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

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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CTL.Today<br />


<strong>ESTHER</strong><br />

The Remarkable Story of A Brave Queen<br />

And Champion For The Jews<br />


The Book Of Esther<br />

Esther Defeats Her Enemies by Charles Spurgeon<br />

<strong>ESTHER</strong> by Mary Elizabeth Baxter<br />

Handfuls on Purpose - <strong>ESTHER</strong> by James Smith<br />


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The Book Of Esther (Audio KJV) 5<br />

The Book of Esther - World English Bible 7<br />

Esther Defeats Her Enemies by Charles Spurgeon 30<br />

<strong>ESTHER</strong> by Mary Elizabeth Baxter 49<br />

Handfuls on Purpose - <strong>ESTHER</strong> by James Smith 55<br />

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THE BOOK OF <strong>ESTHER</strong><br />

The Book of Esther describes the Jewish heroine Esther, who saved the<br />

Jewish people in Persia from annihilation during the reign of King<br />

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

of Esther described part of the Jewish Diaspora which stayed behind in<br />

Persia and did not return to Jerusalem during the Restoration. The Book<br />

is the source of Purim or the Festival of Lots.<br />

Esther is the fifth of the five Megillot or Scrolls (See also Song of Songs,<br />

Ruth, Lamentations, and Ecclesiastes) that are read throughout the year<br />

during the Festivals of the Lord (Leviticus 23) or Jewish Memorial<br />

Holidays. The Memorial Holiday of Purim or the Festival of Lots (Esther<br />

9:26) is celebrated on the fourteenth day of the Hebrew month of Adar,<br />

which generally falls in February or March.<br />

The Book of Esther Audio: (click here)<br />

or go to:<br />

https://www.smore.com/8hf97<br />

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Esther 4:14 …<br />

For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance<br />

for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your<br />

father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you<br />

have come to your royal position for such a time as this?”<br />

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<strong>ESTHER</strong><br />

Chapter 1<br />

The Banquet of King Ahasuerus<br />

1 Now in the days of Ahasuerus (this is Ahasuerus who reigned from<br />

India even to Ethiopia, over one hundred twenty-seven provinces), 2 in<br />

those days, when the King Ahasuerus sat on the throne of his kingdom,<br />

which was in Shushan the palace, 3 in the third year of his reign, he<br />

made a feast for all his princes and his servants; the power of Persia<br />

and Media, the nobles and princes of the provinces, being before him. 4<br />

He displayed the riches of his glorious kingdom and the honor of his<br />

excellent majesty many days, even one hundred eighty days. 5 When<br />

these days were fulfilled, the king made a seven day feast for all the<br />

people who were present in Shushan the palace, both great and small,<br />

in the court of the garden of the king’s palace. 6 There were hangings of<br />

white, green, and blue material, fastened with cords of fine linen and<br />

purple to silver rings and marble pillars. The couches were of gold and<br />

silver, on a pavement of red, white, yellow, and black marble. 7 They<br />

gave them drinks in golden vessels of various kinds, including royal<br />

wine in abundance, according to the bounty of the king. 8 In accordance<br />

with the law, the drinking was not compulsory; for so the king had<br />

instructed all the officials of his house, that they should do according to<br />

every man’s pleasure. 9 Also Vashti the queen made a feast for the<br />

women in the royal house which belonged to King Ahasuerus.<br />

10 On the seventh day, when the heart of the king was merry with wine,<br />

he commanded Mehuman, Biztha, Harbona, Bigtha, and Abagtha,<br />

Zethar, and Carcass, the seven eunuchs who served in the presence of<br />

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Ahasuerus the king, 11 to bring Vashti the queen before the king with<br />

the royal crown, to show the people and the princes her beauty; for she<br />

was beautiful. 12 But the queen Vashti refused to come at the king’s<br />

commandment by the eunuchs. Therefore the king was very angry, and<br />

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

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

law and judgment; 14 and the next to him were Carshena, Shethar,<br />

Admatha, Tarshish, Meres, Marsena, and Memucan, the seven princes<br />

of Persia and Media, who saw the king’s face, and sat first in the<br />

kingdom), 15 “What shall we do to the queen Vashti according to law,<br />

because she has not done the bidding of the King Ahasuerus by the<br />

eunuchs?”<br />

16 Memucan answered before the king and the princes, “Vashti the<br />

queen has not done wrong to just the king, but also to all the princes,<br />

and to all the people who are in all the provinces of the King Ahasuerus.<br />

17 For this deed of the queen will become known to all women, causing<br />

them to show contempt for their husbands, when it is reported, ‘King<br />

Ahasuerus commanded Vashti the queen to be brought in before him,<br />

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

have heard of the queen’s deed will tell all the king’s princes. This will<br />

cause much contempt and wrath.<br />

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

it be written among the laws of the Persians and the Medes, so that it<br />

cannot be altered, that Vashti may never again come before King<br />

Ahasuerus; and let the king give her royal estate to another who is<br />

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

published throughout all his kingdom (for it is great), all the wives will<br />

give their husbands honor, both great and small.”<br />

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21 This advice pleased the king and the princes, and the king did<br />

according to the word of Memucan: 22 for he sent letters into all the<br />

king’s provinces, into every province according to its writing, and to<br />

every people in their language, that every man should rule his own<br />

house, speaking in the language of his own people.<br />

Chapter 2<br />

Esther is made Queen<br />

2 After these things, when the wrath of King Ahasuerus was pacified,<br />

he remembered Vashti, and what she had done, and what was decreed<br />

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

beautiful young virgins be sought for the king. 3 Let the king appoint<br />

officers in all the provinces of his kingdom, that they may gather<br />

together all the beautiful young virgins to the citadel of Susa, to the<br />

women’s house, to the custody of Hegai the king’s eunuch, keeper of the<br />

women. Let cosmetics be given them; 4 and let the maiden who pleases<br />

the king be queen instead of Vashti.” The thing pleased the king, and he<br />

did so.<br />

5 There was a certain Jew in the citadel of Susa, whose name was<br />

Mordecai, the son of Jair, the son of Shimei, the son of Kish, a<br />

Benjamite, 6 who had been carried away from Jerusalem with the<br />

captives who had been carried away with Jeconiah king of Judah, whom<br />

Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon had carried away. 7 He brought up<br />

Hadassah, that is, Esther, his uncle’s daughter; for she had neither<br />

father nor mother. The maiden was fair and beautiful; and when her<br />

father and mother were dead, Mordecai took her for his own daughter.<br />

8 So, when the king’s commandment and his decree was heard, and<br />

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when many maidens were gathered together to the citadel of Susa, to<br />

the custody of Hegai, Esther was taken into the king’s house, to the<br />

custody of Hegai, keeper of the women. 9 The maiden pleased him, and<br />

she obtained kindness from him. He quickly gave her cosmetics and her<br />

portions of food, and the seven choice maidens who were to be given<br />

her out of the king’s house. He moved her and her maidens to the best<br />

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

nor her relatives, because Mordecai had instructed her that she should<br />

not make it known. 11 Mordecai walked every day in front of the court<br />

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

would become of her.<br />

12 Each young woman’s turn came to go in to King Ahasuerus after her<br />

purification for twelve months (for so were the days of their<br />

purification accomplished, six months with oil of myrrh, and six<br />

months with sweet fragrances and with preparations for beautifying<br />

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

she desired was given her to go with her out of the women’s house to<br />

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

returned into the second women’s house, to the custody of Shaashgaz,<br />

the king’s eunuch, who kept the concubines. She came in to the king no<br />

more, unless the king delighted in her, and she was called by name.<br />

15 Now when the turn of Esther, the daughter of Abihail the uncle of<br />

Mordecai, who had taken her for his daughter, came to go in to the king,<br />

she required nothing but what Hegai the king’s eunuch, the keeper of<br />

the women, advised. Esther obtained favor in the sight of all those who<br />

looked at her. 16 So Esther was taken to King Ahasuerus into his royal<br />

house in the tenth month, which is the month Tebeth, in the seventh<br />

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

and she obtained favor and kindness in his sight more than all the<br />

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

instead of Vashti.<br />

18 Then the king made a great feast for all his princes and his servants,<br />

even Esther’s feast; and he proclaimed a holiday in the provinces, and<br />

gave gifts according to the king’s bounty.<br />

19 When the virgins were gathered together the second time, Mordecai<br />

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

relatives nor her people, as Mordecai had commanded her; for Esther<br />

obeyed Mordecai, like she did when she was brought up by him. 21 In<br />

those days, while Mordecai was sitting in the king’s gate, two of the<br />

king’s eunuchs, Bigthan and Teresh, who were doorkeepers, were angry,<br />

and sought to lay hands on the King Ahasuerus. 22 This thing became<br />

known to Mordecai, who informed Esther the queen; and Esther<br />

informed the king in Mordecai’s name. 23 When this matter was<br />

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

and it was written in the book of the chronicles in the king’s presence.<br />

Chapter 3<br />

Mordecai Refuses to Honor Haman<br />

3 After these things King Ahasuerus promoted Haman the son of<br />

Hammedatha the Agagite, and advanced him, and set his seat above all<br />

the princes who were with him. 2 All the king’s servants who were in<br />

the king’s gate bowed down, and paid homage to Haman; for the king<br />

had so commanded concerning him. But Mordecai didn’t bow down or<br />

pay him homage. 3 Then the king’s servants, who were in the king’s<br />

gate, said to Mordecai, “Why do you disobey the king’s<br />

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commandment?” 4 Now it came to pass, when they spoke daily to him,<br />

and he didn’t listen to them, that they told Haman, to see whether<br />

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

5 When Haman saw that Mordecai didn’t bow down, nor pay him<br />

homage, Haman was full of wrath. 6 But he scorned the thought of<br />

laying hands on Mordecai alone, for they had made known to him<br />

Mordecai’s people. Therefore Haman sought to destroy all the Jews who<br />

were throughout the whole kingdom of Ahasuerus, even Mordecai’s<br />

people.<br />

7 In the first month, that is, the month Nisan, in the twelfth year of king<br />

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Ahasuerus, they cast Pur, that is, the lot, before Haman from day to day,<br />

and from month to month, to the twelfth month, that is, the month<br />

Adar. 8 Haman said to King Ahasuerus, “There is a certain people<br />

scattered abroad and dispersed among the peoples in all the provinces<br />

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

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

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

be destroyed; and I will pay ten thousand talents of silver into the<br />

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

the king’s treasuries.”<br />

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

Hammedatha the Agagite, the Jews’ enemy. 11 The king said to Haman,<br />

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

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

month, on the thirteenth day of the month; and all that Haman<br />

commanded was written to the king’s satraps, and to the governors who<br />

were over every province, and to the princes of every people, to every<br />

province according to its writing, and to every people in their language.<br />

It was written in the name of King Ahasuerus, and it was sealed with<br />

the king’s ring. 13 Letters were sent by couriers into all the king’s<br />

provinces, to destroy, to kill, and to cause to perish, all Jews, both young<br />

and old, little children and women, in one day, even on the thirteenth<br />

day of the twelfth month, which is the month Adar, and to plunder<br />

their possessions. 14 A copy of the letter, that the decree should be<br />

given out in every province, was published to all the peoples, that they<br />

should be ready against that day. 15 The couriers went out in haste by<br />

the king’s commandment, and the decree was given out in the citadel of<br />

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

was perplexed.<br />

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Chapter 4<br />

Mordecai Seeks the Aid of Queen Esther<br />

4 Now when Mordecai found out all that was done, Mordecai tore his<br />

clothes, and put on sackcloth with ashes, and went out into the middle<br />

of the city, and wailed loudly and a bitterly. 2 He came even before the<br />

king’s gate, for no one is allowed inside the king’s gate clothed with<br />

sackcloth. 3 In every province, wherever the king’s commandment and<br />

his decree came, there was great mourning among the Jews, and<br />

fasting, and weeping, and wailing; and many lay in sackcloth and ashes.<br />

4 Esther’s maidens and her eunuchs came and told her this, and the<br />

queen was exceedingly grieved. She sent clothing to Mordecai, to<br />

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

Hathach, one of the king’s eunuchs, whom he had appointed to attend<br />

her, and commanded him to go to Mordecai, to find out what this was,<br />

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

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

to him, and the exact sum of the money that Haman had promised to<br />

pay to the king’s treasuries for the destruction of the Jews. 8 He also<br />

gave him the copy of the writing of the decree that was given out in<br />

Shushan to destroy them, to show it to Esther, and to declare it to her,<br />

and to urge her to go in to the king, to make supplication to him, and to<br />

make request before him, for her people.<br />

9 Hathach came and told Esther the words of Mordecai. 10 Then Esther<br />

spoke to Hathach, and gave him a message to Mordecai: 11 “All the<br />

king’s servants, and the people of the king’s provinces, know, that<br />

whoever, whether man or woman, comes to the king into the inner<br />

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

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death, except those to whom the king might hold out the golden scepter,<br />

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

thirty days.”<br />

12 They told to Mordecai Esther’s words.<br />

13 Then Mordecai asked them return answer to Esther, “Don’t think to<br />

yourself that you will escape in the king’s house any more than all the<br />

Jews. 14 For if you remain silent now, then relief and deliverance will<br />

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

will perish.<br />

Who knows if you haven’t come to the kingdom<br />

for such a time as this?”<br />

15 Then Esther asked them to answer Mordecai, 16 “Go, gather together<br />

all the Jews who are present in Shushan, and fast for me, and neither<br />

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

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

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

all that Esther had commanded him.<br />

Chapter 5<br />

5 Now on the third day, Esther put on her royal clothing, and stood in<br />

the inner court of the king’s house, next to the king’s house. The king<br />

sat on his royal throne in the royal house, next to the entrance of the<br />

house. 2 When the king saw Esther the queen standing in the court, she<br />

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obtained favor in his sight; and the king held out to Esther the golden<br />

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

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

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

the kingdom.”4 And Esther answered, If it seem good unto the king,<br />

let the king and Haman come this day unto the banquet that I have<br />

prepared for him. 5 Then the king said, Cause Haman to make haste,<br />

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

banquet that Esther had prepared.<br />

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

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

kingdom it shall be performed.”<br />

7 Then Esther answered and said, “My petition and my request is this.<br />

8 If I have found favor in the sight of the king, and if it please the king<br />

to grant my petition and to perform my request, let the king and Haman<br />

come to the banquet that I will prepare for them, and I will do<br />

tomorrow as the king has said.”<br />

9 Then Haman went out that day joyful and glad of heart, but when<br />

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

move for him, he was filled with wrath against Mordecai. 10<br />

Nevertheless Haman restrained himself, and went home. There, he sent<br />

and called for his friends and Zeresh his wife. 11 Haman recounted to<br />

them the glory of his riches, the multitude of his children, all the things<br />

in which the king had promoted him, and how he had advanced him<br />

above the princes and servants of the king. 12 Haman also said, “Yes,<br />

Esther the queen let no man come in with the king to the banquet that<br />

she had prepared but myself; and tomorrow I am also invited by her<br />

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

Mordecai the Jew sitting at the king’s gate.”<br />

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

made fifty cubits high, and in the morning speak to the king about<br />

hanging Mordecai on it. Then go in merrily with the king to the<br />

banquet.” This pleased Haman, so he had the gallows made.<br />

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Chapter 6<br />

The King Rewards Mordecai<br />

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

records of the chronicles to be brought, and they were read to the king.<br />

2 It was found written that Mordecai had told of Bigthana and Teresh,<br />

two of the king’s eunuchs, who were doorkeepers, who had tried to lay<br />

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

has been given to Mordecai for this?”<br />

Then the king’s servants who attended him said, “Nothing has been<br />

done for him.”<br />

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

outer court of the king’s house, to speak to the king about hanging<br />

Mordecai on the gallows that he had prepared for him.<br />

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

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

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

Now Haman said in his heart, “Who would the king delight to honor<br />

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

king delights to honor, 8 let royal clothing be brought which the king<br />

uses to wear, and the horse that the king rides on, and on the head of<br />

which a crown royal is set. 9 Let the clothing and the horse be delivered<br />

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

the man whom the king delights to honor with them, and have him ride<br />

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on horseback through the city square, and proclaim before him, ‘Thus<br />

shall it be done to the man whom the king delights to honor!’”<br />

10 Then the king said to Haman, “Hurry and take the clothing and the<br />

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

king’s gate. Let nothing fail of all that you have spoken.”<br />

11 Then Haman took the clothing and the horse, and arrayed Mordecai,<br />

and had him ride through the city square, and proclaimed before him,<br />

“Thus shall it be done to the man whom the king delights to honor!”<br />

12 Mordecai came back to the king’s gate, but Haman hurried to his<br />

house, mourning and having his head covered. 13 Haman recounted to<br />

Zeresh his wife and all his friends everything that had happened to<br />

him. Then his wise men and Zeresh his wife said to him, “If Mordecai,<br />

before whom you have begun to fall, is of Jewish descent, you will not<br />

prevail against him, but you will surely fall before him.” 14 While they<br />

were yet talking with him, the king’s eunuchs came, and hurried to<br />

bring Haman to the banquet that Esther had prepared.<br />

Chapter 7<br />

7 So the king and Haman came to banquet with Esther the queen. 2 The<br />

king said again to Esther on the second day at the banquet of wine,<br />

“What is your petition, queen Esther? It shall be granted you. What is<br />

your request? Even to the half of the kingdom it shall be performed.”<br />

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3 Then Esther the queen answered, “If I have found favor in your sight,<br />

O king, and if it please the king, let my life be given me at my petition,<br />

and my people at my request. 4 For we are sold, I and my people, to be<br />

destroyed, to be slain, and to perish. But if we had been sold for male<br />

and female slaves, I would have held my peace, although the adversary<br />

could not have compensated for the king’s loss.”<br />

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

is he who dared presume in his heart to do so?”<br />

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

Then Haman was afraid before the king and the queen. 7 The king arose<br />

in his wrath from the banquet of wine and went into the palace garden.<br />

Haman stood up to make request for his life to Esther the queen; for he<br />

saw that there was evil determined against him by the king. 8 Then the<br />

king returned out of the palace garden into the place of the banquet of<br />

wine; and Haman had fallen on the couch where Esther was. Then the<br />

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

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

9 Then Harbonah, one of the eunuchs who were with the king said,<br />

“Behold, the gallows fifty cubits high, which Haman has made for<br />

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

The king said, “Hang him on it!”<br />

10 So they hanged Haman on the gallows that he had prepared for<br />

Mordecai. Then was the king’s wrath pacified.<br />

Chapter 8<br />

8 On that day, King Ahasuerus gave the house of Haman, the Jews’<br />

enemy, to Esther the queen. Mordecai came before the king; for Esther<br />

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

taken from Haman, and gave it to Mordecai. Esther set Mordecai over<br />

the house of Haman. 3 Esther spoke yet again before the king, and fell<br />

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

Haman the Agagite, and his device that he had devised against the Jews.<br />

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4 Then the king held out to Esther the golden scepter. So Esther arose,<br />

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

have found favor in his sight, and the thing seem right to the king, and I<br />

am pleasing in his eyes, let it be written to reverse the letters devised by<br />

Haman, the son of Hammedatha the Agagite, which he wrote to destroy<br />

the Jews who are in all the king’s provinces. 6 For how can I endure to<br />

see the evil that would come to my people? How can I endure to see the<br />

destruction of my relatives?”<br />

7 Then King Ahasuerus said to Esther the queen and to Mordecai the<br />

Jew, “See, I have given Esther the house of Haman, and him they have<br />

hanged on the gallows, because he laid his hand on the Jews. 8 Write<br />

also to the Jews, as it pleases you, in the king’s name, and seal it with the<br />

king’s ring; for the writing which is written in the king’s name, and<br />

sealed with the king’s ring, may not be reversed by any man.”<br />

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

Sivan, on the twenty-third day of the month; and it was written<br />

according to all that Mordecai commanded to the Jews, and to the<br />

satraps, and the governors and princes of the provinces which are from<br />

India to Ethiopia, one hundred twenty-seven provinces, to every<br />

province according to its writing, and to every people in their language,<br />

and to the Jews in their writing, and in their language. 10 He wrote in<br />

the name of King Ahasuerus, and sealed it with the king’s ring, and sent<br />

letters by courier on horseback, riding on royal horses that were bred<br />

from swift steeds. 11 In those letters, the king granted the Jews who<br />

were in every city to gather themselves together, and to defend their<br />

life, to destroy, to kill, and to cause to perish, all the power of the people<br />

and province that would assault them, their little ones and women, and<br />

to plunder their possessions, 12 on one day in all the provinces of King<br />

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Ahasuerus, on the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, which is the<br />

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

in every province, was published to all the peoples, that the Jews should<br />

be ready for that day to avenge themselves on their enemies. 14 So the<br />

couriers who rode on royal horses went out, hastened and pressed on by<br />

the king’s commandment. The decree was given out in the citadel of<br />

Susa.<br />

15 Mordecai went out of the presence of the king in royal clothing of<br />

blue and white, and with a great crown of gold, and with a robe of fine<br />

linen and purple; and the city of Susa shouted and was glad. 16 The Jews<br />

had light, gladness, joy, and honor. 17 In every province, and in every<br />

city, wherever the king’s commandment and his decree came, the Jews<br />

had gladness, joy, a feast, and a good day. Many from among the peoples<br />

of the land became Jews; for the fear of the Jews was fallen on them.<br />

Chapter 9<br />

Victory of the Jews<br />

9 Now in the twelfth month, which is the month Adar, on the<br />

thirteenth day of the month, when the king’s commandment and his<br />

decree came near to be put in execution, on the day that the enemies of<br />

the Jews hoped to conquer them, (but it was turned out the opposite<br />

happened, that the Jews conquered those who hated them), 2 the Jews<br />

gathered themselves together in their cities throughout all the<br />

provinces of the King Ahasuerus, to lay hands on those who wanted to<br />

harm them. No one could withstand them, because the fear of them had<br />

fallen on all the people. 3 All the princes of the provinces, the satraps,<br />

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the governors, and those who did the king’s business helped the Jews,<br />

because the fear of Mordecai had fallen on them. 4 For Mordecai was<br />

great in the king’s house, and his fame went out throughout all the<br />

provinces; for the man Mordecai grew greater and greater. 5 The Jews<br />

struck all their enemies with the stroke of the sword, and with<br />

slaughter and destruction, and did what they wanted to those who<br />

hated them. 6 In the citadel of Susa, the Jews killed and destroyed five<br />

hundred men. 7 They killed Parshandatha, Dalphon, Aspatha, 8<br />

Poratha, Adalia, Aridatha, 9 Parmashta, Arisai, Aridai, and Vaizatha, 10<br />

the ten sons of Haman the son of Hammedatha, the Jew’s enemy, but<br />

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

those who were slain in the citadel of Susa was brought before the king.<br />

12 The king said to Esther the queen, “The Jews have slain and destroyed<br />

five hundred men in the citadel of Susa, including the ten sons of<br />

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

Now what is your petition? It shall be granted you. What is your further<br />

request? It shall be done.”<br />

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

who are in Shushan to do tomorrow also according to today’s decree,<br />

and let Haman’s ten sons be hanged on the gallows.”<br />

14 The king commanded this to be done. A decree was given out in<br />

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

Shushan gathered themselves together on the fourteenth day also of<br />

the month Adar, and killed three hundred men in Shushan; but they<br />

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

king’s provinces gathered themselves together, defended their lives,<br />

had rest from their enemies, and killed seventy-five thousand of those<br />

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

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was done on the thirteenth day of the month Adar; and on the<br />

fourteenth day of that month they rested and made it a day of feasting<br />

and gladness. 18 But the Jews who were in Shushan assembled together<br />

on the thirteenth and on the fourteenth days of the month; and on the<br />

fifteenth day of that month, they rested, and made it a day of feasting<br />

and gladness. 19 Therefore the Jews of the villages, who live in the<br />

unwalled towns, make the fourteenth day of the month Adar a day of<br />

gladness and feasting, a good day, and a day of sending presents of food<br />

to one another. 20 Mordecai wrote these things, and sent letters to all<br />

the Jews who were in all the provinces of the king Ahasuerus, both near<br />

and far, 21 to enjoin them that they should keep the fourteenth and<br />

fifteenth days of the month Adar yearly, 22 as the days in which the<br />

Jews had rest from their enemies, and the month which was turned to<br />

them from sorrow to gladness, and from mourning into a good day; that<br />

they should make them days of feasting and gladness, and of sending<br />

presents of food to one another, and gifts to the needy. 23 The Jews<br />

accepted the custom that they had begun, as Mordecai had written to<br />

them; 24 because Haman the son of Hammedatha, the Agagite, the<br />

enemy of all the Jews, had plotted against the Jews to destroy them, and<br />

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

but when this became known to the king, he commanded by letters that<br />

his wicked device, which he had devised against the Jews, should return<br />

on his own head, and that he and his sons should be hanged on the<br />

gallows. 26 Therefore they called these days “Purim”, from the word<br />

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

they had seen concerning this matter, and that which had come to<br />

them, 27 the Jews established, and imposed on themselves, and on their<br />

descendants, and on all those who joined themselves to them, so that it<br />

should not fail, that they would keep these two days according to what<br />

was written, and according to its appointed time, every year; 28 and<br />

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that these days should be remembered and kept throughout every<br />

generation, every family, every province, and every city; and that these<br />

days of Purim should not fail from among the Jews, nor their memory<br />

perish from their offspring,<br />

29 Then Esther the queen, the daughter of Abihail, and Mordecai the<br />

Jew, wrote with all authority to confirm this second letter of Purim.<br />

30 He sent letters to all the Jews, to the hundred twenty-seven<br />

provinces of the kingdom of Ahasuerus, with words of peace and truth,<br />

31 to confirm these days of Purim in their appointed times, as Mordecai<br />

the Jew and Esther the queen had decreed, and as they had imposed<br />

upon themselves and their descendants, in the matter of the fastings<br />

and their cry. 32 The commandment of Esther confirmed these matters<br />

of Purim; and it was written in the book.<br />

Chapter 10<br />

10 King Ahasuerus laid a tribute on the land, and on the islands of the<br />

sea. 2 All the acts of his power and of his might, and the full account of<br />

the greatness of Mordecai, to which the king advanced him, aren’t they<br />

written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Media and Persia?<br />

3 For Mordecai the Jew was next to King Ahasuerus, and great among<br />

the Jews, and accepted by the multitude of his brothers, seeking the<br />

good of his people, and speaking peace to all his descendants.<br />

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Esther Defeats Her Enemies!<br />

Charles Spurgeon<br />

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

wonderful instance of His providence, that when we had viewed it with<br />

interest and pleasure, we might praise His name, and then go on to<br />

acquire the habit of observing His hand in other histories, and<br />

especially in our own lives.<br />

Well does Flavel say, that he who observes providence, will never be<br />

long without a providence to observe. The man who can walk through<br />

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

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

discovers God everywhere at work. It is his joy to perceive that the Lord<br />

is working according to His will in Heaven, and earth, and in all deep<br />

places.<br />

It has been well said that the Book of Esther is a record of wonders<br />

without a miracle, and therefore, though equally revealing the glory of<br />

the Lord, it sets it forth in another fashion from that which is displayed<br />

in the overthrow of Pharaoh by miraculous power.<br />

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

had blessed and promised to preserve, and another of which he had<br />

said that he would utterly put out the remembrance of it from under<br />

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

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Lord had sworn that "The Lord will have war with Amalek from<br />

generation to generation." These two peoples were therefore in deadly<br />

hostility, like the seed of the woman and the seed of the serpent,<br />

between whom the Lord Himself has put an enmity.<br />

Many years had rolled away; the chosen people were in great distress,<br />

and at this far off time there still existed upon the face of the earth<br />

some relics of the race of Amalek; among them was one descended of<br />

the royal line of Agag, whose name was Haman, and he was in supreme<br />

power at the court of Ahasuerus, the Persian monarch. Now it was<br />

God's intent that a last conflict should take place between Israel and<br />

Amalek: the conflict which began with Joshua in the desert was to be<br />

finished by Mordecai in the king's palace.<br />

This last struggle began with great disadvantage to God's people.<br />

Haman was prime minister of the far-extending empire of Persia, the<br />

favorite of a despotic monarch, who was pliant to his will. Mordecai, a<br />

Jew in the employment of the king, sat in the king's gate; and when he<br />

saw proud Haman go to and fro, he refused to pay to him the homage<br />

which others rendered obsequiously. He would not bow his head or<br />

bend his knee to him, and this galled Haman exceedingly. It came into<br />

Haman's mind that this Mordecai was of the seed of the Jews, and with<br />

the remembrance came the high ambition to avenge the quarrel of his<br />

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

he would incarnate all the hate of generations, and at one blow sweep<br />

the accursed Jews, as he thought them, from off the face of the earth.<br />

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

that there was a singular people scattered up and down the Persian<br />

empire, different from all others, and opposed to the king's laws, and<br />

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

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

enormous sum of money to compensate for any loss of revenue by their<br />

destruction. He intended that the spoil which would be taken from the<br />

Jews should tempt their neighbors to kill them, and that the part<br />

allotted to himself should repay the amount which he advanced, thus<br />

he would make the Jews pay for their own murder. He had no sooner<br />

asked for this horrible grant than the monarch conceded it; taking his<br />

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

good to him. Thus the chosen seed are in the hands of the Agagite, who<br />

thirsts to annihilate them. Only one thing stands in the way, the Lord<br />

has said, "No weapon that is formed against you shall prosper, and<br />

every tongue that rises against you in judgment you shall condemn." We<br />

shall see what happens, and learn from it.<br />

We shall learn from the narrative, that God places His agents in fitting<br />

places for doing His work. The Lord was not taken by surprise by this<br />

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

order to match this cunning, malicious design of Haman, that someone<br />

of Jewish race should possess great influence with the king. How was<br />

this to be effected? Should a Jewess become Queen of Persia, the power<br />

she would possess would be useful in counteracting the enemy's design.<br />

This had been all arranged years before Haman had concocted in his<br />

wicked heart the scheme of murdering the Jews.<br />

Esther, whose sweet name signifies myrtle, had been elevated to the<br />

position of Queen of Persia by a singular course of events. It happened<br />

that King Ahasuerus, at a certain drinking bout, was so far drunk with<br />

wine as to forget all the proprieties of eastern life, and send for his<br />

queen, Vashti, to exhibit herself to the people and the princes. No one<br />

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dreamed in those days of disobeying the tyrant's word, and therefore<br />

all stood aghast when Vashti, evidently a woman of right royal spirit,<br />

refused to degrade herself by being made a spectacle before that ribald<br />

rout of drinking princes, and refused to come. For her courage Vashti<br />

was divorced, and a new queen was sought for.<br />

We cannot commend Mordecai for putting his adopted daughter in<br />

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

and dangerous to her soul in the highest degree. It would have been<br />

better for Esther to have been the wife of the poorest man in Israel,<br />

than to have gone into the den of the Persian despot. The Scripture does<br />

not excuse, much less commend, the wrong-doing of Esther and<br />

Mordecai in thus acting, but simply tells us how divine wisdom brought<br />

good out of evil, even as the chemist distills healing drugs from<br />

poisonous plants.<br />

The high position of Esther, though gained contrary to the wisest of<br />

laws, was overruled for the best interests of her people. Esther in the<br />

king's house was the means of defeating the malicious adversary. But<br />

Esther alone would not suffice; she is shut up in the harem, surrounded<br />

by her chamberlains and her maids of honor, but quite secluded from<br />

the outside world. A watchman is needed outside the palace to guard<br />

the people of the Lord, and to urge Esther to action when help is<br />

wanted. Mordecai, her cousin and foster-father, obtained an office<br />

which placed him at the palace gate. Where could he be better posted?<br />

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

is both quick, courageous, and unflinching: never had Israel a better<br />

sentinel than Mordecai, the son of Kish, a Benjamite — a very different<br />

man from that other son of Kish, who had allowed Amalek to escape in<br />

former times. His relationship to the queen allowed him to<br />

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communicate with her through Hatach, her chamberlain, and, when<br />

Haman's evil degree was published, it was not long before intelligence<br />

of it reached her ear, and she felt the danger of which Mordecai and all<br />

her people were exposed.<br />

By singular providences did the Lord place those two most efficient<br />

instruments in their places. Mordecai would have been of little use<br />

without Esther, and Esther could have rendered no aid had it not been<br />

for Mordecai. Meanwhile, there is a conspiracy hatched against the<br />

king, which Mordecai discovers, and communicates to the highest<br />

authority, and so puts the king under obligation to him, which was a<br />

needful part of the Lord's plan.<br />

Now whatever mischief may be brewing against the cause of God and<br />

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

devil, the Jesuits, nor the atheists are long quiet — this we are sure of:<br />

the Lord knows all about it, and He has His Esther and His Mordecai<br />

ready at their posts to frustrate their designs. The Lord has His men well<br />

placed, and His ambushes hidden in their coverts, to surprise His foes.<br />

We need never be afraid but what the Lord has forestalled His enemies,<br />

and provided against their mischief.<br />

Every child of God is where God has placed him for some purpose, and<br />

the practical use of this first point is to lead you to inquire for what<br />

practical purpose has God placed each one of you where you now are?<br />

You have been wishing for another position where you could do<br />

something for Jesus: do not wish anything of the kind, but serve Him<br />

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

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

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

queen, but whichever you are, serve God therein.<br />

Are you rich? God has made you a steward, take care that you are a good<br />

steward. Are you poor? God has thrown you into a position where you<br />

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

doing your allotted work? Do you live in a godly family? God has a<br />

motive for placing you in so happy a position. Are you in an ungodly<br />

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

there. Esther did well, because she acted as an Esther should, and<br />

Mordecai did well, because he acted as Mordecai should.<br />

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

captain well arranges the different parts of his army, and though we do<br />

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

has placed each soldier where he should be. Our wisdom is not to desire<br />

another place, nor to judge those who are in another position — but<br />

each one being redeemed with the precious blood of Jesus, should say,<br />

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

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

places His servants in positions where He can make use of them.<br />

The Lord not only arranges His servants, but He restrains His enemies. I<br />

would call your attention particularly to the fact that Haman, having<br />

gained a decree for the destruction of all the Jews upon a certain day,<br />

was very anxious to have his cruel work done thoroughly, and<br />

therefore, being very superstitious, and believing in astrology, he bade<br />

his magicians cast lots that he might find a lucky day for his great<br />

undertaking. The lots were cast for the various months, but not a single<br />

fortunate day could be found until near the close of the year, and then<br />

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the chosen day was the thirteenth of the twelfth month. On that day the<br />

magicians told their dupe that the heavens would be propitious, and the<br />

star of Haman would be in the ascendant.<br />

Truly the lot was cast into the lap, but the disposal of it was of the Lord.<br />

See here, that there were eleven clear months left before the Jews would<br />

be put to death, and that would give Mordecai and Esther time to turn<br />

round, and if anything could be done to reverse the cruel decree they<br />

had space to do it in. Suppose that the lot had fallen on the second or<br />

third month, the swift dromedaries and camels and messengers would<br />

scarcely have been able to reach the extremity of the Persian<br />

dominions, certainly a second set of messengers to counteract the<br />

decree could not have done so, and, humanly speaking, the Jews must<br />

have been destroyed; but oh, in that secret council chamber where sit<br />

the sorcerers and the man who asks counsel at the hands of the infernal<br />

powers — the Lord Himself is present, frustrating the tokens of the<br />

liars and making diviners mad.<br />

Vain were their enchantments and the multitude of their sorceries; the<br />

astrologers, the star-gazers, and the monthly prognosticators were all<br />

fools together, and led the superstitious Haman to destruction. "Surely<br />

there is no enchantment against Jacob, nor divination against Israel."<br />

Trust in the Lord you righteous, and in patience possess your souls.<br />

Leave your adversaries in the hands of God, for He can make them fall<br />

into the snare which they have privily laid for you!<br />

Notice, attentively, that Haman selected a mode of destroying the Jews<br />

which was wonderfully overruled for their preservation. They were to<br />

be slain by any of the people among whom they lived who chose to do<br />

so, and their plunder was to reward their slayers. Now, this was a very<br />

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cunning device, for greed would naturally incite the baser sort of men<br />

to murder the thrifty Jews, and no doubt there were debtors who would<br />

also be glad to see their creditors disposed of: but see the loophole for<br />

escape which this afforded! If the decree had enacted that the Jews<br />

should be slain by the soldiery of the Persian empire it must have been<br />

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

matter being left in private hands, the subsequent decree that they<br />

might defend themselves, was a sufficient counteraction of the first<br />

edict. Thus the Lord arranged that the wisdom of Haman should turn<br />

out to be folly after all.<br />

In another point, also, we mark the restraining hand of God: namely,<br />

that Mordecai, though he had provoked Haman to the utmost, was not<br />

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

Proud men are usually in a mighty tiff if they consider themselves<br />

insulted, and are ready at once to take revenge; but Haman "refrained<br />

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

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

God makes the wrath of man to praise Him, and the remainder He does<br />

restrain. Mordecai must not die a violent death by Haman's hand.<br />

The enemies of the church of God, and of His people, can never do<br />

more than the Lord permits; they cannot go a hair's breadth beyond the<br />

divine license, and when they are permitted to do their worst there is<br />

always some weak point about all that they do, some extreme folly<br />

which renders their fury vain. The wicked carry about them the<br />

weapons of their own destruction, and when they rage most against the<br />

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

to Himself.<br />

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Do not judge providence in little pieces, it is a grand mosaic, and<br />

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

be so, but that darkness will minister to the light, even as the ebony<br />

gloom of midnight makes the stars appear the more effulgent. Trust in<br />

the Lord forever, for in the Lord Jehovah there is everlasting strength.<br />

His wisdom will undermine the mines of cunning, His skill will overtop<br />

the climbings of craft; "He takes the wise in their own craftiness, and<br />

the counsel of the froward is carried headlong."<br />

God in His providence tries His people. God tried Mordecai; he was a<br />

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

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

realm went strutting by. His fellow-servants told him that the King has<br />

commanded all men to pay homage to Haman, but he held his own, not,<br />

however, without knowing what it might cost him to be so sternly<br />

independent. Haman was an Amalekite, and the Jew would not bow<br />

before him. But what a trouble it must have been to the heart of<br />

Mordecai, when he saw the proclamation that all the Jews must die: the<br />

good man must have bitterly lamented his unhappy fate in being the<br />

innocent cause of the destruction of his nation. For even if you know<br />

you have done right, yet if you bring down trouble, and especially<br />

destruction, upon the heads of others — it cuts you to the quick. You<br />

could bear martyrdom for yourself, but it is sad to see others suffer<br />

through your firmness.<br />

Prayer and Providence — Esther's Action. Esther had to be tried.<br />

Amid the glitter of the Persian court she might have grown forgetful of<br />

her God, but the sad news comes to her, "Your cousin and your nation<br />

are to be destroyed." Sorrow and dread filled her heart. There was no<br />

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

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

unbidden into his presence, and plead for her nation. Do you wonder<br />

that she trembled? Do you marvel that she asked the prayers of the<br />

faithful? Are you surprised to see both herself and her maids of honor<br />

fasting and lamenting before God?<br />

Do not think, my prosperous friend, that the Lord has given you a high<br />

place that you may escape the trials which belong to all His people:<br />

yours is no position of ease, but one of the hottest parts of the battle.<br />

Neither the lowest and most quiet position, nor the most public and<br />

exposed condition, will enable you to escape the "much tribulation"<br />

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through which the church militant must fight its way to glory. Why<br />

should we wish it? Should not the gold be tested in the crucible? Should<br />

not the strong pillar sustain great weights?<br />

When the Menai Bridge was first flung across the straits, the engineer<br />

did not stipulate that his bridge should never be tried with great<br />

weights; on the contrary, I can imagine his saying, "Bring up your<br />

heaviest trains and load the bridge as much as ever you will, for it will<br />

bear every strain." Just so, the Lord tries the righteous because He has<br />

made them of metal which will endure the test, and He knows that by<br />

the sustaining power of His Holy Spirit they will be held up and made<br />

more than conquerors; therefore is it a part of the operation of<br />

providence to try the saints. Let that comfort those of you who are in<br />

trouble at this time.<br />

The Lord's wisdom is seen in arranging the smallest events so as to<br />

produce great results. We frequently hear persons say of a pleasant or a<br />

great event, "What a providence!" while they are silent as to anything<br />

which appears less important, or has an unpleasant savor. But the place<br />

of the flower upon the hillside is as fixed as the station of a king; and<br />

the dust which is raised by a chariot-wheel is as surely steered by<br />

providence as the planet in its orbit. There is as much providence in the<br />

creeping of an aphis upon a rose leaf — as in the marching of an army<br />

to ravage a continent. Everything, the most minute, as well as the most<br />

magnificent — is ordered by the Lord who has prepared His throne in<br />

the heavens, whose kingdom rules over all. The history before us<br />

furnishes proof of this.<br />

We have reached the point where Esther is to go in unto the king and<br />

plead for her people. Strengthened by prayer, but doubtless trembling<br />

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still, Esther entered the inner court, and the king's affection led him<br />

instantly to stretch out the golden scepter. Being told to ask what she<br />

pleases, she invites the king to come to a banquet, and bring Haman<br />

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

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

kind a spirit, did not Esther speak? He was charmed with her beauty,<br />

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

But no, she merely asks that he and Haman will come to another<br />

banquet of wine tomorrow.<br />

O, daughter of Abraham, what an opportunity have you lost! Why did<br />

you not plead for your people? Their very existence hangs upon your<br />

entreaty, and the king has said, "What will you have?" and yet you are<br />

backward! Was it timidity? It is possible. Did she think that Haman<br />

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

say. Some of us are very unaccountable, but on that woman's<br />

unaccountable silence far more was hanging than appears at first sight.<br />

Doubtless she longed to bring out her secret, but the words came not.<br />

God was in it; it was not the right time to speak, and therefore she was<br />

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

when she would be able to come to the point — but the Lord knew best.<br />

After that banquet Haman went out joyfully at the palace gate, but<br />

being mortified beyond measure by Mordecai's unbending posture, he<br />

called for his wife and his friends, and told them that his riches and<br />

honors availed him nothing so long as Mordecai, the Jew, sat in the<br />

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

all his people in a few months, and the man is already fretting himself<br />

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

and gloat over his despair!"<br />

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But no, they counsel speedy revenge. Let Mordecai be hanged on a<br />

gibbet on the top of the house, and let the gallows be set up at once, and<br />

let Haman early in the morning ask for the Jew's life, and let his<br />

insolence be punished. Go, call the workmen, and let the gallows be set<br />

up at a great height that very night. It seemed a small matter that<br />

Haman should be so enraged just at that hour, but it was a very<br />

important item in the whole transaction, for had he not been so hasty<br />

he would not have gone so early in the morning to the palace, and<br />

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

But what has happened? Why, that very night, when Haman was<br />

devising to hang up Mordecai, the king could not sleep. What caused<br />

the monarch's restlessness? Why happened it on that night of all<br />

others? Ahasuerus is master of one hundred and twenty-seven<br />

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

he call for soothing instruments of music, or beguile the hours with a<br />

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

a book. Who would have thought that this luxurious prince must listen<br />

to a reader at dead of night. "Bring a book?" What book? A volume<br />

perfumed with roses, musical with songs, sweet as the notes of the<br />

nightingale? "No, bring the chronicles of the empire." Dull reading,<br />

that! But there are one hundred and twenty-seven provinces — which<br />

volume shall the page bring from the recorder's shelves? He chose the<br />

record of Shushan the royal city. That is the center of the empire, and<br />

its record is lengthy, in which section shall the reader make a<br />

beginning? He may begin where he pleases, but before he closes the<br />

book the story of the discovery of a conspiracy by Mordecai has been<br />

read in the king's hearing.<br />

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Was not this a singular accident? Singular if you like, but no accident.<br />

Out of ten thousand other records, the reader pitches upon that one of<br />

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

book closed and fell open at the chapter upon Mordecai. Be that as it<br />

may, this is certain, that the Lord knew where the record was, and<br />

guided the reader to the right page. Speaking after the manner of men,<br />

there were a million chances against one that the king of Persia should,<br />

in the dead of the night, be reading the chronicle of his own kingdom,<br />

and that he should light upon this particular part of it.<br />

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

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

Mordecai has done me good service — has he been rewarded?" "No."<br />

Then cries the impulsive monarch, "He shall be rewarded at once. Who<br />

is in the court?" It was the most unlikely thing in the world for the<br />

luxurious Ahasuerus to be in haste to do justice, for he had done<br />

injustice thousands of times without remorse, and chiefly on that day<br />

when he wantonly signed the death warrant of that very Mordecai and<br />

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

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

lead Mordecai in state through the streets.<br />

It seems a very small matter whether you or I shall sleep tonight, or toss<br />

restlessly on our beds — but God will be in our rest or in our<br />

wakefulness; we know not what His purpose may be, but His hand will<br />

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

of the Lord.<br />

Observe well how this matter prepared the way for the queen at the<br />

next banquet; for when she unfolded her sorrow and told of the<br />

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threatened destruction of the Jews, and pointed to that wicked Haman,<br />

the king must have been the more interested and ready to grant her<br />

request, from the fact that the man who had saved his life was a Jew,<br />

and that he had already awarded the highest honors to a man in every<br />

way fitted to supersede Haman, his worthless favorite. All was well, the<br />

plotter was unmasked, the gibbet ready, and he who ordered it was<br />

made to try his own arrangements.<br />

The Lord in His providence calls His own servants to be active. This<br />

business was done, and well done, by divine providence, but those<br />

concerned had to pray about it. Mordecai and all the Jews outside in<br />

Shushan fasted, and cried unto the Lord. Unbelievers inquire, "What<br />

difference could prayer make?"<br />

Prayer is an essential part of the providence of God, so essential, that<br />

you will always find that when God delivers His people, His people have<br />

been praying for that deliverance. They tell us that prayer does not<br />

affect the Most High, and cannot alter His purposes. We never thought<br />

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

wheel in the machinery of providence. The Lord sets His people<br />

praying, and then He blesses them.<br />

Moreover, Mordecai was quite sure the Lord would deliver His people,<br />

and he expressed that confidence, but he did not therefore sit still: he<br />

stirred up Esther, and when she seemed a little slack, he put it very<br />

strongly, "If you altogether hold your peace at this time, then<br />

enlargement and deliverance will arise from another place, but you and<br />

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

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

arrange this business, there is nothing for me to do," but she both<br />

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pleaded with God, and ventured her life and her all for her people's<br />

sake, and then acted very wisely and discreetly in her interviews with<br />

the king.<br />

So we rest confidently in providence, but we are not idle. We believe<br />

that God has an elect people, and therefore do we preach in the hope<br />

that we may be the means, in the hands of His Spirit, of bringing this<br />

elect people to Christ. We believe that God has appointed for His people<br />

both holiness here and Heaven hereafter; therefore do we strive against<br />

sin, and press forward to the rest which remains for the people of God.<br />

Faith in God's providence, instead of repressing our energies, excites us<br />

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

upon the Lord with the calm faith which knows that all depends upon<br />

Him.<br />

Never was a man so utterly defeated as Haman, never was a project so<br />

altogether turned aside. He was taken in his own trap, and he and his<br />

sons were hanged up on the gibbet set up for Mordecai. As for the Jews,<br />

they were in this special danger, that they were to be destroyed on a<br />

certain day, and though Esther pleaded with the king for their lives, he<br />

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

of the constitution that the law of the Medes and Persians could not be<br />

altered. The king might determine what he pleased, but when he had<br />

once decreed it he could not change it, the people feeling it better to<br />

submit to the worst established law than to be left utterly to every<br />

capricious whim of their master.<br />

Now, what was to be done? The decree was given that the Jews might be<br />

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

another decree was issued giving the Jews permission to defend<br />

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themselves, and take the property of any who dared to attack them;<br />

thus one decree effectually neutralized the other. With great haste this<br />

mandate was sent all over the kingdom, and on the appointed day the<br />

Jews stood up for themselves and slew their foes. According to their<br />

tradition nobody attempted to attack them except the Amalekites, and<br />

consequently only Amalekites were slain, and the race of Amalek was<br />

on that day swept from off the face of the earth. God thus gave to the<br />

Jews a high position in the empire and we are told that many became<br />

Jews, or were proselytes to the God of Abraham, because they saw what<br />

God had done.<br />

As I commenced by saying that God sometimes darted flashes of light<br />

through the thick darkness, you will now see what a flash this must<br />

have been. All the people were perplexed when they found that the<br />

Hebrews might be put to death, but they must have been far more<br />

astonished when the decree came that they might defend themselves.<br />

All the world inquired "Why is this?" and the answer was "The living<br />

God, whom the Jews worship, has displayed His wisdom and rescued<br />

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

Israel, and thus the divine purpose was fully accomplished, His people<br />

were secured, and His name was glorified to the world's end.<br />

It is clear that the divine will is accomplished, and yet men are perfectly<br />

free agents. Haman acted according to his own will, Ahasuerus did<br />

whatever he pleased, Mordecai behaved as his heart moved him, and so<br />

did Esther. We see no "divine interference" with them, no force or<br />

coercion; hence the entire sin and responsibility rest with each guilty<br />

one, yet, acting with perfect freedom, none of them acts otherwise than<br />

divine providence had foreseen.<br />

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

do not understand it either. I have known many who think they<br />

comprehend all things, but I imagine they had a higher opinion of<br />

themselves than truth would endorse. Certain of my brethren deny free<br />

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

predestination, and so cut the knot.<br />

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

eyes to any part of the truth, I believe both free agency and<br />

predestination to be facts. How they can be made to agree, I do not<br />

know, or care to know; I am satisfied to know anything which God<br />

chooses to reveal to me, and equally content not to know what He does<br />

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

for his actions, and truly guilty when he does wrong, and he will be<br />

justly punished too, and if he is lost the blame will rest with himself<br />

alone. But yet there is One who rules over all, who, without complicity<br />

in their sin, makes even the actions of wicked men to subserve His holy<br />

and righteous purposes. Believe these two truths and you will see them<br />

in practical agreement in daily life, though you will not be able to devise<br />

a theory for harmonizing them on paper.<br />

Wonders can be wrought without miracles. When God does a wonderful<br />

thing by suspending the laws of nature men are greatly astonished and<br />

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

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

history of Pharaoh, but I must confess I see Him quite as clearly in the<br />

history of Haman, and I think I see Him in even a grander light; for (I<br />

say it with reverence to His holy name) it is a somewhat rough method<br />

of accomplishing a purpose to stop the wheels of nature and reverse<br />

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wise and admirable laws; certainly it reveals His power, but it does not<br />

so clearly display His immutability.<br />

When, however, the Lord allows everything to go on in the usual way,<br />

and gives mind and thought, ambition, and passion their full liberty,<br />

and yet achieves His purpose, it is doubly wonderful. In the miracles of<br />

Pharaoh we see the finger of God, but in the wonders of providence,<br />

without miracle, we see the hand of God. Today, whatever the event<br />

may be, the attentive eye will as clearly see the Lord as if by miraculous<br />

power the hills had leaped from their places, or the floods had stood<br />

upright as an heap. I am sure that God is in the world, ay, and is at my<br />

own fireside, and in my chamber, and manages my affairs, and orders<br />

all things for me, and for each one of His children. We need no miracles<br />

to convince us of His working, the wonders of His providence are as<br />

great marvels as miracles themselves.<br />

Let each child of God rejoice that we have a guardian so near the throne.<br />

Every Jew in Shushan must have felt hope when he remembered that<br />

the queen was a Jewess. Today let us be glad that Jesus is exalted.<br />

"He is at the Father's side,<br />

The Man of love, the crucified."<br />

How safe are all His people, for "if any man sin, we have an advocate<br />

with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous." There is one that lies in the<br />

bosom of God who will plead for all those who put their trust in Him.<br />

Therefore be not dismayed, but let your souls rest in God, and wait<br />

patiently for Him, for sooner shall Heaven and earth pass away than<br />

those who trust the Lord shall perish.<br />

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<strong>ESTHER</strong><br />

by Mary Elizabeth Baxter<br />

Esther 4; 5; 6; 7.<br />

The name Esther means "Secret," and the history of this famous Jewess<br />

finds its chronology between the Books of Ezra and Nehemiah, in the<br />

days when many of the Jews were still captives in Persia, which<br />

kingdom had conquered Babylon. The state of morality in these Eastern<br />

kingdoms had become terribly low, and the harem system was in its<br />

fullest force. O how grievous that the children of God through their sins<br />

should be subject to a people the standard of whose life was such!<br />

Amongst the captives in Shushan, the palace, there was a certain Jew,<br />

whose name was Mordecai, and the history of this man was so<br />

important in the eyes of God that He mentions the affairs of the king<br />

Ahasuerus, or Artaxerxes, simply to bring out the faith and loyalty of<br />

Mordecai to God and to his people. Ahasuerus, a sensual man, held a<br />

feast, in the course of which, when probably inflamed with wine, he<br />

called for his queen, Vashti, to appear, that his lords should look upon<br />

her beauty. Whether it was womanly modesty, or whether it was selfwill,<br />

which caused the queen to disobey, we know not, but, in any case,<br />

Vashti was degraded from her position, and the king determined to<br />

elect another in her place, and for this purpose sought to replenish his<br />

harem.<br />

It is grievous to think that a maiden of Israel should have been<br />

introduced into the king's harem, but so it was, and the young cousin of<br />

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Mordecai, the beautiful Esther, became a competitor with Persian<br />

maidens for the crown‐royal of Persia. There was a graciousness about<br />

the Jewish maiden which pleased both the king and his chamberlain,<br />

and Ahasuerus set the royal crown upon her head, and made her queen<br />

instead of Vashti.<br />

Meanwhile, the Jewish maiden obeyed Mordecai, her elder cousin, just<br />

as when she was brought up with him. While she lived in a heathen<br />

court,<br />


was greater to her than all the riches, and pleasures and indulgences of<br />

her royal estate; and when Mordecai discovered the delinquencies of<br />

two chamberlains, she "certified the king thereof in Mordecai's name."<br />

It is not surprising that a king, the principle of whose life was selfindulgence,<br />

should have been capricious in his likes and dislikes, and by<br />

such caprice should have exalted an unworthy favorite to a place of<br />

honor. A selfish despot is the greatest of tyrants. Haman, the Agagite,<br />

was the name of this favorite, and, probably, he was a simple flatterer<br />

with a smooth tongue who made the king his tool to obtain his own<br />

aggrandizement. It was flattering to the pride of this unworthy man<br />

that all the king's servants in the king's gate bowed and reverenced him.<br />

But there was one man, a servant of the King of Kings, who would not<br />

own the superiority of Haman. "Mordecai bowed not nor did him<br />

reverence." So bitter was the enmity which this treatment inspired in<br />

Haman that he was full of wrath, and in his senseless, wicked anger, he<br />

sought not only to lay hands on Mordecai, but to destroy all the Jews<br />

throughout the whole kingdom of Ahasuerus. Probably he had<br />

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discovered that Mordecai, far from being a selfish man like himself, had<br />

his people very near his heart, and that death would be doubly bitter to<br />

him if his people also were destroyed. Haman's influence with the king<br />

was such that he obtained a decree that all the Jews should be destroyed<br />

and the very day of execution was fixed!<br />

Mordecai was, probably, one of those men so rare in a generation, who<br />

have the cause of God upon their hearts. It was not for his own sake that<br />

he had introduced Esther into the palace, it was not for the sake of the<br />

position which she held; he bore his people upon his heart, he thought<br />

of how he and the queen should serve the people of the Lord. And now<br />

that all the Jews were in mourning and in fear for their lives, Mordecai<br />

rent his clothes, put on sack‐cloth with ashes, and went out into the<br />

midst of the city, and cried with a loud and bitter cry. It was not long<br />

before Esther heard of the mourning of Mordecai, and, to her surprise<br />

and horror, learnt the reason of it; and Mordecai charged her to go in to<br />

the king to make supplication to him and to make request for her<br />

people.<br />

It was a crisis in the life of the young queen: all her life previously was<br />

but a preparation for this moment. Her people's very existence might<br />

depend on her. To enter uncalled into the presence of the imperious<br />

despot meant death to herself, but to fail in supplicating for her race<br />

meant death to everyone of her people! What should Esther do?<br />

Mordecai sent this message:<br />

"Think not with thyself that thou shalt escape in the king's house, more<br />

than all the Jews. For if thou altogether holdest thy peace at this time,<br />

then shall there enlargement and deliverance, arise to the Jews from<br />

another place; but thou and thy father's house shall be destroyed and<br />

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who knoweth whether thou art come to the kingdom for such a time as<br />

this." God can always raise up instruments for His work; He is not<br />

dependent upon man, but there are moments when He may give us<br />


eternal issues hang upon such moments!<br />

How should Mordecai know that enlargement and deliverance should<br />

arise to the Jews from another place? He must have been alone with his<br />

God; he must have pleaded for his people and received a distinct<br />

answer, for he spoke with authority of what God should do.<br />

By God's grace, Esther was made equal to the occasion. She rose to the<br />

situation, and returned Mordecai this answer,<br />

"Go, gather together all the Jews that are present in Shushan, and fast<br />

for me, and neither eat nor drink for three days, night or day: I also and<br />

my maidens will fast likewise; and so will I go in unto the king, which is<br />

not according to the law; and if I perish, I perish."<br />

Once decided to take her life in her hand, once laid down upon the altar<br />

as a living sacrifice for her people, Esther became the true helpmeet<br />

which woman should be. But in this case, it was not the helpmeet of her<br />

husband, but of her people. When the hearts of His children have<br />

learned to trust Him, God has no difficulty in arranging circumstances<br />

in such a way that prayer can be answered.<br />

Esther ventured into the inner court of the king's house. The king held<br />

out the golden scepter. She only invited him and Haman to a feast, and<br />

trusted for what should follow.<br />

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Meanwhile God went on working, and took sleep from the king's eyes.<br />

He ordered the book of the records of the Chronicles to be read before<br />

him, and discovered how Mordecai had apprised him of the treachery<br />

of his chamberlains. He called in the morning for his favorite Haman,<br />

and commanded that he should honor Mordecai by leading him on<br />

horseback through the streets of the city and proclaiming before him:<br />

"Thus shall it be done to the man whom the king delights to honor."<br />

When the time of Esther's banquet had arrived, the king asked her what<br />

was her petition. The favorable moment had come: God had let<br />

everything work up to this moment. And when the queen urged upon<br />

her royal husband the plea:<br />

"Let my life be given me upon my petition, and my people at my<br />

request," and the king discovered the treachery of Haman, the tables<br />

were turned, and the gallows which Haman had prepared for Mordecai<br />

were used for the man who had plotted his downfall.<br />

Esther had not been called to her royal position in vain, and throughout<br />

the whole kingdom, deliverance came to the Jews. They had light and<br />

gladness and joy and honor, and many of the people of the land became<br />

Jews, for the fear of the Jews came upon them (Est 8:16-17).<br />

"Who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as<br />

this?" It is<br />


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that the faithfulness of God's children is tried. He will ever hold out His<br />

golden scepter to His children. But let none think that what happens is<br />

accidental. There is a purpose in every test, in every trial, that the gold<br />

may be refined and the grace which He has given to His children made<br />

manifest. Every child of God is called to be a living sacrifice (Rom 12:1),<br />

but the life of sacrifice is peculiarly a woman's vocation. There are times<br />

when, disregarding her own feelings and desires, she may follow the<br />

Lamb whithersoever He goeth (Rev 14:4) in her own home‐life;<br />

enduring hardness, selfishness, perhaps from a drunken husband,<br />

rudeness, perhaps from rebellious children, unkindness from evilspeaking<br />

neighbors -without answering a word. Who knows how many<br />

husbands and sons have been convinced of sin by the witness of such a<br />

life? Who knows how many neighbors have seen Christ in such a<br />

woman, and have been led to seek Him for themselves. Esther took her<br />

life in her hand for the sake of her people. Every true woman of God<br />

will die to her own self‐life daily, and all day long, that the life of Jesus<br />

may be manifest in her.<br />

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Handfuls on Purpose<br />

by James Smith<br />

<strong>ESTHER</strong><br />


"Oh let Your sacred will<br />

All Your delight in me fulfill!<br />

Let not me think an action mine own way;<br />

But as Your love shall sway,<br />

Resigning up the rudder to Your skill."—Herbert.<br />

The book of Esther belongs to the times of Ezra and Nehemiah, and was<br />

probably written by Mordecai (chapter 9:20). As has been often noted,<br />

the Name of God does not occur, and is never referred to in it. But<br />

although His Name is not found, His hand is everywhere visible. It may<br />

be fitly called, "The book of the providence of God." In this brief history<br />

we have a striking confirmation and fulfillment of that principle taught<br />

in Romans 8:28: "All things work together for good... to them who are<br />

the called according to His purpose." Each of the leading persons in the<br />

book presents a separate type of character, under the unconscious but<br />

over-ruling providence of God. Men and women are free to act as they<br />

may, and while responsible for their actions, there lies behind all the<br />

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great purpose of God to manifest Himself. The events in the book are<br />

thrilling: Vashti, the queen, is deposed; Esther, the orphan, is crowned;<br />

Mordecai, the despised, is honored; and Haman, the boaster, is hanged.<br />

We shall consider first the downfall of Queen Vashti.<br />

I. Her Name. Vashti means beauty. The king desired to show the princes<br />

her beauty, "for she was fair to look upon" (v. 11). Physical as well as<br />

moral beauty is always attractive, but mere outward loveliness has<br />

frequently proved a temptation and a snare. It is a dangerous gift when<br />

there is no corresponding loveliness of spirit. It is no uncommon thing<br />

to find the most beautiful spirit in a rough and uncomely body.<br />

II. Her Position. She was the queen of Ahasuerus, the greatest king on<br />

the earth. His name means "majestic prince." What an honor to be the<br />

sharer of the glory and riches of such a king. Ahasuerus in some<br />

respects may represent Him who is the King of kings and Lord of lords.<br />

Especially in the greatness of his influence and in the generosity of his<br />

character in making a great feast for all his princes and for all his<br />

people (vv. 3-5). And like the great Gospel feast there was no<br />

compulsion. Every one was to choose for himself as to how much or<br />

how little he was to take (v. 8). A greater than Ahasuerus is here and it is<br />

our privilege to belong to Him. Queen Vashti was not more beautiful in<br />

the eyes of her king than those are in the eyes of the King of kings, in<br />

whom the "beauty of the Lord" has been put. Being made partakers of<br />

the Divine nature we become children and heirs together with Him.<br />

III. Her Opportunity: "The king commanded Vashti to come before him<br />

with the royal crown, to show the people and the princes her<br />

beauty" (vv. 10, 11). We are not so much concerned just now with the<br />

customs of this heathen court, with the seemliness or unseemliness of<br />

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this command, but with the principles that lie underneath. Vashti held<br />

her position as queen by virtue of the king's choice and favor, just as we,<br />

by the grace of God, have been called and exalted. This command to<br />

appear before the people with the crown royal—the gift of the king—to<br />

show them her beauty, and so please the king, was giving her an<br />

opportunity of doing a most acceptable service. It was her duty as well<br />

as her privilege to obey. Is there not a similar opportunity offered us, as<br />

the royal house of the King of Heaven? Should not that beauty which<br />

the Lord our God has put upon us be shown forth for the honor of His<br />

great Name? Let your light—the light of your life—so shine before<br />

men. This is an opportunity that we will not always have.<br />

IV. Her Rebellion. "But the queen refused to come at the king's<br />

commandment" (v. 12). The call was very urgent, for seven chamberlains<br />

had been deputed to carry it out, but she deliberately refused to obey.<br />

The reason probably was that as she, too, had "made a feast for the<br />

women in the royal house which belonged to the king" (v. 9), she did not<br />

wish to break up her present enjoyment for the sake of pleasing the<br />

king in such a small matter. How often the acts of our disobedience to<br />

God have their roots down in our self-made plans and our<br />

determination to carry them out. We have prepared a feast for ourselves<br />

and others, and things are going on beautifully when some definite call<br />

from the King comes, but we judge it unworthy of our attention<br />

meanwhile, and disobey, utterly unconscious of the terrible fruits that<br />

will certainly follow. One refusal to obey may cast us out of the<br />

fellowship of the King.<br />

V. Her Example. "This deed of the queen shall come abroad to all<br />

women, so that they shall despise their husbands in their eyes" (v. 17).<br />

"Acts speak louder than words." Vashti, being queen, was compassed<br />

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about with a great cloud of witnesses, so that her actions had farreaching<br />

results. This is an aspect of the Christian life that cannot be<br />

too carefully considered. We, like her, walk in high places, and one false<br />

step may be to others a license to sin. "No man lives unto<br />

himself" (Romans 14:7). This is true, especially of the servant of God. As<br />

wives are to be subject to their own husbands, so must we be subject to<br />

Christ (Ephesians 5:22-24).<br />

VI. Her Rejection. "Vashti came no more before king Ahasuerus" (vv.<br />

19-21). He made Esther queen instead of Vashti" (chapter 2:17). Her<br />

disobedience led to entire separation from the fellowship of the king.<br />

Doubtless she little imagined that this simple refusal would result in<br />

such disastrous consequences. A thought, an act, and a crown lost. How<br />

long she lived to mourn over her folly we know not, but surely her days<br />

would be spent in shame and bitterness of soul. For this same reason<br />

(disobedience) many get out of fellowship with the Lord Jesus Christ.<br />

There is sin in the heart, and the Lord will not hear. There has been<br />

failure through preferring our own will to the will of our Lord, and now<br />

there is no liberty of access. The failure will be all the more grievous if<br />

another has been called of Him to take our place and our crown. Hold<br />

that fast which you have as a servant, that no man take your crown (Rev.<br />

3:11). It is possible, through lack of self-subjection, even to preach to<br />

others, and yet, as a servant, become a castaway (1 Corinthians 9:27)<br />

<strong>ESTHER</strong>, THE HUMBLE, EXALTED. Esther 2, etc.<br />

"Obedience is nobler than freedom. What's free?<br />

The vexed straw on the wind, the frothed spume on the sea;<br />

The great ocean itself, as it rolls and it swells,<br />

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In the bonds of a boundless obedience dwells."—Lytton.<br />

Esther means "star." Star-like characters are sure to be seen and<br />

recognized. Light is self-assertive. The deposition of Vashti is followed<br />

by a most exciting search for a queen. It was a search for given qualities.<br />

It was not "Whoever will may come." In this case the number was very<br />

elect. We are thankful that candidates for Heaven are not sought for on<br />

this principle. Not the beautiful, but sinners, Jesus came to call. Some of<br />

the notes in the song of Mary might well have been sung by Esther. "He<br />

has regarded the low estate of His handmaiden....He who is mighty has<br />

done to me great things" (Luke 1:48, 49). Observe—<br />

I. Her Condition. "She had neither father nor mother," but was brought<br />

up by Mordecai, her aged cousin (chapter 2:7). No one seemed further<br />

away, by birth and circumstances, from being a queen than she was. But<br />

in the mysterious providence of God the most unlikely things do<br />

happen. No one seemed more unlikely to become a servant of Jesus<br />

Christ than Saul of Tarsus. Poverty, or ignorance, or guilt are no<br />

barriers to the infinite grace of God.<br />

II. Her Call. "Esther was brought into the kings' house" (v. 8). She is now<br />

conscious that she has been called as a candidate for a crown. Not many<br />

had such a chance brought within their reach, but still she was just one<br />

among others. In this race only one could receive the prize. It is very<br />

different with the call that comes to us through the Gospel of Christ.<br />

Every one who receives this call may also receive the crown of life and<br />

eternal honor. All that have been brought into our "King's house" will be<br />

made to rejoice in His great and gracious presence.<br />

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III. Her Character. That she was exceeding gracious and trustworthy is<br />

apparent from the fact that she pleased the keeper of the women more<br />

than the others (v. 9), and that she was true to Mordecai's instructions<br />

in not revealing her nationality. Her implicit obedience to her guardian<br />

is a noteworthy feature of her humble and submissive spirit (v. 20). This<br />

may seem a small matter, but it is just such a matter that God in His<br />

providence never overlooks. It is what we are in the secret of our own<br />

souls that shows itself when the time of strain and testing comes. "As a<br />

man thinks in his heart, so is he." It is in the good and honest heart that<br />

the seed of the kingdom springs up into God-glorifying fruitfulness.<br />

IV. Her Choice. "When the turn of Esther was come to go in unto the<br />

king, she required nothing but what Hegai, the king's chamberlain,<br />

appointed" (v. 15). Certain necessary things were appointed to be given<br />

to each of those candidates for queenship, but any other thing they<br />

might wish for the beautifying of their person, or that might help to<br />

commend them to the king was not to be denied them. The others<br />

evidently required many other things to perfect their preparation, but it<br />

is noted of Esther that she "required nothing." She chose to be satisfied<br />

with those things appointed by the king. She left herself entirely in the<br />

hands of him who had the work of preparation committed to him. Her<br />

own thoughts or devices find no place here. So let us submit ourselves<br />

to the Holy Spirit, whose office it is to sanctify us, and fit and prepare us<br />

for the presence of the King. It will fare all the better with us if, like<br />

Esther, we "require nothing" but what He has appointed, satisfied with<br />

the garment of His righteousness, even of His only.<br />

V. Her Crown. "The king loved Esther... and she obtained grace in his<br />

sight,... so he set the royal crown upon her head" (v. 17). Her humility<br />

and faith are now rewarded by a public manifestation of the king's<br />

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favor—crowned with glory and honor, although she did nothing but<br />

obey. The way to the throne was open for her whenever the king loved<br />

her. What a privilege to be loved by a king, by the King of Heaven. The<br />

love of God opens the way for us into the heart and home of God. The<br />

crown is the symbol of honor and power. Pentecost was the crowning<br />

day for the early disciples, when the tongue of fire rested on each of<br />

them, and they all received the Royal authority of Heaven, becoming<br />

partners with the King of Glory and sharers of His Kingdom on earth.<br />

To find His "favor" is to find His crown.<br />

VI. Her Courage. "I will go unto the king, which is not according to law,<br />

and if I perish, I perish" (chapter 4:16). A testing-time had now come,<br />

when all the power and authority she possessed were needed for the<br />

salvation of those who were condemned to die. Haman had succeeded<br />

in getting the sentence of death passed upon all Jews; Mordecai pleads<br />

with Esther as their only hope, but the law forbade anyone approaching<br />

the king, on pain of death, without an invitation. Nevertheless, Esther<br />

consecrates her life to this great object, and casts herself into the<br />

breach. It was a bold step. But although the law was against her, she<br />

knew that the heart of the king was for her. This also is our<br />

encouragement in giving ourselves for the salvation of others. If, like<br />

Esther, we have come into honor and power by the grace of our king, it<br />

is also "for such a time as this," a time of salvation for others. All the<br />

authority and power we have received is absolutely needed for this<br />

great work. The Jaw of the flesh will always be against us in<br />

approaching the King as soul savers. Let us, like Esther, give ourselves<br />

entirely to it. "If I perish" in a work like this, then it is a blessed and<br />

worthy object for which to die. But she did not perish. "None perish that<br />

trust in Him."<br />

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VII. Her Conquest. She obtained favor: the golden scepter was held out<br />

to her. Then the king said unto her, "What will you, Queen Esther, and<br />

what is your request?" etc. (chapter 5:1-3). She then identifies herself<br />

with the Jews, and, pleads for her own and their lives (chapter 7:3, 4).<br />

Her request is abundantly answered; the enemy is overcome, and her<br />

people are saved. She sees of the travail of her soul and is satisfied. This<br />

great achievement reminds us of a greater than Esther, who, when the<br />

law was against us, cast Himself down in the presence of God on that<br />

awful spot called Calvary, saying, as it were, "If I perish, I perish." But<br />

God raised Him again, and made Him a Prince and a Savior. The way to<br />

such conquests is self-surrender. If we are to be the saviors of others it<br />

can only be by the sacrifice of ourselves to this end. To this end have we<br />

been called into His kingdom. "Receiving the end of your faith, the<br />

salvation of souls" (1 Peter 1:9)<br />


"Be strong, be good, be pure!<br />

The right only shall endure."—Longfellow.<br />

This "little man," as the name Mordecai indicates, had been carried<br />

away from Jerusalem with the captivity. Little did he or his captors<br />

know what an important part he was destined to play in the kingdom of<br />

Babylon.<br />

"God moves in a mysterious way,<br />

His wonders to perform!”<br />

Little also did he imagine, when he agreed to adopt his orphan cousin,<br />

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that she would yet be queen in Babylon. This book of the providence of<br />

God is true to its character, being full of surprises. We shall fix our<br />

attention now on the career of Mordecai. He was—<br />

I. Merciful. It was a very merciful act to take the girl Esther, who was an<br />

orphan, and adopt her as his own daughter (chapter 2:7). This may seem<br />

a very ordinary thing, but the sequence was extraordinary. It seemed<br />

the right thing for him to do, and he did it. That is where the point lies.<br />

He opened his heart as well as his home for her, and the blessing that is<br />

promised to the merciful came to him (Matthew 5:7).<br />

II. Faithful. Two of the king's chamberlains had plotted to kill the king.<br />

The thing was known to Mordecai and he boldly revealed the dastardly<br />

design to Esther, who told the king in his name (chapter 2:22, 23). If one<br />

would be true to themselves and to righteousness they must be<br />

prepared, if need be, to do things that may bring others into shame and<br />

condemnation. There are those who, if they don't plot against the King<br />

of Heaven, they do it against His people and His cause. Well, if the thing<br />

is known to you there is no need for you fighting against them. Tell the<br />

King about it, who, for His own sake, will surely deal with the offenders.<br />

Be faithful to the interests of your Lord and King, and, by the good hand<br />

of God your reward will come openly.<br />

III. Consistent. "But Mordecai bowed not to Haman, nor did him<br />

reverence... for he was a Jew" (chapter 3:2-4). He refused to prostrate<br />

himself, and give to the haughty Haman that homage which is due only<br />

to God. By this act of resistance he declared his faith in and reverence<br />

for God. Mordecai was a man in whose eyes a vile person is contemned,<br />

but who honored them that fear the Lord (Psalm 15:4). A man's faith is<br />

of no value if it does not affect his daily life. How can a man say that he<br />

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elieves in God if he is not ready to obey God rather than men (Acts<br />

5:29). Those whose lives are governed by the fear of God will not be<br />

found doing just as others do, even for "peace sake." It may seem to<br />

some "men-pleasers" but a trifle, yet if he had yielded on this point he<br />

might never have been lifted up to the place of national honor that was<br />

afterwards his.<br />

IV. Despised. "Then was Haman full of wrath" (chapter 3:5); and when<br />

he learned that Mordecai was a Jew he "scorned to lay hands on him<br />

alone," and sought to destroy "all the Jews" (chapter 3:6). But after laying<br />

his plans for the destruction of the Jews he was persuaded by his wife to<br />

hang Mordecai on a gallows fifty cubits high (chapter 5:14). All this<br />

wrath and proposed blood-shedding because one man had courage and<br />

conviction enough not to violate his conscience and deny his God. Is the<br />

game worth the candle? No, says the man who walks by sight, and not<br />

by faith. But what says the Lord by His wonderworking providence? If<br />

any man will live Godly he must suffer persecution, because he will be<br />

guided and controlled by motives and principles that have no place in<br />

the affairs of the selfish and ungodly. This is where the shoe pinches,<br />

unless it is a good fit. The man of God will never feel comfortable in the<br />

shoes of a man of the world, and not to be in the world's fashion is in<br />

itself a cause of offence. "But blessed are you when men shall revile you<br />

for My Name's sake;" great is your reward in the heavenlies.<br />

V. Tested. "He rent his clothes... and went into the city, and cried with a<br />

loud and bitter cry" (chapter 4:1). The death sentence had gone forth<br />

against him and all his people. It was a most terrible experience. His<br />

sackcloth and agony awakened the compassion and inquiry of the<br />

queen (chapter 4:4, 5). He was sorely cast down, but not destroyed, for<br />

his faith in God was unfailing. "If you hold your peace," he said to<br />

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Esther, "then shall deliverance arise to the Jews from another<br />

place" (chapter 4:14). It was a tremendous strain that was upon him.<br />

Who was to make intercession for his helpless countrymen if he did<br />

not? If he held his peace how perhaps some other might arise, and this<br />

would be to his great shame. He left no stone unturned, but his faith<br />

was in the unfailing providence of God. The trial of your faith may be<br />

painful, but it is precious when found unto the praise and honor of God<br />

(1 Peter 1:7). Nothing is impossible with God.<br />

VI. Honored. God begun to work deliverance for Mordecai by giving the<br />

king a restless night (chapter 6:1). The national records are read, and the<br />

report of Mordecai specially noted, and the desire is begotten in the<br />

heart of the king to reward his timely warning (chapter 6:3, 4). Who<br />

would have thought that, within one week, the man who had erected a<br />

gallows to hang this stiff-necked Jew who refused to bow to him, would<br />

be led forth by that same man, seated on "the king's horse, adorned with<br />

royal apparel, and the crown upon his head, as the man whom the king<br />

delights to honor." That same week he had on his finger the ring of<br />

authority worn by Haman, his enemy. It does not take God long to work<br />

a perfect transformation act, and turn His servants' tears and wailings<br />

into songs and praises. Not only is he saved himself, but exalted to a<br />

position of glory and power that he might be the means of saving<br />

others (chapter 8:7, 8). When any one is brought by God into a position<br />

of privilege and into a condition of power it is that great and needful<br />

things may be done by them. "I will bless you and make you a<br />

blessing" (Hebrews 6:14).<br />

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HAMAN, THE PROUD, DESTROYED. Esther 3-7.<br />

It has been said that "pride destroys or misleads more souls than<br />

deliberate wickedness." The history of Haman is a verification of that<br />

saying of the wise man: "Pride goes before destruction, and an haughty<br />

spirit before a fall" (Proverbs 16:18). His Name means "magnificent," but<br />

his chequered career proves that his nature was ignominious. We see<br />

him—<br />

I. Promoted. "King Ahasuerus promoted Haman, and advanced him,<br />

and set his seat above all the princes that were with him" (chapter 3:1).<br />

The greater our privilege, the more terrible will be our downfall if we<br />

fail to walk humbly with our God. Capernaum was exalted to the<br />

highest point of privilege, but through the blindness of unbelief fell to<br />

the deepest depths of dishonor and shame. "Let him that thinks he<br />

stands take heed lest he fall." Through grace, every Christian has been<br />

promoted by the King of Heaven, and has his seat above all the princes<br />

of the earth. Let us see that we walk worthy of such an high calling.<br />

II. Easily Offended. "When Haman saw that Mordecai bowed not, nor<br />

did him reverence, then was Haman full of wrath" (chapter 3:5). A man<br />

of his position and dignity might easily have afforded to overlook the<br />

seeming disrespect of the poor Jew; but no, his haughty pride was<br />

wounded. The more authority he got the more overbearing and<br />

tyrannical he became. Is not this how spiritual pride works? Do we<br />

think that all men are going to honor us because we have been<br />

promoted by the king? To be easily offended because we are not<br />

honored by certain men is an evidence of pride; it is a sign that we are<br />

seeking our own glory, when anger or wrath finds a place in our hearts<br />

against any one who fails to respect us as perhaps we think they should.<br />

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The servant is not greater than his Lord. It is sometimes said, "He is a<br />

good man, but very touchy." Touchiness may be another name for<br />

selfishness.<br />

III. Boastful. "Haman told them (his friends) of the glory of his<br />

riches,... and how the king had advanced him above the princes and<br />

servants of the king" (chapter 5:11). He glories in his riches, his<br />

possessions, and his position. He exalts himself because he has been<br />

advanced above the other princes and servants of the king. The men of<br />

the world who have their portion in this life have little need to boast, for<br />

such riches can soon grow wings and fly away. "Treasures of wickedness<br />

profit nothing" (Proverbs 10:2). Paul says that "Proud boasters are<br />

inventors of evil things" (Romans 1:30). And such was Haman. All<br />

unholy boasting is the fruit of impure motives. Our spiritual promotion<br />

is "not by works, lest any man should boast" (Ephesians 2:9).<br />

IV. Revengeful. "The thing pleased Haman, and he caused the gallows<br />

to be made for Mordecai" (chapter 5:14). There was still a "fly in the<br />

ointment" of Haman's glory, pomp, and pride: "All this avails me<br />

nothing so long as I see Mordecai the Jew sitting at the king's<br />

gate" (chapter 5:13). The greatness of a soul is seen in its readiness to<br />

overlook personal insults and injuries, but this man's little selfish soul<br />

could not bear it. He made no attempt to win Mordecai's favor by<br />

kindness or patience, but greedily thirsts for his Jewish blood. The<br />

feeling of revenge, or even of grudge, against another is as much<br />

opposed to true Christian experience as death is to life. It is not for us to<br />

avenge ourselves, but to commit all to the Lord, who has said:<br />

"Vengeance is mine, I will repay" (Romans 12:19).<br />

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V. Self-Confident. When the king said unto him, "What shall be done<br />

unto the man whom the king delights to honor? Haman thought in his<br />

heart, To whom would the king delight to do honor more than<br />

myself" (6:6). In the pride and self-sufficiency of his heart he could see<br />

no one more fit or deserving special honor than himself. When any one<br />

comes to this, the cup of their iniquity is just about full, and their<br />

humiliation and downfall is at hand. The principle of "suffer me first"<br />

manifests itself in many different forms, and never more loathsome<br />

than when it appears in the words or acts of a Christian worker. The law<br />

for the children of God is: "In honor, preferring one another" (Romans<br />

12:10).<br />

VI. Disappointed. "Then the king said to Haman, Make haste, and take<br />

the apparel and the horse, as you have said, and do even so to Mordecai<br />

the Jew" (6:10). It was a very humbling revelation to Haman that that<br />

hated Jew, for whom he had prepared the gallows, was to be honored by<br />

the king as one more deserving than himself. God has His own way of<br />

making appointments for them that mourn in Zion, in giving them<br />

beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, and the garment of praise<br />

for the spirit of heaviness (Isaiah 61:3). He knows how to turn our<br />

mourning into dancing, and when to put off our sackcloth and gird us<br />

with praise (Psalm 30:11). In vain does Haman spread the net before the<br />

eye of Him whose wisdom and power governs the interests of His<br />

people. All the haughty in heart will certainly be brought to shame and<br />

confusion: sooner or later will the hopes of the hypocrite be cut off. The<br />

man must be in a demoniac state of soul when the honor and exaltation<br />

of another brings such overwhelming grief and disappointment. Envy<br />

is cruel as the grave.<br />

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VII. Doomed. "So they hanged Haman on the gallows that he had<br />

prepared for Mordecai." (7:10). He made a pit, and dug it, and is fallen<br />

into the ditch which he made (Psalm 7:15). The wicked is snared in the<br />

work of his own hands (Psalm 9:15). The wages of sin is death. In the<br />

den of lions Daniel did not get a scar, but when his enemies were cast in<br />

they "break all their bones in pieces or ever they came to the bottom of<br />

the den." The gallows of judgment that came to Haman was just as high<br />

as the murderous purpose that filled his heart. With what measure you<br />

mete, it shall be measured unto you again. He that humbles himself<br />

shall be exalted, but he who exalts himself shall be abased. The God of<br />

grace is also the God of judgment.<br />

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Christian Resources:<br />

CTL.Today<br />

Esther's Exaltation - Spurgeon<br />

https://bit.ly/2HjIIHW<br />

https://www.biblegateway.com/resources/matthew-henry/Esther<br />

Mathew Henry’s Commentary on Esther: https://bit.ly/2LI6aSD<br />

Jamieson, Fausset & Brown commentary on <strong>ESTHER</strong> https://bit.ly/2sqjxOa<br />

https://www.desiringgod.org/books/esther<br />

This publication is offered for educational purposes only. Some<br />

Images are protected by copyright. Reproduction and distribution<br />

may be made without any purpose of commercial advantage.<br />

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