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Esther

                                                    Esther

                    A Jewish Orphan Girl Becomes Queen of Persia (Iran, Ira

                                                    By Joyce Webb 2016

This is a true story of a Jewish orphan (no parents) girl who became the queen of the biggest kingdom at that time. The Persians (Iran) had taken over the kingdom of Babylon (Iraq) and it was now one big kingdom.

The Old Testament tells this story in the book named Esther.

The Babylon kingdom was very big and very strong.

The took over other nations. They took over the nation of Israel and Judah where the Jews lived.

They took many of the Jewish people back to Babylon with them. They took the young men who could work. They took the young men who had a good education and were smart.

They took all ages of people women, men, children back to their country, Babylon.

The Jewish people lived in this far away place for 70 years. Then God made a way for many of them to go back to their country in Israel.

During the time the Jewish people were in Babylon, the Babylon kingdom was taken over by the Persian king.

So now all of that big kingdom is ruled by the Persian king.

At the time of this story, the Persian’s king is Xerxes, sometimes called Ahasuerus.

His kingdom had 127 provinces (areas, countries). It covered most of the Middle East area and down to India and to Ethiopia.

The 3rd year that he is king he decided to have a big party. He invited all of the prince rulers and all of the army leaders to come to his party. The party goes on for 6 months.

When that party was over, he had another party for all of his palace servants and leaders. It went on for 7 days.

The party was in the palace garden. The garden was had beautiful material draped around the garden---they were white and blue woven together.

Purple ribbons with sliver rings held the drapes up on marble poles (columns) all around the garden.

Around the garden were silver and gold couches (chairs). These couches sat on blocks of marble, mother of pearl, and other beautiful stone.

Drinks (wine) were served in golden cups (goblets). The golden cups had carved designs on them.

No one was made to drink the wine, but anyone who wanted it could have as much as they wanted.

The king’s wife, Queen Vashti, had a party at her palace for the women.

(The king and queen each had their own fancy house.)

On the 7th day of the party the king was very drunk. He told his servants to go get Queen Vashti, and bring her to his party. She was very beautiful, and he wanted to show her off to all of his friends.

But the Queen would not come. She refused.

We do not know why. We know that sometimes kings at that time would have beautiful women dance for them so the men could see their beautiful bodies. Maybe the queen thought this was why he wanted her to come and she did not want to. We do not know why she did not want to go. The Bible does not say.

The king became so angry!! He asked his leaders what he should do about it.

His leaders thought about it and they said we must do something. We can not let this go. If Queen Vashti gets away with not obeying her husband----then all the women of the kingdom will think that they do not have to obey their husbands.

So they decided that Vashti could not be queen any more. She would move out of the palace into another house. The king will take care of her, but she will not be his wife any more and she will not be queen.

So Vashti was moved out.

After awhile the king felt bad about what happened. He felt bad about Vashti.

But the laws of the Persians did not allow for laws to be changed easily.

So the king’s leaders said maybe what he should do is get a new queen. They had an idea.

They would have a beauty contest. They would search for and invite all the young beautiful girls of the kingdom to come for the king to see. He would look at all of them and he would choose who he wanted.

The king did not just look at them, but they he had them spend the night with him.

All of these young girls would become part of his “harem” group of women that he had sex with.

So once the girl was part of the contest she would be staying in the king’s houses for the rest of her life.

If the king did not like her much she may be with the king one time and spend the rest of her life living with other women in one of the king’s houses.

She would never marry any other man or have children.

So being chosen for the beauty contest may not be what a young girl would want for her life. But if she was taken by the king’s leaders to the king, she was there to stay.

 

 

Living in the same city as the king was a Jewish man, named Mordecai. He had been brought to Babylon from Jerusalem years before.

He had a beautiful young girl living with him. Her parents had died. Mordecai was a cousin so she was living with him.

Her name was Esther and sometimes called Hadassah.

Mordecai adopted her and raised her as his own daughter.

The king’s leaders saw beautiful Esther and wanted her to come to the king.

So Esther had to go to the king’s house.

The king’s leader in charge of the king’s women (harem) really liked what he saw in Esther.

He gave special attention to her. He gave her special food, special beauty treatments, and clothes. He gave her 7 maids to take care of her.

Esther never told anyone that she was a Jew. And they never asked.

Every day Mordecai walked near the courtyard where Esther was and he asked how things were with her.

These beauty treatments that the girls got went on for 12 months.

Each girl was taken to the king’s private room. The next morning, she was taken to the second harem where the other women lived. She would stay here- and live here for the rest of her life ----unless the king called for her.

When it was Esther’s turn to go see the king, she asked the leader of the harem what she should wear. She let him choose for her how she should look.

The king loved her and was more pleased with her than any other of the girls he had been with.

So he chose Esther to be his new queen.

The king gave another party and announced that Esther was to be the new queen.

Mordecai was given a job as a leader in the king’s palace.

 

 

As Mordecai was working at the king’s palace one day he heard 2 guards of the door talking. They were planning to kill the king.

Mordecai sent a message to Esther to tell her what he heard.

She told the king and she told him that Mordecai was the one who told her about it.

The king looked into the problem and found that the 2 men were planning to kill him.

So he had the men hung on gallows------rope around the neck and hung on a pole.

All this was written in the scroll or book of history.

 

Later the king made a man named Haman to be the prime minister. He was the second in power to the king.

When Haman went out of the king’s doors all the king’s workers would bow down to him-----the king had said that they should.

But Mordecai would not bow down to him.

One of the reasons, probably, (the Bible does not say) that Mordecai would not bow down to him was because Haman was from a group of people----the Amalekites--- who many years ago in Israel’s history had come against the people of Israel and started a fight/war with them..

God was very angry with those people and God told Moses that God himself would be against the Amalekites generation after generation. God would punish them.

Exodus 17:8-16 Deuteronomy 25:19 I Samuel 15: 8-9 20 32 33 (King Agag was the king of the Amelekites) (Haman is in the family of King Agag.)

Mordecai knows how God feels about that group of people because of what they did to Israel. So Mordecai does not want to bow down to him.

The other men who worked for the king asked Mordecai why he would not bow down to Haman. Mordecai would not tell them. But he refused to bow down. The men knew that Mordecai was a Jew.

The men went to Haman to see if he was going to keep ignoring Mordecai and his not bowing. They told Haman that Mordecai was a Jew.

Each day seeing that Mordecai would not bow Haman became more and more angry. After he learned that he was a Jew Haman decided that he would do away with Mordecai and destroy all the Jews.

Haman talked with some of his men. It was decided that in one year on March 7 they would carry out their plan to kill all the Jews in the land.

Hanan went to the King and told him that there was a group of people who lived in the kingdom who refuse to obey the laws of the Persians. It would be dangerous to let this group of people live. They needed to kill these people.

Haman told the King that he would give the King 373 tons of silver if the King would agree.

The king agreed. The king said but you can keep the money., but go ahead with these people.

So Haman wrote up paper messages and sent out men to all parts of the kingdom to tell them that on March 7 in one year all Jews should be killed by anyone who was willing to do it.

The property houses, things, land, of the Jews would belong to the men who killed them.

 

All of the Jews in the land were crying and upset. They tore their clothes and put ashes on their heads to show their sorrow.

Mordecai went to the king’s palace to work, but he put on an old sackcloth and put ashes on his head.

Men told Esther about Mordecai. She sent clothing to him. He would not put it on.

She sent a servant out to talk to Mordecai to see what was wrong. Mordecai told him the whole story.

Mordecai wanted Esther to go to the King and ask him to have mercy on her people, the Jews.

Esther sent a message back that she could not just walk into the king’s room and talk to the king. He had to ask to see her. If she went into his room and was not invited he could have her killed.

Also, the king had not called for her to visit him for a month.

Mordecai told her Do not think that if the Jews are killed that you will be safe.

Someone will tell that you are a Jew, too.

If you will not help then God will send help some other way. Mordecai told her to think about this: maybe the reason God let her be queen was for such a time as this to save her people.

Esther sent back a message Get people together and fast and pray for me. For 3 days and nights fast and pray for me. My maids and I will do the same.

Then I will go in and see the king. If he will not receive me and he decides to kill me then I die.

So Mordecai told the people to pray.

 

Three days later Esther put on her royal robes and went in to see the king. If he held out his golden scepter (wand, bar) to her she knew she would be received. If not---the king may decide to kill her for coming not invited.

She must have been very nervous. She went to the doorway of the king’s room, he saw her standing there and invited her in. He was happy to see her.

He asked her what she wanted. And told her to ask what ever she wanted he would give it to her even if she wanted half of his kingdom.

 

Esther had wisdom from God (all that fasting and praying) she did not tell the king then all that she needed. She asked him if he would come to her palace for a special dinner that would last 2 days, and would he bring Haman with him. She said she would talk to him about things then. (Timing is very important!)

 

Haman was so happy and proud about the invitation to dinner.

But then he saw Mordecai at the gate and he did not bow. Haman was so angry!

He went home to his house. He told his wife and friends all about the invitation and the honor the king had given him.

Then he told them how angry he was about Mordecai. He friends told him to make a gallows to hang Mordecai on. And when the day came, he could hang Mordecai on the gallows.

So Haman built a gallows 75 feet tall!!

 

That night after Esther invited the king to the dinner, the king could not sleep. He kept thinking about Esther and what she wanted. He thought about Mordecai.

He called for his servant to come and read to him from the history scroll, book. The servant read about how Mordecai had warned him about those 2 men who were planning to kill him.

He asked the servant Was anything done to reward Mordecai for doing this kind thing?

The servant said No nothing was done.

The king knew he needed to give a reward to Mordecai for saving his life, but he was not sure what would be the best thing to do.

The next morning the king was still thinking about it. Haman came in to see the king.

The king said to Haman There is a man I need to give a reward to and honor in some way, but I am not sure what to do. What do you think I should do to honor this man?

Haman thought the king must mean me. The king must be planning to honor me.

So Haman thought of what he would like.

He told the king, I think you should get your best horse,, and put the headdress on it of the royal emblem (sign), Put a royal robe on the man. Choose one of the royal princes to lead the horse. Put the man on the horse. Lead the horse and man all over town, and have the servant call out “This is how the king honors the man that pleases him.“

The king said That is a wonderful idea. I want you to be the man to lead the horse. And Mordecai is to wear the robe and ride the horse.

Haman was in shock!! But he had to do it. Can you imagine, what Haman was thinking the whole time he was walking around the city showing off Mordecai?

Can you imagine, what Mordecai was thinking? He was probably laughing to himself.

When it was all over. Haman went home to his house. He was so angry, and upset.

He was also afraid. The king honored that man Mordecai. And Haman was planning to kill him.

When his wife and friends found out what Haman had to do that day-----they could see that Haman was on the edge of trouble.

They told Haman that he had better give up his plans against Mordecai.

While they were talking the king’s servants came to take Haman to the dinner Esther planned.

 

 

On the second day of the fancy dinner, The king asked Esther again what she wanted.

Esther said I ask you to help me and my people. My people have been sold to be killed.

(The king had told Haman he did not need his money, but maybe Esther had not heard about that part.)

She said that all of her people were to be killed. Esther told him that she was a Jew.

The king did not know she was a Jew. Haman did not know she was a Jew.

The king said, Who would do this? Esther pointed at Haman. This man, he is our enemy.

The king was so upset he got up and left the room to walk out in the garden to think.

While he was out there, Haman knew he was in big trouble. He started to beg for his life. He was very close to Esther much too close for a man to be near to the queen.

Just then the king came back into the room and saw Haman hanging over his wife much too close. It looked like Haman was trying to either kiss the queen or hurt her.

The king was so angry!! He called for his servants to take Haman away.

Then the king’s servants told him that Haman had made gallows planning to hang Mordecai on them.

The king was more angry. He told the servants to hang Haman on the gallows.

The house, land and things that belonged to Haman was given to Queen Esther.

Haman was very rich so it was a lot.

The king called in Mordecai. He made Mordecai the new prime minister. He gave him the king’s ring.

Esther let Mordecai be in charge of all of the things and riches and land of Haman’s.

 

The Jews still had a problem. The law of the Persians the law the king made said that the Jews were to be killed in a year on March 7.

Persian law was not to be changed. Once a law was made it stayed. A new law could be made to over rule it.

The question was what to do now. It was decided to let the Jews take up swords and fight against anyone would kill them.

Many of the Jews enemies were afraid now to kill them. But the Jews fought against others who were their enemies----they killed many.

The king asked Esther what more she wanted. She asked if they could fight against their enemies again the nest day, too. And that Haman’s 10 sons be hung on the gallows.

The king agreed. The Jews killed more of their enemies. And Haman;s sons were killed.

 

 

That time of year in the spring is called Purim. It was decided by the Jewish people to remember that day in the spring from then on.

Even today thousands of years later the Jews still celebrate Purim in the spring and they remember Esther, the brave queen.

Look on a calendar many of them have Purim marked on them as Jewish holiday.

 

Lessons we can learn from Esther:

Esther did not choose to be a queen or the king’s wife.

It was a scary thing. And if the king did not like you that much you would be just one of hundreds of women living in a house forever.

She would never have her own family.

Being the queen was not all that wonderful. It was a great honor, but a lonely one.

But Esther did not get angry and pout and get upset. She did not stomp her feet and get mad. She saw that this was the path she had to walk. And she looked to God to give her the grace she needed to be her best.

Because of her beauty and because of her attitude the king loved her.

She was chosen.

God knew also that He wanted this Jewish girl in a place of power.

 

When it came time for Esther to use her power it was still a something to make a person nervous and afraid.

It was a dangerous thing to walk into the king’s room if you were not invited.

King’s were men who could in angry in a minute and decide you should be killed.

Mordecai was right the reason Esther was made the queen was to be in that place at that time. It was God’s plan for her life. It was God’s plan to save the Jewish people.

Maybe you are where you are for a reason God’s reason. You may not know what it is now. You may not know why for a long time. But God has a reason, and some day you will know why.

Your “path” to walk may not be the one you have wanted. But if you keep a sweet spirit toward God, and look to Him for grace to be your best, you will be so glad in the end when you look back.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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