plan will still be carried our but you’ll have missed
being a player
Many may have to suffer in order for you to protect your
position.
Mat 10:26 Fear them not therefore: for there is nothing covered,
that shall not be revealed; and hid, that shall not be known. 27
What I tell you in darkness, that speak ye in light: and what ye
hear in the ear, that preach ye upon the housetops. 28 And fear
not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul:
but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body
in hell. 29 Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of
them shall not fall on the ground without your Father. 30 But
the very hairs of your head are all numbered. 31 Fear ye not
therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows. 32
Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I
confess also before my Father which is in heaven. 33 But
whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny
before my Father which is in heaven.
14] For if thou altogether holdest thy peace at this time, then
shall there enlargement and deliverance arise to the Jews
from another place; but thou and thy father’s house shall be
destroyed: and who knoweth whether thou art come to the
kingdom for such a time as this?
“Enlargement. . .” = literally breath, or respiration.
Mordecai’s response to Esther was a confession of faith.
Mordecai knew that God in some way would protect His people:
deliverance would arise from another place if Esther would not
approach Xerxes about the Jews’ plight.
Note: Esther’s “father’s house”: she apparently was not the only
child of Abihail.
Who among us is being called “for such a time as this”?
Problems / Threats are God’s opportunities to work in an through us.
– Rejoice in suffering? Yes.
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Rom 8:18 For I reckon that the sufferings of this present
time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which
shall be revealed in us.
2Co 12:10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in
reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for
Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.
God’s power is released in us if we will be patient (consistent) and
display faith (confidence) in Him.
God’s plans and purposes / preparation for power
THE PROVIDENCE OF GOD (God’s plans and purposes /
preparation for power) IS CONCERNED ABOUT THE HIGHEST
GOOD OF MAN.
1. In the advent of Christ for the world's salvation.
2. The spread of the gospel and the conversion of the Gentiles.
3. The restoration of peace between nations and the final destruction of
slavery.
IF GOD INSTURCTS US TO DO SOMETHING - OR NOT DO
SOOMETHNG – OR DO IT IN A CERTAIN WAY – AT A CERTAIN
TIME, WHO “NEEDS” TO DO IT THAT WAY? WHO BENEFITS BY IT?
DOES GOD NEED US TO GET THINGS DONE OR DO WE NEDD
TO DO THINGS HIS WAY FOR OUR OWN BENEFIT AND GOOD.?
GOD’S PLAN FOR MANKINDS HIGHEST GOOD IS INDEPENDENT
OF ANY ONE MAN'S INDIVIDUAL CONDUCT.
The stream of human agency is like a river, ever flowing and ever
changing.
One drop in the stream cannot say, "When I am gone the channel
will be dry."
No sooner is room made than another follows, and the channel is
ever full.
So it is in the history of man. God's providence will secure workers.
WE ARE PLACED BY GOD IN POSITIONS SO THAT THEY MAY
SECURE FOR THEMSELVES THE HONOR OF PLAYING A ROLE IN
BRINGING ABOUT GOD’S PROVIDENTIAL WORK.
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By not making use of our position, talent and abilities and not using
our God given positions to further His work, we expose ourselves to
fearful evils and lose the benefit of the power and blessing God
intended for us to have and experience.
By making obedient use of our position, talent and abilities and using
our God given positions to further His work, we gain the co-operation
of God’s entire created force and His personal involvement wisdom, power and authority.
We have His Forces and His Sources at our disposal.
In doing our duty we show the possession of the highest and noblest
moral qualities.
(1) Duty done under the pressure of difficulty is done by faith in God,
and is therefore a proof of faith.
Jas 2:17-20 In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not
accompanied by action, is dead. 18 But someone will say,
"You have faith; I have deeds." Show me your faith without
deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do. 19 You
believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons
believe that—and shudder. 20 You foolish person, do you
want evidence that faith without deeds is useless?
(2) Duty done in difficulty requires a self-sacrificing disposition.
Rom 12:1-2 Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in
view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as a living
sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is true worship. 2
Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be
transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be
able to test and approve what God's will is—his good,
pleasing and perfect will.
(3) Duty done amid difficulties requires consummate skill.
Heb 5:12-14 In fact, though by this time you ought to be
teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary
truths of God's word all over again. You need milk, not solid
food! 13 Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is
not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. 14
But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have
trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.
(4) In doing duty no time should be lost.
Joh 9:4 I (Jesus speaking) must work the works of Him who
sent Me, while it is day. Night comes when no man can
work.
In doing our duty we have the help of a holy universe (Est 6:1).
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Est 6:1 On that night the king could not sleep, and he
commanded to bring the Book of the Records of the Matter of
the Days. And they were read before the king.
Position and responsibility: -- Our Lord's great principle, "Unto whom
much is given of him shall much be required," is clear as a mathematical
axiom when we look at it in the abstract; but nothing is harder than for
people to apply it to their own cases.
Luk 12:47-49 "The servant who knows the master's will and
does not get ready or does not do what the master wants will be
beaten with many blows. 48 But the one who does not know
and does things deserving punishment will be beaten with few
blows. From everyone who has been given much, much will be
demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with
much, much more will be asked. 49 "I have come to bring fire
on the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled!
Talent parables: Mat_21:33; Mar_13:34; Luk_19:12
If it were freely admitted, the ambition that grasps at the first places
would be shamed into silence.
1Jn 2:28 And now, dear children, continue in him, so that when
he appears we may be confident and unashamed before him at
his coming.
“The Most High God ruleth in the kingdom of men” (Daniel 4:25).
Coincidence is when God is working undercover.
God has placed you where He can and wants to use you.
When God shows you what he wants are you willing to give up your
place, position to serve Him.
God put you where you are - not you,
He put you there for a purpose.
LIVE LIKE YOU ARE THE KEY PART OF GOD’S PLAN AND
PURPOSES BECAUSE FOR YOU – YOU ARE…
"To everything there is a season; and a time to every purpose under
heaven. Eccl 3:1
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Therefore withhold not good from them to whom it is due when it is
in the power of thy hand to do it." Pro 3:27
Will you trust Him for what you cannot foresee or will you hesitate and
set your sight on the risk rather than God’s promise and reward.
(Mat 16:25) For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and
whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.
(Mar 8:35) For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but
whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel's, the
same shall save it.
(Luk 9:24) For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but
whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it.
(Luk 17:33) Whosoever shall seek to save his life shall lose it; and
whosoever shall lose his life shall preserve it.
Esther chooses -- If I Perish, I Perish...I’ll do what must be done –
but you and the others fast and pray…
15] Then Esther bade them return Mordecai this answer,
16] Go, gather together all the Jews that are present in Shushan,
and fast ye for me, and neither eat nor drink three days, night or
day: I also and my maidens will fast likewise; and so will I go in
unto the king, which is not according to the law: and if I perish, I
perish.
Fasting also implies prayer.
Esther looks to God, not man, for her deliverance. . .
Do you fast?
Our Lord fasted forty days in the wilderness (Mt 4:2).
The early Christians observed fasts (Acts 13:3; 14:23; 2 Cor
6:5)
Why three days?
One greater than Esther gave His life that we all might have life
everlasting.
A willingness to enter death. Three days and three nights:
Jonah (Cf. Mt 12:40).
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Cf. Isaac restored to Abraham after being “dead” (to him) for three
days.
Gen 22; Heb 11:19; et al. [Aren’t we all under the sentence of
death?...]
Heb 11:19 [Abraham] Accounting that God was able to
raise him [Isaac] up, even from the dead; from whence
also he received him in a figure.
Cf. the spirit of grief of Jesus at Lazarus’ tomb. (Deeply moved:
“torn inside.” Jesus wept!)
He knew the sorrow, the heartache, and pain that inevitably
result from human sin.
Job 13:15 (KJV) Though he slay me, yet will I trust in
him: but I will maintain mine own ways before him.
Lazarus was:
1) Dead.
2) Defeated. Encumbered by his grave clothes.
“Loose him and let him go.” John 11:44.
3) Dangerous. They could not let him remain in
action... John 12:10.
[Where are you? Dead? Saved but Defeated? Or have you become
“Dangerous”?]
***
17] So Mordecai went his way, and did according to all that Esther
had commanded him.
His influence would have led to a general fasting and prayer among the
Jewish community. . .
THE PROVIDENCE OF GOD (God’s plans and purposes) IS
CONCERNED ABOUT THE HIGHEST GOOD OF MAN.
1. In the advent of Christ for the world's salvation.
2. The spread of the gospel and the conversion of the Gentiles.
3. The restoration of peace between nations and the final
destruction of slavery.
GOD’S PLAN FOR MANKIND HIGHEST GOOD IS INDEPENDENTLY
OF AN ONE MAN'S INDIVIDUAL CONDUCT.
The stream of human agency is like a river, ever flowing and ever
changing.
Esther Notes.docx
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One drop in the stream cannot say, "When I am gone the
channel will be dry."
No sooner is room made than another follows, and the channel
is ever full.
So it is in the history of man. God's providence will secure
workers.
MEN ARE PLACED BY GOD POSITIONS SO THAT THEY MAY
SECURE FOR THEMSELVES THE HONOR OF PLAYING A ROLE IN
BRINGING ABOUT GOD’S PROVIDENTIAL WORK.
By not making use of our position, talent and abilities and not using
our God given positions to further His work, we expose ourselves to
fearful evils and lose the benefit of the power and blessing God
intended for us to have and experience.
By making obedient use of our position, talent and abilities and using
our God given positions to further His work, we gain the co-operation
of God’s entire created force and His personal involvement wisdom, power and authority.
In doing our duty we show the possession of the highest and noblest
moral qualities.
(1) Duty done under the pressure of difficulty is done by faith in God,
and is therefore a proof of faith.
Jas 2:17-20 In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not
accompanied by action, is dead. 18 But someone will say,
"You have faith; I have deeds." Show me your faith without
deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do. 19 You
believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons
believe that—and shudder. 20 You foolish person, do you
want evidence that faith without deeds is useless?
(2) Duty done in difficulty requires a self-sacrificing disposition.
Rom 12:1-2 Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in
view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as a living
sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is true worship. 2
Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be
transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be
able to test and approve what God's will is—his good,
pleasing and perfect will.
(3) Duty done amid difficulties requires consummate skill.
Heb 5:12-14 In fact, though by this time you ought to be
teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary
truths of God's word all over again. You need milk, not solid
food! 13 Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is
Esther Notes.docx
Page 71
not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. 14
But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have
trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.
(4) In doing duty no time should be lost.
Joh 9:4 I (Jesus speaking) must work the works of Him who
sent Me, while it is day. Night comes when no man can
work.
In doing our duty we have the help of a holy universe (Est 6:1).
Est 6:1 On that night the king could not sleep, and he
commanded to bring the Book of the Records of the Matter of
the Days. And they were read before the king.
Position and responsibility: -- Our Lord's great principle, "Unto whom
much is given of him shall much be required," is clear as a mathematical
axiom when we look at it in the abstract; but nothing is harder than for
people to apply it to their own cases.
Luk 12:47-49 "The servant who knows the master's will and
does not get ready or does not do what the master wants will be
beaten with many blows. 48 But the one who does not know
and does things deserving punishment will be beaten with few
blows. From everyone who has been given much, much will be
demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with
much, much more will be asked. 49 "I have come to bring fire
on the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled!
Talent parables: Mat_21:33; Mar_13:34; Luk_19:12
If it were freely admitted, the ambition that grasps at the first places
would be shamed into silence.
1Jn 2:28 And now, dear children, continue in him, so that when
he appears we may be confident and unashamed before him at
his coming.
“The Most High God ruleth in the kingdom of men” (Daniel 4:25).
Coincidence is when God is working undercover.
God has placed you where He can and wants to use you.
When God shows you what he wants are you willing to give up your
place, position to serve Him.
Esther Notes.docx
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He put you there not you,
He put you there for a purpose.
"To everything there is a season; and a time to every purpose
under heaven. Eccl 3:1
Therefore withhold not good from them to whom it is due when
it is in the power of thy hand to do it." Pro 3:27
Will you trust Him for what you cannot foresee or will you hesitate and
set your sight on the risk rather than God’s promise and reward.
(Mat 16:25) For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and
whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.
(Mar 8:35) For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but
whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel's, the
same shall save it.
(Luk 9:24) For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but
whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it.
(Luk 17:33) Whosoever shall seek to save his life shall lose it;
and whosoever shall lose his life shall preserve it.
17] So Mordecai went his way, and did according to all that
Esther had commanded him.
His influence would have led to a general fasting and prayer among
the Jewish community. . .
ONE MINUTE EACH NIGHT....
We as Christians are facing the scariest election and time we
have ever faced in our lifetime. From the looks of the polls, the
Christians aren't voting Christian values. We need to be praying
and reassessing what we really believe..
Do you believe we can take God at His word?
Call upon His name, then stand back and watch His wonders to
behold.
We own this land. As Christians only we can take that ownership
use our God given ability to call upon God to heal it.
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2 Chronicles 7:14 : If my people, which are called by my
name shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my
face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from
heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.
Each evening at 9:00 PM Eastern Time, 8:00 PM Central , 7:00
PM Mountain, 6:00 PM Pacific, stop whatever you are doing and
spend one minute praying:









for the safety of the United States,
our troops,
our citizens,
for peace in the world,
for wisdom and courage
for our leaders,
the up-coming election, and
that the Bible will remain the basis for the laws
governing our land and
that Christianity will grow in the U.S.
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Esther 5 - The Queen Is Accepted
1] Now it came to pass on the third day, that Esther put on her royal
apparel, and stood in the inner court of the king’s house, over
against the king’s house: and the king sat upon his royal throne in
the royal house, over against the gate of the house.
After the days of fasting (with a garb of woe) she now dons apparel
appropriate to the anticipated occasion.
There is a propriety in dress as in other things.
Inattention to bodily attire is no sign of virtue or religion.

It may be the mark of an idle or slovenly spirit,

a want of self-respect, a vanity itself, or

a desire to show disrespect to others.
The destiny of Israel seemed to rest on this one act of hers . . . and she
positioned herself accordingly.
2] And it was so, when the king saw Esther the queen standing in
the court, that she obtained favour in his sight: and the king held
out to Esther the golden scepter that was in his hand. So Esther
drew near, and touched the top of the sceptre.
The first braving of perilous duty often scatters the fears of
anticipation.
This is the pivot point: the threat of death evaporates.
Her breach of etiquette was forgiven.
Even though she had not been with the king in over a month (Esther
4:11), he was pleased that she came (though she had been
understandably apprehensive) and he held out the gold scepter toward
her (cf. 4:11; 8:4).
3] Then said the king unto her, What wilt thou, queen Esther? and
what is thy request? it shall be even given thee to the half of the
kingdom.
He sensed her desire for a special request. The “half of the kingdom”
was only a common expansive idiom (cf. Esther 5:6; 7:2; Mk 6:23).
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4] And Esther answered, If it seem good unto the king, let the king
and Haman come this day unto the banquet that I have prepared for
him.
Simple: And guess who’s coming to dinner.
The pairing also speaks toward Haman’s status.
Ordinarily the king and queen dined separately, each in their own
apartment.
To invite not only the king but another male guest, not a relation, was
a remarkable act of ostensible favor.
Esther’s Banquet
5] Then the king said, Cause Haman to make haste, that he may do
as Esther hath
It was an unusual honor to be invited to a banquet with the queen, for
Persian officials were protective of their wives.
Xerxes’ response to Esther’s suggestion is not given here, but
Haman’s later boasting (5:12) shows that the king was in obvious
agreement with the idea.
6] And the king said unto Esther at the banquet of wine, What is thy
petition? And it shall be granted thee: and what is thy request?
even to the half of the kingdom it shall be performed.
The king understood that it was not for mere entertainment that
Esther had ventured her very life. His curiosity continues to ripen . .
.
7] Then answered Esther, and said, My petition and my request is;
8] If I have found favour in the sight of the king, and if it please the
king to grant my petition, and to perform my request, let the king
and Haman come to the banquet that I shall prepare for them, and I
will do to morrow as the king hath said.
Why a second banquet?

Esther lost her nerve?

King’s mood not “perfect”?
Whatever her instincts that the time was not yet fit, the 24-hour interval
will prove essential for God’s purposes!
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Prudence works patiently; Haman was being “set up”: vv. 8-12.
9] Then went Haman forth that day joyful and with a glad heart: but
when Haman saw Mordecai in the king’s gate, that he stood not up,
nor moved for him, he was full of indignation against Mordecai.
“Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit
before a fall” (Prov 16:18).
10] Nevertheless Haman refrained himself: and when he came
home, he sent and called for his friends, and Zeresh his wife.
Haman was so overwrought about Mordecai that he could not enjoy his
good position.
His obsession poisoned the joy of his position and opportunity.
On this occasion, to relieve himself of his rage and anxiety about
Mordecai, he gathered his family and friends and spent time boasting
about the wealth he had amassed and the family he had raised (he had
ten sons; 9:7-10, 12).
11] And Haman told them of the glory of his riches, and the
multitude of his children, and all the things wherein the king had
promoted him, and how he had advanced him above the princes
and servants of the king.
“Children” = Haman’s ten sons (Cf. 9:7-10).
12] Haman said moreover, Yea, Esther the queen did let no man
come in with the king unto the banquet that she had prepared but
myself; and to morrow am I invited unto her also with the king.
“Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow
shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the
day is the evil thereof” (Mt 6:34).
God sends blindness to those whom He means to destroy (Jer 17:5-9).
Jeremiah 17:5-9
Thus saith the Lord;
Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh
his arm, and whose heart departeth from the Lord. [6] For
he shall be like the heath in the desert, and shall not see
when good cometh; but shall inhabit the parched places in
the wilderness, in a salt land and not inhabited.
[7] Blessed is the man that trusteth in the Lord, and whose
hope the Lord is. [8] For he shall be as a tree planted by the
waters, and that spreadeth out her roots by the river, and
shall not see when heat cometh, but her leaf shall be green;
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and shall not be careful in the year of drought, neither shall
cease from yielding fruit.
[9] The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately
wicked: who can know it?
Haman had no perception of the influences which were working against
him:



God had given Mordecai the heroism of faith;
God had strengthened timid Esther;
God had Haman erect the necessary gallows.
13] Yet all this availeth me nothing, so long as I see Mordecai the
Jew sitting at the king’s gate.
He admits his wealth and position availed him nothing:
his obsession with Mordecai poisoned his peace and exuberance.
“Bulls get some; bears get some; hogs don’t get any.” – Wall Street
proverb
“Whom the gods would destroy they first make mad.” – Greek proverb
The forces of evil underlying the facts:





Immoderate ambition;
Intense worship of self;
Rankling unforgiveness;
A greed which had grown with getting;
an appetite that increased with feeding.
Solomon: “Dead flies cause the ointment of the apothecary to send
forth a stinking savour: so doth a little folly him that is in reputation
for wisdom and honour” (Ecclesiastes 10:1).
Don’t we share the larger, bolder, blacker portrait of Haman?
Aren’t we also prone to share the perverse nature of Haman? . . .
Is there a larger application lurking behind this masterful tale?
Jeremiah 17:9-10 The heart is deceitful above all things, and
desperately wicked: who can know it? [10] I the Lord search the
heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his
ways, and according to the fruit of his doings.
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Matthew 15:19 For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts,
murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness,
blasphemies:
No amount of education, culture, or religiousness will eradicate evil.
It is in the nature of man. Only the new birth!
14] Then said Zeresh his wife and all his friends unto him, Let a
gallows be made of fifty cubits high, and to morrow speak thou
unto the king that Mordecai may be hanged thereon: then go thou in
merrily with the king unto the banquet. And the thing pleased
Haman; and he caused the gallows to be made.
50 cubits = about 75 feet.
, tree, wood, timber, stock, stick, staff, etc. More likely a
staff for an impaling, not a hanging gallows. The Persians invented
crucifixion, passed on to the Greeks, and later widely adopted by the
Romans for extreme crimes of non-citizens.]
The “gallows” had to be made because God had need for it!
“. . . being delivered by the determinate counsel and
foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands
have crucified and slain...” (Acts 2:23).
“For to do whatsoever thy hand and thy counsel determined
before to be done” (Acts 4:28).
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Esther 6
The entire course of history for the Jewish nation was changed because
a pagan king, hundreds of miles from the center of God’s activities in
Jerusalem, could not sleep.
Romans 8:27 And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what
is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the
saints according to the will of God.
Another Persian king could not sleep while Daniel was in the Lion’s den.
. .
Daniel 6:28 So this Daniel prospered in the reign of Darius,
and in the reign of Cyrus the Persian.
The Chronicles are Read
1] On that night could not the king sleep, and he commanded to
bring the book of records of the chronicles; and they were read
before the king.
Book of Chronicles:
Historiographers were attached to the Persian court and attended
the monarch wherever he went (cf. Ezra 6:2f).
We find them noting down facts for Xerxes at Doriscus (Herodotous
viii. 100) and again at Salamis (Ibid viii. 90).
They kept a record like the acts Diuran of the early Roman empire
(Tacit. “Ann.” xiii. 31).
Ctesias claimed to have drawn his Persian history from these
chronicles (ap. Diod. Sic., ii. 32).
2] And it was found written, that Mordecai had told of Bigthan and
Teresh, two of the king’s chamberlains, the keepers of the door,
who sought to lay hand on the king Ahasuerus.
Of all the texts that could have been selected by the librarian (from
the records of Xerxes’ 12 years of rule up to that time), the one that
contained the account of Mordecai’s uncovering the assassination
plot (2:21-23) was read to the king.
What a coincidence!
Xerxes actually later lost his life through a conspiracy formed by
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Artabanus, the captain of his guard, with Aspamitras, a eunuch and
chamberlain.
3] And the king said, What honour and dignity hath been done to
Mordecai for this?
Then said the king’s servants that ministered unto him, There is
nothing done for him.
Gratitude is a duty and a virtue.
Five years had passed without recognition.
Furthermore, this oversight was, itself, a gross breach of Persian
law.
“Royal Beneficiaries” formed a distinct class and had their names
inscribed on a special list (Herodotus, viii. 85).
Why did Esther ask for a delay before telling the king her request
(Esther 5:7)?
The reason was now made clear.
God was going to elevate Mordecai, to prepare the king to react
unfavorably to Haman.
When Xerxes asked what honor Mordecai had been given for saving the
king’s life (about five years before; cf. Esther 2:16 with 3:7), the king
found that he had not been rewarded.
Undoubtedly a bureaucratic oversight had occurred.
Was this due to prejudice against Mordecai’s Jewishness?
If Mordecai had been immediately rewarded for his saving the king there
would have been no opportunity for the elaborate plan which would soon
be carried out by the king through the mouth of Haman (6:6-10), and
which would have set the stage for the remarkable events of the next
chapter!
Haman’s Wish for Honor
4] And the king said, Who is in the court? Now Haman was come
into the outward court of the king’s house, to speak unto the king to
hang Mordecai on the gallows that he had prepared for him.
“Now Haman was come”:
His early morning haste to effect Mordecai’s destruction led to
his being deputized to do him the highest honor!
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5] And the king’s servants said unto him, Behold, Haman standeth
in the court. And the king said, Let him come in.
6] So Haman came in. And the king said unto him, What shall be
done unto the man whom the king delighteth to honour? Now
Haman thought in his heart, To whom would the king delight to do
honour more than to myself?
[Tee hee!] “He who loves himself will have no rivals.”
7] And Haman answered the king, For the man whom the king
delighteth to honour,
8] Let the royal apparel be brought which the king useth to wear,
and the horse that the king rideth upon, and the crown royal which
is set upon his head:
To wear apparel previously worn by the king was, under normal
circumstances, a breach of Persian law (Plut. “Vit.Artax.,”§ 5;) but
the king could allow it (Herod. Vii. 17).
9] And let this apparel and horse be delivered to the hand of one of
the king’s most noble princes, that they may array the man withal
whom the king delighteth to honour, and bring him on horseback
through the street of the city, and proclaim before him, Thus shall it
be done to the man whom the king delighteth to honour.
Haman responded by mentioning several things that should be done for
the person the king wished to honor:
1) Such a man should have the appearance of royalty, by wearing a
kingly robe and riding a royal steed, one the king had already ridden.
2) The honored man should be served by one of the most noble
princes.
3) The princes were to take the man through the city on this horse,
clearing the way before him and pointing out to all who watched that
this man was honored by the king.
Genesis 41:42-43 And Pharaoh took off his ring from his
hand, and put it upon Joseph's hand, and arrayed him in
vestures of fine linen, and put a gold chain about his neck;
[43] And he made him to ride in the second chariot which he
had; and they cried before him, Bow the knee: and he made
him ruler over all the land of Egypt.
Haman did not need money (cf. Esther 3:9).
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He craved respect from his peers and from the population at large
(cf. 5:11).
Even though he was fabulously wealthy and had more power
than anyone outside the royal family (3:1), he wanted even more
respect from the people of the city.
Haman’s lust for respect from Mordecai is what got him into trouble in the
first place (cf. 3:2, 5; 5:9, 13).
10] Then the king said to Haman, Make haste, and take the apparel
and the horse, as thou hast said, and do even so to Mordecai the
Jew, that sitteth at the king’s gate: let nothing fail of all that thou
hast spoken.
“Make haste” - the delay has already been too long . . .
Mordecai’s Glory
11] Then took Haman the apparel and the horse, and arrayed
Mordecai, and brought him on horseback through the street of the
city, and proclaimed before him, Thus shall it be done unto the man
whom the king delighteth to honour.
Couldn’t happen to a more deserving couple of fellows.
“Mordecai the Jew” - apparently the very phrase of the records.
This is the first of five times Mordecai is called “The Jew” (cf. 8:7;
9:29, 31; 10:3), apparently to highlight the fact that a Jew, though
opposed by Haman, was given a prominent position in Susa in the
Persian Empire.
Mordecai, whom he hated, had to be honored by Haman, at the very
time he had planned to supervise Mordecai’s impalement.
He who wanted respect from Mordecai had to give respect to
Mordecai.
Haman himself had to carry out the king’s order even though it
embarrassed and angered him greatly.
Haman Mourns Mordecai’s Glory
12] And Mordecai came again to the king’s gate. But Haman hasted
to his house mourning, and having his head covered.
Earlier Mordecai had publicly grieved over his people (4:1); now
Haman privately grieved over his own humiliation.
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When Haman had left his wife in the morning he had been elated.
Now the bottom had fallen out from under him.
13] And Haman told Zeresh his wife and all his friends every thing
that had befallen him. Then said his wise men and Zeresh his wife
unto him, If Mordecai be of the seed of the Jews, before whom thou
hast begun to fall, thou shalt not prevail against him, but shalt
surely fall before him.
The King’s Queen was a Jewess!
Now Haman had become “politically incorrect”...
All the foregoing were omens of what was to come...
“Wise men” - probably Magians, the hereditary priesthood of the Medes,
who later rise to become the kingmakers of the succeeding Parthian
Empire.
For references to the Magi’s ostensible prophetic powers see
Herodotus, I. 107, 120; vii. 19; et al.
Daniel had been appointed by Darius to head this special caste,
which led to the lion’s den incident probably prompted by his
envious subordinates.
It was the priestly cabal instituted by Daniel that ultimately
responded to the famed star which led them to Bethlehem . . .
Indeed. And a great send-off to the crucial banquet!
14] And while they were yet talking with him, came the king’s
chamberlains, and hasted to bring Haman unto the banquet that
Esther had prepared.
Now, with his world crashing down around his head, Haman was hustled
off to Esther’s second banquet, which once he desired but which he now
dreaded.
Haman stands as a prototype of all anti-God activists who oppose God’s
people.
These historical figures emerge as symbols of much larger
proportions.
Israel’s history is replete with examples when men had tried to set aside
God’s promises to their nation and had failed.
In the future God will do the same.
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Psalm 121:4: “Behold, he that keepeth Israel shall neither
slumber nor sleep.”
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Esther 7 - “The Plot Revealed”
1] So the king and Haman came to banquet with Esther the queen.
In Persian feasts the solid dishes were few, and the time was passed
in drinking and eating desert (Herod. I. 133).
If Hamen knew of the connection between Mordecai and Esther he may
have been even more terrified at the prospect of attending this second
banquet given by Esther.
[Five suggests, to some, grace: this was the fifth banquet mentioned
in the Book of Esther: two were given by the king (1:3, 5), one by
Queen Vashti (1:9), and two by Queen Esther (5:4, 8). ]
2] And the king said again unto Esther on the second day at the
banquet of wine, What is thy petition, queen Esther? and it shall be
granted thee: and what is thy request? and it shall be performed,
even to the half of the kingdom.
The king for the third time asked Esther her request, and again he
promised that he would grant it to her (cf. 5:3, 6).
3] Then Esther the queen answered and said, If I have found favour
in thy sight, O king, and if it please the king, let my life be given me
at my petition, and my people at my request:
4] For we are sold, I and my people, to be destroyed, to be slain,
and to perish. But if we had been sold for bondmen and
bondwomen, I had held my tongue, although the enemy could not
countervail the king’s damage.
Esther may have been apprehensive, not knowing if the king would grant
her request. It was possible that he would fly into a rage, as he had
done with Vashti (1:12).
Sensing the ideal timing, Esther got right to the point and gave her
petition and request -- life for her and her people.
Xerxes now knew what Easther’s nationality was (cf. 2:10, 20).
She explained that all her people had been sold (i.e., the king was
offered a bribe by Haman; cf. 3:9; 4:7) into extinction (cf. 3:13).
Showing her subservient position to the king, she added that if
they had merely been sold into slavery she certainly would not
have bothered the king.
Esther’s statement not only shows the unbelievable power of
the king, but also the condition to which she was reduced.
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This is powerful pleading: she heroically united herself with her people as
have:
Moses -- Hebrews 11:24-26 By faith Moses, when he was
come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's
daughter; [25] Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the
people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season;
[26] Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the
treasures in Egypt: for he had respect unto the recompence of
the reward.
Joshua Joshua 24:15 And if it seem evil unto you to serve
the Lord, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the
gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of
the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell:
but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.
Christ Himself
2 Cor. 5:15 And that he died for all, that they
which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto
him which died for them, and rose again.
The Enemy
5] Then the king Ahasuerus answered and said unto Esther the
queen, Who is he, and where is he, that durst presume in his heart
to do so?
He at once makes her enemy his!
6] And Esther said, The adversary and enemy is this wicked Haman.
Then Haman was afraid before the king and the queen.
Haman’s face must have lit up with terror as he realized that he was
about to be exposed before the most powerful and the most volatile
man on the face of the earth.
7] And the king arising from the banquet of wine in his wrath went
into the palace garden: and Haman stood up to make request for his
life to Esther the queen; for he saw that there was evil determined
against him by the king.
The king filled with rage went into the garden in an effort to control
his anger. . .
Haman knew his fate at this point … he had built his own gallows…
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8] Then the king returned out of the palace garden into the place of
the banquet of wine; and Haman was fallen upon the bed whereon
Esther was. Then said the king, Will he force the queen also before
me in the house? As the word went out of the king’s mouth, they
covered Haman’s face.
The king needed some cool air to recover his anger;
and to consider his own culpability in his reckless dealings with
an innocent and captive people,
and his own complicity in the plotting of a murderous and greedy
wretch.
Haman, while begging Esther to in intercede an to try to spare his life,
fell on the couch on which Esther was reclining.
Persians (and later Greeks, Romans, and Jews) reclined on couches
when they ate.
At just that moment (another “coincidence”) the king returned and seized
on the impropriety to accuse Haman of assaulting the queen.
Haman was not assaulting her but was merely fell onto her couch in
panic as he begged for her intercession..
It is highly unlikely that Haman and Esther were alone in that
banquet hall.
No doubt people who were serving the meal and the guards
were also present.
The third person plural “they” (7:8) suggests that several people
were there.
This was a call to attendants to seize the culprit and execute him.
They covered Haman’s face because he was now a doomed man,
condemned to death,
This was also a practice among the Romans (Liv., I. 26; Cic. Pro
Rabir., iv. 13)
As well as among the Macedonians (Q. Curt., “Vit. Alex.,” vi.
8).
How sudden the contrasts:
• Esther’s darkest hour turns to light;
• Haman’s day, ablaze with light and confidence and boasting, is now
clouded with a fatal storm;
• Mordecai is plucked from an ostensible sentence of death and
honored throughout the kingdom;
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The contrasts are blessed as they are sudden.
Haman’s End
9] And Harbonah, one of the chamberlains, said before the king,
Behold also, the gallows fifty cubits high, which Haman had made
for Mordecai, who had spoken good for the king, standeth in the
house of Haman. Then the king said, Hang him thereon.
Haman was probably hated by many people in the city of Susa,
especially in government circles.
Many were probably glad to see Haman killed.
It adds a touch of barbarity to Haman’s character that he should have
intended the execution of Mordecai to take place within the walls of his
own house.
10] So they hanged Haman on the gallows that he had prepared for
Mordecai. Then was the king’s wrath pacified.
• Haman was degraded just when he thought he had reached the
goal of his ambition;
• Haman perished on the very stake that he had erected for his
enemy.
• Haman was characterized by:
Boundless pride;
Boundless ambition;
Boundless cruelty.
Cf.
Pharaoh perished in the Red Sea;
The dogs licked the blood of Ahab in Samaria;
Herod was eaten of worms upon his throne.
The Remaining Challenge
Tthe Jews were still left with a major problem.
The king’s edict to eradicate them was still in effect and there was
nothing that even he could do to cancel it.
A Persian decree even bound the king that decreed it.
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Daniel 6 and the Lion’s Den
Daniel 6:15 Then these men assembled unto the king,
and said unto the king, Know, O king, that the law of the
Medes and Persians is, That no decree nor statute which
the king establisheth may be changed.
Per a Persian decree there would still be a great slaughter of many
innocent people because of the wicked actions of a now-dead man.
***
A worse enemy than Haman has plotted against the children of men.
A worse fate than massacre awaits those who fall into the snare of the
foe.
God warns us to “flee from the wrath to come”
Matthew 3:7 But when he saw many of the Pharisees and
Sadducees come to his baptism, he said unto them, O
generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the
wrath to come?
Luke 3:7 Then said he to the multitude that came forth to
be baptized of him, O generation of vipers, who hath warned
you to flee from the wrath to come
Little did Esther dream of the opportunity that would open to her,
but the hour came for her and she succeeded.
Wisely use the present, and when the hour of opportunity
comes, you too, will be ready to speak, to strike, to suffer, or to
save . . .
Approach God’s royal throne:
• With reverence, in proper attire, clothed with humility ;
1 Peter 5:5 Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto
the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be
clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and
giveth grace to the humble.
• By grace, not the law;
(Rom 4:6) Even as David also describeth the blessedness
of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without
works,
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(Tit 3:5) Not by works of righteousness which we have
done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the
washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;
• With confidence and knowledge of what pleases Him ();
Hebrews 11:6
But without faith it is impossible to please
him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and
that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.
We don’t need the several “if’s” in our approach to our King
Esther 7:3
said,
Then Esther the queen answered and
If I have found favour in thy sight, O king, and
if it please the king, let my life be given me at my
petition, and my people at my request:
• As a supplicant (sinner) ;
Hebrews 4:16
Let us therefore come boldly unto the
throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to
help in time of need.
Psalm 138:6 Though the Lord be high, yet hath he respect
unto the lowly: but the proud he knoweth afar off.
• By way of appropriate mediator
1 Tim. 2:5 For there is one God, and one mediator
between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;
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Esther 8
Mordecai and the King’s Ring
1] On that day did the king Ahasuerus give the house of Haman the
Jews’ enemy unto Esther the queen. And Mordecai came before the
king; for Esther had told what he was unto her.
Haman was considered a criminal and his property was escheat to
the crown.
The king gave it to Esther either as sign of favor or in
compensation for the alarm and suffering Haman had caused
her.
2] And the king took off his ring, which he had taken from Haman,
and gave it unto Mordecai. And Esther set Mordecai over the house
of Haman.
The king’s signet ring, which had been given Haman to authorize the
edict against the Jews (3:10), was now given to Mordecai.
Haman’s office having been vacated, Mordecai acceded to his high
office as vizier, in constant attendance on the king.
Again the tables were turned against Haman, even after his death:
Mordecai now had the power that Haman previously had.
Haman, who had hoped to confiscate the Jews’ property (3:13), now
had his own property removed and given to, of all people, Esther,
who appointed Mordecai to oversee it.
1 Samuel 2:30 Wherefore the Lord God of Israel saith, I
said indeed that thy house, and the house of thy father,
should walk before me for ever: but now the Lord saith, Be it
far from me; for them that honour me I will honour, and they
that despise me shall be lightly esteemed.
Psalm 91:15 He shall call upon me, and I will answer him:
I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him, and honour
him.
Second Proclamation Sent (8:3-14)
3] And Esther spake yet again before the king, and fell down at his
feet, and besought him with tears to put away the mischief of
Haman the Agagite, and his device that he had devised against the
Jews.
Since the edict to exterminate the Jews (3:13) was still in effect,
something had to be done.
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Esther appeared before the king a second time without an invitation
(cf. 5:1-2).
This time she begged him to put an end to the evil plan which
was in effect because of Haman.
4] Then the king held out the golden sceptre toward Esther. So
Esther arose, and stood before the king,
Cf. 4:11; 5:2. She knew how to manage her husband, no mean
accomplishment in a woman’s life . . .
5] And said, If it please the king, and if I have found favour in his
sight, and the thing seem right before the king, and I be pleasing in
his eyes, let it be written to reverse the letters devised by Haman
the son of Hammedatha the Agagite, which he wrote to destroy the
Jews which are in all the king’s provinces:
Esther’s request was simple; a second decree written and sent out
which would override the first decree.
She cleverly ascribes the first decree to Haman, attempting to
avoid a royal recant.
But, a simple reversing was not permissible under Persian law.
6] For how can I endure to see the evil that shall come unto my
people? or how can I endure to see the destruction of my kindred?
Her identity with her people as a Jewess is key: she spoke of “my
people” and “my family” (cf. 7:3).
7] Then the king Ahasuerus said unto Esther the queen and to
Mordecai the Jew, Behold, I have given Esther the house of Haman,
and him they have hanged upon the gallows, because he laid his
hand upon the Jews.
The king noted that Esther and Mordecai now had the power and
resources that previously belonged to Haman and therefore they
should use that power to their advantage.
Though Haman’s decree could not be revoked, a second one
could supersede it.
Write ye also for the Jews, as it liketh you, in the king’s name, and
seal it with the king’s ring: for the writing which is written in the king’s
name, and sealed with the king’s ring, may no man reverse.
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Xerxes even gave Mordecai authority to write the decree any
way he wished and to stamp it with the king’s authority by using
his signet ring (cf. 3:10, 12; 8:2).
The Scribes are Called
9] Then were the king’s scribes called at that time in the third
month, that is, the month Sivan, on the three and twentieth day
thereof; and it was written according to all that Mordecai
commanded unto the Jews, and to the lieutenants, and the deputies
and rulers of the provinces which are from India unto Ethiopia, an
hundred twenty and seven provinces, unto every province
according to the writing thereof, and unto every people after their
language, and to the Jews according to their writing, and according
to their language.
The decree Mordecai wrote was sent out in the third month: Sivan
(May- June) 474 BC
Sivan was a Babylonian name, associated with the moon god,
Sin.
This was a little over two months after Haman’s decree (3:12)
the Jews had over eight months to prepare themselves for the
conflict (up to the 13th day of the 12th month, the date Haman
had chosen by lot; cf. 3:7, 13; 9:1).
The 23rd is interesting:
The decree was sent out on the 24th.
24 seems to be a number of the Church (Rev 4:4, 10; 5:8,
14; 11:16; 19:4).
The month of Sivan is also interesting as the time Acts 2, the
Feast of Pentecost, etc.
10] And he wrote in the king Ahasuerus’ name, and sealed it with
the king’s ring, and sent letters by posts on horseback, and riders
on mules, camels, and young dromedaries:
As was the case with the previous decree (cf. 3:12), this one too
was dispatched (cf. 1:22; 3:15) by horsemen throughout the whole
empire from India to Cush (cf. 1:1) and was written in the
appropriate languages for each province.
In the earliest manuscripts the phrase “mules on mules, camels, and
young dromedaries” is not present
A better translation has been suggested:
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“the riders on coursers of the royal stud, the offspring of
thoroughbreds.” Herodotus (viii. 98) and Xenophon (Cyrop.,
viii.6, § 17) speak of horses as alone employed in carrying
Persian dispatches.
11] Wherein the king granted the Jews which were in every city to
gather themselves together, and to stand for their life, to destroy, to
slay, and to cause to perish, all the power of the people and
province that would assault them, both little ones and women, and
to take the spoil of them for a prey,
The edict gave the Jews the right to protect themselves and the right
to annihilate (cf. 3:13; 7:4) and plunder any group that fought
against them.
The Jews could take away the property of their enemies as Mordecai
had “taken away” the property of Haman.
12] Upon one day in all the provinces of king Ahasuerus, namely,
upon the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, which is the month
Adar.
13] The copy of the writing for a commandment to be given in every
province was published unto all people, and that the Jews should
be ready against that day to avenge themselves on their enemies.
Retribution vs. Retaliation?
Is there a seeming contradiction?
[per Ken Ortiz and his sermon notes.]
These are very distinct words.
Retribution is a basis of life:
Matthew 7:2 For with what judgment ye judge, ye
shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it
shall be measured to you again.
Psalm 18:25-26 With the merciful thou wilt shew
thyself merciful; with an upright man thou wilt shew
thyself upright; [26] With the pure thou wilt shew
thyself pure; and with the froward thou wilt shew
thyself froward.
It means “a deserved punishment; return for evil done; or
sometimes good”
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Isaiah 35:4 Say to them that are of a fearful heart,
Be strong, fear not: behold, your God will come with
vengeance, even God with a recompence; he will
come and save you.
Isaiah 59:18 According to their deeds, accordingly
he will repay, fury to his adversaries, recompence to
his enemies; to the islands he will repay
recompence.
Galatians 6:7-8
Be not deceived; God is not
mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he
also reap. 8 For he that soweth to his flesh shall
of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to
the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.
Retaliate: [Latin, literally to “pay back”] “to pay back a wrong or
injury; return like for like, usually to return evil for evil.
1 Peter 3:9 Not rendering evil for evil, or railing for
railing: but contrariwise blessing; knowing that ye are
thereunto called, that ye should inherit a blessing.
Romans 12:19 Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves,
but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written,
Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.
Retaliation
Always Negative
Personal
Amoral
Punitive
Angry
Bitter
Vindictive
Wrathful
Human
Retribution
Sometimes Positive
Impersonal
Moral
Consequential
Dispassionate
Judicious
Just
Self-controlled
God-like
Esther 8:13 “avenge”: “Avenge” and “vengeance”:
Latin vendicare, which has the same root as “vindicate.”
A contrary concept is that of self-control.
1 Cor. 14:32
the prophets.
And the spirits of the prophets are subject to
1 Cor. 14:40
Let all things be done decently and in order.
Where there is no self-control, we have:
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








damaged testimony and
personal difficulties:
emotional disability;
unholiness;
can’t see God;
missing out on God’s grace;
troubles;
defile many;
immorality; lost rewards.
Hebrews 12:13-17 And make straight paths for your feet, lest
that which is lame be turned out of the way; but let it rather be
healed. [14] Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without
which no man shall see the Lord: [15] Looking diligently lest
any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness
springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled; [16] Lest
there be any fornicator, or profane person, as Esau, who for one
morsel of meat sold his birthright. [17] For ye know how that
afterward, when he would have inherited the blessing, he was
rejected: for he found no place of repentance, though he sought
it carefully with tears.
Without self-control, we are defenseless.
Proverbs 25:28
He that hath no rule over his own spirit is like
a city that is broken down, and without walls.
Confession—repeatedly
1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to
forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
practice obedience;
Hebrews 5:8-9 Though he were a Son, yet learned he
obedience by the things which he suffered; [9] And being made
perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them
that obey him;
14] So the posts that rode upon mules and camels went out, being
hastened and pressed on by the king’s commandment. And the
decree was given at Shushan the palace.
The Jews Rejoice (8:15-17)
15] And Mordecai went out from the presence of the king in royal
apparel of blue and white, and with a great crown of gold, and with
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a garment of fine linen and purple: and the city of Shushan rejoiced
and was glad.
The Persian royal colors (1:6).
The king added these emblems to embellish Mordecai’s
standing.
16] The Jews had light, and gladness, and joy, and honour.
Previously under Haman’s edict the city of Susa had been
“bewildered” (3:15).
Now under the edict of Mordecai the Susa held a joyous celebration.
And obviously the Jews were elated.
They found peace, resting upon the word of the king. [!]
17] And in every province, and in every city, whithersoever the
king’s commandment and his decree came, the Jews had joy and
gladness, a feast and a good day. And many of the people of the
land became Jews; for the fear of the Jews fell upon them.
It is interesting that even a city—or a nation—can exhibit a character
of its own.
The Jews’ rise to power caused many Gentiles to become Jewish
proselytes.
God’s good hand was then becoming obvious to the world at
large.
No longer were these events being viewed simply as
happenstance; people were now beginning to realize that the
God of the Jews was protecting them.
Now it was the Jews’ turn.
They would have to fight to retain what was theirs.
They had to take part actively in their own deliverance.
This is a profound principle of faith.
Josh 1:8: “This book of the law shall not depart out of thy
mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou
mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for
then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt
have good success.”
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Esther 9
Jews Defend Themselves (1-19)
1] Now in the twelfth month, that is, the month Adar, on the
thirteenth day of the same, when the king’s commandment and his
decree drew near to be put in execution, in the day that the enemies
of the Jews hoped to have power over them, (though it was turned
to the contrary, that the Jews had rule over them that hated them;)
When the appointed day of the battle came, the tables were now
turned on the enemies of the Jews.
2] The Jews gathered themselves together in their cities throughout
all the provinces of the king Ahasuerus, to lay hand on such as
sought their hurt: and no man could withstand them; for the fear of
them fell upon all people.
As the Jews assembled in various cities to face their attackers, the
Gentiles became afraid of them.
3] And all the rulers of the provinces, and the lieutenants, and the
deputies, and officers of the king, helped the Jews; because the
fear of Mordecai fell upon them.
In fact, even the government authorities helped the Jews.
The people who attacked the Jews may have seen this as an
opportunity to get rich at someone else’s expense.
However, since they had no backing from others they were in a
cause which they could not win.
4] For Mordecai was great in the king’s house, and his fame went
out throughout all the provinces: for this man Mordecai waxed
greater and greater.
Only by God’s sovereign intervention was Mordecai now in a position
of authority.
5] Thus the Jews smote all their enemies with the stroke of the
sword, and slaughter, and destruction, and did what they would
unto those that hated them.
6] And in Shushan the palace the Jews slew and destroyed five
hundred men.
On the day of the battle (13th day of the 12th month, i.e., in March
473) in the citadel of Susa the Jews killed 500 men plus Haman’s 10
sons.
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7] And Parshandatha, and Dalphon, and Aspatha,
8] And Poratha, and Adalia, and Aridatha,
9] And Parmashta, and Arisai, and Aridai, and Vajezatha,
No Spoil Taken
10] The ten sons of Haman the son of Hammedatha, the enemy of
the Jews, slew they; but on the spoil laid they not their hand.
The Jews were not doing this for money, as Haman had hoped to do
(cf. 3:13),
Three times it is stated that the Jews did not lay their hands on
the plunder (9:10, 15-16).
The execution of the ten sons of Haman completed the utter destruction
of Amalek.
11] On that day the number of those that were slain in Shushan the
palace was brought before the king.
12] And the king said unto Esther the queen, The Jews have slain
and destroyed five hundred men in Shushan the palace, and the ten
sons of Haman; what have they done in the rest of the king’s
provinces? now what is thy petition? and it shall be granted thee: or
what is thy request further? and it shall be done.
13] Then said Esther, If it please the king, let it be granted to the
Jews which are in Shushan to do to morrow also according unto
this day’s decree, and let Haman’s ten sons be hanged [impaled]
upon the gallows.
When the king asked Esther what she wanted, she requested that
the Jews in Susa be given one more day to carry out the task of
rooting out the ones who were trying to destroy them and that
Haman’s 10 slain sons be hanged on gallows (i.e., impaled; cf. 2:23;
7:10). On the second day the Jews killed an additional 300 men
(vv15).
Haman’s Sons
14] And the king commanded it so to be done: and the decree was
given at Shushan; and they hanged [impaled] Haman’s ten sons.
Why would the Jews want to impale the already dead bodies of
Haman’s 10 sons.
This was not an unusual practice in the ancient Near East.
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It was a visual warning that others better not commit the same
crime as the punished ones.
Why impaled?
“Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree”.
Deut. 21:23
His body shall not remain all night upon the
tree, but thou shalt in any wise bury him that day; (for he
that is hanged is accursed of God;) that thy land be not
defiled, which the Lord thy God giveth thee for an
inheritance.
Galatians 3:13
Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of
the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed
is every one that hangeth on a tree:
Acts 5:30
The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom
ye slew and hanged on a tree.
Acts 10:39
And we are witnesses of all things which he
did both in the land of the Jews, and in Jerusalem; whom
they slew and hanged on a tree:
15] For the Jews that were in Shushan gathered themselves
together on the fourteenth day also of the month Adar, and slew
three hundred men at Shushan; but on the prey they laid not their
hand.
16] But the other Jews that were in the king’s provinces gathered
themselves together, and stood for their lives, and had rest from
their enemies, and slew of their foes seventy and five thousand, but
they laid not their hands on the prey,
The opportunity for the afflicted nation was the privilege of defending
themselves;
they could accept or reject it as they chose.
In the outlying provinces 75,000 individuals were killed by the
Jews in one day, but there, as well as in Susa, they did not take
any plunder from the victims.
A Celebration
17] On the thirteenth day of the month Adar; and on the fourteenth
day of the same rested they, and made it a day of feasting and
gladness.
18] But the Jews that were at Shushan assembled together on the
thirteenth day thereof, and on the fourteenth thereof; and on the
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fifteenth day of the same they rested, and made it a day of feasting
and gladness.
19] Therefore the Jews of the villages, that dwelt in the unwalled
towns, made the fourteenth day of the month Adar a day of
gladness and feasting, and a good day, and of sending portions one
to another.
Only in Susa did the fighting last for two days.
For that reason Jews in Susa celebrated on the 15th day of the
12th month (after the slaughters on the 13th and 14th), whereas
Jews in the villages celebrated on the 14th (after the slaughter on
the 13th).
Feast of Purim Established
The Feast of Purim was not established by the Mosaic Law like the
seven feasts of Leviticus 23.
It was commanded by Mordecai (vv. 20-28) and by Esther (vv. 2932) as simply a time of grateful remembrance of their deliverance;
the original Thanksgiving
History tells us that it was some years before it became a
universal season of festivity among the Jews, and many more
elapsed before a distinctively religious character was given to it.
It has, like so many of our religiously based and originated holiday
remembrances, degenerated at the present time into a season of
godless merrymaking, and is more patriotic than devotional in character.
20] And Mordecai wrote these things, and sent letters unto all the
Jews that were in all the provinces of the king Ahasuerus, both nigh
and far,
It is from this verse that it has been broadly concluded that Mordecai
may well have been the author of this book.
21] To stablish this among them, that they should keep the
fourteenth day of the month Adar, and the fifteenth day of the same,
yearly,
22] As the days wherein the Jews rested from their enemies, and
the month which was turned unto them from sorrow to joy, and
from mourning into a good day: that they should make them days of
feasting and joy, and of sending portions one to another, and gifts
to the poor.
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The two-day feast was for remembering the goodness of God
working (through circumstances) to protect His people from
extinction.
Mordecai wrote a proclamation that the Jews were to celebrate
the event annually with eating, rejoicing (cf. 8:17), giving food,
and sharing with the poor.
23] And the Jews undertook to do as they had begun, and as
Mordecai had written unto them;
24] Because Haman the son of Hammedatha, the Agagite, the
enemy of all the Jews, had devised against the Jews to destroy
them, and had cast Pur, that is, the lot, to consume them, and to
destroy them;
The feast was called Purim (v. 26) because of Haman’s use of the
pur (the lot) to determine the time of the execution (3:7).
The pur became a symbol of God’s using circumstances to
deliver His own.
There is no actual randomness in the universe: the mathematical
Theory of Chaos explores this.
Proverbs 16:33 The lot is cast into the lap; but the whole
disposing thereof is of the Lord.
25] But when Esther came before the king, he commanded by
letters that his wicked device, which he devised against the Jews,
should return upon his own head, and that he and his sons should
be hanged on the gallows.
26] Wherefore they called these days Purim after the name of Pur.
Therefore for all the words of this letter, and of that which they had
seen concerning this matter, and which had come unto them,
27] The Jews ordained, and took upon them, and upon their seed,
and upon all such as joined themselves unto them, so as it should
not fail, that they would keep these two days according to their
writing, and according to their appointed time every year;
28] And that these days should be remembered and kept
throughout every generation, every family, every province, and
every city; and that these days of Purim should not fail from among
the Jews, nor the memorial of them perish from their seed.
Decree of Esther
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29] Then Esther the queen, the daughter of Abihail, and Mordecai
the Jew, wrote with all authority, to confirm this second letter of
Purim.
30] And he sent the letters unto all the Jews, to the hundred twenty
and seven provinces of the kingdom of Ahasuerus, with words of
peace and truth,
31] To confirm these days of Purim in their times appointed,
according as Mordecai the Jew and Esther the queen had enjoined
them, and as they had decreed for themselves and for their seed,
the matters of the fastings and their cry.
32] And the decree of Esther confirmed these matters of Purim; and
it was written in the book.
A copy of her letter was also included in the royal archives (cf. 2:23;
6:1; 10:2).
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Esther 10
1] And the king Ahasuerus laid a tribute upon the land, and upon
the isles of the sea.
The Midrash states that Ahasueurus’ 127 provinces consisted of 100
provinces on the mainland and 27 on islands.
The Hebrew sage, Vilna Gaon, points out that the gematrical
(numerical) value of “taxes” (which were imposed on the
mainland), is 100; the numerical value of “isles,” is 27.
2] And all the acts of his power and of his might, and the
declaration of the greatness of Mordecai, whereunto the king
advanced him, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of
the kings of Media and Persia?
3] For Mordecai the Jew was next unto king Ahasuerus, and great
among the Jews, and accepted of the multitude of his brethren,
seeking the wealth of his people, and speaking peace to all his
seed.
The Persian and Medo-Persian history was studded with Jewish
nobles, ministers, and counselors; and in the great Achaemenid days
some of the kings themselves were apparently of Jewish blood.
(e.g., Daniel;
Daniel 5:29 Then commanded Belshazzar, and they
clothed Daniel with scarlet, and put a chain of gold about
his neck, and made a proclamation concerning him, that he
should be the third ruler in the kingdom.
Daniel 6:1-2 It pleased Darius to set over the kingdom an
hundred and twenty princes, which should be over the
whole kingdom; [2] And over these three presidents; of
whom Daniel was first: that the princes might give accounts
unto them, and the king should have no damage.
Daniel 6:28 So this Daniel prospered in the reign of
Darius, and in the reign of Cyrus the Persian.
These final passages are regarded as evidence that the Book of Esther
(the “Megillah”) was written and published in the early days of the Great
Assembly, when Persia was still powerful and all the Jews were still its
subjects.
King Ahasueurs was of the fading glory of the world.
He is now gone; and his records have perished.
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It is interesting to note that God had not left Himself without His
representatives at the courts of the heathen empires:
Joseph in Egypt;
Daniel in Babylon;
Mordecai in Persia.
[What about America? . . . ]
The Church is not the Kingdom.
The end of the Christian dispensation is not the end of the world.
There are other periods to follow, including that period when the
Jewish nation will once more be taken up by God....
Romans 11:25 For I would not, brethren, that ye should be
ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own
conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until
the fulness of the Gentiles be come in.
***
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The Book of Esther is filled with irony, with ways in which events turned
out unexpectedly and in favor of God’s people:
• Queen Vashti, a Persian, was deposed so that Esther, a Jewess,
could become queen and save her people;
• Haman, once exalted, was brought low, and Mordecai and the
Jews, once hated, were exalted and honored;
• A decree that would have wiped out the Jews was overruled by one
which led to the destruction of nearly 76,000 enemies of the Jews.
No wonder Purim was celebrated yearly with such rejoicing: to help the
Jews remember that God is in control and that people should faithfully
worship and serve their great God.
Another Aspect
The position of Esther’s people was strikingly analogous to that of
unsaved men and women in general: conscious of being under the
judgment of God, the curse of the broken law hanging over their heads:
Galatians 3:10 For as many as are of the works of the law are
under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one that
continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the
law to do them.
Deut. 27:26 Cursed be he that confirmeth not all the words of
this law to do them. And all the people shall say, Amen.
However, God can say,
Job 33:24 Then he is gracious unto him, and saith, Deliver
him from going down to the pit: I have found a ransom.
The Lord Jesus has borne the sinner’s judgment:
“God hath made Him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we
might be made the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Cor 5:21).
Thus, the king can hold out the golden sceptre toward us—by grace.
Esther did not attempt to plead the good works, the benevolence, or the
loyalty of the Jews.
Like Paul, when entreating Philemon on behalf of Onesimus, writes:
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“If thou count me therefore a partner, receive him as myself”
(Philemon 17).
“He hath made us accepted in the Beloved” (Eph 1:6).
“...that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may
know that Thou hast sent Me, and hast loved them even as Thou
hast loved Me” (John 17:23).
Haman, the one that “had the power of death” has been destroyed.
The commission we have been given is even more urgent:
men are in danger of something far worse than temporal
destruction—they are in danger of the eternal judgment of God
against sin.
The widespread indifference to the King’s commandment is
disturbing in this much “vaunted century of progress and
enlightenment.”
Proverbs 24:11-12 If thou forbear to deliver them that are drawn
unto death, and those that are ready to be slain; [12] If thou sayest,
Behold, we knew it not; doth not he that pondereth the heart
consider it? and he that keepeth thy soul, doth not he know it? and
shall not he render to every man according to his works?
.
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Microcodes in Esther
Hidden Messages in the text of the Book of Esther (hidden due to their
Lo-ammi condition...). [Ironside, pp 110ff.]
One of the many ways to hide things within a text is by means of an
acrostic.
An acrostic is a systematic sequence of letters within a text which
also can have a meaning or significance of its own. It is a code of
skipping letters.
One of the simplest forms of an acrostic is the repetition of the same or
successive letters of the alphabet at the beginning of words or clauses.
A number of the Psalms are acrostics of the Hebrew alphabet, such as
Psalm 37, 111, 112, and 119.1
In Psalm 119, all eight verses of each paragraph begin with the
same letter; each successive paragraph begins with the next letter of
the Hebrew alphabet.
Prov 31:10-31 includes a special emphasis with each of the 22
verses beginning with the 22 letters of the Hebrew alphabet.
In the Book of Lamentations each of the four chapters is organized
around the 22 letters of the alphabet.
Mnemonic Acrostics
Another simple form of acrostic can be an abbreviation or an aid to
memory.
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration becomes
“NASA,” for example.
The North Atlantic Treaty Organization becomes “NATO.”
Another from World War II was “Radio Detection and Ranging,”
which became “RADAR.”
Entire collections of “acromania” have been published.2
The Hebrew term for the Old Testament, the Tanakh, is an acrostic from
the Torah, the Nebhi’im, and Kethubhim:
the Penteteuch, the Prophets, and hagiographa.
Acrostics as Hidden Messages
An acrostic can also be a mechanism for including a hidden message.
In the Book of Esther we encounter some remarkable surprises.
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It has been noted by many commentators that Esther is the only
book of the Bible in which there does not appear the name of God, or
any divine title, anywhere in the book.
(Martin Luther favored eliminating it from the Bible on this basis.3
)
However, the name of God does appear in a number of places if one
knows how and where to look!
It is significant that the name of the book itself, Esther, means
“something hidden!”4
The foiling of the wicked plot of Haman to blot out the Jews is, of
course, one of the more dramatic narratives in the Bible.
In addition to the surprises in the plot, there are also some surprises
hidden within the text itself.
A Summary Review
Orphaned as a child and brought up by her cousin, Mordecai, Esther was
selected by King Ahasuerus to replace the queen when Vashti was
disgraced.
Haman, the prime minister, persuaded the king to issue an edict of
extermination of all the Jews in the Persian Empire.
Esther, on Mordecai’s advice, endangered her own life by appearing
before the king, without her being invited, in order to intercede for her
people.5
Seeing that the king was well disposed toward her, she invited him and
Haman to a private banquet, during which she did not reveal her desire
but invited them to yet another banquet, thus misleading Haman by
making him think that he was in the queen’s good graces.
Her real intention was to take revenge on him.
During a second banquet, Queen Esther revealed her Jewish origin to
the king, begged for her life and the life of her people, and named her
enemy.6
Angry with Haman, King Ahasuerus retreated into the palace garden.
Haman, in great fear, remained to plead for his life from the Queen.
While imploring, Haman fell on Esther’s couch and was found in this
ostensibly compromising situation upon the king’s return.
He was immediately condemned to be hung on the very gallows which
he had previously prepared for Mordecai.
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The King complied with Esther’s request, and the edict of destruction
was then added to giving permission for the Jews to avenge themselves
on their enemies.
The Feast of Purim was instituted by Mordecai to celebrate the
deliverance of the Jews from Haman’s plot to kill them.
Our Jewish friends continue to celebrate this feast to this day, which is
based on the events in the Book of Esther.
Purim (from Akkadian, puru, “lots”) is so called after the lots cast by
Haman in order to determine the month in which the slaughter was to
take place.7
The Invisible Protector
God had declared that if His people forsook Him, He would hide His face
from them.8
Here, in this very episode, that threat was fulfilled.
But even though He was hidden from them, God still was working for
them.
The name of God is hidden no less than eight times in acrostics in the
text.
Four times it appears as an acrostic, the hwhy (the famed
Tetragammaton, “YHWH” or “Yahweh” or “YeHoVaH”);
once as hyha (“EHYH” or “I AM”).
It also appears as Meshiach (“Messiah”), Yeshua (“Jesus”), and El
Shaddai (“The Almighty”), in equidistant letter sequences.
The First Acrostic
The first acrostic appears at the conclusion of Memucan’s counsel
regarding the disposition of Queen Vashti, in verse 1:20, and is shown
below:
(Remember, Hebrew goes from right to left.)
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It is formed by initial letters, for the event was initial; but the name is
spelled backward because God was turning back the counsels of
man.
The Second Acrostic
The second acrostic occurs when Esther invites the king and Haman to a
banquet, in verse 5:4, and is shown next:
It is formed by the initial letters as God is initiating His action; and the
name is spelled forward because He is ruling and causing Esther to act.
The Third Acrostic
The third acrostic occurs with Haman’s gloating, in verse 5:13, and is
shown below:
It is formed by the final letters, for Haman’s end was approaching.
But it is spelled backward since God was overruling Haman’s
gladness and turning back Haman’s counsel.
The Fourth Acrostic
This fourth one, in verse 7:7, like the third is formed by the final letters,
for Haman’s end had come.
But it is spelled forward like the first, for God was ruling and bringing
about the end He had determined.
The Overall Design
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Each of these four acrostics, revealing the YHWH, involves the utterance
of a different speaker:
1. Memucan, 1:20;
2. Esther, 5:4;
3. Haman, 5:13;
4. By the writer, 7:7.
The first two acrostics are a pair, having the name formed by the initial
letters of the four words. The last two are a pair, having the name
formed by the final letters of the four words.
The first and third acrostics are a pair having the name spelled
backwards.
The second and fourth are a pair, having the name spelled forward.
They thus form an alternation:
Backward
Forward
Backward
Forward.
The first and third, in which the name is formed backward, are from text
spoken by Gentiles.
The second and fourth, in which the name is formed forward, are
from text spoken by Israelites.
The first and second form a pair connected with queens and banquets.
The third and fourth are a pair being connected with Haman.
Also, there is an introversion:
1) Words spoken concerning a queen;
2) Words spoken by a queen;
3) Words spoken by Haman;
4) Words spoken concerning Haman.
In the two cases where the name is spelled backwards,
God is seen overruling the counsels of the Gentiles for the
accomplishment of His own purposes.
Where the name is spelled forward,
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He is ruling directly in the interests of His own people, although it
was unknown to them at the time.
In the two cases where the name is formed by the initial letters, the facts
recorded are initial also; and in an occasion in which God’s overruling
was initiated.
In the last two cases where the name is formed by the final letters,
the events are final also, and lead quickly to the end toward which
God was working.
A Fifth Acrostic
There is still another acrostic, in verse 7:5, which does not spell YHWH
(“Yahweh”) but rather the remarkable EHYH (“I AM”).
It is formed by final letters, and the name is spelled backward.
It appears in the dramatic moment when the king seeks the identity by
asking,
“Who is he, and where is he, that durst presume in his heart to do
so?” (That is, to arrange for the destruction Queen Esther and her
people).
Hidden in this phrase is the very name that God announced from the
burning bush:
This is the “I AM,” the very name God announced when He delivered His
people out of the land of Pharaoh9 in the past, and who has now come
to deliver them again out of the hand of Haman.
These five acrostics are well known within the Talmudic literature.
Rabbi Yakov Rambsel, points out a few equidistant letter sequences in
addition.
The Messiah
In Esther 1:3, by starting with the first mem (m), in l’malko (wklo]m;l), “of
his reign,” counting eight letters to the shin (v), eight more to the yod (y),
eight more to the chet (x), spells xyvm, Meshiach or Messiah.
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Eight is the number of a new beginning (like a new octave).
It is interesting to see it also appear in several of these structures.
This is an “acrostic” made up of equally spaced letters—an equidistant
letter sequence.
Eight is the number of the new beginning:
Eight people began the new beginning after the Flood of Noah, on
the very anniversary (in anticipation) of Christ’s resurrection.
Eighth day begins a new week
Eigth note on a scale is a new octive
Yeshua
In Esther 4:17, starting with the last yod (y) and counting every eight
letters, in reverse, you come to the shin (v), the vav (w), and the ayin ([),
spelling Yeshua ([wvy), the Hebrew name of the Messiah.
In Esther 4:2, beginning at the fourth aleph (a), count seven letters to the
lamed (l), and continue this and you will spell (ydvla), El Shaddai.
El is the familiar name of God;
Shaddai, from the root for “breast” or “provider”; thus, Almighty.
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The seven shouldn’t surprise us—it’s the reckoning for “completion.”
(It’s not even possible to count all the number of “sevens” in
Scripture!)
A Final Surprise
Perhaps the most amusing acrostic of all is found in Esther 3:11-12.
By starting with the first heh (h) in verse 11, and counting every six
letters ten times, you will have the phrase haman v’satan ray’yach,
which means “Haman and Satan stink.”
(Six is the well-known number of man or Satan: One less than seven; or
incomplete.
This is epitomized in the famed “666” as the number of the final
World Leader.10 )
We can see Satan working in Haman’s life, yet Yeshua Ha Meshiach,
Jesus the Messiah, is always in the background, watching over His
people, even today.
And He always is victorious.
We need to remember this as we watch the terrifying world horizon and
the tragic decay of our own national heritage. Our citizenship is with
Him.
As Gentiles, we also need to remember that we are grafted into the true
olive tree by the skin of our teeth.11
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We must not forget that we were joined into what was a Jewish Church—
with Jewish leaders, a Jewish Bible, and are worshiping a Jewish
Messiah.
Baruch HaShem.
Bless His Name!
Evidence of Design
In these acrostics we have something far beyond coincidence.
(The rabbis claim that “coincidence is not a kosher word!”)
For those who take the Bible seriously, it comes a shock to many to
discover that the Holy Scriptures contain hidden designs.
Are they simply an artifact of the past?
Or are they a hint of something deeper?
Are there other acrostics—or even more subtle designs—that we
should be searching for?
The more we look, the more we realize that there is still much more
hidden, and thus reserved for, the diligent inquirer.
Would you expect anything less in the Word of God?
“It is the glory of God to conceal a thing: but the honour of
kings is to search out a matter” (Proverbs 25:2).
We possess 66 books, penned by 40 authors over thousands of years,
yet the more we investigate, the more we discover that the books of the
Bible are actually elements of a highly integrated message system in
which every detail, every number, every name, even the elemental
structures within the text itself are clearly the result of intricate and skillful
“engineering.”
While we would never develop any doctrine from these oddities, they
would seem to testify of His handiwork.
His presence, ever working for His people and accomplishing the
fulfillment of His purposes, is often hidden from view, just as it
appears to be here.
New Testament Acrostic?
In the New Testament there also appears to be a possible Hebrew
acrostic that generally goes unnoticed.
When Jesus was crucified, Pilate wrote the formal epitaph that was
nailed to the cross.
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The particular wording he chose displeased the Jewish leadership
and they asked him to change it. He refused.
There are some interesting aspects to this incident that are not apparent
in our English translations.
“And Pilate wrote a title, and put it on the cross. And the writing
was, Jesus Of Nazareth The King Of The Jews.
“This title then read many of the Jews: for the place where Jesus
was crucified was nigh to the city: and it was written in Hebrew, and
Greek, and Latin.
“Then said the chief priests of the Jews to Pilate, Write not, The
King of the Jews; but that he said, I am the King of the Jews.
“Pilate answered, What I have written I have written.” John 19:19-22
The chief priest’s distress highlight something we might otherwise miss.
Notice that Pilate refused to revise the epitaph he had composed.
This may have more significance than is apparent in our English
translations.
The Hebrew is shown below (remember, Hebrew goes from right to
left):12
HaYehudim v’ Melech HaNazarei Yeshua
Jesus the Nazarei and King of the Jews.
What we don’t notice in the English translation is the potential acrostic
made up of the first letter of each word which would spell out the
Tetragammaton, YHWH, Yahweh:13
If Pilate had rewritten it in the manner they had requested him to, it would
not have spelled out the Name of God.
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Did Pilate realize this?
Was it deliberate?
If so, did he do it just to upset the Jewish leadership, which he
realized had delivered Him up for envy?14
Or was he beginning to suspect that there was more going on here
than he previously realized?
It is interesting that Jesus’ enemies recalled that He promised to rise on
the third day.
When they later requested a special guard for the tomb, Pilate also
responded with an enigmatic remark,
“Make it as sure as you can.”15
What did he mean by that?
Had he begun to suspect that Jesus really was who He said He
was?
Was Pilate really surprised when Jesus was resurrected after
three days?.
***
Endnotes:
1. Psalms 9 & 10 are linked together by an acrostic. Psalms 25 & 34
are designedly incomplete. Psalm 145 is missing the letter Nun, which
should come between verses 13 and 14.
2. Don Hauptman, Acronymania, Dell Publishing, New York, 1993.
3. Colloquia Mensalia, or The Table Talk of Martin Luther, trans. by
William Hazlitt, World Pub. Co., 1952. “I am so great an enemy to the
second book of the Maccabees, and to Esther, that I wish they had not
come to us at all, for they have too many heathen unnaturalities. The
Jews much more esteemed the book of Esther than any of the prophets;
though they were forbidden to read it before they had attained the age of
thirty, by reason of the mystic matters it contains.” (Error: that was Song
of Songs. CM.)
4. Ray C. Steadman, The Queen and I, Word Books, Waco TX, 1977.
5. Esther 4:16-17.
6. Esther 7:3-6.
7. Esther 9:26; 3:7.
8. Deut 31:16-18.
9. Exodus 2:23-25; 3:14,15.
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10. Rev 13:18.
11. Rom 11:17-24
12. Suggested by Peter A. Michas, Robert Vander Maten, and Christie
P. Michas, God’s Master Plan: From Aleph to Tau, Messengers of
Messiah International Ministries, P.O. Box 125, Troy IL, 1994. There
are, however, some that are uncomfortable with the wav conjunctive
being included in an appositive construction.
13. Psalm 96:11 contains four Hebrew words that also make the same
acrostic. The Massorah has a special rubric calling attention to this
acrostic. (E. W. Bullinger’s Companion Bible, Appendix 30).
14. Matthew 27:18; Mark 15:10.
15. Matthew 27:63-66.
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Acrostics Bibliography
Bullinger, E. W. , Appendix to The Companion Bible, Marshall, Morgan,
and Scott, Ltd., London, 1964.
Missler, Chuck, Beyond Coincidence, Koinonia House, pp. 15-21.
Missler, Chuck, Cosmic Codes - Hidden Messages From the Edge of
Eternity, Koinonia House, 1999.
Rambsel, Rabbi Yakov, private correspondence.
Zlotowitz, Rabbi Meir, The Megillah, a commentary anthologized from
Talmudic, Midrashic, and Rabbinic sources, Mesorah Publications, Ltd.,
Jerusalem, 1976.
March and June 1994, and July 1995 issues of Personal UPDATE,
Koinonia House.
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Macrocodes in Esther
Esther as a “Macrocode”: A Typological Conjecture... Are YOU a
“Walking Book of Esther?
What is a “Macrocode”? [Cf. Cosmic Codes.]
Models/“Types”
Paul makes it clear in several of his letters that the historic incidents that
happened to Israel are intended as “types” or models to instruct us:
1 Corinthians 10:11 (RSV): “Now all these things happened unto
them for a warning: and they are written down for our
instruction...”
Romans 15:4: “For whatsoever things were written aforetime
were written for our learning, that we through patience and
comfort of the scriptures might have hope.”
Examples: Jesus’ parables: one truth along side another;
Days of Noah: conditions at the time of the 2nd coming
Abraham’s offering of Isaac: another “only son”
Jonah: foreview of Lord’s death and resurrection
Esther: Story behind the story: ourselves!
Bible:
1) to know God
2) to know ourselves
Esther: OT Romans??
Name(s) of God as hidden codes? Deut 31:16-18, even though Satan
(through Haman) was trying to blot them out, God was working for them.
Deut. 31:16-18 And the Lord said unto Moses, Behold, thou
shalt sleep with thy fathers; and this people will rise up, and go
a whoring after the gods of the strangers of the land, whither
they go to be among them, and will forsake me, and break my
covenant which I have made with them. [17] Then my anger
shall be kindled against them in that day, and I will forsake
them, and I will hide my face from them, and they shall be
devoured, and many evils and troubles shall befall them; so that
they will say in that day. Are not these evils come upon us,
because our God is not among us? [18] And I will surely hide
my face in that day for all the evils which they shall have
wrought, in that they are turned unto other gods.
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Chapter 1
Ahasuerus: a title, not a name (Cf. Caesar, Czar, Kaiser, etc. Pharaoh,
Emperor, etc.) = “Venerable Father.”
Book of Esther never gives his name; not germane to the
significance of the narrative.
Man: Made to be a king, ruling over such an empire:
Psalm 8:6-8 Thou madest him to have dominion over the
works of thy hands; thou hast put all things under his feet: [7]
All sheep and oxen, yea, and the beasts of the field; [8] The fowl
of the air, and the fish of the sea, and whatsoever passeth
through the paths of the seas.
Genesis 1:26 And God said, Let us make man in our image,
after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of
the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and
over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth
upon the earth.
More than simply physiological: software vs. temporary
hardware.
Humanism insists that man is nothing more than an animal...
King: faculties of mind, emotion, volition; the will, acted upon by mind +
emotions, exercises authority within the kingdom; = the soul.
Need for communion; a function behind the conscious life.
Pictured in Esther by the role of the Queen. A source of comfort and
counsel; private, intimate, fellowship.
When a King without a queen dies, the dynasty perishes: a queen
implies immortality.
Each of us is a “walking book of Esther”:
King: Soul of man; mind, emotions, will;
Capital Palace: The body, in which decisions and actions are carried
out;
Empire: The sphere of influence each of us has in life.
Queen: Our guiding spirit; source of fellowship, refreshment,
communion.
Mordecai: A result of (David’s) grace...
Haman: A result of Saul’s failure to obey.
Haman’s mortal enemy = Mordecai, the Holy Spirit.
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The Plot:
Who is in control: Haman or Mordecai?
What resources are available?
How are they applied?
Chapter 1: A Pair of Queens
Fall of Man = lifted up by pride.
When did Adam actually fall?
Not when Eve ate of the forbidden fruit; but when he chose to
assert the supremacy of emotion (his love for his wife) over the
revelation of his spirit wherein God spoke to him.
The violation of the function of the spirit by asserting the supremacy of
his soul is the fallacy of humanism.
This reversal of the order of man’s nature—make man’s own reason
superior to God’s revelation—has been his hallmark ever since.
The King, not content to display authority which was properly his, lifted
up by pride, foolishly sends for the queen to display her before the
crowd.
In a sense, violating the private and intimate communion that was
available to him.
She refuses.
Instead of facing the foolish pride, the king yields to the lies of his
counselors, and ends up placing himself under an unalterable law.
The Law of Sin and Death
When Adam chose the desire of his heart over fellowship with God,
the human spirit became dark and unresponsive, and
man entered upon the lonely restlessness that has characterized him
ever since.
Man became a soulish being, governed only by his mind, emotions, and
will.
His own ego, sitting on the throne of his kingdom, brooking no
opposition, is the highest authority he knows.
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He has lost the joy, peace and insights that were available to him in
the communion of his spirit with God’s spirit, and he is helpless to
reverse this fact.
This is the explanation of all the folly, injustice, evil, sin, misery, and
darkness of human life as we know it today.
Chapter 2: Story of Redeeming Grace
The king vainly seeks to satisfy his restless soul in a fruitless search for
someone to fill the vacuum of his life.
Dr. Karl Jung, Austrian psychologist: man suffers from the neurosis of
emptiness.
“When God goes, the goal goes;
when the goal goes, purpose goes;
when purpose goes, meaning goes; and
when meaning goes, life goes dead on our
hands.”
With the king’s yearning search, we encounter the introduction of two
most important characters:
Mordecai, a Jew (“Salvation is of the Jews” John 4:22) = “a little
man.”
(Humility?)
Role: Holy Spirit; specific work, to restore man to the fellowship
with God, which he had lost.
Esther, Mordecai’s cousin
(Gesenius, greatest of Hebrew authorities: = “something hidden”)
Name of the Book: something hidden.
Role: something hidden in our nature (Id, subconscious, et al).
Esther is adopted by Mordecai
Romans 8:15 For ye have not received the spirit of
bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of
adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.
The Search: discovery by the king (unaware that Mordecai is moving
...technically, the king had no “right” to this girl; she was a Jewess.
We have no “right” to the grace of God in our lives.
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2:19: Mordecai is at the gate (judge); not yet at the palace (place of
control).
2:23: Adversaries are “impaled” (not “hanged”; cf. Col 2:13, 14).
Recorded in a book (Esther 6:1; 10:2). We also have such a book! If
Christianity were nothing more than becoming saved so that we can go
to heaven when we die, the Book of Esther could end right here. ...but
this is not the end;
It is not even the beginning of the end;
It is simply the end of the beginning;
The stage is set for the deliverance.
That God intends to work in the life of the king, just as He intends to work
a similar deliverance in the kingdom of your own heart.
Chapter 3: Haman
Saul was commissioned to destroy all the Amalekites. (Agag was the
king of the Amalekites. Amalek was the grandson of Esau, and the first,
and persistent, of Israel’s enemies; they become an idiom for the
principle of evil (1 Sam 15:1-3; Exodus 17:8-11, 14-16).
Note: Israel had just enjoyed God’s provision of water from the “rock of
Horeb” (Ex 17:5, 6). This lovely picture is amplified by Paul in pointing
out that “that Rock was Christ” (1 Cor 10:4). It had to be smitten with the
rod of judgment before the Holy Spirit could come to satisfy and fill all
who would drink.
It was then that we read, “Then came Amalek and fought with Israel in
Rephidim.” The lusts of the flesh would ever hinder the believer’s
enjoyment of the refreshing influences of the Holy Spirit.
Gal 5:16, 17: “ This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not
fulfil the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit,
and the Spirit. against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to
the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.”
How does one deal with the Amalekites? Amalekites were defeated by
Joshua (Ex 17:9-16).
Only by battle where the flesh is mortified:
Rom 8:13: “For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through
the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.”
Col 3:5: “Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth;
fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence,
and covetousness, which is idolatry:”
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In Numbers 14:44, 45, Israel disobeyed the Word of the Lord and
presumed to go up the hilltop in their own strength to meet their foes,
“then the Amalekites came down . . . and discomfited them, even unto
Hormah.” The minute we go out of God’s order, we expose ourselves to
the power of the flesh.
Balaam predicts the doom of this haughty foe: “And when he looked on
Amalek, he took up his parable, and said, Amalek was the first of
the nations; but his latter end shall be that he perish for ever” (Num
24:20).
Moses also, in his final charge to the people (Deut 25:17-19):
“Remember what Amalek did unto thee by the way, when ye were come
forth out of Egypt; How he met thee by the way, and smote the hindmost
of thee, even all that were feeble behind thee, when thou wast faint and
weary; and he feared not God.
Therefore it shall be, when the LORD thy God hath given thee rest from
all thine enemies round about, in the land which the LORD thy God
giveth thee for an inheritance to possess it, that thou shalt blot out the
remembrance of Amalek from under heaven; thou shalt not forget it.”
It is significant that throughout the Book of Judges, whenever the people
rose up in the energy of faith and lowliness of self-judgment, all Amalek’s
power was broken. Cf. Judges 5, 6, and 10...
King Saul was commissioned to “go and smite Amalek, and utterly
destroy all that they have and spare them not” (1 Sam 15). Had Saul
been true to God’s command, Haman could never appeared on the
scene. His failure exposed the entire chosen nation to destruction!
Sin unjudged, evil propensities unmortified, will result in grave trouble
later.
600 years later, a royal Amalekite and a descendant of the house of
Kish, the father of King Saul, confront each other.
One unyielding old man “bowed not nor did him reverence” (Esther 3:2).
He chose to be “politically incorrect.”
“It was this spirit that sustained Noah in his testimony against the
corrupt, sin-loving world that mocked him as he built his barge in his
driveway.
It was in this confidence of faith that Moses forsook Egypt.
It was in this energy of faith that Caleb took on the Nephilim; the
Amalekites and the Anakim.
It was this chutzpa that led to Gideon’s war with lamps and pitchers, and
David’s fight with an armored giant with a shepherd’s sling and stones.
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It was this confidence Daniel to open his Babylonian windows toward
Jerusalem to pray;
. . .and to drive Paul in his life of ordeal in devotion to his Lord.
It was this same spirit that Athanasius suffered banishment rather than
bow to the Arianism of the times;
. . .that Savonarola defied the licentious and avaricious officials of
church and state;
. . .that Martin Luther uttered his mighty “No!” in the presence of the
emperor and bishops of the empire;
. . .that Farel tossed venerated images into the river in the midst of
furious priests and populace;
. . .that Knox caused a queen to tremble;
. . .that the Covenanters chose rather to be hunted as beasts of the
field than own the spiritual authority of degenerate kings and bishops;
. . .and a mighty host...
[As H. A. Ironside highlighted]
“Who through faith
subdued kingdoms,
wrought righteousness,
obtained promises,
stopped the mouths of lions,
Quenched the violence of fire,
escaped the edge of the sword,
out of weakness were made strong,
waxed valiant in fight,
turned to flight the armies of the aliens.
Women received their dead raised to life again: and others
were tortured,
not accepting deliverance;
that they might obtain a better resurrection:
And others had trial of cruel mockings and scourgings,
yea, moreover of bonds and imprisonment:
They were stoned,
they were sawn asunder,
were tempted,
were slain with the sword:
They wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins;
being destitute, afflicted, tormented;
they wandered in deserts, and in mountains,
and in dens and caves of the earth
(Of whom the world was not worthy:).”
Hebrews 11:33-38
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Mordecai vs. Haman: Gal 5:17; Rom 8:7. As long as Haman is in the
seat of power, the whole kingdom will be affected by his evil designs;
even the communion of the king and queen will be affected. There can
be no peace while Haman is controlling the throne. The King is unaware
of his evil character; Haman is his trusted and reliable friend. The King’s
eyes must be opened; Mordecai’s goal . . . the battle is joined. But his
only approach to the king is through Esther, the Queen...
Haman begins, not with Mordecai, but with his people the Jews. He
attacks the periphery, not the center. The Jews represent the evidences
that God is at work.
The Lot = superstition, fear; the enemy of faith. [Do you “knock on
wood”? ...avoid walking under ladders? ...avoid the number 13? Etc.]
Who controls the lot? Prov 16:33.
Is God really concerned with your welfare? All fear is a distrust in the
goodness of God!
Esther 3:9-9: The threat to throne & wealth. [Has Haman been talking to
you recently? The counsel of the flesh vs. the counsel of the spirit... ]
Who is in control here? [Nothing can be done in your life without the
consent of your will; you cannot pass the buck.]
Esther 3:10-11: Sincerity is never any defense against error. Romans 6:
we are either the instruments of righteousness or the instruments of
unrighteousness.
Esther 3:12-15: Often when we commit to evil forces, they act far
beyond our desires. Secret thoughts must ultimately become evident in
deeds.
[Are you a victim of your own sense of dedication? Apparently right
choices, leading to confusion? ...How great is that darkness: Mt 6:2223.]
Has the “king” (your will) become wholly under the influence of an evil
prime minister? The result is perplexity, confusion, despair, and
darkness.
The king never meant it to be so, but as long as he is unaware of the true
nature of Haman, he is helpless to correct this situation.
Chapter 4
Mordecai begins to act. All hope for deliverance from the subtle flesh
lies in the sovereign activity of the Spirit of God.
Mordecai alone fully understands the true importance of the situation.
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Not only will this destroy the people of God throughout the entire
kingdom, it will touch the very throne.
Hathach, the servant intermediary, means “the truth.”(!)
Esther 4:14: “...for such a time as this...” God is never hindered by
man’s failure.
Esther 4:16-17: a willingness to enter death. Three days and three
nights:
Jonah (Cf. Mt 12:40).
Cf. Isaac restored to Abraham after being “dead” (to him) for three days.
Gen 22; Heb 11:19; et al. [Aren’t we all under the sentence of death?...]
Cf. the spirit of grief of Jesus at Lazarus’ tomb. (Deeply moved: “torn
inside.” Jesus wept!) He knew the sorrow, the heartache, and pain that
inevitably result from human sin.
Lazarus was:
1) Dead.
2) Defeated. Encumbered by his grave clothes. “Loose him
and let him go.” John 11:44.
3) Dangerous. They could not let him remain in action... John
12:10.
[Where are you? Dead? Saved but Defeated? Or have you become
“Dangerous”?]
Chapter 5
“After third day...”
The will must always give its consent to whatever occurs in our lives
“Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God...” Eph 4:30.
What grieves the Holy Spirit? Unthinking foolishness; ingratitude...
When we unthinkingly permit our natural reactions to control us, we
ultimately destroy ourselves in the process.
Romans 6:23 “the wages of sin is death.”
Thank God for the grieving of the Spirit; the guarantee of God that He will
never leave us in our ignorant folly; His unwillingness to let us go
stumbling along into the full results of our own wrong choices...
Haman’s pride revealed; and, as a result, he prepares his own undoing...
Pride is distinctly identified as the cause for Satan’s fall
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Isaiah 14:12-14 How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer,
son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which
didst weaken the nations! [13] For thou hast said in thine heart,
I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars
of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the
sides of the north: [14] I will ascend above the heights of the
clouds; I will be like the most High.
Ezekiel 28:17 Thine heart was lifted up because of thy beauty,
thou hast corrupted thy wisdom by reason of thy brightness: I
will cast thee to the ground, I will lay thee before kings, that
they may behold thee.
God has a remarkable propensity for irony. While the lofty Amalekite is
already gloating over the anticipated death of the descendant of Kish, the
dramatic plot begins to turn...
Chapter 6
A sleepless night that changed the course of history. The king discovers
that he owes Mordecai a debt.
Do we have a parallel here? Jesus undertook the most daring deed of all
history.
1 Cor. 6:20 For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify
God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's.
1 Cor. 7:23
of men.
Ye are bought with a price; be not ye the servants
It is this discovery of the right of Jesus Christ to our life which is the basis
of all deliverance and victory. ...not the abstract acknowledgment that
Christ died for us, or the recital of some orthodox creed... but rather the
quiet realization that comes when the truth breaks in upon you with a
shattering, staggering power that you were a “brand plucked from the
burning,” and you have no right to a life which He does not approve.
The king invites Haman to prescribe the honor—who, of course,
assumes it is himself that is to be the subject—and he details a program
of public presentation.
Romans 12:1-2 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the
mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice,
holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.
[2] And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed
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by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that
good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
The flesh can memorize Scripture, teach Sunday School, distribute
tracts, give large gifts of money, give stirring testimony, teach a Bible
class, sing solos or preach a sermon. It can apologize after a fashion,
repent to some extent, and suffer with a martyred air. But there is one
thing it will never do: it will never surrender.
Romans 8:8
God.
So then they that are in the flesh cannot please
There is only one way the flesh can be overcome: it must be put to
death.
Nailed to a tree...
Chapter 7: Haman’s Last Supper
“Who is he, and where is he, that would presume to do this?” Esther: “A
foe and enemy! This wicked Haman!” The King immediately makes her
adversary his own.
[Have you experienced this moment? Have you discovered that the
problem in your life is not the circumstances you live under, but the
principle you have been living by?
Romans 7:18 For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,)
dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how
to perform that which is good I find not.
Eradicating the prime minister of your life is no casual decision.
It is a very radical step to take.
An entire pattern of life must be changed.
It is always a shock to discover that
it is not other’s thoughtlessness but our own selfishness;
it is not their malice; it is our lovelessness;
it isn’t others’ weaknesses; it is our relentless nagging of them;
it isn’t others’ fickleness; it is our jealousy.
It is our own pretentious attitude of selfconfidence and selftrust—or perhaps self-pity and self-excuse—that is the real
problem. (Cf. the Rich young ruler, Luke 18:18-27.)
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We hiss at Haman. But in every man’s heart are found the same evil
things.
“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately
[incurably] wicked: who can know it? I the LORD search the
heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his
ways, and according to the fruit of his doings” Jer 17:9, 10.
(Matt 15:18-20), “But those things which proceed out of the
mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man. For
out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries,
fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies: These are the
things which defile a man: but to eat with unwashen hands
defileth not a man.”
No amount of education, culture, nor self-restraint or religiousness, will
eradicate this evil. It is our nature. It requires a new birth.
Haman receives the sentence of death:
Romans 6:11 Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead
indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our
Lord.
He is executed on his own apparatus. David wrote:
“Behold, he travaileth with iniquity, and hath conceived
mischief, and brought forth falsehood. He made a pit, and
digged it, and is fallen into the ditch which he made. His
mischief shall return upon his own head, and his violent dealing
shall come down upon his own pate.” (Ps 7:14-16)
[Haman is an illustration, if not a “type,” of the Ultimate Enemy of the
Jews of the future.]
Wherever there is a cross in Scripture it is always for only one purpose:
to put an evil man to death.
That is what the cross will do in your life
Matthew 16:24 Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man
will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross,
and follow me.
2 Cor. 5:21 For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew
no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.
Nail it to that tree: Jealousy; self-pity; self-will; resentment... et al.
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Chapter 8: Right Man In
Esther 8:1-2: Mordecai was in the book from the beginning; only now
brought before the king.
[The soul (conscious life) becomes aware of the Spirit’s right to rule in
every area. We do not know ourselves. He will help. All (even the
House of Haman) must be turned over to Him.]
Esther 8:3-6: The threat of the old law still hangs over the kingdom: the
law of sin and death. It can never be altered or revoked (while in our
body);
Romans 7:15-18 For that which I do I allow not: for what I
would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I. [16] If then I do
that which I would not, I consent unto the law that it is good.
[17] Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in
me. [18] For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no
good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform
that which is good I find not.
“Cursed is everyone that continueth not in all the things which
are written in the book of the law to do them” (Gal 3:10; Deut
27:26).
...But, fortunately, our King also has extended to us the grace of His
sceptre...
A Review
The position of Esther’s people was strikingly analogous to that of
unsaved men and women in general: conscious of being under the
judgment of God, the curse of the broken law hanging over their heads:
“Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are
written in the book of the law to do them (Gal 3:10; Deut 27:26).
However, God can say,
“Deliver him from going down to the pit: I have found a ransom”
(Job 33:24).
The Lord Jesus has borne the sinner’s judgment:
“God hath made Him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we
might be made the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Cor 5:21).
Thus, the king can hold out the golden sceptre toward us—by grace.
Esther did not attempt to plead the good works, the benevolence, or
theloyalty of the Jews. . . Like Paul, when entreating Philemon on
behalf of Onesimus, writes:
“If thou count me therefore a partner, receive him as myself”
(Philemon 1:17).
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“He hath made us accepted in the Beloved” (Eph 1:6). “
...that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may
know that Thou hast sent Me, and hast loved them even as Thou
hast loved Me” (John 17:23).
Haman, the one that “had the power of death” has been destroyed. . .
How are they to be delivered? Something lacking?
Romans 7:23-24 But I see another law in my members,
warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into
captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. [24] O
wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of
this death?
Esther 8:7-8:
1) Utter helplessness of the king;
2) Readiness to admit it;
3) All self-effort is useless
Romans 14:23 And he that doubteth is damned if he
eat, because he eateth not of faith: for whatsoever is not
of faith is sin.
Esther 8:9-14: The king makes no attempt at self-effort. He put all into
Mordecai’s hands
Romans 8:2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus
hath made me free from the law of sin and death.
Galatians 2:20 I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live;
yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in
the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and
gave himself for me.
Now the law of the Spirit never eliminates the law of sin and death; it
simply superimposes upon it a higher power.
Esther 8:15-17: Joy comes even before deliverance has actually been
realized: upon the announcement. (Cf. Haman’s announcement in Ch.
3: confusion, bewilderment.) There’s no more powerful testimony from
the cesspool of circumstances than the joy produced by faith.
The decree went out with great urgency. We are commissioned likewise!
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Do you sense the urgency? Men are in danger of something far worse
than temporal destruction–but rather the eternal judgment of God against
sin.
Prov 24:11, 12: “If thou forbear to deliver them that are drawn
unto death, and those that are ready to be slain; If thou sayest,
Behold, we knew it not; doth not he that pondereth the heart
consider it? and he that keepeth thy soul, doth not he know it?
and shall not he render to every man according to his works?”
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Chapter 9
The (specific) day has now arrived. God has appointed a day for each of
us when our “head knowledge,” illuminated by the Holy Spirit, is put to
the test. The possibility of total deliverance from the bondage to the
flesh may bring us joy; but the day must come when we must experience
the reality.
Esther 9:2-3: The very law was against them. (Rom 7:5) Now a 2nd
edict has been issued. (Rom 7:6) The very circumstances combine to
help.
“Coincidence” is when God is working undercover. [Cf. Joseph, “...God
meant it for good” (Gen 50:20). Also, Paul after the Damascus road.]
Esther 9:4-5: Authority of faith + dependence upon the man of power.
Four Marks of “Walking in the Spirit”:
1) Slaying Haman’s Ten Sons (9:6-10)
In the Hebrew text, these are listed in a remarkable way: in a column,
with the Hebrew word “self” is linked with each one. The words are of
Persian derivation.
Parshandatha
Curious Self
busy-body
Dalphon
Weeping Self
self-pity
Aspatha
Assembled Self self-mobilized; self-sufficiency
Poratha
Generous Self
spendthriftiness;
impulsive selfindulgence
Adalia
Weak Self
self-consciousness; inferiority
Aridatha
Strong Self
assertiveness;
insistence upon one’s own way
Parmashta
Preeminent Self ambition; the desire for
preeminence over others
Arisai
Bold Self
imprudence
Aridai
Dignified Self
pride; haughtiness;
sense of superiority
Vaizatha
Pure Self
worst of all: self-righteousness
All of these were put to death. Death of the self-life is the first great
evidence of having discovered the secret of victory.
2) Doubled in the Capital City (9:11-13)
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When the law of the Spirit of life has set us free from the law of sin and
death so that al self-manifestations cease, there will be rejoicing and
gladness throughout the kingdom of our influence: we will be so much
easier to live with... The release in our own hearts will be double that of
others.
3) Public Disclosure (9:13-14)
Skeletons come out of the closets.. It is time to demonstrate the victory
publicly.
4) No Personal Advantage Taken
Esther 9:15-16: “They laid no hands on plunder” (3X).
Esther 9:17-22: Rest, feasting and gladness (5X), holiday-making,
concern for others, gifts.
Did the kingdom of Persia experience these under Haman’s rule?
Summary: “Steps to Victory”
1) Exposure of Haman: Haman, the Agagite: Agag, king of Amalekites =
eternal enmity.
There is no justification or euphemisms for the flesh: perfidy, treachery,
and subtlety now exposed.
2) Knowledge that a new decree has been issued.
Set free from the old decrees. No longer up to us do our best: new life in
Jesus Christ. Trust Him to do His best through us.
3) Impale Haman’s sons on the “gallows.” Can’t have two masters; the
one prevents the other.
Esther 9:26-32: Establishment of the Feast of Purim
Day One: reading the Book of Esther;
Day Two: Exchanging gifts, etc.
Victory over resentment, jealousy, impatience, envy, love, self-love, selfseeking, pride, self-pity, and all other experiences of self-life.
It took Enoch 65 years before he learned to “walk with God.” I hope it
doesn’t take us that long! He walked 300 years with God, until one day,
as Ray Steadman suggests, “God just said to him, ‘Come on, Enoch,
come on home with me. It’s too far to go back.’”
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Chapter 10
This is the same king and kingdom with which the book began. But
Haman is out; Mordecai is in. What a difference. When the Spirit is
granted control: welfare of the kingdom and peace to all.
“I am crucified with Christ; nevertheless I live. Not I, but Christ
lives in me” (Gal 2:20).
Disappointments:
Heartaches:
Hard Circumstances:
Weaker we feel:
Better, not bitter
Sources of joy
Produce choicest virtues
the more impact on others
“Now thanks be unto God, which always causeth us to triumph in
Christ, and maketh manifest the savour [fragrance] of his
knowledge by us in every place (2 Corinthians 2:14).
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Topical Background Insert: The Magi of Medo-Persia
From Latinized form of Magoi (Herodotus, 1:101); Ancient Greek
transliteration of the Persian original; (Sing., magus)(... “magic”).
However, “Magicians” (a profession, rather than citizenship or cultural
link), presented in the book of Acts as vile men without standing or
morals: Simon Magus in Samaria, Acts 8:9-24: Elymas Magus at
Paphos on the Island of Cyprus associated with Sergius Paulsu the
proconsul. (International Dictionary 3:222).
Chief of the Magi, gm.-br; Rab-Mag (Jer 39:3, 13) in Nebuchadnezzar’s
court; a Persian word for a Magian; magician, chief soothsayer. Magi of
lesser rank in Dan 2:10,27; 4:7,9; 5:11. (Cf. Magi are Median; vs.
Chaldeans.)
Persian magi were credited with profound and extraordinary religious
knowledge. (Babylonian magi often considered mere imposters.)
Title of Daniel, aY.m;jur>x; br;, (Dan 4;9; 5:11); This Jewish appointment
may have had repercussions among the hereditary Median priesthood,
leading to the plot of Daniel 6, which involved the ordeal of the lion’s den
(note the irreversibility of the Persian decrees; Cf. Dan 6:15).
Established as the state religion of Persia by Darius the Great, after
some Magi who were considered to be expert in the interpretation of
dreams (!) had been attached to the Median court. (Oneiromancy, not
astrology, is the key skill mentioned by Herodotus, et al. I.107, 120;
VII.19.)
It was in this dual capacity whereby civil and political counsel was
invested with religious authority, that the Magi became the supreme
priestly caste of the empire. (Hence, the term magistrate, etc.)
In the tri-lingual inscription of Bisitun: Darius I (The Great) (550=-486 BC;
reigned 522-486 BC); Three languages: Elamite, Akkadian/ Babylonian,
Old Persian/Aramaic. (Speaks of his speedy and final triumph over a
revolt of Magi in 522 BC)
Not originally followers of Zoroaster (Encyclopedia Britannica 7:691).
The subsequent syncretistic Magian religion of Archaemenid days had
much in common with the religion of the Jews: each had its monotheistic
concept of one beneficent creator, author of all good, who in turn was
opposed by a malevolent evil spirit. Each had its hereditary priesthood
which became the essential mediator between God and man by virtue of
a blood sacrifice. Each depended upon the wisdom of the priesthood in
divination (The Urim and Thummim of the Levite, the barsoms, small
bundles of divining rods); each mutually held concepts of clean and
unclean forms of life.
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Developed into a hereditary priesthood, serving several religions; the
priestly caste during Seleucid, Parthian, and Sasanian periods.
New Testament Magi (Matthew 2:1-12)
Political Background
Since the days of Daniel, the fortunes of both the Persia and the Jewish
nation had been closely intertwined.
Both nations had in their turn falling under Seleucid domination in the
wake of Alexander’s conquests. Subsequently both had regained their
independence: the Jews under Maccabean leadership, and the Persians
as the dominating ruling group within the Parthian empire. It was at this
time that the Magi, in their dual priestly and governmental office,
composed the upper house of the council of the Megistanes (hence,
“magistrates”) whose duties included the absolute choice and election of
the king of the realm.
It was a group of Persian-Parthian king makers who entered Jerusalem
in the latter days of the reign of Herod. Herod’s reaction was
understandably one of fear when one considers the background of
Roman-Parthian rivalry that prevailed during his lifetime.
Pompey, the first Roman conqueror of Jerusalem, in 63 BC had
attacked the Armenian outpost of Parthhia. In 55 BC Crassus led
Roman legions in sacking Jerusalem and in a subsequent attack on
Parthia proper. The Romans were decisively defeated at the battle of
Carrhae with the loss of 30,000 troops, including their commander. The
Parthians counterattacked with a token invasion of Armenia, Syria, and
Palestine.
Nominal Roman rule was reestablished under Antipater, the father of
Herod, who in his turn retreated before another Parthian invasion in 40
BC
Mark Antony reestablished Roman sovereignty in 37 BC, and like
Carssus before him also embarked on a similarly ill-fated Parthian
expedition. His disastrous retreat was followed by another wave of
invading Parthians, which swept all Roman opposition completely out of
Palestine (including Herod himself who had to flee to Alexandria and
then to Rome).
With Parthian collaboration Jewish sovereignty was restored and
Jerusalem was fortified with a Jewish garrison.
Herod, by this time, secured from Augustus Caesar the title of “King of
the Jews.” However, it was not for three years, including a five months’
siege by Roman troops, that the king was able to occupy his own capital
city.
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Herod had thus gained the throne of a rebellious buffer state situated
between two mighty contending empires. At any time his own subjects
might conspire in bringing the Parthians to their aid.
Magi at the Time of Christ’s Birth
At the time of the birth of Christ, Herod may have been close to his final
illness. Augustus was also aged; Rome, since the retirement of Tiberius,
was without any experienced military commander. Pro-Parthian Armenia
was fomenting revolt against Rome (which was successfully
accomplished within two years). The time was ripe for another Parthian
invasion of the buffer provinces, except for the fact that Parthia itself was
racked by internal dissension.
Phraates IV, the unpopular and aging king, had once been deposed and
it was not improbable that the Persian Magi were already involved in the
political maneuvering requisite to choosing his successor. It is possible
that the Magi might have taken advantage of the king’s lack of popularity
to further their own interests with the establishment of a new dynasty
which could have been implemented if a sufficiently strong contender
could be found.
At this time it was entirely possible that a cabal within the Median
priesthood, established by Daniel, one of their own Magians, preserving
Messianic prophecies of the OT, was responding to signs that had been
vouchsafed to them, was the stimulus for their famed mission.
In Jerusalem the sudden appearance of the Magi, likely traveling in force
with unimaginable oriental pomp and accompanied by adequate calvary
escort to insure their safe penetration of Roman territory, certainly
alarmed Herod and the entire populace of Jerusalem.
It would seem as if these Magi were attempting to perpetrate a border
incident which could bring swift reprisal from Parthian armies.
Their request of Herod regarding him who “has been born king of the
Jews” (Mt 2:2) was a calculated insult to him who had contrived and
bribed his way into that office.
In the providence of God, Herod’s request for their subsequent
assistance was thwarted, the Magi “being warned in a dream” (a form of
communication most acceptable to them) departed to their own country
without responding to him.
(Within two years Phraataces, the parricide son of Phraates IV, was duly
installed by the Magi as the new ruler of Parthia.)
(Later: Philo of Alexandria, Cicero, and Philo, and others, record that the
Magi were attached to senior Roman courts with acknowledged gifts and
standing.)
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Christmas Magi
Western tradition: Three Magi; (Epiphany: Jan 6.)
Eastern tradition: 12 Magi; (Christmas: Jan 6).
3rd century: “Kings” bearing gifts: Ps 72:10, 68:29.
6th century chronicle, Exerpia Latina Garbari, names:
Bithisarea (Balthasar)
Melichior (Melchior)
Gathaspa (Gasper)
Bede (673-735): three sons of Noah: Asia, Africa, Europe: Shem, Ham,
Japheth.
14th century Armenian tradition:
Balthasar King of Arabia
Melchior King of Persia
Gasper King of India
Relics attributed to them discovered in the 4th century; transferred from
Constantinople to Milan, 5th century; to Cologne by Frederick
Barbarossa in 1162 where they remain enshrined.
Star of Bethlehem (Conjectures)
Balaam’s prophecy in Num 24:17?
Numbers 24:17 and Isa 60:3 not quoted by Matthew. (Note
Simon Bar Kochba, “Son of the Star.”)
Conjunctions? Kepler suggested that the conjunction of Jupiter and
Saturn in the constellation of Pisces in 7 BC
(Wrong date: 2 BC—4 BC was suggested from an erroneous
inference from Josephus...)
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Bibliography
Halley, Henry H., Pocket Bible Handbook, Henry H. Halley, Chicago IL,
1944.
Ironside, H. A., Esther, Loizeaux Brothers, Inc., Neptune NJ, 1905.
Missler, Chuck, Cosmic Codes: Hidden Messages From the Edge of
Eternity, Koinonia House, 1998.
Ortiz, Ken, sermon notes, Calvary Chapel Spokane.
Steadman, Ray C., The Queen and I, Word Books, Waco TX, 1977.
Walvoord, John F., and Zuck, Roy B., The Bible Knowledge
Commentary, Scripture Press Publications, Inc., Wheaton IL, 1983,
1985.
Zlotowitz, Rabbi Meir, The Megillah: The Book of Esther, Mesorah
Publications Inc., Brooklyn NY, 1976.
Magi Article Bibliography
Missler, Chuck, Expositional Commentary on Daniel, (tape cassettes
with notes), Koinonia House, 1994.
Santala, Risto, The Messiah in the Old Testament in the Light of
Rabbinical Writings, (trans. from the Hebrew), Keren Ahvah Meshihit,
Jerusalem, 1980.
Santala, Risto, The Messiah in the New Testament in the Light of
Rabbinical Writings, (trans. from Hebrew), Keren Ahvah Meshihit,
Jerusalem, 1984.
Yamauchi, Edwin M., Persian and the Bible, Baker Book House, 1990
Also Encyclopedia Judaica, Encyclopedia Britannica, the Babylonian
Talmud, and other various encyclopedias, dictionaries, and other
reference materials as noted.
Acrostics Bibliography
Bullinger, E. W. , Appendix to The Companion Bible, Marshall, Morgan,
and Scott, Ltd., London, 1964.
Missler, Chuck, Beyond Coincidence, Briefing Package, pp. 15-21.
Missler, Chuck, Cosmic Codes - Hidden Messages From the Edge of
Eternity, Koinonia House 1999.
Rambsel, Rabbi Yakov, private correspondence.
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Zlotowitz, Rabbi Meir, The Megillah, a Commentary Anthologized from
Talmudic, Midrashic, and Rabbinic Sources, Mesorah Publications, Ltd.,
Jerusalem, 1976.
March and June 1994, and July 1995 issues of Personal UPDATE.
General Bibliography
Bullinger, E.W., The Companion Bible, Zondervan Bible Publishers,
Grand Rapids MI, 1958.
Henry, Matthew and Thomas Scott, Commentary on the Holy Bible,
Thomas Nelson Publishing Company NY, 1979.
Jamieson, Rev. Robert, Rev. A.R. Fausset and Rev. David Brown, A
Commentary Critical, Experimental, and Practical on the Old and New
Testaments, William B. Eerdman’s Publishing Company, Grand Rapids
MI, 1948.
Scofield, C.I., The New Scofield Study Bible (KJV), Oxford University
Press, New York, 1967.
Strong, James, The Exhaustive Concordance of The Bible, AbingdonCokesbury Press, New York, 1980.
Spence, H.D.M. and Joseph S. Exell (editors), The Pulpit Commentary,
William B.
Koinonia House
P.O. Box D
Coeur d.Alene Idaho
83816-0347
(208) 773-6310
www.khouse.org
ISBN 1-57821-02803
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