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|February, 2018 (5778)||Vol. 44 No. 2|
THE SCROLL OF ESTHER
MRS. ARI D. HIDALGO
and DR. ELIAS E. HIDALGO
An 'acrostic' for ESTHER:
H Hinges (on the)
Although God's Name is not mentioned throughout the Book of Esther, He is surely working behind the scenes accomplishing His purposes, and here, the purpose is to save His people Israel from their enemy. The ultimate goal of God's enemies is to cut them (Israel) off from being a people, in a moment of time, so that there would be no longer God's holy, chosen and special people, that is, the descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, (the Jewish people). God is faithful to keep His promises towards His people Israel. And it is because of what He said in the book of Deuteronomy chapter 7. They are His chosen ones that He loves, and He will keep the oath which he had sworn unto the fathers. By the way, this promise is to a 1000 generations and the book of Esther deals with just one generation.
Esther is one of the main characters in this story and her name means Star. Esther's Jewish name is HADASSAH (which means Myrtle, like the tree). It is interesting that the myrtle branch is one of three branches that are used in the making of the LULAV which is used in one of the seven feasts of the Lord called, The Feast of Tabernacles that is celebrated in the fall. Actually, Hadassah or Myrtle signifies "Peace and Thanksgiving" and isn't this what The Feast of Esther (Purim) is all about, that is, the giving of THANKS UNTO THE LORD GOD for the victory of PEACE and TRIUMPH over the enemy, namely, Haman, and other anti-Semites down through the ages that would attempt to exterminate the Jewish people.
King Ahasuerus reigned between 486-465 BC. He ruled from India to Ethiopia, a hundred and twenty seven (127) provinces. He was king of Persia, and at that time Shushan was the capital.
This is an incredible story because it is unheard of that a Jewish woman would marry a Gentile king, but God permitted it so that she would be in a position of importance to obtain favor from the king, for her life and the life of her people, (the Jewish people).
Here is an outline for each chapter:
THE FIRST CHAPTER: Decree, Dissension, Decision.
King Ahasuerus made a (DECREE) to have a royal feast in his 3rd year of reign to have all the princes and his servants, the nobles, and princes of the provinces being before him to show his riches of his glorious kingdom and the honor of his excellent majesty many days, exactly for 180 days. After this feast, he made another one for all the people that were present in Shushan the palace, both great and small for 7 days in the court of the garden of the king's palace; They gave drink in golden vessels, royal wine in abundance, drinking was according to the law; the Scripture says that none did compel.
Queen Vashti also made a feast for the women in the royal house which belonged to the king. It came to pass on the 7th day that the king's heart was merry with wine, and in a state of stupor he requested that his chamberlains bring Vashti the queen to the king with her crown royal to show the people and the princes her beauty: for, the Scripture tells us that she was fair to look upon.
No one dared to refuse the king's commands, but Vashti did, and the out come was great DISSENSION not only between Vashti and the king, but this deed of the queen could spread to all women and they would despise their husbands when they would hear what Vashti refused to obey, it could reach throughout the 127 provinces and there would be even a more greater dissension among the people. It is not told to us why Vashti refused, but perhaps she didn't want to be treated as one of his possessions to be admired and thus, she took the risk of saying no, but in reality that was her down fall, for the king was very wroth, and his anger burned within him. Therefore, the king inquired with his wise men which knew the times through the study of the stars in order to make a decision of Vashti.
In those days, often times among the nation's actions were made according to the reading of the stars.
There was no such law on the books regarding the disobedience of a Queen in regards to the law of the Persians and the Medes. Apparently, this situation had never come up before, therefore certain edicts needed to be in place concerning this matter. Actions were going to be taken according to the King and his royal 'male' court. The DECISION was made in verse 19 which said.
"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".
Vashti's punishment was that she was de-throned (put away). When this decree was published all the wives were to give their own husbands honor, as in verse 22b... "every man should bear rule in his own house".
The Lord God Who is our King put forth a holy command in the New Testament concerning marriages, in the book of Ephesians chapter 5 and verse 22 "Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord." And in verse 25 "Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;" (Ephesians 5:22-29 are good Scriptures to read and remember). When God's Word is obeyed, the results are great, for it will put us in good standing before The Lord and the rewards that we will receive from Him are wonderful blessings, even showers of blessings can be ours.
THE SECOND CHAPTER: Contest, Chosen, Chamberlains.
After king Ahasuerus was pacified of the judgment against Vashti he said unto his servants to gather young virgins for a beauty CONTEST before the king. Before the virgins would be brought before the king a manner of purification consisted of twelve months of oil of myrrh for 6 months, and six months with sweet odors, and other things had to be established. Now, Esther (Hadassah) was Mordecai's 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), and she was one of the young virgins that found favor among all them that looked upon her as mentioned in verse 15.
When she was taken unto the king into his house royal in the 10 month, the month Tebeth, in the seventh year of his reign in verse 17, he, King Ahasuerus 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. Esther was CHOSEN to be King Ahasuerus' Queen in the palace in Shushan.
Now, the CHAMBERLAINS, Bigthan and Teresh sought to lay hands on the king to kill him, but Mordecai knew about it and told it to Esther and the two king's chamberlains were both charged and hanged on a tree: This affair was written in the Book of the Chronicles before the king.
As a result Mordecai's good deed was recorded in the king's memoirs.
The Lord remembers our good deeds, they are not left unrewarded...
James 1:25... "But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the word, this man shall be blessed in his deed".
Psalm 125:4... "Do good, O LORD, unto those that be good, and to them that are upright in their hearts".
Psalm 37:3... "Trust in the LORD, and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed".
THE THIRD CHAPTER: Promotion, People, Publication.
After the inquiry, both of the king's chamberlains who tried to kill him were hanged, the king promoted Haman the son of Hammedatha the Agagite, and advanced him, the arch enemy of the Jewish people. The PROMOTION was to set his seat above all the princes that were with him in chapter 3 and verse 1. We are not told why the king promoted Haman, but he did. And every one in the kingdom, all the PEOPLE were commanded to reverence and bow to Haman. And they did except one person.
There was a Jewish man named Mordecai who would not do such a thing, that is, to bow down to Haman. And, this continued day in and day out, month in and month out as he was being observed by the king's servants. This disturbed the servants of the king to the point of asking Mordecai why he was rebelling concerning the commandment to reverence Haman in verses 2-3, but Mordecai hearkened not to them.
Finally, the servants of the king brought this matter to the attention of Haman, therefore, he noticed that Mordecai would not bow nor do him reverence, and this made Haman full of wrath enough to lay hands on Mordecai. But, he did not at this time, but Haman was out to get not only Mordecai, but his people, in fact all the Jews throughout the whole kingdom of Ahasuerus. Before Haman went into the king, there was the casting of Pur (lot) before Haman from the 1st of the month, the month of Nisan, to the twelfth month, the month Adar in the twelfth year of king Ahasuerus.
Then Haman went into the king and began to plot against the Jewish people, saying in verse 8... "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". Interesting, Haman did not mention to the king that the certain people were the Jewish people.
Accusations of falsehood are always the way of life with the haters of the Jewish people.
At this time, the PUBLICATION of hatred against the Jews began by the hand of Haman, with the signature of the king and sealed with his ring from verses 9-15. Haman even offered 10 thousand talents of silver unto the king to do this hate crime in verse 9. This surely reminds us of Judas Iscariot, who betrayed Jesus for 30 pieces of silver in Matthew 26: 14-16.
In verse 13 we read that "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". The posts went out, and the king and Haman sat down to drink; but the city Shushan was perplexed. What were the Jewish people to do?
THE FOURTH CHAPTER: Fear, Faith, Fasting.
In chapter 4 "When Mordecai perceived all that was done, Mordecai rent his clothes",... FEAR came over all the Jewish people. Mordecai "put on sackcloth with ashes and went out into the midst of the city, and cried with a loud and a bitter cry;"
There was much crying, weeping and wailing among the Jewish people when they got news of Haman's plot to kill all the Jewish people, and also, Queen Esther was told, thus she was exceedingly grieved. We find in verse 16, Esther's display of her FAITH, when she returned to Mordecai this answer. "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".
She said I will go into the king, even though it is not according to the law: and if I perish, I perish. Imagine, all of the Jewish community in Shushan with one accord, FASTING before The Lord, praying for Esther, that at the right time she would, with much courage, go into the inner court of the king's house, even without being called. Risking her own life, (for anyone who was not called by the king had to suffer the consequence, they were put to death), she needed to intercede before the king so that her people would not suffer the penalty of death.
The Scripture tells us "Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning". (Psalm 30:5). Thank you Lord
THE FIFTH CHAPTER: Golden Scepter, Gladness, Gallows.
Queen Esther courageously went into the inner court of the king's house verse 1 and verse 3, thus, favor was shown to Queen Esther by the king as he held out the GOLDEN SCEPTER to her. She responded to the king's question, which was, "What is thy petition?" In verse 8 she answers by requesting a banquet to be prepared that would include Haman. Obviously, Haman had GLADNESS, and his heart was filled with pride verses 11, 12, actually he had murder in his heart against Mordecai in verse 14 and had the GALLOWS built for Mordecai at the suggestion of his wife Zeresh and his friends.
It's amazing how an individual can be so deluded so as to think that his wrong will become right.
THE SIXTH CHAPTER: Record Read, Royal Apparel, Reasoning of Wise men and Zeresh.
God's timing is so perfect in reference to what is just about to happen in verse 1, as we read the king had a sleepless night and sometimes there are good things that come out of not sleeping, and this was one of these moments.
The king calls for the Book of Chronicles to have the royal RECORD READ to him. It had been recorded that a good deed to save the king's life was done by an individual called Mordecai in verse 2. As such, the king wanted to give honor to this man. We can see that God is at work behind the scenes.
The 'wicked one', Haman was not used to honor anyone but himself, or to uplift others, was surely curious as to what could be done to this person. How was he to be honored? Haman thought that he was the one that the king was going to honor, so by the suggestion of Haman, he said in reference to verses 8 and 9 let the king's ROYAL APPAREL including his royal crown be set on his head, and the horse that the king rides be used for this individual to parade through the streets by the most noble prince.
Whom the king delighted to honor surely was not Haman, but rather Mordecai.
When Haman heard who the king wanted to honor, that is, Mordecai, and that he, Haman, was chosen to do this honor to Mordecai he was grieved, in mourning he rushed home to his wife and friends and told them all that had happened. The REASONING OF THE WISE MEN AND ZERESH for Haman was as follows in verse 13, and they said... "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".
There is always a recompense from The Lord God to all who will plot to harm the children of Israel. 'and curse him that curseth thee' Genesis 12:3.
THE SEVENTH CHAPTER: Petition, Protection, Punishment.
In verse 3 we read Esther's plea for her life (at the second banquet with the king and Haman). Queen Esther said my PETITION is " If I have found favor 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:" She then revealed her true identity with her people Israel to the king.
(Referring to Haman's wicked plot) Esther in verse 4 said... "For we are sold, I and my people, to be destroyed, to be slain, and to perish". and in verse 6 Esther reveals Haman as the adversary and enemy and wicked one. Then Haman was afraid, he begs for PROTECTION from Esther who is Jewish, and falls upon her bed. And, as the king returned he saw and said, in verse 8b "Will he force the queen also before me in my house?" In verse 8, infuriated the king pronounces the PUNISHMENT, and the word went forth from the king to hang Haman on the gallows that he made for Mordecai verses 8-10.
The LORD God is true to His Word as we have seen in the life of this wicked Haman, so also to all who will plot and carry out their evil actions against the Jewish people.
In Psalm 9:16b... "The wicked is snared in the work of his own hands".
Also in Psalm 7:16... "His mischief shall return upon his own head, and his violent dealing shall come down upon his own pate (head)".
THE EIGHTH CHAPTER: Promotion, Plea, Proselytes.
Mordecai's PROMOTION is herald and he is promoted chief minister to the king as was Joseph in Genesis 41:42. Esther's PLEA to the king was that the letters of Haman would be reversed in verses 5, and 6, that is, to reverse the curse on the Jews. Since it could not be reversed when sealed by the king's ring, then, letters were written and sealed by the king's ring that the Jewish people could stand for their lives verse 11. And, in verse 13, Jewish people were to be ready to avenge themselves on their enemies. In verse 17, the Jewish people had joy and gladness, a feast and a good day. We read that many of the people of the land became Jews, (PROSELYTES), for fear of the Jews fell upon them.
THE NINTH CHAPTER: Fame, Fury, Feast of Purim.
When the day had come, the twelfth month, the month Adar, on the thirteenth day of the same month the enemies of the Jewish people hoped to have power over the Jews ... but it was turned and the Jewish people had rule over them that hated them...
Mordecai became famous throughout the king's provinces.
In verse 4 we read that "Mordecai was great in the king's house". And his FAME became greater and greater throughout the provinces.
The FURY that Haman plotted in wanting to kill the Jewish people was defeated. For God gave the Jewish people victory and destroyed their enemies who fought against them, even Haman's ten (10) sons in verse 14, all were hanged upon the gallows by Esther's request to the king in verse 13.
In verses 17-22 the FEAST OF PURIM (the fourteenth and fifteenth) day of the month of Adar was established to be observed yearly as they would remember this wonderful victory of rest and peace that The Lord Himself gave to them, the Jewish people, from their enemies.
In verse 22 as it is written..."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".
The Feast of Purim got its name from verse 24 in chapter 9..."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;" But, Esther, by the direction of The Lord God is the hero, because of her willingness to risk her own life as she went before the king without being called and because of favor shown toward her by the king, this began the process to eliminate the wicked one's victory of the device that he was going to use against the Jews. It returned upon his own head, he, Haman and his ten (10) sons were the ones destroyed, as they were hanged. The Jewish people were given the right to fight for their lives.
In verses 29-32, we read that letters were sent with words of PEACE AND TRUTH to all 127 provinces by Esther and Mordecai. These matters of Purim were confirmed.
THE TENTH CHAPTER:
In conclusion: All of the acts of the king's power and of his might, and the declaration of the greatness of Mordecai, whereunto the king advanced him, are written in the Book of the Chronicles of the kings of Media and Persia.
Mordecai sought the wealth of his people speaking PEACE (SHALOM) to all his seed.
In the New Testament it is recorded ONE Greater than all the kings of the earth and His name is Y'shua (Jesus) our Lord, The Sar Shalom, (Prince of Peace), Who will give HIS ETERNAL PEACE TO ALL WHO WILL COME UNTO HIM BY FAITH.
In the Book of John chapter 14 and verse 27 says "Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid".
Truly, this is the BEST MESSAGE OF PEACE for all people, and it is "to the Jew first and also to the Gentile". (Romans 1:16).
The 14th and the 15th day of Adar... is the Feast of Purim.
Thank you Lord for the freedom that we have, with life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, here and now.
'Pray for the peace of Jerusalem, they shall prosper that love thee' (Psalm 122: 6).
IS AN ENGLISH WORD THAT MEANS