Monday, January 27, 2014

Introduction to the Life Story of "Esther - Queen of Persia"

Esther's first name, "Hadassah" is Hebrew, and means "myrtle".  Some believe that the second name, "Esther" given in the Bible, is Median for "Myrtle".  Others believe that "Esther" could actually be a Hebrew name that comes from the root meaning, "Evening/morning Star".  Most sourses I read would leads us to believe that the name "Esther" is probably more closely connected with the latter,  "Morning Star".  (Which I prefer greatly over "Myrtle"...but then again, that's just me. :)  

King Ahasuerus, as called in the Bible, is thought to be the same King Xerxes in the history books and Greek accounts refer to him as, Artaxerxes.  King Ahasuerus is mentioned in the book of Ezra as well, and Jewish tradition teaches that this is the same Persian King that would have been married to Esther.  The book of Ezra (6:15) talks of "Darius the Mead" who helped the Jews rebuild their temple.  According to Josippon, a Jewish historian, King Ahasuerus was the son of "Darius the Mead" (who is well known for the famous "Daniel In the Lion's Den" story).  According to Wikipedia (I know...I know...) the midrash Tanuhma (a translation of the old Hebrew Scriptures mixed with Jewish historical accounts)  claims that King Darius took Vashti, the daughter of King Bleshazzar,(known for the "Hand Writing on the Wall") to be the wife of his son, King Ahasuerus.  

That's all fun (in my opinion), but it's not Bible.  Let's get down to business...!! 

We don't know much about Esther's family except that they had been carried away captive to Babylon under the reign of King Nebuchadnezzar three generations before.  She had no parents, and was raised by her Uncle Mordecai.

The Bible doesn't say if Mordecai was married, or if he had any other children. Whatever the case, we know he did a great job in raising her to be virtuous, and faithful to her (our) God.  She was strong, obedient and very brave. 

The name "God" is not found in the book of Esther, but His power and provision cannot be denied!  He works through the characters in the story as well as in background events.  Shaping, preparing, providing, and most importantly protecting His people!

It has been said that God works in mysterious ways!  This book is evidence to that truth and the fact that God can use anyone to do great things - even a young orphaned girl who has barley started out in life!  If God can use Esther, God can use me and you!  After all, it's not about us (Esther or ourselves) it's about God.  The God Esther loved and served is the same God we love and served.  The same God that provided and protected Esther protects and provides for us.  We have no reason to think He can or would do any less for us than He did for her!!

What an amazing thought!!

I do hope you will join me as I study the life of "Esther - Queen of Persia"!  I hope to delve in and discover as much as I can about her life and put myself in her shoes...or sandals??  Feel free to leave your thoughts on her life and story in the comments section below!  

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