esther1

FILLING THE VOID

The king of Persia has divorced his uppity woman.  Now he lacks companionship, and the nation has no queen.  The king’s advisors know how to keep the boss happy though.  They suggest the original bachelor reality show contest. 

After these things, when the wrath of king Ahasuerus was appeased, he remembered Vashti, and what she had done, and what was decreed against her.  Then said the king’s servants that ministered unto him, Let there be fair young virgins sought for the king:  And let the king appoint officers in all the provinces of his kingdom, that they may gather together all the fair young virgins unto Shushan the palace, to the house of the women, unto the custody of Hege the king’s chamberlain, keeper of the women; and let their things for purification be given them:  And let the maiden which pleaseth the king be queen instead of Vashti. And the thing pleased the king; and he did so.  Esther 2:1-4

As this news goes you we can imagine the excitement among the girls and their families around the empire.  This could be profitable for anyone who gets this trophy husband!  God is aware of these events, and probably put them in motion.  He knows the hearts and thoughts of the king and his advisors.  He also knows the destiny of those he has chosen to be his servants.  He knows the hearts of men and women who are faithful and ready to serve.  He has his own ideas about who will be the queen of Persia.  The lowly and humble may have a date with promotion.

Now in Shushan the palace there was a certain Jew, whose name was Mordecai, the son of Jair, the son of Shimei, the son of Kish, a Benjamite;  Who had been carried away from Jerusalem with the captivity which had been carried away with Jeconiah king of Judah, whom Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon had carried away.  And he brought up Hadassah, that is, Esther, his uncle’s daughter: for she had neither father nor mother, and the maid was fair and beautiful; whom Mordecai, when her father and mother were dead, took for his own daughter.  So it came to pass, when the king’s commandment and his decree was heard, and when many maidens were gathered together unto Shushan the palace, to the custody of Hegai, that Esther was brought also unto the king’s house, to the custody of Hegai, keeper of the women.  And the maiden pleased him, and she obtained kindness of him; and he speedily gave her her things for purification, with such things as belonged to her, and seven maidens, which were meet to be given her, out of the king’s house: and he preferred her and her maids unto the best place of the house of the women.  Esther 2:5-9

The Babylonians had been the enemies of Persia, so the Jews had this in common with the Persians.  As former captives of Babylon they were not entirely in bad favor among the Persians.  One orphaned Jewish girl has been adopted by her cousin Mordecai.  She has grown into a beautiful young woman in Persia.  She was quickly noticed by the king’s talent scouts.

Esther had not shewed her people nor her kindred: for Mordecai had charged her that she should not shew it.  And Mordecai walked every day before the court of the women’s house, to know how Esther did, and what should become of her.  Now when every maid’s turn was come to go in to king Ahasuerus, after that she had been twelve months, according to the manner of the women, (for so were the days of their purifications accomplished, to wit, six months with oil of myrrh, and six months with sweet odours, and with other things for the purifying of the women;)  Then thus came every maiden unto the king; whatsoever she desired was given her to go with her out of the house of the women unto the king’s house.  In the evening she went, and on the morrow she returned into the second house of the women, to the custody of Shaashgaz, the king’s chamberlain, which kept the concubines: she came in unto the king no more, except the king delighted in her, and that she were called by name.  Esther 2:10-14

Esther had not revealed that she was Jewish because Mordecai warned her not to do so.  The contest would require months of preparations before her presentation to the king.  If she was not favored, her visit would be over.  Imagine the intrigue and excitement among these girls.  Was there gossip and plotting to win favor?  Not everyone chose to use cunning devices to attract attention.

Now when the turn of Esther, the daughter of Abihail the uncle of Mordecai, who had taken her for his daughter, was come to go in unto the king, she required nothing but what Hegai the king’s chamberlain, the keeper of the women, appointed. And Esther obtained favour in the sight of all them that looked upon her.  So Esther was taken unto king Ahasuerus into his house royal in the tenth month, which is the month Tebeth, in the seventh year of his reign.  And the king loved Esther above all the women, and she obtained grace and favour in his sight more than all the virgins; so that he set the royal crown upon her head, and made her queen instead of Vashti.  Then the king made a great feast unto all his princes and his servants, even Esther’s feast; and he made a release to the provinces, and gave gifts, according to the state of the king.  And when the virgins were gathered together the second time, then Mordecai sat in the king’s gate.  Esther 2:15-19

Cousin Mordecai was Esther’s family, so he could be near the royal household.  One insignificant Jew witnessed the joy of the kingdom over the new queen.  And Esther remembered the godly ways he taught her.

Esther had not yet shewed her kindred nor her people; as Mordecai had charged her: for Esther did the commandment of Mordecai, like as when she was brought up with him.  In those days, while Mordecai sat in the king’s gate, two of the king’s chamberlains, Bigthan and Teresh, of those which kept the door, were wroth, and sought to lay hands on the king Ahasuerus.  And the thing was known to Mordecai, who told it unto Esther the queen; and Esther certified the king thereof in Mordecai’s name.  And when inquisition was made of the matter, it was found out; therefore they were both hanged on a tree: and it was written in the book of the chronicles before the king. 2:20-23

An assassination attempt against the king was discovered by Mordecai.  Because he relayed the message through queen Esther, the king never knew who had saved his life.  He had this one disclosure of the name of Mordecai.  The investigation ended the threat and it faded into the record books like old news.

Today we live in a world dominated by news of the rich and famous.  Powerful politicians and wealthy actors vie for the center of attention.  Rocket scientists and athletes have cult followings and a host of challengers with new ideas and abilities.  People of faith do greater things in reality, but earn little respect.  Indeed they often earn pure hatred and persecution was the life of our Lord himself. 

When surrounded by so much self-importance it is possible to feel a bit insignificant.  It was so in the time of Mordecai, but he was predestined to serve God.  There are events slowly gathering to change world history here.  Watch the path of an honest man and his courageous cousin in the swirl of life in Persia, a preview of the turmoil of our modern world.

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