ESTHER

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The Remarkable Story of A Brave Queen And Champion For The Jews . Featuring, Spurgeon, Mary Elizabeth Baxter, and James Smith. Compiled by Debra Maffett

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PRESENTS

ESTHER

The Remarkable Story of A Brave Queen

And Champion For The Jews

FEATURING

The Book Of Esther

Esther Defeats Her Enemies by Charles Spurgeon

ESTHER by Mary Elizabeth Baxter

Handfuls on Purpose - ESTHER by James Smith

COMPILED BY DEBRA MAFFETT

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CONTENT

The Book Of Esther (Audio KJV) 5

The Book of Esther - World English Bible 7

Esther Defeats Her Enemies by Charles Spurgeon 30

ESTHER by Mary Elizabeth Baxter 49

Handfuls on Purpose - ESTHER by James Smith 55

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THE BOOK OF ESTHER

The Book of Esther describes the Jewish heroine Esther, who saved the

Jewish people in Persia from annihilation during the reign of King

Xerxes I (Ahasuerus) of Persia, who ruled from 486 to 465 BC. The Book

of Esther described part of the Jewish Diaspora which stayed behind in

Persia and did not return to Jerusalem during the Restoration. The Book

is the source of Purim or the Festival of Lots.

Esther is the fifth of the five Megillot or Scrolls (See also Song of Songs,

Ruth, Lamentations, and Ecclesiastes) that are read throughout the year

during the Festivals of the Lord (Leviticus 23) or Jewish Memorial

Holidays. The Memorial Holiday of Purim or the Festival of Lots (Esther

9:26) is celebrated on the fourteenth day of the Hebrew month of Adar,

which generally falls in February or March.

The Book of Esther Audio: (click here)

or go to:

https://www.smore.com/8hf97

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Esther 4:14 …

For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance

for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your

father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you

have come to your royal position for such a time as this?”

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ESTHER

Chapter 1

The Banquet of King Ahasuerus

1 Now in the days of Ahasuerus (this is Ahasuerus who reigned from

India even to Ethiopia, over one hundred twenty-seven provinces), 2 in

those days, when the King Ahasuerus sat on the throne of his kingdom,

which was in Shushan the palace, 3 in the third year of his reign, he

made a feast for all his princes and his servants; the power of Persia

and Media, the nobles and princes of the provinces, being before him. 4

He displayed the riches of his glorious kingdom and the honor of his

excellent majesty many days, even one hundred eighty days. 5 When

these days were fulfilled, the king made a seven day feast for all the

people who were present in Shushan the palace, both great and small,

in the court of the garden of the king’s palace. 6 There were hangings of

white, green, and blue material, fastened with cords of fine linen and

purple to silver rings and marble pillars. The couches were of gold and

silver, on a pavement of red, white, yellow, and black marble. 7 They

gave them drinks in golden vessels of various kinds, including royal

wine in abundance, according to the bounty of the king. 8 In accordance

with the law, the drinking was not compulsory; for so the king had

instructed all the officials of his house, that they should do according to

every man’s pleasure. 9 Also Vashti the queen made a feast for the

women in the royal house which belonged to King Ahasuerus.

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 Carcass, the seven eunuchs who served in the presence of

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Ahasuerus the king, 11 to bring Vashti the queen before the king with

the royal crown, to show the people and the princes her beauty; for she

was beautiful. 12 But the queen Vashti refused to come at the king’s

commandment by the eunuchs. Therefore the king was very angry, and

his anger burned in him. 13 Then the king said to the wise men, who

knew the times, (for it was the king’s custom to consult those who knew

law and judgment; 14 and the next to him were Carshena, Shethar,

Admatha, Tarshish, Meres, Marsena, and Memucan, the seven princes

of Persia and Media, who saw the king’s face, and sat first in the

kingdom), 15 “What shall we do to the queen Vashti according to law,

because she has not done the bidding of the King Ahasuerus by the

eunuchs?”

16 Memucan answered before the king and the princes, “Vashti the

queen has not done wrong to just the king, but also to all the princes,

and to all the people who are in all the provinces of the King Ahasuerus.

17 For this deed of the queen will become known to all women, causing

them to show contempt for their husbands, when it is reported, ‘King

Ahasuerus commanded Vashti the queen to be brought in before him,

but she didn’t come.’ 18 Today, the princesses of Persia and Media who

have heard of the queen’s deed will tell all the king’s princes. This will

cause much contempt and wrath.

19 “If it please the king, let a royal commandment go from him, and let

it be written among the laws of the Persians and the Medes, so that it

cannot be altered, that Vashti may never again come before King

Ahasuerus; and let the king give her royal estate to another who is

better than she. 20 When the king’s decree which he shall make is

published throughout all his kingdom (for it is great), all the wives will

give their husbands honor, both great and small.”

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21 This advice 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 its writing, and to

every people in their language, that every man should rule his own

house, speaking in the language of his own people.

Chapter 2

Esther is made Queen

2 After these things, when the wrath of King Ahasuerus was pacified,

he remembered Vashti, and what she had done, and what was decreed

against her. 2 Then the king’s servants who served him said, “Let

beautiful young virgins be sought for the king. 3 Let the king appoint

officers in all the provinces of his kingdom, that they may gather

together all the beautiful young virgins to the citadel of Susa, to the

women’s house, to the custody of Hegai the king’s eunuch, keeper of the

women. Let cosmetics be given them; 4 and let the maiden who pleases

the king be queen instead of Vashti.” The thing pleased the king, and he

did so.

5 There was a certain Jew in the citadel of Susa, whose name was

Mordecai, the son of Jair, the son of Shimei, the son of Kish, a

Benjamite, 6 who had been carried away from Jerusalem with the

captives who had been carried away with Jeconiah king of Judah, whom

Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon had carried away. 7 He brought up

Hadassah, that is, Esther, his uncle’s daughter; for she had neither

father nor mother. The maiden was fair and beautiful; and when her

father and mother were dead, Mordecai took her for his own daughter.

8 So, when the king’s commandment and his decree was heard, and

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when many maidens were gathered together to the citadel of Susa, to

the custody of Hegai, Esther was taken into the king’s house, to the

custody of Hegai, keeper of the women. 9 The maiden pleased him, and

she obtained kindness from him. He quickly gave her cosmetics and her

portions of food, and the seven choice maidens who were to be given

her out of the king’s house. He moved her and her maidens to the best

place in the women’s house. 10 Esther had not made known her people

nor her relatives, because Mordecai had instructed her that she should

not make it known. 11 Mordecai walked every day in front of the court

of the women’s house, to find out how Esther was doing, and what

would become of her.

12 Each young woman’s turn came to go in to King Ahasuerus after her

purification for twelve months (for so were the days of their

purification accomplished, six months with oil of myrrh, and six

months with sweet fragrances and with preparations for beautifying

women). 13 The young woman then came to the king like this: whatever

she desired was given her to go with her out of the women’s house to

the king’s house. 14 In the evening she went, and on the next day she

returned into the second women’s house, to the custody of Shaashgaz,

the king’s eunuch, who kept the concubines. She came in to the king no

more, unless the king delighted in her, and she was called by name.

15 Now when the turn of Esther, the daughter of Abihail the uncle of

Mordecai, who had taken her for his daughter, came to go in to the king,

she required nothing but what Hegai the king’s eunuch, the keeper of

the women, advised. Esther obtained favor in the sight of all those who

looked at her. 16 So Esther was taken to King Ahasuerus into his royal

house in the tenth month, which is the month Tebeth, in the seventh

year of his reign. 17 The king loved Esther more than all the women,

and she obtained favor and kindness in his sight more than all the

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virgins; so that he set the royal crown on her head, and made her queen

instead of Vashti.

18 Then the king made a great feast for all his princes and his servants,

even Esther’s feast; and he proclaimed a holiday in the provinces, and

gave gifts according to the king’s bounty.

19 When the virgins were gathered together the second time, Mordecai

was sitting in the king’s gate. 20 Esther had not yet made known her

relatives nor her people, as Mordecai had commanded her; for Esther

obeyed Mordecai, like she did when she was brought up by him. 21 In

those days, while Mordecai was sitting in the king’s gate, two of the

king’s eunuchs, Bigthan and Teresh, who were doorkeepers, were angry,

and sought to lay hands on the King Ahasuerus. 22 This thing became

known to Mordecai, who informed Esther the queen; and Esther

informed the king in Mordecai’s name. 23 When this matter was

investigated, and it was found to be so, they were both hanged on a tree;

and it was written in the book of the chronicles in the king’s presence.

Chapter 3

Mordecai Refuses to Honor Haman

3 After these things King Ahasuerus promoted Haman the son of

Hammedatha the Agagite, and advanced him, and set his seat above all

the princes who were with him. 2 All the king’s servants who were in

the king’s gate bowed down, and paid homage to Haman; for the king

had so commanded concerning him. But Mordecai didn’t bow down or

pay him homage. 3 Then the king’s servants, who were in the king’s

gate, said to Mordecai, “Why do you disobey the king’s

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commandment?” 4 Now it came to pass, when they spoke daily to him,

and he didn’t listen to them, that they told Haman, to see whether

Mordecai’s reason would stand; for he had told them that he was a Jew.

5 When Haman saw that Mordecai didn’t bow down, nor pay him

homage, Haman was full of wrath. 6 But he scorned the thought of

laying hands on Mordecai alone, for they had made known to him

Mordecai’s people. Therefore Haman sought to destroy all the Jews who

were throughout the whole kingdom of Ahasuerus, even Mordecai’s

people.

7 In the first month, that is, the month Nisan, in the twelfth year of king

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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. 8 Haman said to King Ahasuerus, “There is a certain people

scattered abroad and dispersed among the peoples in all the provinces

of your kingdom, and their laws are different than other people’s. They

don’t keep the king’s laws. Therefore it is not for the king’s profit to

allow them to remain. 9 If it pleases the king, let it be written that they

be destroyed; and I will pay ten thousand talents of silver into the

hands of those who are in charge of the king’s business, to bring it into

the king’s treasuries.”

10 The king took his ring from his hand, and gave it to Haman the son of

Hammedatha the Agagite, the Jews’ enemy. 11 The king said to Haman,

“The silver is given to you, the people also, to do with them as it seems

good to you.” 12 Then the king’s scribes were called in on the first

month, on the thirteenth day of the month; and all that Haman

commanded was written to the king’s satraps, and to the governors who

were over every province, and to the princes of every people, to every

province according to its writing, and to every people in their language.

It was written in the name of King Ahasuerus, and it was sealed with

the king’s ring. 13 Letters were sent by couriers 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 on the thirteenth

day of the twelfth month, which is the month Adar, and to plunder

their possessions. 14 A copy of the letter, that the decree should be

given out in every province, was published to all the peoples, that they

should be ready against that day. 15 The couriers went out in haste by

the king’s commandment, and the decree was given out in the citadel of

Susa. The king and Haman sat down to drink; but the city of Shushan

was perplexed.

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Chapter 4

Mordecai Seeks the Aid of Queen Esther

4 Now when Mordecai found out all that was done, Mordecai tore his

clothes, and put on sackcloth with ashes, and went out into the middle

of the city, and wailed loudly and a bitterly. 2 He came even before the

king’s gate, for no one is allowed inside the king’s gate clothed with

sackcloth. 3 In every province, wherever 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.

4 Esther’s maidens and her eunuchs came and told her this, and the

queen was exceedingly grieved. She sent clothing to Mordecai, to

replace his sackcloth; but he didn’t receive it. 5 Then Esther called for

Hathach, one of the king’s eunuchs, whom he had appointed to attend

her, and commanded him to go to Mordecai, to find out what this was,

and why it was. 6 So Hathach went out to Mordecai, to city square which

was before the king’s gate. 7 Mordecai told him of all that had happened

to him, and the exact sum of the money that Haman had promised to

pay to the king’s treasuries for the destruction of the Jews. 8 He also

gave him the copy of the writing of the decree that was given out in

Shushan to destroy them, to show it to Esther, and to declare it to her,

and to urge her to go in to the king, to make supplication to him, and to

make request before him, for her people.

9 Hathach came and told Esther the words of Mordecai. 10 Then Esther

spoke to Hathach, and gave him a message to Mordecai: 11 “All the

king’s servants, and the people of the king’s provinces, know, that

whoever, whether man or woman, comes to the king into the inner

court without being called, there is one law for him, that he be put to

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death, except those to whom the king might hold out the golden scepter,

that he may live. I have not been called to come in to the king these

thirty days.”

12 They told to Mordecai Esther’s words.

13 Then Mordecai asked them return answer to Esther, “Don’t think to

yourself that you will escape in the king’s house any more than all the

Jews. 14 For if you remain silent now, then relief and deliverance will

come to the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house

will perish.

Who knows if you haven’t come to the kingdom

for such a time as this?”

15 Then Esther asked them to answer Mordecai, 16 “Go, gather together

all the Jews who are present in Shushan, and fast for me, and neither

eat nor drink three days, night or day. I and my maidens will also fast

the same way. Then I will go in to the king, which is against the law; and

if I perish, I perish.” 17 So Mordecai went his way, and did according to

all that Esther had commanded him.

Chapter 5

5 Now on the third day, Esther put on her royal clothing, and stood in

the inner court of the king’s house, next to the king’s house. The king

sat on his royal throne in the royal house, next to the entrance of the

house. 2 When the king saw Esther the queen standing in the court, she

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obtained favor in his sight; and the king held out to Esther the golden

scepter that was in his hand. So Esther came near, and touched the top

of the scepter. 3 Then the king asked her, “What would you like, queen

Esther? What is your request? It shall be given you even to the half of

the kingdom.”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. 5 Then the king said, Cause Haman to make haste,

that he may do as Esther has said. So the king and Haman came to the

banquet that Esther had prepared.

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6 The king said to Esther at the banquet of wine, “What is your petition?

It shall be granted you. What is your request? Even to the half of the

kingdom it shall be performed.”

7 Then Esther answered and said, “My petition and my request is this.

8 If I have found favor 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 will prepare for them, and I will do

tomorrow as the king has said.”

9 Then Haman went out that day joyful and glad of heart, but when

Haman saw Mordecai in the king’s gate, that he didn’t stand up nor

move for him, he was filled with wrath against Mordecai. 10

Nevertheless Haman restrained himself, and went home. There, he sent

and called for his friends and Zeresh his wife. 11 Haman recounted to

them the glory of his riches, the multitude of his children, all the things

in which the king had promoted him, and how he had advanced him

above the princes and servants of the king. 12 Haman also said, “Yes,

Esther the queen let no man come in with the king to the banquet that

she had prepared but myself; and tomorrow I am also invited by her

together with the king. 13 Yet all this avails me nothing, so long as I see

Mordecai the Jew sitting at the king’s gate.”

14 Then Zeresh his wife and all his friends said to him, “Let a gallows be

made fifty cubits high, and in the morning speak to the king about

hanging Mordecai on it. Then go in merrily with the king to the

banquet.” This pleased Haman, so he had the gallows made.

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Chapter 6

The King Rewards Mordecai

6 On that night, the king couldn’t sleep. He commanded the book of

records of the chronicles to be brought, and they were read to the king.

2 It was found written that Mordecai had told of Bigthana and Teresh,

two of the king’s eunuchs, who were doorkeepers, who had tried to lay

hands on the King Ahasuerus. 3 The king said, “What honor and dignity

has been given to Mordecai for this?”

Then the king’s servants who attended him said, “Nothing has been

done for him.”

4 The king said, “Who is in the court?” Now Haman had come into the

outer court of the king’s house, to speak to the king about hanging

Mordecai on the gallows that he had prepared for him.

5 The king’s servants said to him, “Behold, Haman stands in the court.”

The king said, “Let him come in.” 6 So Haman came in. The king said to

him, “What shall be done to the man whom the king delights to honor?”

Now Haman said in his heart, “Who would the king delight to honor

more than myself?” 7 Haman said to the king, “For the man whom the

king delights to honor, 8 let royal clothing be brought which the king

uses to wear, and the horse that the king rides on, and on the head of

which a crown royal is set. 9 Let the clothing and the horse be delivered

to the hand of one of the king’s most noble princes, that they may array

the man whom the king delights to honor with them, and have him ride

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on horseback through the city square, and proclaim before him, ‘Thus

shall it be done to the man whom the king delights to honor!’”

10 Then the king said to Haman, “Hurry and take the clothing and the

horse, as you have said, and do this for Mordecai the Jew, who sits at the

king’s gate. Let nothing fail of all that you have spoken.”

11 Then Haman took the clothing and the horse, and arrayed Mordecai,

and had him ride through the city square, and proclaimed before him,

“Thus shall it be done to the man whom the king delights to honor!”

12 Mordecai came back to the king’s gate, but Haman hurried to his

house, mourning and having his head covered. 13 Haman recounted to

Zeresh his wife and all his friends everything that had happened to

him. Then his wise men and Zeresh his wife said to him, “If Mordecai,

before whom you have begun to fall, is of Jewish descent, you will not

prevail against him, but you will surely fall before him.” 14 While they

were yet talking with him, the king’s eunuchs came, and hurried to

bring Haman to the banquet that Esther had prepared.

Chapter 7

7 So the king and Haman came to banquet with Esther the queen. 2 The

king said again to Esther on the second day at the banquet of wine,

“What is your petition, queen Esther? It shall be granted you. What is

your request? Even to the half of the kingdom it shall be performed.”

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3 Then Esther the queen answered, “If I have found favor in your 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 male

and female slaves, I would have held my peace, although the adversary

could not have compensated for the king’s loss.”

5 Then King Ahasuerus said to Esther the queen, “Who is he, and where

is he who dared presume in his heart to do so?”

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6 Esther said, “An adversary and an enemy, even this wicked Haman!”

Then Haman was afraid before the king and the queen. 7 The king arose

in his wrath from the banquet of wine and went into the palace garden.

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. 8 Then the

king returned out of the palace garden into the place of the banquet of

wine; and Haman had fallen on the couch where Esther was. Then the

king said, “Will he even assault the queen in front of me in the house?”

As the word went out of the king’s mouth, they covered Haman’s face.

9 Then Harbonah, one of the eunuchs who were with the king said,

“Behold, the gallows fifty cubits high, which Haman has made for

Mordecai, who spoke good for the king, is standing at Haman’s house.”

The king said, “Hang him on it!”

10 So they hanged Haman on the gallows that he had prepared for

Mordecai. Then was the king’s wrath pacified.

Chapter 8

8 On that day, King Ahasuerus gave the house of Haman, the Jews’

enemy, to Esther the queen. Mordecai came before the king; for Esther

had told what he was to her. 2 The king took off his ring, which he had

taken from Haman, and gave it to Mordecai. Esther set Mordecai over

the house of Haman. 3 Esther spoke yet again before the king, and fell

down at his feet, and begged him with tears to put away the mischief of

Haman the Agagite, and his device that he had devised against the Jews.

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4 Then the king held out to Esther the golden scepter. So Esther arose,

and stood before the king. 5 She said, “If it pleases the king, and if I

have found favor in his sight, and the thing seem right to the king, and I

am 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 who are in all the king’s provinces. 6 For how can I endure to

see the evil that would come to my people? How can I endure to see the

destruction of my relatives?”

7 Then King Ahasuerus said to Esther the queen and to Mordecai the

Jew, “See, I have given Esther the house of Haman, and him they have

hanged on the gallows, because he laid his hand on the Jews. 8 Write

also to the Jews, as it pleases 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 not be reversed by any man.”

9 Then the king’s scribes were called at that time, in the third month

Sivan, on the twenty-third day of the month; and it was written

according to all that Mordecai commanded to the Jews, and to the

satraps, and the governors and princes of the provinces which are from

India to Ethiopia, one hundred twenty-seven provinces, to every

province according to its writing, and to every people in their language,

and to the Jews in their writing, and in their language. 10 He wrote in

the name of King Ahasuerus, and sealed it with the king’s ring, and sent

letters by courier on horseback, riding on royal horses that were bred

from swift steeds. 11 In those letters, the king granted the Jews who

were in every city to gather themselves together, and to defend their

life, to destroy, to kill, and to cause to perish, all the power of the people

and province that would assault them, their little ones and women, and

to plunder their possessions, 12 on one day in all the provinces of King

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Ahasuerus, on the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, which is the

month Adar. 13 A copy of the letter, that the decree should be given out

in every province, was published to all the peoples, that the Jews should

be ready for that day to avenge themselves on their enemies. 14 So the

couriers who rode on royal horses went out, hastened and pressed on by

the king’s commandment. The decree was given out in the citadel of

Susa.

15 Mordecai went out of the presence of the king in royal clothing of

blue and white, and with a great crown of gold, and with a robe of fine

linen and purple; and the city of Susa shouted and was glad. 16 The Jews

had light, gladness, joy, and honor. 17 In every province, and in every

city, wherever the king’s commandment and his decree came, the Jews

had gladness, joy, a feast, and a good day. Many from among the peoples

of the land became Jews; for the fear of the Jews was fallen on them.

Chapter 9

Victory of the Jews

9 Now in the twelfth month, which is the month Adar, on the

thirteenth day of the month, when the king’s commandment and his

decree came near to be put in execution, on the day that the enemies of

the Jews hoped to conquer them, (but it was turned out the opposite

happened, that the Jews conquered those who hated them), 2 the Jews

gathered themselves together in their cities throughout all the

provinces of the King Ahasuerus, to lay hands on those who wanted to

harm them. No one could withstand them, because the fear of them had

fallen on all the people. 3 All the princes of the provinces, the satraps,

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the governors, and those who did the king’s business helped the Jews,

because the fear of Mordecai had fallen on them. 4 For Mordecai was

great in the king’s house, and his fame went out throughout all the

provinces; for the man Mordecai grew greater and greater. 5 The Jews

struck all their enemies with the stroke of the sword, and with

slaughter and destruction, and did what they wanted to those who

hated them. 6 In the citadel of Susa, the Jews killed and destroyed five

hundred men. 7 They killed Parshandatha, Dalphon, Aspatha, 8

Poratha, Adalia, Aridatha, 9 Parmashta, Arisai, Aridai, and Vaizatha, 10

the ten sons of Haman the son of Hammedatha, the Jew’s enemy, but

they didn’t lay their hand on the plunder. 11 On that day, the number of

those who were slain in the citadel of Susa was brought before the king.

12 The king said to Esther the queen, “The Jews have slain and destroyed

five hundred men in the citadel of Susa, including the ten sons of

Haman; what then have they done in the rest of the king’s provinces!

Now what is your petition? It shall be granted you. What is your further

request? It shall be done.”

13 Then Esther said, “If it pleases the king, let it be granted to the Jews

who are in Shushan to do tomorrow also according to today’s decree,

and let Haman’s ten sons be hanged on the gallows.”

14 The king commanded this to be done. A decree was given out in

Shushan; and they hanged Haman’s ten sons. 15 The Jews who were in

Shushan gathered themselves together on the fourteenth day also of

the month Adar, and killed three hundred men in Shushan; but they

didn’t lay their hand on the plunder. 16 The other Jews who were in the

king’s provinces gathered themselves together, defended their lives,

had rest from their enemies, and killed seventy-five thousand of those

who hated them; but they didn’t lay their hand on the plunder. 17 This

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was done on the thirteenth day of the month Adar; and on the

fourteenth day of that month they rested and made it a day of feasting

and gladness. 18 But the Jews who were in Shushan assembled together

on the thirteenth and on the fourteenth days of the month; and on the

fifteenth day of that month, they rested, and made it a day of feasting

and gladness. 19 Therefore the Jews of the villages, who live in the

unwalled towns, make the fourteenth day of the month Adar a day of

gladness and feasting, a good day, and a day of sending presents of food

to one another. 20 Mordecai wrote these things, and sent letters to all

the Jews who were in all the provinces of the king Ahasuerus, both near

and far, 21 to enjoin them that they should keep the fourteenth and

fifteenth days of the month Adar yearly, 22 as the days in which the

Jews had rest from their enemies, and the month which was turned to

them from sorrow to gladness, and from mourning into a good day; that

they should make them days of feasting and gladness, and of sending

presents of food to one another, and gifts to the needy. 23 The Jews

accepted the custom that they had begun, as Mordecai had written to

them; 24 because Haman the son of Hammedatha, the Agagite, the

enemy of all the Jews, had plotted against the Jews to destroy them, and

had cast “Pur”, that is the lot, to consume them, and to destroy them; 25

but when this became known to the king, he commanded by letters that

his wicked device, which he had devised against the Jews, should return

on his own head, and that he and his sons should be hanged on the

gallows. 26 Therefore they called these days “Purim”, from the word

“Pur.”Therefore because of all the words of this letter, and of that which

they had seen concerning this matter, and that which had come to

them, 27 the Jews established, and imposed on themselves, and on their

descendants, and on all those who joined themselves to them, so that it

should not fail, that they would keep these two days according to what

was written, and according to its appointed time, every year; 28 and

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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 their memory

perish from their offspring,

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 He sent letters to all the Jews, to the hundred twenty-seven

provinces of the kingdom of Ahasuerus, with words of peace and truth,

31 to confirm these days of Purim in their appointed times, as Mordecai

the Jew and Esther the queen had decreed, and as they had imposed

upon themselves and their descendants, in the matter of the fastings

and their cry. 32 The commandment of Esther confirmed these matters

of Purim; and it was written in the book.

Chapter 10

10 King Ahasuerus laid a tribute on the land, and on the islands of the

sea. 2 All the acts of his power and of his might, and the full account of

the greatness of Mordecai, to which the king advanced him, aren’t they

written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Media and Persia?

3 For Mordecai the Jew was next to King Ahasuerus, and great among

the Jews, and accepted by the multitude of his brothers, seeking the

good of his people, and speaking peace to all his descendants.

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Esther Defeats Her Enemies!

Charles Spurgeon

The Lord intended by the narrative of Esther's history, to set before us a

wonderful instance of His providence, that when we had viewed it with

interest and pleasure, we might praise His name, and then go on to

acquire the habit of observing His hand in other histories, and

especially in our own lives.

Well does Flavel say, that he who observes providence, will never be

long without a providence to observe. The man who can walk through

the world and see no God, is said upon inspired authority to be a fool;

but the wise man's eyes are in his head, he sees with an inner sight, and

discovers God everywhere at work. It is his joy to perceive that the Lord

is working according to His will in Heaven, and earth, and in all deep

places.

It has been well said that the Book of Esther is a record of wonders

without a miracle, and therefore, though equally revealing the glory of

the Lord, it sets it forth in another fashion from that which is displayed

in the overthrow of Pharaoh by miraculous power.

Let us come now to the story. There were two races, one of which God

had blessed and promised to preserve, and another of which he had

said that he would utterly put out the remembrance of it from under

Heaven. Israel was to be blessed and made a blessing, but of Amalek the

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Lord had sworn that "The Lord will have war with Amalek from

generation to generation." These two peoples were therefore in deadly

hostility, like the seed of the woman and the seed of the serpent,

between whom the Lord Himself has put an enmity.

Many years had rolled away; the chosen people were in great distress,

and at this far off time there still existed upon the face of the earth

some relics of the race of Amalek; among them was one descended of

the royal line of Agag, whose name was Haman, and he was in supreme

power at the court of Ahasuerus, the Persian monarch. Now it was

God's intent that a last conflict should take place between Israel and

Amalek: the conflict which began with Joshua in the desert was to be

finished by Mordecai in the king's palace.

This last struggle began with great disadvantage to God's people.

Haman was prime minister of the far-extending empire of Persia, the

favorite of a despotic monarch, who was pliant to his will. Mordecai, a

Jew in the employment of the king, sat in the king's gate; and when he

saw proud Haman go to and fro, he refused to pay to him the homage

which others rendered obsequiously. He would not bow his head or

bend his knee to him, and this galled Haman exceedingly. It came into

Haman's mind that this Mordecai was of the seed of the Jews, and with

the remembrance came the high ambition to avenge the quarrel of his

race. He thought it scorn to touch one man, and resolved that in himself

he would incarnate all the hate of generations, and at one blow sweep

the accursed Jews, as he thought them, from off the face of the earth.

He went in to the king, with whom his word was power, and told him

that there was a singular people scattered up and down the Persian

empire, different from all others, and opposed to the king's laws, and

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that it was not for the king's profit to tolerate them. He asked that they

might all be destroyed, and he would pay into the king's treasury an

enormous sum of money to compensate for any loss of revenue by their

destruction. He intended that the spoil which would be taken from the

Jews should tempt their neighbors to kill them, and that the part

allotted to himself should repay the amount which he advanced, thus

he would make the Jews pay for their own murder. He had no sooner

asked for this horrible grant than the monarch conceded it; taking his

signet ring from off his finger, he bade him do with the Jews as seemed

good to him. Thus the chosen seed are in the hands of the Agagite, who

thirsts to annihilate them. Only one thing stands in the way, the Lord

has said, "No weapon that is formed against you shall prosper, and

every tongue that rises against you in judgment you shall condemn." We

shall see what happens, and learn from it.

We shall learn from the narrative, that God places His agents in fitting

places for doing His work. The Lord was not taken by surprise by this

plot of Haman; He had forseen it and forestalled it. It was needful, in

order to match this cunning, malicious design of Haman, that someone

of Jewish race should possess great influence with the king. How was

this to be effected? Should a Jewess become Queen of Persia, the power

she would possess would be useful in counteracting the enemy's design.

This had been all arranged years before Haman had concocted in his

wicked heart the scheme of murdering the Jews.

Esther, whose sweet name signifies myrtle, had been elevated to the

position of Queen of Persia by a singular course of events. It happened

that King Ahasuerus, at a certain drinking bout, was so far drunk with

wine as to forget all the proprieties of eastern life, and send for his

queen, Vashti, to exhibit herself to the people and the princes. No one

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dreamed in those days of disobeying the tyrant's word, and therefore

all stood aghast when Vashti, evidently a woman of right royal spirit,

refused to degrade herself by being made a spectacle before that ribald

rout of drinking princes, and refused to come. For her courage Vashti

was divorced, and a new queen was sought for.

We cannot commend Mordecai for putting his adopted daughter in

competition for the monarch's choice; it was contrary to the law of God,

and dangerous to her soul in the highest degree. It would have been

better for Esther to have been the wife of the poorest man in Israel,

than to have gone into the den of the Persian despot. The Scripture does

not excuse, much less commend, the wrong-doing of Esther and

Mordecai in thus acting, but simply tells us how divine wisdom brought

good out of evil, even as the chemist distills healing drugs from

poisonous plants.

The high position of Esther, though gained contrary to the wisest of

laws, was overruled for the best interests of her people. Esther in the

king's house was the means of defeating the malicious adversary. But

Esther alone would not suffice; she is shut up in the harem, surrounded

by her chamberlains and her maids of honor, but quite secluded from

the outside world. A watchman is needed outside the palace to guard

the people of the Lord, and to urge Esther to action when help is

wanted. Mordecai, her cousin and foster-father, obtained an office

which placed him at the palace gate. Where could he be better posted?

He is where much of the royal business will come under his eye, and he

is both quick, courageous, and unflinching: never had Israel a better

sentinel than Mordecai, the son of Kish, a Benjamite — a very different

man from that other son of Kish, who had allowed Amalek to escape in

former times. His relationship to the queen allowed him to

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communicate with her through Hatach, her chamberlain, and, when

Haman's evil degree was published, it was not long before intelligence

of it reached her ear, and she felt the danger of which Mordecai and all

her people were exposed.

By singular providences did the Lord place those two most efficient

instruments in their places. Mordecai would have been of little use

without Esther, and Esther could have rendered no aid had it not been

for Mordecai. Meanwhile, there is a conspiracy hatched against the

king, which Mordecai discovers, and communicates to the highest

authority, and so puts the king under obligation to him, which was a

needful part of the Lord's plan.

Now whatever mischief may be brewing against the cause of God and

truth, and I dare say there is very much going on at this moment, for the

devil, the Jesuits, nor the atheists are long quiet — this we are sure of:

the Lord knows all about it, and He has His Esther and His Mordecai

ready at their posts to frustrate their designs. The Lord has His men well

placed, and His ambushes hidden in their coverts, to surprise His foes.

We need never be afraid but what the Lord has forestalled His enemies,

and provided against their mischief.

Every child of God is where God has placed him for some purpose, and

the practical use of this first point is to lead you to inquire for what

practical purpose has God placed each one of you where you now are?

You have been wishing for another position where you could do

something for Jesus: do not wish anything of the kind, but serve Him

were you are. If you are sitting at the King's gate, there is something for

you to do there; and if you were on the queen's throne, there would be

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something for you to do there. Do not ask to be either gate-keeper or

queen, but whichever you are, serve God therein.

Are you rich? God has made you a steward, take care that you are a good

steward. Are you poor? God has thrown you into a position where you

will be the better able to give a word of sympathy to poor saints. Are you

doing your allotted work? Do you live in a godly family? God has a

motive for placing you in so happy a position. Are you in an ungodly

house? You are a lamp hung up in a dark place; be sure that you shine

there. Esther did well, because she acted as an Esther should, and

Mordecai did well, because he acted as Mordecai should.

I like to think God has put each one in the right place, even as a good

captain well arranges the different parts of his army, and though we do

not know his plan of battle, it will be seen during the conflict that he

has placed each soldier where he should be. Our wisdom is not to desire

another place, nor to judge those who are in another position — but

each one being redeemed with the precious blood of Jesus, should say,

"Lord, what would you have me to do, for here I am, and by Your grace I

am ready to do it." Forget not then the fact that God in His providence

places His servants in positions where He can make use of them.

The Lord not only arranges His servants, but He restrains His enemies. I

would call your attention particularly to the fact that Haman, having

gained a decree for the destruction of all the Jews upon a certain day,

was very anxious to have his cruel work done thoroughly, and

therefore, being very superstitious, and believing in astrology, he bade

his magicians cast lots that he might find a lucky day for his great

undertaking. The lots were cast for the various months, but not a single

fortunate day could be found until near the close of the year, and then

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the chosen day was the thirteenth of the twelfth month. On that day the

magicians told their dupe that the heavens would be propitious, and the

star of Haman would be in the ascendant.

Truly the lot was cast into the lap, but the disposal of it was of the Lord.

See here, that there were eleven clear months left before the Jews would

be put to death, and that would give Mordecai and Esther time to turn

round, and if anything could be done to reverse the cruel decree they

had space to do it in. Suppose that the lot had fallen on the second or

third month, the swift dromedaries and camels and messengers would

scarcely have been able to reach the extremity of the Persian

dominions, certainly a second set of messengers to counteract the

decree could not have done so, and, humanly speaking, the Jews must

have been destroyed; but oh, in that secret council chamber where sit

the sorcerers and the man who asks counsel at the hands of the infernal

powers — the Lord Himself is present, frustrating the tokens of the

liars and making diviners mad.

Vain were their enchantments and the multitude of their sorceries; the

astrologers, the star-gazers, and the monthly prognosticators were all

fools together, and led the superstitious Haman to destruction. "Surely

there is no enchantment against Jacob, nor divination against Israel."

Trust in the Lord you righteous, and in patience possess your souls.

Leave your adversaries in the hands of God, for He can make them fall

into the snare which they have privily laid for you!

Notice, attentively, that Haman selected a mode of destroying the Jews

which was wonderfully overruled for their preservation. They were to

be slain by any of the people among whom they lived who chose to do

so, and their plunder was to reward their slayers. Now, this was a very

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cunning device, for greed would naturally incite the baser sort of men

to murder the thrifty Jews, and no doubt there were debtors who would

also be glad to see their creditors disposed of: but see the loophole for

escape which this afforded! If the decree had enacted that the Jews

should be slain by the soldiery of the Persian empire it must have been

done, and it is not easy to see how they could have escaped; but the

matter being left in private hands, the subsequent decree that they

might defend themselves, was a sufficient counteraction of the first

edict. Thus the Lord arranged that the wisdom of Haman should turn

out to be folly after all.

In another point, also, we mark the restraining hand of God: namely,

that Mordecai, though he had provoked Haman to the utmost, was not

put to death at once. Haman "refrained himself." Why did he do so?

Proud men are usually in a mighty tiff if they consider themselves

insulted, and are ready at once to take revenge; but Haman "refrained

himself;" until that day in which his anger burned furiously, and he set

up the gallows, he smothered his passion. I marvel at this; it shows how

God makes the wrath of man to praise Him, and the remainder He does

restrain. Mordecai must not die a violent death by Haman's hand.

The enemies of the church of God, and of His people, can never do

more than the Lord permits; they cannot go a hair's breadth beyond the

divine license, and when they are permitted to do their worst there is

always some weak point about all that they do, some extreme folly

which renders their fury vain. The wicked carry about them the

weapons of their own destruction, and when they rage most against the

Most High, the Lord of all brings out of it good for His people and glory

to Himself.

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Do not judge providence in little pieces, it is a grand mosaic, and

must be seen as a whole. Say not of any one hour "This is dark," it may

be so, but that darkness will minister to the light, even as the ebony

gloom of midnight makes the stars appear the more effulgent. Trust in

the Lord forever, for in the Lord Jehovah there is everlasting strength.

His wisdom will undermine the mines of cunning, His skill will overtop

the climbings of craft; "He takes the wise in their own craftiness, and

the counsel of the froward is carried headlong."

God in His providence tries His people. God tried Mordecai; he was a

quiet old man, I have no doubt, and it must have been a daily trial to

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him to stand erect, or to sit in his place when that proud peer of the

realm went strutting by. His fellow-servants told him that the King has

commanded all men to pay homage to Haman, but he held his own, not,

however, without knowing what it might cost him to be so sternly

independent. Haman was an Amalekite, and the Jew would not bow

before him. But what a trouble it must have been to the heart of

Mordecai, when he saw the proclamation that all the Jews must die: the

good man must have bitterly lamented his unhappy fate in being the

innocent cause of the destruction of his nation. For even if you know

you have done right, yet if you bring down trouble, and especially

destruction, upon the heads of others — it cuts you to the quick. You

could bear martyrdom for yourself, but it is sad to see others suffer

through your firmness.

Prayer and Providence — Esther's Action. Esther had to be tried.

Amid the glitter of the Persian court she might have grown forgetful of

her God, but the sad news comes to her, "Your cousin and your nation

are to be destroyed." Sorrow and dread filled her heart. There was no

hope for her people, unless she would go in unto the king — that despot

from whom one angry look would be death; she must risk all, and go

unbidden into his presence, and plead for her nation. Do you wonder

that she trembled? Do you marvel that she asked the prayers of the

faithful? Are you surprised to see both herself and her maids of honor

fasting and lamenting before God?

Do not think, my prosperous friend, that the Lord has given you a high

place that you may escape the trials which belong to all His people:

yours is no position of ease, but one of the hottest parts of the battle.

Neither the lowest and most quiet position, nor the most public and

exposed condition, will enable you to escape the "much tribulation"

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through which the church militant must fight its way to glory. Why

should we wish it? Should not the gold be tested in the crucible? Should

not the strong pillar sustain great weights?

When the Menai Bridge was first flung across the straits, the engineer

did not stipulate that his bridge should never be tried with great

weights; on the contrary, I can imagine his saying, "Bring up your

heaviest trains and load the bridge as much as ever you will, for it will

bear every strain." Just so, the Lord tries the righteous because He has

made them of metal which will endure the test, and He knows that by

the sustaining power of His Holy Spirit they will be held up and made

more than conquerors; therefore is it a part of the operation of

providence to try the saints. Let that comfort those of you who are in

trouble at this time.

The Lord's wisdom is seen in arranging the smallest events so as to

produce great results. We frequently hear persons say of a pleasant or a

great event, "What a providence!" while they are silent as to anything

which appears less important, or has an unpleasant savor. But the place

of the flower upon the hillside is as fixed as the station of a king; and

the dust which is raised by a chariot-wheel is as surely steered by

providence as the planet in its orbit. There is as much providence in the

creeping of an aphis upon a rose leaf — as in the marching of an army

to ravage a continent. Everything, the most minute, as well as the most

magnificent — is ordered by the Lord who has prepared His throne in

the heavens, whose kingdom rules over all. The history before us

furnishes proof of this.

We have reached the point where Esther is to go in unto the king and

plead for her people. Strengthened by prayer, but doubtless trembling

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still, Esther entered the inner court, and the king's affection led him

instantly to stretch out the golden scepter. Being told to ask what she

pleases, she invites the king to come to a banquet, and bring Haman

with him. He comes, and for the second time invites her to ask what she

wills — up to the half of his kingdom. Why, when the king was in so

kind a spirit, did not Esther speak? He was charmed with her beauty,

and his royal word was given to deny her nothing, why not speak out?

But no, she merely asks that he and Haman will come to another

banquet of wine tomorrow.

O, daughter of Abraham, what an opportunity have you lost! Why did

you not plead for your people? Their very existence hangs upon your

entreaty, and the king has said, "What will you have?" and yet you are

backward! Was it timidity? It is possible. Did she think that Haman

stood too high in the king's favor for her to prevail? It would be hard to

say. Some of us are very unaccountable, but on that woman's

unaccountable silence far more was hanging than appears at first sight.

Doubtless she longed to bring out her secret, but the words came not.

God was in it; it was not the right time to speak, and therefore she was

led to put off her disclosure. I dare say she regretted it, and wondered

when she would be able to come to the point — but the Lord knew best.

After that banquet Haman went out joyfully at the palace gate, but

being mortified beyond measure by Mordecai's unbending posture, he

called for his wife and his friends, and told them that his riches and

honors availed him nothing so long as Mordecai, the Jew, sat in the

king's gate. They might have told him, "You will destroy Mordecai and

all his people in a few months, and the man is already fretting himself

over the decree; let him live, and you be content to watch his miseries

and gloat over his despair!"

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But no, they counsel speedy revenge. Let Mordecai be hanged on a

gibbet on the top of the house, and let the gallows be set up at once, and

let Haman early in the morning ask for the Jew's life, and let his

insolence be punished. Go, call the workmen, and let the gallows be set

up at a great height that very night. It seemed a small matter that

Haman should be so enraged just at that hour, but it was a very

important item in the whole transaction, for had he not been so hasty

he would not have gone so early in the morning to the palace, and

would not have been at hand when the king said, "Who is in the court?"

But what has happened? Why, that very night, when Haman was

devising to hang up Mordecai, the king could not sleep. What caused

the monarch's restlessness? Why happened it on that night of all

others? Ahasuerus is master of one hundred and twenty-seven

provinces, but not master of ten minutes' sleep. What shall he do? Shall

he call for soothing instruments of music, or beguile the hours with a

tale that is told, or with a merry ballad of the minstrel? No, he calls for

a book. Who would have thought that this luxurious prince must listen

to a reader at dead of night. "Bring a book?" What book? A volume

perfumed with roses, musical with songs, sweet as the notes of the

nightingale? "No, bring the chronicles of the empire." Dull reading,

that! But there are one hundred and twenty-seven provinces — which

volume shall the page bring from the recorder's shelves? He chose the

record of Shushan the royal city. That is the center of the empire, and

its record is lengthy, in which section shall the reader make a

beginning? He may begin where he pleases, but before he closes the

book the story of the discovery of a conspiracy by Mordecai has been

read in the king's hearing.

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Was not this a singular accident? Singular if you like, but no accident.

Out of ten thousand other records, the reader pitches upon that one of

all others. The Jews tell us that he began at another place, but that the

book closed and fell open at the chapter upon Mordecai. Be that as it

may, this is certain, that the Lord knew where the record was, and

guided the reader to the right page. Speaking after the manner of men,

there were a million chances against one that the king of Persia should,

in the dead of the night, be reading the chronicle of his own kingdom,

and that he should light upon this particular part of it.

But that was not all, the king is interested, he had desired to go to sleep,

but that wish is gone, and he is in haste to act. He says, "This man

Mordecai has done me good service — has he been rewarded?" "No."

Then cries the impulsive monarch, "He shall be rewarded at once. Who

is in the court?" It was the most unlikely thing in the world for the

luxurious Ahasuerus to be in haste to do justice, for he had done

injustice thousands of times without remorse, and chiefly on that day

when he wantonly signed the death warrant of that very Mordecai and

his people. For once, the king is intent on being just, and at the door

stands Haman — but you know the rest of the story, and how he had to

lead Mordecai in state through the streets.

It seems a very small matter whether you or I shall sleep tonight, or toss

restlessly on our beds — but God will be in our rest or in our

wakefulness; we know not what His purpose may be, but His hand will

be in it, neither does any man sleep or wake but according to the decree

of the Lord.

Observe well how this matter prepared the way for the queen at the

next banquet; for when she unfolded her sorrow and told of the

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threatened destruction of the Jews, and pointed to that wicked Haman,

the king must have been the more interested and ready to grant her

request, from the fact that the man who had saved his life was a Jew,

and that he had already awarded the highest honors to a man in every

way fitted to supersede Haman, his worthless favorite. All was well, the

plotter was unmasked, the gibbet ready, and he who ordered it was

made to try his own arrangements.

The Lord in His providence calls His own servants to be active. This

business was done, and well done, by divine providence, but those

concerned had to pray about it. Mordecai and all the Jews outside in

Shushan fasted, and cried unto the Lord. Unbelievers inquire, "What

difference could prayer make?"

Prayer is an essential part of the providence of God, so essential, that

you will always find that when God delivers His people, His people have

been praying for that deliverance. They tell us that prayer does not

affect the Most High, and cannot alter His purposes. We never thought

it did; but prayer is a part of the purpose and plan, and a most effective

wheel in the machinery of providence. The Lord sets His people

praying, and then He blesses them.

Moreover, Mordecai was quite sure the Lord would deliver His people,

and he expressed that confidence, but he did not therefore sit still: he

stirred up Esther, and when she seemed a little slack, he put it very

strongly, "If you altogether hold your peace at this time, then

enlargement and deliverance will arise from another place, but you and

your father's house shall be destroyed." Nerved by this message, Esther

braced herself to the effort. She did not sit still and say, "The Lord will

arrange this business, there is nothing for me to do," but she both

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pleaded with God, and ventured her life and her all for her people's

sake, and then acted very wisely and discreetly in her interviews with

the king.

So we rest confidently in providence, but we are not idle. We believe

that God has an elect people, and therefore do we preach in the hope

that we may be the means, in the hands of His Spirit, of bringing this

elect people to Christ. We believe that God has appointed for His people

both holiness here and Heaven hereafter; therefore do we strive against

sin, and press forward to the rest which remains for the people of God.

Faith in God's providence, instead of repressing our energies, excites us

to diligence. We labor as if all depended upon us, and then fall back

upon the Lord with the calm faith which knows that all depends upon

Him.

Never was a man so utterly defeated as Haman, never was a project so

altogether turned aside. He was taken in his own trap, and he and his

sons were hanged up on the gibbet set up for Mordecai. As for the Jews,

they were in this special danger, that they were to be destroyed on a

certain day, and though Esther pleaded with the king for their lives, he

was not able to alter his decree, though willing to do so, for it was a rule

of the constitution that the law of the Medes and Persians could not be

altered. The king might determine what he pleased, but when he had

once decreed it he could not change it, the people feeling it better to

submit to the worst established law than to be left utterly to every

capricious whim of their master.

Now, what was to be done? The decree was given that the Jews might be

slain, and it could not be reversed. Here was the door of escape —

another decree was issued giving the Jews permission to defend

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themselves, and take the property of any who dared to attack them;

thus one decree effectually neutralized the other. With great haste this

mandate was sent all over the kingdom, and on the appointed day the

Jews stood up for themselves and slew their foes. According to their

tradition nobody attempted to attack them except the Amalekites, and

consequently only Amalekites were slain, and the race of Amalek was

on that day swept from off the face of the earth. God thus gave to the

Jews a high position in the empire and we are told that many became

Jews, or were proselytes to the God of Abraham, because they saw what

God had done.

As I commenced by saying that God sometimes darted flashes of light

through the thick darkness, you will now see what a flash this must

have been. All the people were perplexed when they found that the

Hebrews might be put to death, but they must have been far more

astonished when the decree came that they might defend themselves.

All the world inquired "Why is this?" and the answer was "The living

God, whom the Jews worship, has displayed His wisdom and rescued

His people." All nations were compelled to feel that there was a God in

Israel, and thus the divine purpose was fully accomplished, His people

were secured, and His name was glorified to the world's end.

It is clear that the divine will is accomplished, and yet men are perfectly

free agents. Haman acted according to his own will, Ahasuerus did

whatever he pleased, Mordecai behaved as his heart moved him, and so

did Esther. We see no "divine interference" with them, no force or

coercion; hence the entire sin and responsibility rest with each guilty

one, yet, acting with perfect freedom, none of them acts otherwise than

divine providence had foreseen.

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"I cannot understand it," says one. I am compelled to say the same — I

do not understand it either. I have known many who think they

comprehend all things, but I imagine they had a higher opinion of

themselves than truth would endorse. Certain of my brethren deny free

agency, and so get out of the difficulty; others assert that there is no

predestination, and so cut the knot.

As I do not wish to get out of the difficulty, and have no wish to shut my

eyes to any part of the truth, I believe both free agency and

predestination to be facts. How they can be made to agree, I do not

know, or care to know; I am satisfied to know anything which God

chooses to reveal to me, and equally content not to know what He does

not reveal. There it is; man is a free agent in what he does, responsible

for his actions, and truly guilty when he does wrong, and he will be

justly punished too, and if he is lost the blame will rest with himself

alone. But yet there is One who rules over all, who, without complicity

in their sin, makes even the actions of wicked men to subserve His holy

and righteous purposes. Believe these two truths and you will see them

in practical agreement in daily life, though you will not be able to devise

a theory for harmonizing them on paper.

Wonders can be wrought without miracles. When God does a wonderful

thing by suspending the laws of nature men are greatly astonished and

say, "This is the finger of God," but now-a-days they say to us, "Where is

your God? He never suspends His laws now!" Now, I see God in the

history of Pharaoh, but I must confess I see Him quite as clearly in the

history of Haman, and I think I see Him in even a grander light; for (I

say it with reverence to His holy name) it is a somewhat rough method

of accomplishing a purpose to stop the wheels of nature and reverse

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wise and admirable laws; certainly it reveals His power, but it does not

so clearly display His immutability.

When, however, the Lord allows everything to go on in the usual way,

and gives mind and thought, ambition, and passion their full liberty,

and yet achieves His purpose, it is doubly wonderful. In the miracles of

Pharaoh we see the finger of God, but in the wonders of providence,

without miracle, we see the hand of God. Today, whatever the event

may be, the attentive eye will as clearly see the Lord as if by miraculous

power the hills had leaped from their places, or the floods had stood

upright as an heap. I am sure that God is in the world, ay, and is at my

own fireside, and in my chamber, and manages my affairs, and orders

all things for me, and for each one of His children. We need no miracles

to convince us of His working, the wonders of His providence are as

great marvels as miracles themselves.

Let each child of God rejoice that we have a guardian so near the throne.

Every Jew in Shushan must have felt hope when he remembered that

the queen was a Jewess. Today let us be glad that Jesus is exalted.

"He is at the Father's side,

The Man of love, the crucified."

How safe are all His people, for "if any man sin, we have an advocate

with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous." There is one that lies in the

bosom of God who will plead for all those who put their trust in Him.

Therefore be not dismayed, but let your souls rest in God, and wait

patiently for Him, for sooner shall Heaven and earth pass away than

those who trust the Lord shall perish.

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ESTHER

by Mary Elizabeth Baxter

Esther 4; 5; 6; 7.

The name Esther means "Secret," and the history of this famous Jewess

finds its chronology between the Books of Ezra and Nehemiah, in the

days when many of the Jews were still captives in Persia, which

kingdom had conquered Babylon. The state of morality in these Eastern

kingdoms had become terribly low, and the harem system was in its

fullest force. O how grievous that the children of God through their sins

should be subject to a people the standard of whose life was such!

Amongst the captives in Shushan, the palace, there was a certain Jew,

whose name was Mordecai, and the history of this man was so

important in the eyes of God that He mentions the affairs of the king

Ahasuerus, or Artaxerxes, simply to bring out the faith and loyalty of

Mordecai to God and to his people. Ahasuerus, a sensual man, held a

feast, in the course of which, when probably inflamed with wine, he

called for his queen, Vashti, to appear, that his lords should look upon

her beauty. Whether it was womanly modesty, or whether it was selfwill,

which caused the queen to disobey, we know not, but, in any case,

Vashti was degraded from her position, and the king determined to

elect another in her place, and for this purpose sought to replenish his

harem.

It is grievous to think that a maiden of Israel should have been

introduced into the king's harem, but so it was, and the young cousin of

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Mordecai, the beautiful Esther, became a competitor with Persian

maidens for the crown‐royal of Persia. There was a graciousness about

the Jewish maiden which pleased both the king and his chamberlain,

and Ahasuerus set the royal crown upon her head, and made her queen

instead of Vashti.

Meanwhile, the Jewish maiden obeyed Mordecai, her elder cousin, just

as when she was brought up with him. While she lived in a heathen

court,

THE FEAR OF GOD

was greater to her than all the riches, and pleasures and indulgences of

her royal estate; and when Mordecai discovered the delinquencies of

two chamberlains, she "certified the king thereof in Mordecai's name."

It is not surprising that a king, the principle of whose life was selfindulgence,

should have been capricious in his likes and dislikes, and by

such caprice should have exalted an unworthy favorite to a place of

honor. A selfish despot is the greatest of tyrants. Haman, the Agagite,

was the name of this favorite, and, probably, he was a simple flatterer

with a smooth tongue who made the king his tool to obtain his own

aggrandizement. It was flattering to the pride of this unworthy man

that all the king's servants in the king's gate bowed and reverenced him.

But there was one man, a servant of the King of Kings, who would not

own the superiority of Haman. "Mordecai bowed not nor did him

reverence." So bitter was the enmity which this treatment inspired in

Haman that he was full of wrath, and in his senseless, wicked anger, he

sought not only to lay hands on Mordecai, but to destroy all the Jews

throughout the whole kingdom of Ahasuerus. Probably he had

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discovered that Mordecai, far from being a selfish man like himself, had

his people very near his heart, and that death would be doubly bitter to

him if his people also were destroyed. Haman's influence with the king

was such that he obtained a decree that all the Jews should be destroyed

and the very day of execution was fixed!

Mordecai was, probably, one of those men so rare in a generation, who

have the cause of God upon their hearts. It was not for his own sake that

he had introduced Esther into the palace, it was not for the sake of the

position which she held; he bore his people upon his heart, he thought

of how he and the queen should serve the people of the Lord. And now

that all the Jews were in mourning and in fear for their lives, Mordecai

rent his clothes, put on sack‐cloth with ashes, and went out into the

midst of the city, and cried with a loud and bitter cry. It was not long

before Esther heard of the mourning of Mordecai, and, to her surprise

and horror, learnt the reason of it; and Mordecai charged her to go in to

the king to make supplication to him and to make request for her

people.

It was a crisis in the life of the young queen: all her life previously was

but a preparation for this moment. Her people's very existence might

depend on her. To enter uncalled into the presence of the imperious

despot meant death to herself, but to fail in supplicating for her race

meant death to everyone of her people! What should Esther do?

Mordecai sent this message:

"Think not with thyself that thou shalt escape in the king's house, more

than all the Jews. 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

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who knoweth whether thou art come to the kingdom for such a time as

this." God can always raise up instruments for His work; He is not

dependent upon man, but there are moments when He may give us

A SPECIAL CALL

eternal issues hang upon such moments!

How should Mordecai know that enlargement and deliverance should

arise to the Jews from another place? He must have been alone with his

God; he must have pleaded for his people and received a distinct

answer, for he spoke with authority of what God should do.

By God's grace, Esther was made equal to the occasion. She rose to the

situation, and returned Mordecai this answer,

"Go, gather together all the Jews that are present in Shushan, and fast

for me, and neither eat nor drink for 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."

Once decided to take her life in her hand, once laid down upon the altar

as a living sacrifice for her people, Esther became the true helpmeet

which woman should be. But in this case, it was not the helpmeet of her

husband, but of her people. When the hearts of His children have

learned to trust Him, God has no difficulty in arranging circumstances

in such a way that prayer can be answered.

Esther ventured into the inner court of the king's house. The king held

out the golden scepter. She only invited him and Haman to a feast, and

trusted for what should follow.

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Meanwhile God went on working, and took sleep from the king's eyes.

He ordered the book of the records of the Chronicles to be read before

him, and discovered how Mordecai had apprised him of the treachery

of his chamberlains. He called in the morning for his favorite Haman,

and commanded that he should honor Mordecai by leading him on

horseback through the streets of the city and proclaiming before him:

"Thus shall it be done to the man whom the king delights to honor."

When the time of Esther's banquet had arrived, the king asked her what

was her petition. The favorable moment had come: God had let

everything work up to this moment. And when the queen urged upon

her royal husband the plea:

"Let my life be given me upon my petition, and my people at my

request," and the king discovered the treachery of Haman, the tables

were turned, and the gallows which Haman had prepared for Mordecai

were used for the man who had plotted his downfall.

Esther had not been called to her royal position in vain, and throughout

the whole kingdom, deliverance came to the Jews. They had light and

gladness and joy and honor, and many of the people of the land became

Jews, for the fear of the Jews came upon them (Est 8:16-17).

"Who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as

this?" It is

IN MOMENTS OF CRISIS.

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that the faithfulness of God's children is tried. He will ever hold out His

golden scepter to His children. But let none think that what happens is

accidental. There is a purpose in every test, in every trial, that the gold

may be refined and the grace which He has given to His children made

manifest. Every child of God is called to be a living sacrifice (Rom 12:1),

but the life of sacrifice is peculiarly a woman's vocation. There are times

when, disregarding her own feelings and desires, she may follow the

Lamb whithersoever He goeth (Rev 14:4) in her own home‐life;

enduring hardness, selfishness, perhaps from a drunken husband,

rudeness, perhaps from rebellious children, unkindness from evilspeaking

neighbors -without answering a word. Who knows how many

husbands and sons have been convinced of sin by the witness of such a

life? Who knows how many neighbors have seen Christ in such a

woman, and have been led to seek Him for themselves. Esther took her

life in her hand for the sake of her people. Every true woman of God

will die to her own self‐life daily, and all day long, that the life of Jesus

may be manifest in her.

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Handfuls on Purpose

by James Smith

ESTHER

VASHTI, THE SELF-WILLED, REJECTED. Esther 1.

"Oh let Your sacred will

All Your delight in me fulfill!

Let not me think an action mine own way;

But as Your love shall sway,

Resigning up the rudder to Your skill."—Herbert.

The book of Esther belongs to the times of Ezra and Nehemiah, and was

probably written by Mordecai (chapter 9:20). As has been often noted,

the Name of God does not occur, and is never referred to in it. But

although His Name is not found, His hand is everywhere visible. It may

be fitly called, "The book of the providence of God." In this brief history

we have a striking confirmation and fulfillment of that principle taught

in Romans 8:28: "All things work together for good... to them who are

the called according to His purpose." Each of the leading persons in the

book presents a separate type of character, under the unconscious but

over-ruling providence of God. Men and women are free to act as they

may, and while responsible for their actions, there lies behind all the

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great purpose of God to manifest Himself. The events in the book are

thrilling: Vashti, the queen, is deposed; Esther, the orphan, is crowned;

Mordecai, the despised, is honored; and Haman, the boaster, is hanged.

We shall consider first the downfall of Queen Vashti.

I. Her Name. Vashti means beauty. The king desired to show the princes

her beauty, "for she was fair to look upon" (v. 11). Physical as well as

moral beauty is always attractive, but mere outward loveliness has

frequently proved a temptation and a snare. It is a dangerous gift when

there is no corresponding loveliness of spirit. It is no uncommon thing

to find the most beautiful spirit in a rough and uncomely body.

II. Her Position. She was the queen of Ahasuerus, the greatest king on

the earth. His name means "majestic prince." What an honor to be the

sharer of the glory and riches of such a king. Ahasuerus in some

respects may represent Him who is the King of kings and Lord of lords.

Especially in the greatness of his influence and in the generosity of his

character in making a great feast for all his princes and for all his

people (vv. 3-5). And like the great Gospel feast there was no

compulsion. Every one was to choose for himself as to how much or

how little he was to take (v. 8). A greater than Ahasuerus is here and it is

our privilege to belong to Him. Queen Vashti was not more beautiful in

the eyes of her king than those are in the eyes of the King of kings, in

whom the "beauty of the Lord" has been put. Being made partakers of

the Divine nature we become children and heirs together with Him.

III. Her Opportunity: "The king commanded Vashti to come before him

with the royal crown, to show the people and the princes her

beauty" (vv. 10, 11). We are not so much concerned just now with the

customs of this heathen court, with the seemliness or unseemliness of

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this command, but with the principles that lie underneath. Vashti held

her position as queen by virtue of the king's choice and favor, just as we,

by the grace of God, have been called and exalted. This command to

appear before the people with the crown royal—the gift of the king—to

show them her beauty, and so please the king, was giving her an

opportunity of doing a most acceptable service. It was her duty as well

as her privilege to obey. Is there not a similar opportunity offered us, as

the royal house of the King of Heaven? Should not that beauty which

the Lord our God has put upon us be shown forth for the honor of His

great Name? Let your light—the light of your life—so shine before

men. This is an opportunity that we will not always have.

IV. Her Rebellion. "But the queen refused to come at the king's

commandment" (v. 12). The call was very urgent, for seven chamberlains

had been deputed to carry it out, but she deliberately refused to obey.

The reason probably was that as she, too, had "made a feast for the

women in the royal house which belonged to the king" (v. 9), she did not

wish to break up her present enjoyment for the sake of pleasing the

king in such a small matter. How often the acts of our disobedience to

God have their roots down in our self-made plans and our

determination to carry them out. We have prepared a feast for ourselves

and others, and things are going on beautifully when some definite call

from the King comes, but we judge it unworthy of our attention

meanwhile, and disobey, utterly unconscious of the terrible fruits that

will certainly follow. One refusal to obey may cast us out of the

fellowship of the King.

V. Her Example. "This deed of the queen shall come abroad to all

women, so that they shall despise their husbands in their eyes" (v. 17).

"Acts speak louder than words." Vashti, being queen, was compassed

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about with a great cloud of witnesses, so that her actions had farreaching

results. This is an aspect of the Christian life that cannot be

too carefully considered. We, like her, walk in high places, and one false

step may be to others a license to sin. "No man lives unto

himself" (Romans 14:7). This is true, especially of the servant of God. As

wives are to be subject to their own husbands, so must we be subject to

Christ (Ephesians 5:22-24).

VI. Her Rejection. "Vashti came no more before king Ahasuerus" (vv.

19-21). He made Esther queen instead of Vashti" (chapter 2:17). Her

disobedience led to entire separation from the fellowship of the king.

Doubtless she little imagined that this simple refusal would result in

such disastrous consequences. A thought, an act, and a crown lost. How

long she lived to mourn over her folly we know not, but surely her days

would be spent in shame and bitterness of soul. For this same reason

(disobedience) many get out of fellowship with the Lord Jesus Christ.

There is sin in the heart, and the Lord will not hear. There has been

failure through preferring our own will to the will of our Lord, and now

there is no liberty of access. The failure will be all the more grievous if

another has been called of Him to take our place and our crown. Hold

that fast which you have as a servant, that no man take your crown (Rev.

3:11). It is possible, through lack of self-subjection, even to preach to

others, and yet, as a servant, become a castaway (1 Corinthians 9:27)

ESTHER, THE HUMBLE, EXALTED. Esther 2, etc.

"Obedience is nobler than freedom. What's free?

The vexed straw on the wind, the frothed spume on the sea;

The great ocean itself, as it rolls and it swells,

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In the bonds of a boundless obedience dwells."—Lytton.

Esther means "star." Star-like characters are sure to be seen and

recognized. Light is self-assertive. The deposition of Vashti is followed

by a most exciting search for a queen. It was a search for given qualities.

It was not "Whoever will may come." In this case the number was very

elect. We are thankful that candidates for Heaven are not sought for on

this principle. Not the beautiful, but sinners, Jesus came to call. Some of

the notes in the song of Mary might well have been sung by Esther. "He

has regarded the low estate of His handmaiden....He who is mighty has

done to me great things" (Luke 1:48, 49). Observe—

I. Her Condition. "She had neither father nor mother," but was brought

up by Mordecai, her aged cousin (chapter 2:7). No one seemed further

away, by birth and circumstances, from being a queen than she was. But

in the mysterious providence of God the most unlikely things do

happen. No one seemed more unlikely to become a servant of Jesus

Christ than Saul of Tarsus. Poverty, or ignorance, or guilt are no

barriers to the infinite grace of God.

II. Her Call. "Esther was brought into the kings' house" (v. 8). She is now

conscious that she has been called as a candidate for a crown. Not many

had such a chance brought within their reach, but still she was just one

among others. In this race only one could receive the prize. It is very

different with the call that comes to us through the Gospel of Christ.

Every one who receives this call may also receive the crown of life and

eternal honor. All that have been brought into our "King's house" will be

made to rejoice in His great and gracious presence.

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III. Her Character. That she was exceeding gracious and trustworthy is

apparent from the fact that she pleased the keeper of the women more

than the others (v. 9), and that she was true to Mordecai's instructions

in not revealing her nationality. Her implicit obedience to her guardian

is a noteworthy feature of her humble and submissive spirit (v. 20). This

may seem a small matter, but it is just such a matter that God in His

providence never overlooks. It is what we are in the secret of our own

souls that shows itself when the time of strain and testing comes. "As a

man thinks in his heart, so is he." It is in the good and honest heart that

the seed of the kingdom springs up into God-glorifying fruitfulness.

IV. Her Choice. "When the turn of Esther was come to go in unto the

king, she required nothing but what Hegai, the king's chamberlain,

appointed" (v. 15). Certain necessary things were appointed to be given

to each of those candidates for queenship, but any other thing they

might wish for the beautifying of their person, or that might help to

commend them to the king was not to be denied them. The others

evidently required many other things to perfect their preparation, but it

is noted of Esther that she "required nothing." She chose to be satisfied

with those things appointed by the king. She left herself entirely in the

hands of him who had the work of preparation committed to him. Her

own thoughts or devices find no place here. So let us submit ourselves

to the Holy Spirit, whose office it is to sanctify us, and fit and prepare us

for the presence of the King. It will fare all the better with us if, like

Esther, we "require nothing" but what He has appointed, satisfied with

the garment of His righteousness, even of His only.

V. Her Crown. "The king loved Esther... and she obtained grace in his

sight,... so he set the royal crown upon her head" (v. 17). Her humility

and faith are now rewarded by a public manifestation of the king's

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favor—crowned with glory and honor, although she did nothing but

obey. The way to the throne was open for her whenever the king loved

her. What a privilege to be loved by a king, by the King of Heaven. The

love of God opens the way for us into the heart and home of God. The

crown is the symbol of honor and power. Pentecost was the crowning

day for the early disciples, when the tongue of fire rested on each of

them, and they all received the Royal authority of Heaven, becoming

partners with the King of Glory and sharers of His Kingdom on earth.

To find His "favor" is to find His crown.

VI. Her Courage. "I will go unto the king, which is not according to law,

and if I perish, I perish" (chapter 4:16). A testing-time had now come,

when all the power and authority she possessed were needed for the

salvation of those who were condemned to die. Haman had succeeded

in getting the sentence of death passed upon all Jews; Mordecai pleads

with Esther as their only hope, but the law forbade anyone approaching

the king, on pain of death, without an invitation. Nevertheless, Esther

consecrates her life to this great object, and casts herself into the

breach. It was a bold step. But although the law was against her, she

knew that the heart of the king was for her. This also is our

encouragement in giving ourselves for the salvation of others. If, like

Esther, we have come into honor and power by the grace of our king, it

is also "for such a time as this," a time of salvation for others. All the

authority and power we have received is absolutely needed for this

great work. The Jaw of the flesh will always be against us in

approaching the King as soul savers. Let us, like Esther, give ourselves

entirely to it. "If I perish" in a work like this, then it is a blessed and

worthy object for which to die. But she did not perish. "None perish that

trust in Him."

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VII. Her Conquest. She obtained favor: the golden scepter was held out

to her. Then the king said unto her, "What will you, Queen Esther, and

what is your request?" etc. (chapter 5:1-3). She then identifies herself

with the Jews, and, pleads for her own and their lives (chapter 7:3, 4).

Her request is abundantly answered; the enemy is overcome, and her

people are saved. She sees of the travail of her soul and is satisfied. This

great achievement reminds us of a greater than Esther, who, when the

law was against us, cast Himself down in the presence of God on that

awful spot called Calvary, saying, as it were, "If I perish, I perish." But

God raised Him again, and made Him a Prince and a Savior. The way to

such conquests is self-surrender. If we are to be the saviors of others it

can only be by the sacrifice of ourselves to this end. To this end have we

been called into His kingdom. "Receiving the end of your faith, the

salvation of souls" (1 Peter 1:9)

MORDECAI, THE FAITHFUL, REWARDED. Esther 2-10.

"Be strong, be good, be pure!

The right only shall endure."—Longfellow.

This "little man," as the name Mordecai indicates, had been carried

away from Jerusalem with the captivity. Little did he or his captors

know what an important part he was destined to play in the kingdom of

Babylon.

"God moves in a mysterious way,

His wonders to perform!”

Little also did he imagine, when he agreed to adopt his orphan cousin,

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that she would yet be queen in Babylon. This book of the providence of

God is true to its character, being full of surprises. We shall fix our

attention now on the career of Mordecai. He was—

I. Merciful. It was a very merciful act to take the girl Esther, who was an

orphan, and adopt her as his own daughter (chapter 2:7). This may seem

a very ordinary thing, but the sequence was extraordinary. It seemed

the right thing for him to do, and he did it. That is where the point lies.

He opened his heart as well as his home for her, and the blessing that is

promised to the merciful came to him (Matthew 5:7).

II. Faithful. Two of the king's chamberlains had plotted to kill the king.

The thing was known to Mordecai and he boldly revealed the dastardly

design to Esther, who told the king in his name (chapter 2:22, 23). If one

would be true to themselves and to righteousness they must be

prepared, if need be, to do things that may bring others into shame and

condemnation. There are those who, if they don't plot against the King

of Heaven, they do it against His people and His cause. Well, if the thing

is known to you there is no need for you fighting against them. Tell the

King about it, who, for His own sake, will surely deal with the offenders.

Be faithful to the interests of your Lord and King, and, by the good hand

of God your reward will come openly.

III. Consistent. "But Mordecai bowed not to Haman, nor did him

reverence... for he was a Jew" (chapter 3:2-4). He refused to prostrate

himself, and give to the haughty Haman that homage which is due only

to God. By this act of resistance he declared his faith in and reverence

for God. Mordecai was a man in whose eyes a vile person is contemned,

but who honored them that fear the Lord (Psalm 15:4). A man's faith is

of no value if it does not affect his daily life. How can a man say that he

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elieves in God if he is not ready to obey God rather than men (Acts

5:29). Those whose lives are governed by the fear of God will not be

found doing just as others do, even for "peace sake." It may seem to

some "men-pleasers" but a trifle, yet if he had yielded on this point he

might never have been lifted up to the place of national honor that was

afterwards his.

IV. Despised. "Then was Haman full of wrath" (chapter 3:5); and when

he learned that Mordecai was a Jew he "scorned to lay hands on him

alone," and sought to destroy "all the Jews" (chapter 3:6). But after laying

his plans for the destruction of the Jews he was persuaded by his wife to

hang Mordecai on a gallows fifty cubits high (chapter 5:14). All this

wrath and proposed blood-shedding because one man had courage and

conviction enough not to violate his conscience and deny his God. Is the

game worth the candle? No, says the man who walks by sight, and not

by faith. But what says the Lord by His wonderworking providence? If

any man will live Godly he must suffer persecution, because he will be

guided and controlled by motives and principles that have no place in

the affairs of the selfish and ungodly. This is where the shoe pinches,

unless it is a good fit. The man of God will never feel comfortable in the

shoes of a man of the world, and not to be in the world's fashion is in

itself a cause of offence. "But blessed are you when men shall revile you

for My Name's sake;" great is your reward in the heavenlies.

V. Tested. "He rent his clothes... and went into the city, and cried with a

loud and bitter cry" (chapter 4:1). The death sentence had gone forth

against him and all his people. It was a most terrible experience. His

sackcloth and agony awakened the compassion and inquiry of the

queen (chapter 4:4, 5). He was sorely cast down, but not destroyed, for

his faith in God was unfailing. "If you hold your peace," he said to

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Esther, "then shall deliverance arise to the Jews from another

place" (chapter 4:14). It was a tremendous strain that was upon him.

Who was to make intercession for his helpless countrymen if he did

not? If he held his peace how perhaps some other might arise, and this

would be to his great shame. He left no stone unturned, but his faith

was in the unfailing providence of God. The trial of your faith may be

painful, but it is precious when found unto the praise and honor of God

(1 Peter 1:7). Nothing is impossible with God.

VI. Honored. God begun to work deliverance for Mordecai by giving the

king a restless night (chapter 6:1). The national records are read, and the

report of Mordecai specially noted, and the desire is begotten in the

heart of the king to reward his timely warning (chapter 6:3, 4). Who

would have thought that, within one week, the man who had erected a

gallows to hang this stiff-necked Jew who refused to bow to him, would

be led forth by that same man, seated on "the king's horse, adorned with

royal apparel, and the crown upon his head, as the man whom the king

delights to honor." That same week he had on his finger the ring of

authority worn by Haman, his enemy. It does not take God long to work

a perfect transformation act, and turn His servants' tears and wailings

into songs and praises. Not only is he saved himself, but exalted to a

position of glory and power that he might be the means of saving

others (chapter 8:7, 8). When any one is brought by God into a position

of privilege and into a condition of power it is that great and needful

things may be done by them. "I will bless you and make you a

blessing" (Hebrews 6:14).

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HAMAN, THE PROUD, DESTROYED. Esther 3-7.

It has been said that "pride destroys or misleads more souls than

deliberate wickedness." The history of Haman is a verification of that

saying of the wise man: "Pride goes before destruction, and an haughty

spirit before a fall" (Proverbs 16:18). His Name means "magnificent," but

his chequered career proves that his nature was ignominious. We see

him—

I. Promoted. "King Ahasuerus promoted Haman, and advanced him,

and set his seat above all the princes that were with him" (chapter 3:1).

The greater our privilege, the more terrible will be our downfall if we

fail to walk humbly with our God. Capernaum was exalted to the

highest point of privilege, but through the blindness of unbelief fell to

the deepest depths of dishonor and shame. "Let him that thinks he

stands take heed lest he fall." Through grace, every Christian has been

promoted by the King of Heaven, and has his seat above all the princes

of the earth. Let us see that we walk worthy of such an high calling.

II. Easily Offended. "When Haman saw that Mordecai bowed not, nor

did him reverence, then was Haman full of wrath" (chapter 3:5). A man

of his position and dignity might easily have afforded to overlook the

seeming disrespect of the poor Jew; but no, his haughty pride was

wounded. The more authority he got the more overbearing and

tyrannical he became. Is not this how spiritual pride works? Do we

think that all men are going to honor us because we have been

promoted by the king? To be easily offended because we are not

honored by certain men is an evidence of pride; it is a sign that we are

seeking our own glory, when anger or wrath finds a place in our hearts

against any one who fails to respect us as perhaps we think they should.

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The servant is not greater than his Lord. It is sometimes said, "He is a

good man, but very touchy." Touchiness may be another name for

selfishness.

III. Boastful. "Haman told them (his friends) of the glory of his

riches,... and how the king had advanced him above the princes and

servants of the king" (chapter 5:11). He glories in his riches, his

possessions, and his position. He exalts himself because he has been

advanced above the other princes and servants of the king. The men of

the world who have their portion in this life have little need to boast, for

such riches can soon grow wings and fly away. "Treasures of wickedness

profit nothing" (Proverbs 10:2). Paul says that "Proud boasters are

inventors of evil things" (Romans 1:30). And such was Haman. All

unholy boasting is the fruit of impure motives. Our spiritual promotion

is "not by works, lest any man should boast" (Ephesians 2:9).

IV. Revengeful. "The thing pleased Haman, and he caused the gallows

to be made for Mordecai" (chapter 5:14). There was still a "fly in the

ointment" of Haman's glory, pomp, and pride: "All this avails me

nothing so long as I see Mordecai the Jew sitting at the king's

gate" (chapter 5:13). The greatness of a soul is seen in its readiness to

overlook personal insults and injuries, but this man's little selfish soul

could not bear it. He made no attempt to win Mordecai's favor by

kindness or patience, but greedily thirsts for his Jewish blood. The

feeling of revenge, or even of grudge, against another is as much

opposed to true Christian experience as death is to life. It is not for us to

avenge ourselves, but to commit all to the Lord, who has said:

"Vengeance is mine, I will repay" (Romans 12:19).

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V. Self-Confident. When the king said unto him, "What shall be done

unto the man whom the king delights to honor? Haman thought in his

heart, To whom would the king delight to do honor more than

myself" (6:6). In the pride and self-sufficiency of his heart he could see

no one more fit or deserving special honor than himself. When any one

comes to this, the cup of their iniquity is just about full, and their

humiliation and downfall is at hand. The principle of "suffer me first"

manifests itself in many different forms, and never more loathsome

than when it appears in the words or acts of a Christian worker. The law

for the children of God is: "In honor, preferring one another" (Romans

12:10).

VI. Disappointed. "Then the king said to Haman, Make haste, and take

the apparel and the horse, as you have said, and do even so to Mordecai

the Jew" (6:10). It was a very humbling revelation to Haman that that

hated Jew, for whom he had prepared the gallows, was to be honored by

the king as one more deserving than himself. God has His own way of

making appointments for them that mourn in Zion, in giving them

beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, and the garment of praise

for the spirit of heaviness (Isaiah 61:3). He knows how to turn our

mourning into dancing, and when to put off our sackcloth and gird us

with praise (Psalm 30:11). In vain does Haman spread the net before the

eye of Him whose wisdom and power governs the interests of His

people. All the haughty in heart will certainly be brought to shame and

confusion: sooner or later will the hopes of the hypocrite be cut off. The

man must be in a demoniac state of soul when the honor and exaltation

of another brings such overwhelming grief and disappointment. Envy

is cruel as the grave.

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VII. Doomed. "So they hanged Haman on the gallows that he had

prepared for Mordecai." (7:10). He made a pit, and dug it, and is fallen

into the ditch which he made (Psalm 7:15). The wicked is snared in the

work of his own hands (Psalm 9:15). The wages of sin is death. In the

den of lions Daniel did not get a scar, but when his enemies were cast in

they "break all their bones in pieces or ever they came to the bottom of

the den." The gallows of judgment that came to Haman was just as high

as the murderous purpose that filled his heart. With what measure you

mete, it shall be measured unto you again. He that humbles himself

shall be exalted, but he who exalts himself shall be abased. The God of

grace is also the God of judgment.

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Christian Resources:

CTL.Today

Esther's Exaltation - Spurgeon

https://bit.ly/2HjIIHW

https://www.biblegateway.com/resources/matthew-henry/Esther

Mathew Henry’s Commentary on Esther: https://bit.ly/2LI6aSD

Jamieson, Fausset & Brown commentary on ESTHER https://bit.ly/2sqjxOa

https://www.desiringgod.org/books/esther

This publication is offered for educational purposes only. Some

Images are protected by copyright. Reproduction and distribution

may be made without any purpose of commercial advantage.

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