My first week of blogging through the Bible. I have never blogged before or studied chapters of the Bible so all new to me, and guess what? I Loved it!!
So here is a short summary of week one with Esther..
Queen Vashti was married to King Xerxes. He threw a party for 180 days and there was a week long drinking party at the end, at which time King X, had ordered his seven eunuchs “to bring before him Queen Vashti, wearing her royal crown, in order to display her beauty to the people and nobles for she was lovely to look at” (Esther 1:11) at the time Queen Vashti was having a party with her friends and refused to come when summons, in Jolene’s “Wives of the Bible” study she is “The Disobedient wife” So at this point us ladies in the FB group “Heart of Esther” are cheering Vashti and #teamvashti But the King was burning in rage at being made a fool of, so he asked his nobles what was to be done about Queen Vashti? Memukan one of his nobles declared- “this very day the Persian and Median women of nobility who have heard the Queens conduct, will respond to all the Kings nobles in the same way, there will be no end of disrespect and discord” (Esther 1:18) they were fearful of loosing their power. So he issued a royal decree with the Kings permission to get rid of Queen Vashti. The King and his Nobles were pleased with this advice and so agreed to this.
So basically, that is the last we heard of Queen Vashti. In our study group, we all asked “What happened next to Queen Vashti?” Which brought on some great research and interesting theories, including one which says she didn’t come before the King because she had leprosy or grew a tail -lol- really?
A tail?!! Another website and another theory was that the King suggested she come wearing “ONLY” the crown which would have been frowned upon for several reasons, the main being that the men were all drinking and a lady of her upbringing, would not appear before the group of men and especially not in the nude! Another theory says that she was beheaded for her disobedience, and as gruesome as that sounds, I am going with that theory!
So “Then the Kings personal attendants proposed “Let a search be made for beautiful young virgins for the King, let the King appoint commissioners in every province of his realm to bring all these beautiful young women into a harem at the citadel of Susa. Let them be placed under the care of Hegai, the Kings eunuch, who is in charge of the women; and let beauty treatments be given to them.” (Esther 2:2-3)
Along came Hadassah also known as Esther who was a Jew and being raised by her Uncle Mordecai, who made her lie about her heritage.
“She pleased him and won his favour. Immediately he provided her with her beauty treatments and special food. He assigned to her seven female attendants selected from the Kings palace and moved her and her attendants into the best place in the harem” (Esther 2:9)
Back in the day before a virgin was introduced to the King she had to undergo 12 months of beauty treatments including “six months with oil and myrrh and six months with perfumes and cosmetics” (Esther 2:12)
“Now the King was attracted to Esther more than any of the other women and she won his favour and approval more than any of the other virgins. So he set a royal crown on her head and made her Queen instead of Vashti” (Esther 2:17)
Her Uncle Mordecai stayed close by and was at the palace gates when he overheard some of the guards plotting to assassinate King X. So he got word to Esther and she told the King giving Mordecai full credit. When it was discovered and found to be true the two officials were impaled on poles (this is a regular occurrence in this part of the world) Then the King favoured Haman, bad choice as you will see! Everyone honoured him and everyone bowed down to him except Mordecai the officials asked him “why don’t you bow down to him?” No answer was recorded. But then Haman found out and also discovered that Mordecai was a Jew.. He was enraged and plotted a way to kill not only Mordecai’s people but ALL Jews!
“Then Haman said to King X “There is a certain people dispersed among your people, in all the provinces of your kingdom who keep themselves separate. Their customs are different from those of all other people, and they do not obey the Kings law. it is not in the Kings best interest to tolerate them” (Esther 3:8) so he suggested that the King write a decree to destroy all the Jews! How very dare he right?! Well Haman had fooled the King into believing he was a good guy so the King agreed. Papers were written and sent to every corner of the land and when Mordecai read it he raced to Esther to ask her to plead his case with the King.
So Esther presented herself to the King and requested that the King and Haman join her for a banquet. After that Banquet Esther invited them again to sweeten them up for her request.
Again Haman saw that Mordecai would not show any respect or bow down to him. Haman went home and boasted to his wife and his friends about his 10 sons, and all his wealth and at how Queen Esther asked for him and the King only to join her banquet, lesson here is not to be boastful.. he also added that none of the above pleased him when Mordecai openly refused to honour him.
“His wife Zaresh and all his friends said to him “Have a pole set up, reaching fifty cubits (75 feet) and ask the King in the morning to have Mordecai impaled on it then go with the King to the banquet and enjoy yourself” this suggestion delighted Haman and he had the pole set up (Esther 5:14)
But that night the King could not sleep (his Conscience was bothering him) so he asked for his book of Chronicles to be brought to him and he read it. He read of the way Mordecai had been instrumental in stopping the plot against his life and wondered “What honour and recognition has Mordecai received for this?” (Esther 6:3) wondering who was in court he found out that Haman was there so ordered him to be brought in. The King asked Haman what should be done for a man who the King wishes to honour, Haman thought it was himself the King was going to honour so he replied “for the man the King delights to honour, have them bring a royal robe the King has worn and a horse the King has ridden, one with a royal crest placed on its head” (Esther 6:8) the King agreed it was a great idea “Go at once” the King commanded Haman.”get the robe and the horse and do just what you have suggested for Mordecai the Jew who sits at the Kings gate. Do not neglect anything you have suggested” (Esther 6:10)
So Haman slunk home in disgrace and whined to his friends and wife about his turn of luck, and that was when the Eunuchs found him for Esther’s next banquet.
At the banquet the King asked Esther what was her request up to half of his Kingdom would be hers if she requested.. Now it starts to get good!
“Then Queen Esther answered “If I have found favour with you, your majesty,
And if it pleases you, grant me my life- this is my petition. And spare my people- this is my request. For I and my people have been sold to be destroyed, killed and annihilated. If we had merely been sold as Male and Female slaves, I would have kept quiet, because no such distress would justify disturbing the king”
King Xerexes asked “Who is he? Who is he- the man who dared to do such a thing?”
Esther said “An adversary and enemy! This Vile Haman!” (Esther 7:3-6)
The King stormed out in a rage to the garden for some fresh air and Haman threw himself upon Esther to beg her for his life… Uh oh!! King X walked back in and raged ” Will he even molest the queen while she is with me in the house?” ( Esther 7:8)
“Then Harbona, one of the eunuchs attending the King said “a pole reaching to the height of 50 cubits (75 feet) stands by Hamans house. He had it set up for Mordecai, who spoke up to help the king!”
The King said “Impale him on it!”
So they impaled Haman on the pole he had set up for Mordecai then the kings fury subsided” (Esther 7: 8-10) now I don’t know about you, but for me using the SOAP method, I feel as though Haman should have been careful what he wished for, because he suffered his own punishment!
King X gave Esther the estate of Haman to do with as she pleased, she gave it to Mordecai. But Esther wasn’t finished yet, she begged and pleaded with the King to write a new edict to undo the damage the first one was going to cause. “the Kings edict gave granted the Jews in every city the right to assemble and protect themselves; to destroy, kill and annihilate the armed men of any nationality or province who might attack them and their women and children, and to plunder the property of their enemies” (Esther 8:11)
So the Jews went on a killing spree, then the King asked Queen Esther “What is your petition?”
“If it pleases the King” Esther answered “give the Jews in Susa permission to carry out this days edict tomorrow also, and let Haman’s 10 sons be impaled on poles” (Esther 9:13) So see where did Haman’s bragging about all his fine sons get him? Dead and them too!
This was how the holiday “Purim” was proclaimed on the thirteenth and fourteenth days of the month they assembled and on the fifteenth day they celebrated. It became a day of feasting and joy.
Mordecai recorded the events and sent letters to all the Jews in the Kings provinces to have them celebrate annually the fourteenth and fifteenth days of the month of Adar (Now March)
“these days should be remembered and observed in every generation by every family, and in every province and in every city. And these days of Purim should never fail to be celebrated by the Jews – nor should the memory of these days die out among their descendants” (Esther 9:28)
The King promoted Mordecai to greatness until he was second in rank to the King., he was held in high esteem by all the Jews, because he worked for the good of his people and the welfare of all Jews.
So that my friends brings us to the end of the first week of bible study and the book of Esther. I really enjoyed this study, and not only that the women in my Bible Study Group, called “The Heart of Esther” are a great bunch of ladies who all interact with each other to discuss what we are reading, so I get a deeper look at the text as well.. LOVE iT!!
Next we move on to….1 Peter 1… New post!!
Oh and here is some art I was inspired to do for this study!!