Tuesday, February 4, 2014

A Request Made - A People Saved

At the second banquet, the King again asked Esther what her request was.  She could have anything she wanted up to half of the kingdom!  (Seems to me like maybe his kingdom was too much for him.  This was the third time in two days he'd tried to give her half of it!)

Esther's request: "If I have found favour in thy sight, O king, and if it please the king, let my life be given me at my petition, and my people at my request..."  (7:3)

King Ahasuerus seems to be confused at this point.  He asks Esther who would think up such a thing in his heart to do unto her?  Would someone really want to kill the queen?

Then Queen Esther answered, "The adversary and enemy is this wicked Haman"!

Well, Haman's bad day just got worse!  He was probably more than a little shocked!  Remember, Esther has never told anyone that she's Jewish until now.  The king leaves the banquet in anger and takes a walk in the garden.  Haman decides this is as good a time as any to beg the queen for his life, so he jumps up, and runs over to Esther's side, throws himself down on the couch where she's eating her meal and begins to plead and beg...

While Haman is begging, the King returns from the garden and sees how he's thrown himself down on Esther.  Then said the king, "will he force the queen also before me in the house?"   I think we all understand what this means.

At this point the guards are covering Haman's face and preparing to carry him away.  Harbonah, one of the King's servants mentions the gigantic gallows that Haman had built in his back yard and the fact that he had prepared it to hang Mordecai on it.

 "Take him away and hang him on it instead!"  The king commanded.

So, Haman was taken away that very same hour and hanged on the gallows that he had built for Mordecai.  The house and land and everything that had belonged to Haman were given to Queen Esther who turned it over to Mordiecai.  When the King found out that Mordiecai was the Esther's uncle, he took the ring that he had given to Haman, and gave it to Mordiecai in stead.

But there was still a problem. There was still a decree that all the Jews would be killed on the 13th day of the 12 month.  The decree could not be changed.  When beautiful Queen Esther fell down before the king begging and crying for the lives of her people, the King decided to allow Mordecai to make a new law.   The new law said that all the Jews were now allowed to defend themselves.  They could destroy anyone they felt might be a threat to themselves and their families.

And, so it happened that all the Jews in the kingdom were allowed to defend themselves.  The ten sons of Haman died in the battle - killed by the same Jews their father tried so hard to eliminate.

To celebrate this victory, the Jews set up a new feast that is still celebrated today.  The "Feast of Purim" is a celebration of how a brave, young Queen saved her people.

Fun Facts:  

Ancient peoples of the Middle East didn't sit on chairs to eat as we do.  They rested on "couch" type things similar to a chase-lounge.   When the King returned from the garden to discover Hamman had thrown himself on the Queen, it would have seemed as though he was "forcing the Queen".

When a law was made in ancient Babylon or Persia, it couldn't be changed - AT ALL.  Not even by the King.  Once it was signed into law, it was law!  That is why the King couldn't undo the law and save Esther's life or the lives of her people.  The only option left was to allow Mordecai  to write another law that would allow a different out come to the first.

Life Lessons:

Esther did was necessary to save her people.  She trusted that God would protect her, and she did what she had to do.  God worked through her and saved His people.   The one truly "special" thing about Esther was that she allowed God to use her.  She realized that she'd been allowed to become the Queen "for such a time as this".   Beside that, Esther was a simple Jewish girl who was chosen to be the Queen of Persia.  Perhaps it was because she was more beautiful?  I'm sure the King thought so.  But, more than that, she was chosen because God had a purpose for her.  God had a plan.

What is His purpose for you?  He does have a purpose for you!  It may not be His will that you become a Queen and save the lives of hundreds of people.  In fact, I could almost say for sure it's not!  :)  But what about that little baby He gave you? Or, that child on the bus route that needs to know he's loved?  What about your neighbor?  Your co-worker?  God has each of us right where He wants us - "For such a time as this"!

We serve the same God Esther served.  If He can do such wonderful things through Esther, He can do just as mighty things through us!!  Are you willing to accept the challenge and allow Him to use you?? 

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! 

In case you missed a previous posts in this series:  

Introduction: Esther, Queen of Persia 
Ahasuerus - A Party Kind of Guy
A Queen is Chosen!
Haman, the Evil

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