ESV - 1 Now in the days of Ahasuerus, the Ahasuerus who reigned from India to Ethiopia over 127 provinces.
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The book of Esther is a record of an event when Persia was in power after the Babylonian captivity of the Jews. A Jewish young woman ends up being the wife of the king, and as queen, in the right place and right time, delivers the Jewish people. She, along with Joseph, Daniel, Mordecai, and others, served with distinction in high places in a foreign land, bringing help and hope to their people. The book is full of puzzles and unanswered questions such as why Vashti would not appear before the king, why Esther used two banquets to accuse Haman, why Mordecai disobeyed the king’s command to bow down to Haman, why Haman overreacted to Mordecai’s refusal to bow, or why the virgins gathered the second time. It is also full of the providence of God and ironies. In an article titled, “Esther – Irony and Providence,” Donald E. Curtis noted every event in the book happens twice with the second being a variation of the first. Then a series of ironies are found in reverse. As one example, he wrote, “Ahasuerus commands Vashti to come before him, she refuses, and loses her position; Esther comes before him uncommanded and at the peril of her life, but gains position.” One of the ironies is that Esther, which means “star” in Persian, also means, “I will be hidden” in Hebrew. It suggests her obedience and submission until the right time to be used by God. But her name is a commentary on the book in which God is not mentioned, even though He works behind the scenes. However, in key places, noticeable in Hebrew, God’s name YHWH (Yahweh) is found hidden in acrostic form. By the use of the name “LORD,” A. T. Pierson illustrated where and how the name is used: 1:20 – Due Respect Our Ladies, all Shall give their husbands, great or small. 5:4 – Let Our Royal Dinner bring Haman feasting with a king. 5:13 – granD foR nO avaiL my state While this Jew sits at my gate. 7:7 – ilL tO feaR decreeD I find Toward me in the monarch’s mind. When a Jew speaks, the name of the Lord appears in the correct order; however, when a Gentile speaks, the name is reversed. The king in the account was Darius the Persian who is recorded in history as reigning for 36 years. In his 7th year, Esther was brought before him, Esther 2:16-17, becoming the queen. (She may be the queen Nehemiah saw in the king’s 20th year, Nehemiah 2:1, 6.) Haman’s plot was in the king’s 12th year, Esther 3:7. The book is a picture of the gospel. The immutable law of sin and death is superseded by grace. The evil plot of the enemy is defeated, and God’s people experience victory, joy, honor, and a holiday, Purim. Esther, under the penalty of death, comes to intercede on the third day Esther 4:16, 5:1, picturing the resurrection. The historical book of Esther is rich in spiritual truths.
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