Through the Bible with Les Feldick
LESSON 3 * PART 2 * BOOK 69
FOR SUCH A TIME AS THIS – PART 3
Book of Esther
Okay, it’s good to have everybody back again. For those of you joining us on television again, we always like to invite you, if you’re ever headed toward Tulsa, to try to make it to one of our tapings for an afternoon. We just have a good time, and the hospitality is just overrunning. Again, we want to thank all of our folks out there for your prayers, especially. Because I’ll tell you what – prayer does everything. And we’d like to thank you for your letters.
Now, I forgot to do it in the last program. When I speak of letters, this is my way of responding to the hundreds of letters that I can’t answer personally. We do have a quarterly newsletter. We send it out free. If you aren’t getting one and you would like to, you can just send us a request, or call the girls and give them your name and address, and you can get it. Now rest assured, we never share our database. So, you don’t have to worry about getting a whole mailbox full of junk.
And all you’ll get from us is the newsletter, and we don’t even beg for money in that. I know this is one of the fears people have. They don’t want to get on a mailing list. You ought to see my mailbox. Where’s Ruby? Ruby, where are you? Yeah, Ruby knows! Oh, junk mail – that high. It’s just unbelievable! So, no, we never, never share our database with anybody, and you won’t be bombarded with appeals.
Let’s get right back into where we left off in this Book of Esther. Somebody reminded me during the break that I had failed to mention that the name of God is not visible in the whole Book of Esther. There’s not one single reference to God. There are three or four what they call acrostics. In other words, there are some hidden things that you have to be a real deep scholar of the Hebrew to find. But, there is no visible mention of the name of God. But God’s presence is so evident! There’s just no doubt.
Just like in the Book of Ruth, how everything fell into place so that she married just exactly the man that God wanted her to marry. It is the same way here. This is one of Satan’s efforts to destroy the Nation of Israel, but God in His providence has a young Jewish girl in place to keep it from happening. All right, let’s go back into Esther then, chapter 1 verse 16.
“And Memucan answered before the king and the princes, Vashti the queen hath not done wrong to the king only, (Now watch this guy!) but also to all the princes, and to all the people that are in the provinces of the king Ahasuerus.” What’s he driving at? Why, that she had the wherewithal to not obey the king?! What man could have a woman like that, for goodness sakes! That’d be awful. So, that’s their big worry. Look at the influence that she’s having in this kingdom.
“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. (She still doesn’t obey him.) 18. Likewise shall the ladies of Persia and Media say this day unto all the king’s princes, who have heard of the deed of the queen. Thus shall there arise too much contempt and wrath.” That is from the women. I’m not going to do as my husband says. Vashti didn’t. Why should I?
“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 not be altered, That Vashti come no more before king Ahasuerus; and let the king give her royal estate unto another that is better than she. 20. And when the king’s decree which he shall make shall be published throughout all his empire, (for it is great,)(All the way from India. All the way up to beyond the Mediterranean.) all the wives shall give to their husbands honor, both to great and small.
“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,…”
Now you want to remember, there were all kinds of different dialects and languages and so forth in that large a kingdom.
“…that every man should bear rule in his own house, and that it should be published according to the language of every people.” Okay, now we’re going to move on. We’re going to get more involved with Esther.
“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:” Now you’ve got to remember, you’re dealing back here in Gentile paganism. They didn’t have the morality that we practice today. Of course, you’re all aware that even in the Old Testament times every king and every man of importance had his harem.
So, what they’re really going to do now is go throughout the whole kingdom of the Medes and Persians and conscript the young and most beautiful girls. Well, you know, that’s what I said a little bit at the beginning of the first program. You’ve got the beginning here of a national “Miss Mede and Persia.” They’re going to be looking for the fairest and the most beautiful in the kingdom.
“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; (or the harem) and let their things for purification be given them. 4. And let the maiden who pleaseth the king be queen instead of Vashti. And the thing pleased the king: 5. Now in Shushan the palace there was a certain Jew, whose name was Mordecai, (All right, now we’re getting to the heart of the whole story of Esther.) the son of Jair, the son of Shimei, the son of Kish, a Benjamite;”
In other words, he was from the Southern Kingdom. Now you’ve got to remember, not too many years before all of this the first the ten tribes to the north were taken captive into Syria. Then about 75-80 years later, the Southern Kingdom of Judah was taken captive. So, by the time we get to Esther, all twelve tribes are in captivity out there in the area of the Medes and the Persians. So, there’s not a distinguishing element here at all. Mordecai was from the southern tribes, and many of these others were from the Northern Kingdom. All right, verse 6.
“Mordecai 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.” Now, this would also include Daniel, who was carried captive, you remember, by the Babylonians; and Ezekiel and the three men in the fiery furnace. This is all part of that same period of time when the Jews are out there in the captivity of the Babylonians and later on the Medes and the Persians. So, this is how they are all out in that part of the world. They’ve been taken captive out of Jerusalem and the land of Israel out to the Middle East.
“And he brought up Hadassah, that is, Esther, his uncles daughter: (She was not his immediate daughter. She was merely a next of kin. So, Esther is 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.”
“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,…” Again, you can’t help but realize – what are they doing? They’re building a beauty contest. The whole purpose is to find the most beautiful girl in the Mede and Persian Empire to be the wife of the king. Well, he just lost out on all the fun of courting, didn’t he? But, they’re doing all the work for him. They’re bringing all the fairest maidens into 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 (Esther in particular) 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.” Now verse 10, watch this closely.
“Esther had not showed her people nor her kindred: (Now, what’s that talking about? She hadn’t told anybody that she was Jewish. So far as everybody’s concerned, she’s just another one of the other Gentile nations.) for Mordecai had charged her that she should not show it (or reveal it).” In other words, I can just hear him. He’d say, Esther, don’t you dare let any of these people know that you’re a Jew.
“And Mordecai walked every day before the court of the women’s house, to know how Esther did, and what should become of her. 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,…” In preparation and making her beautiful. Everything prepared, I suppose, her manners, her curtseys, just everything that would impress the king. Then verse 13.
“Then thus came every maiden to 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, (another eunuch) who kept the concubines: she came in unto the king no more, except the king delighted in her, and that she ware called by name.”
“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,…” Now, just put yourself in that young girl’s boots. These oriental kings could be ruthless. There wasn’t much love and compassion in most of them. Had a king not been totally impressed, he could just simply give the word and they could be put to death. So, this is no simple thing to come before this oriental king of a huge Gentile empire.
“…And Esther obtained favor in the sight of all of them that looked upon her. 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. 17. And the king loved Esther above all the women, and she obtained grace and favor 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.” He still doesn’t know she’s a Jew.
“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. 19. And when the virgins were gathered together the second time, then Mordecai sat in the king’s gate.” Now, we don’t know exactly what Mordecai’s role was, but he was of somewhat in the government of this king. So, he had access to the palace, and he sat in the king’s gate. Now, verse 20.
“Esther had not yet showed her kindred nor her people; (She still hasn’t revealed that she’s Jewish.) as Mordecai had charged her: for Esther did the commandment of Mordecai, like as when she was brought up with him.” All right, now we jump over to Mordecai. Here the stage is being set that Esther is going to find herself in a position to plead with the king to spare her people. All right, it begins with Mordecai in verse 21.
“In those days, while Mordecai sat in the king’s gate, two of the king’s chamberlains, Bigthan and Teresh, of those who kept the door, were angry, and sought to lay hand on (or to kill) the king Ahasuerus. 22. And the thing was known to Mordecai, who told it unto Esther the queen; and Esther certified (or confirmed) the king thereof in Mordecai’s name.”
“And when inquisition was made of the matter, it was found out; therefore they were both hanged on a tree: (Because they had conspired to kill the king, but here’s the one–) and it was written (Now, these are all little tidbits. Had they not happened, the rest wouldn’t have happened.) it was written in the book of the chronicles before the king. ” What was written was that these two men had conspired to kill the king, but Mordecai had been the one who had stopped the thing from taking place. All right, now we move to the next key player. It’s Haman.
“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.” All right, now we’ve got to chase this guy Haman the son of Hammedatha the Agagite down. Here again is God’s Providence. Here is the hand of God. Go back with me to Numbers chapter 24 verse 7. This is all part of the intricate working of God clear back in Numbers.
Now, this is at the time that Israel was trying to go through Moab, and Balak the king wouldn’t let them. Remember that? So, he goes and hires the magician, Balaam. Balak hires Balaam the prophet, the magician. Balaam comes and sees the multitude of Israel, and, of course, God wouldn’t let him put a curse on Israel. Instead, miracle of miracles, Balaam brings out prophetic utterances concerning the Nation of Israel.
All right, here we are now in Numbers 24 verse 7. Let’s start up at verse 6, speaking of the children of Israel waiting there before Moab in order to go on up into the Promised Land.
“As the valleys are they spread forth, (That is the Jews, the Israelites.) as gardens by the river’s side, as the trees of lign aloes which the LORD hath planted, and as cedar trees beside the waters.”
“He shall pour the water out of his buckets, and his seed shall be in many waters, (Now, this is symbolic language concerning the future of Israel coming from the lips of Balaam.) and his king shall be higher than Agag, and his kingdom shall be exalted.” That is the kingdom of Israel above the kingdom of this Agag. All right, now we’ve got to find out who this guy is. Come on over to chapter 24 verse 20. Got it?
“And when he (Balaam, the prophet) looked on Amalek, he took up his parable, and said, Amalek…” Remember now, this is just after the forty years of the wilderness experience. Within forty years of coming out of Egypt, the Nation is out there on the desert trying to make their way over to the crossing of the Jordan River and go into the Promised Land.
“Balaam looked on Amalek, he took up his parable, and said, Amalek was the first of the nations; (Now, when I first read it, I read it wrong. It doesn’t mean that Amalek was the best or the first in number or anything like that. He was the first nation to confront Israel with war. The Amalekites were the first tribes that tried to destroy Israel.) Amalek was the first of the nations; but (Balaam prophesies) his latter end shall be that he perish forever.” The Amalekites are going to come to an end in God’s program.
All right, now we pick it up in I Samuel chapter 15 verse 5. We’re already up to the time of King Saul. We’ve gone through the period of the Judges. Saul is now king of Israel.
I Samuel 15:5-8a
“And Saul came to a city of Amalek, (The same people.) and laid wait in the valley. 6. And Saul said unto the Kenites, (That is a part of Israel,) Go, depart, get you down from among the Amalekites, lest I destroy you with them: for ye showed kindness to all the children of Israel, when they came up out of Egypt. So the Kenites departed from among the Amalekites. 7. And Saul smote the Amalekites from Havilah until thou comest to Shur, that is over against Egypt. 8. And he took Agag the king…” See, there’s that name again. That was back in the Book of Esther.
I Samuel 15:8-9
“And he took Agag (who was at that time) 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, and all that was good, and would not utterly destroy them: but every thing that was vile and refuse, that they destroyed utterly.” All right, now to get what God’s reaction to all this was, verse 10.
I Samuel 15:10-11a
“Then came the word of the LORD unto Samuel, saying, 11. It repenteth me (I’m sorry) that I have set up Saul to be king: for he has turned back from following me, and hath not performed my commandments. And it grieved Samuel;…” All right, where did Saul fail? He should have finished the job with the Amalekites, but he didn’t.
Now then, when you jump all the way up to the Book of Esther, here we’ve got the same tribal people. Haman is an Amalekite. So, what’s his feeling toward Israel? He hates them. It’s just part of his makeup. All right, back to Esther chapter 3. Now, the king promotes this Amalekite, Haman, who was the son of Hamedatha the Agagite. Remember, he was the king of the Amalekites.
“…and the king advanced him, and set his seat above all the princes that were with him. 2. And all the king’s servants, that were in the king’s gate, bowed, and reverenced Haman: (this enemy of the Jew.) for the king had so commanded concerning him. But Mordecai bowed not, nor did him reverence.” Now, we’re setting him up for trouble, aren’t we? Mordecai the Jew will not bow down to this Amalekite, which he evidently knew he was – verse 3.
“Then the king’s servants, who were in the king’s gate, said unto Mordecai, Why transgressest thou the king’s commandment? 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.” So, now the secret is out completely, so far as Mordecai is concerned – verse 5.
“And when Haman saw that Mordecai bowed not, not did him reverence, then was Haman full of wrath. 6. And he thought scorn to lay hands on Mordecai alone; for they had showed him the people of Mordecai: wherefore Haman sought to destroy (Now watch it carefully. Haman is going to seek to–) destroy all the Jews that were throughout the whole kingdom of Ahasuerus, even the people of Mordecai.” He wants every Jew destroyed out of the kingdom of the Medes and the Persians. All right, I’m going to skip verse 7 and come down to verse 8.
“And Haman said unto the king, There is a certain people scattered abroad and dispersed among the people in all the provinces of thy kingdom; and their laws are diverse (or different) from all people; neither keep they the king’s laws: therefore it is not for the king’s profit to suffer (permit) them.” So, what’s he building up for? Get the king a decree to kill every Jew. All right, verse 9, now old Haman, remember where he’s coming from.
“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, (That is to kill the Jews.) to bring it into the king’s treasuries. 10. And the king took his ring from his hand, and gave it unto Haman the son of Hammedatha the Agagite, the Jews’ enemy. 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.” You see how it’s building? Oh, listen, when Satan goes after the Jew, he pulls every plug – verse 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.”
“And the letters were sent by posts (Have you ever wondered where the name post office comes from? That’s not a western invention. It was already called that way back here. Here’s the Pony Express! The original.) 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 the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, which is the month Adar, and to take the spoil of them for a prey.” In other words, to take over their property.
“The copy of the writing for a commandment to be given in every province was published unto all people, and they should be ready against that day. 15. The posts went out, (The mailmen, see? The Pony Express riders, they 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 of Shushan was perplexed.” Now, what does that mean? Oh, they lived sumptuously in the palace. But the people in the street, as they say today, were living in utter poverty. They had nothing of the comforts of life.
“When Mordecai perceived (or understood) 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 bitter cry; 2. And came even before the king’s gate: for none might enter into the king’s gate clothed with sackcloth. 3b. …there was great mourning among the Jews, and fasting, and weeping, and wailing; and many lay in sackcloth and ashes.”.
“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. 5. Then called Esther for Hatach, 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.”
Esther 4:6 -7
“So Hatach went forth to Mordecai unto the street of the city, which was before the king’s gate. 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 the king’s treasury for the Jews, to destroy them.”
Well, anyway, to make it simple, when all this is understood, we come back to the key verse that we started with in the Book of Esther, verse 14. Now, Mordecai is letting his beautiful niece I’m going to call her, Esther, he’s going to let her know what is really going on. Again, he says:
“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?”