The Book of Esther Part Two
Andddd I’m back. If you missed my intro to the bible study series, check it out in part one of my Book of Esther remix.
I watch a LOT of tv shows. Like, a lot. Like wayyyyyy to much Netflix and DVR action. What I really like about Netflix is that if I’m binging which is like, always, instead of having to sit through the show’s recap, Netflix assumes that if I watched an episode that just ended a few moments ago, that I don’t need to be reminded of what just happened at the start of the next episode. I like that. I appreciate that. So if you just read my last post, pretend I’m Netflix and skip the next few lines to the beginning of where we left off in the last post.
For those of you that did not read my last episode, here is a quickie recap: King falls in love with Jewish woman, Esther, who is a cousin to Mordecai, also a Jew. Haman is the king’s second in command and is enemy of the Jews. Mordecai refuses to bow down to Haman, which sets Haman off so much so that he vows to kill all Jews. Mordecai tells Esther of Haman’s plans and Esther tells Mordecai that there is nothing she can do about it because she can only go to the king if he calls for her. Mordecai says in response, you know you’re a Jew, right, so maybe this is why you are queen- to save us!
Esther thinks about this some more and we ended the post with Esther pulling up the big girl briefs and telling Mordecai that she will risk her life to save her peeps, the Jews. This is also where she made her epic, fear-conquering statement:
“If I must die, I die.”
Now back to the show…
Chapter 5- Esther goes to the king
So on the third day of the fast, Esther put on her royal robe and approached King Xerxes who welcomed her. In verse 3 he asked her, “What do you want, Queen Esther? What is your request? I will give it to you, even if it is half the kingdom.”
Esther said, I want you and Haman to come over for a dinner that I have prepared for you. So the king relayed the message through his attendant to Haman and Haman and the king joined Queen Esther at the banquet. They drank some wine and the king asked Esther again, “Now tell me what you really want. What is your request? I will give it to you, even if it is half the kingdom.” (and this is where I started singing T-Pain’s I’m sprungggggg). Esther again asks the king and Haman to come to another dinner that she will prepare for them tomorrow, where she will explain everything.
Haman left the first dinner feeling good but when he saw Mordecai at the king’s gate not trembling with fear before him, he.was.furious. He went home and bragged to his wife and friends about being invited to the queen’s dinner tomorrow but then could not help venting about Mordecai, saying “but this [his invitation to the queen’s dinner] is all worth nothing as long as I see Mordecai the Jew just sitting there at the palace gate.” In response to his vent-fest Haman’s wife suggested that he set up a sharp 75 foot pole and ask the king to impale Mordecai on it before going to the dinner. Haman happily agreed and ordered that the pole be set up.
Chapter 6- The king and Mordecai
That very night before the dinner, the king could not sleep so he had his attendant bring him a book on the history of his reign. In that book was the story of how Mordecai exposed the plot of the two eunuchs that wanted to assassinate King Xerxes. Upon discovering that story, King Xerxes asked the attendant if Mordecai ever received any rewards or recognition for his act. He didn’t. So the king asked the attendant to bring Haman in. I’m not sure if the king called for Haman that same night or early the next day before the banquet but nonetheless, the king asked Haman, “what should I do to honor a man who truly pleases me?”
Here, Haman thinks that the king is talking about honoring him so he replies with his deepest desires, saying that the king should allow the man to wear royal robes and ride through the city square on the king’s horse while the other officials shout to the crowds that this is what the king does for someone he wishes to honor.
[here’s the funny part]
So the king says, YAS, take my robes and my horse and do just as you suggested for Mordecai the Jew who sits at the gate of the place. He continues saying, “Leave out nothing you have suggested!”
[I literally LOL’d when I read that. God and his sense of humor, I tell ya…]
So Haman takes the robes and puts them on Mordecai, leads him through the city while shouting that this is what the king does for someone he wishes to honor. Haman was so humiliated and I wish I was there to see all of that go down. Womp, womp…
Haman goes home and tells his wife and friends what happened and they advise him to leave Mordecai alone because everything that Haman planned against him will not work.
Chapter 7- Peace Out Haman
So Haman and the king go to the dinner and while they were drinking wine, the king asks Esther again what her request is. He repeats that he will give her the request, even if it is half the kingdom (still singing* I’m sprunggggggg).
Queen Esther then asks the king to spare her life and the life of her people, for their lives have been sold to those who would kill, slaughter and annihilate them. The king then demanded to know who would do such a thing, to which Esther replied, “Haman.”
And boom goes the dynamite.
Haman probably crapped his pants at that moment. In verse 6 we read that Haman grew “pale with fright” before the king and queen. The king is PO’d and storms out to the palace garden, presumably to think about what he should do. Meanwhile, Haman pleads for his life with the queen, knowing that the king was going to kill him. The king comes back and has his attendants cover Haman’s face, which signified his being condemned to death. In verse 9, one of the king’s men let’s the king know that, “Haman has set up a sharpened pole that stands 75 feet tall in his own courtyard. He intended to use it to impale Mordecai, the man who saved the king from assassination.”
“Then impale Haman on it,” the king ordered. So Haman was impaled on the pole he set up for Mordecai.
Oh, the irony.
So just to be sure we all got what just happened, Haman plotted to kill Mordecai, and ended up being impaled on the very pole that he intended for Mordecai. Haman set up that pole for Mordecai but ended up dying on it himself. WHOA.
Chapter 8- The New Decree
On that same day, after the impaling, King Xerxes gave Haman’s property to Esther. Esther tells the king that her and Mordecai were related and the king gives Mordecai his signet ring. Esther places Mordecai in charge of what was Haman’s property. Knowing that her work was not yet done, Esther goes before the king again to ask him to reverse the plot Haman ordered to kill the Jews (because during those times, if the king ordered a decree, it could never be reversed). The king said alright, go ahead and send a message to the Jews in my name, seal it with my signet, and remember that Haman’s decree has already been sealed cannot be revoked, but a new decree could be made to cancel the decree Haman made. So a new decree was written giving the Jews in every city the right to defend their lives against anyone who might attack them and the freedom to take the property of their enemies.
Upon hearing of the decree, the Jews rejoiced and celebrated and in verse 17, we see that many of the people of the land became Jews out of fear for what the Jews may do to them if they weren’t.
Chapter 9- March 7
March 7, the day of the attack that Haman planned for the destruction of the Jews nearly a year ago came and the enemies of the Jews were overpowered by the Jews themselves. The Jews struck down their enemies but did not take their properties. The Jews killed 10 of Haman’s sons, along with 500 men in the fortress of Susa alone. The king allowed for the impaling of Haman’s sons and the fighting continues through the next day. On March 9, the Jews rested and made that day a day for celebration and feasting. In Verse 22, we see that on March 9, the Jews commemorated a time when they gained relief from their enemies, when their sorrow was turned into gladness and their mourning into joy.
The Jews agreed to celebrate these days annually, naming the celebration the Festival of Purim (purim is the Persian word for lots. Remember, in Chapter 3, verse 7, we saw that Haman cast lots to determine the best day and month to take action for the killing of the Jews. Remember, casting lots is a method used to determine the will of God, similar to today’s equivalence of flipping a coin.). So the Festival of Purim was established to commemorate annually the deliverance of the Jews from their enemies.
Chapter 10- Mordecai the Prime Minister
Mordecai the Jew became the prime minister, with authority next to that of the king himself. He was highly respected amongst the Jews and continued to work for the good and welfare of his people.
That ends the Book of Esther. That was good right!?
What was your favorite part of the story? Did you notice that God was not blatantly mentioned in the story but overwhelmingly in all the details?! Crazy right, but that goes to show that God is with you even when it doesn’t seem like He is.
I’m excited to continue our study of how we can use lessons from the Book of Esther in our daily lives. I’ll see ya in the next post.
Until then, love like Jesus.
Image by Brooke Cagle via Unsplash
Graphics and Content by Cefion