Chapter 3 vs 10 Xerxes carelessly passes great power, the power of life and death to this evil minded man, Haman. The king lost, by some estimates, two million men to his campaign against the Greeks, so what would be the big deal with eliminating another group of people.
Vs 11-13 This was a large government project, to get this word of killing out to all of the provinces. A minimum of 127 different languages. This is a huge land mass that needs to get the word that on a certain day, to kill all Jews in their land. This would be the law in the land of the Medes and the Persians.
Vs 14-15 The city is astonished! They did not understand the king’s decree. Yes, the Jews were outsiders and a bit strange in their customs, but they did not deserve to die. All of the city could see hundreds of riders with the decree in hand to ride in all directions, on their way to deliver the death sentence. The riders are to ‘hasten’ at the king’s request. The city is in state of shock and the king takes Haman to happy hour. The king did not know how this order would impact his new queen. Anti-semitism had its birth in Egypt under Pharaoh, where the Jews became a nation. Through history, Assyria, captivity of Babylon, our study of Esther concerning Persia, Rome, the Spanish Inquisition, and Hitler under Germany where it is estimated six million Jews died. On a bulletin board years ago, an unbeliever wrote this, “It is odd that God should choose the Jew.” A Jew came along and wrote this, “God chose, which shows God knew His Jew.” A Christian came along and wrote beneath that: “This Jew spoke true. God knew His Jew as King would bring to earth new birth.” God chose the jewish race for that purpose and for that purpose they are hated. Hated by Satan, and as a result hated by nations of this world. Read one of God’s promises for His people, the Jews, Jer. 31:35-36. Think on that for a moment! God stands in the shadows, keeping watch over His own.
Chapter 4 vs 1-2 Cry – To express his deep sense of the doom coming upon his people. It was bravely done, publicly to espouse a just cause though it seemed to be a desperate , one. Mordecai knows this decree cannot be changed. He also knows that he is probably to blame for this. It has been estimated that there were around fifteen million Jews in the kingdom at this time.
Vs 3 What is missing here? A call to prayer! They go through the rituals of fasting, sackcloth and ashes, and great mourning.
Vs 4 Questions come to mind as we read Queen Esther’s response. Yes, she was greatly grieved, but what else does she do? She sends a fresh suit of clothes to Mordecai. Is Esther embarrassed and wants to not lose face? Did she want Mordecai to get cleaned up and return to his job at the gate? What was Mordecai’s reaction to his new set of clothing?
Vs 5 After sending Mordecai new duds, Esther wants some answers concerning the sackcloth and ashes.
Vs 6 Esther could not go herself and so she sends this man, Hatach.
Vs 7-9 Mordecai told him all that had happened unto him, what a price Haman had against him for not bowing to him, and by what means he had procured this edict; he sent her also a true copy of the edict, that she might see what imminent danger she and her people were in, and charged her, if she had any respect for him or any kindness for the Jewish nation, that she should appear now on their behalf, rectify the misinformations with which the king was imposed upon, and set the matter in a true light, not doubting that he would vacate the decree.
Vs 10-12 (10)Esther listens, reads the decree and then sends a response to Mordecai. (11) Inner court – Within which, the king’s residence and throne was. Not called – This was decreed, to maintain both the majesty, and the safety of the king’s person; and by the contrivance of the greater officers of state, that few or none might have access to the king but themselves and their friends. Esther says, “I have not been called, which gives me just cause to fear that the king’s affections are alienated from me, and that neither my person nor petition will be acceptable to him.” (12) Then Mordecai sends these famous, and memorable words.
Vs 13-14 It might be that Esther is remembering the queen she had just replaced? Although the king was not aware of Esther’s heritage, she will not be exempt from the decree. What does Mordecai mean when he says ‘deliverance will arise from another source?’ Did he have God in mind as the other source? Did Mordecai know at this time why Esther was in the position that she was? Did he have the faith that if Esther did not respond that God would step in and save His people? Does the statement at the end of 14 tell us that Mordecai could now see the providence of God at work to save them? Here are the words of John Wesley, “ It is probable God hath raised thee to this honour for this very season. We should every one of us consider, for what end God has put us in the place where we are? And when an opportunity offers of serving God and our generation, we must take care not to let it slip.” Let’s read some of God’s Words on the subject, Prov. 3:25-26, Isa. 46:4.
Vs 15-17 These are great words from a great women. Esther reminds us of a ‘first responder.’ Straight away she gives instructions and prepares to face death and accept the outcome, live or die. Looking carefully at the text, we find no mention of prayer or of God. Remember these are the Jews that did not return to the land as God had instructed. It is hard to pray when you are not in God’s will. It is possible that some prayed, but it is not mentioned.
Chapter 5 vs 1 When the time appointed for their fast was finished she lost no time, but on the third day, when the impression of her devotions were fresh upon her spirit, she addressed the king. When the heart is enlarged in communion with God it will be emboldened in doing and suffering for Him. Some think that the three days’ fast was only one whole day and two whole nights, in all which time they did not take any food at all, and that this is called three day. Some believe this is the same amount of time Christ laid in the grave before His resurrection. Now she put on her royal apparel, that she might better recommend herself to the king, and laid aside her fast-day clothes. She put on her fine clothes, not to please herself, but her husband, the king.
Vs 2 Esther, prepared, stepped into the unknown when she entered into the royal court and waited. Would the king grant her an audience or not? Here is some knowledge, Proverbs 21:1, “The king’s heart is in the hand of the Lord, as the rivers of the water: He turns it wherever He wills.”
Vs 3 The king knows something is troubling his queen, he can see she is stressed and wants to soothe her. “Half of the kingdom,” really means that she could have whatever she wanted.
Vs 4 This is a bold and brave plan that Esther has put into motion. She invites the king and Haman to a banquet at which time she will reveal to the king that along with all of the Jews deaths, Haman wants her death also.
Vs 5 This verse shows the affection that the king has for Esther. He has been generous with Haman, making him prime minister, giving him his ring, and granting his request to wipe out the Jews. When the queen makes a request that involves Haman, the king intends to make Haman obey the queen.
Vs 6 It is obvious to the king that Esther is still nervous and upset, so he again offers her a blank check. Did you know that God has given us a blank check? Read Phil 4:19.