Just like with the previous blogs on Esther and Job, this is merely another go at sharing what coursed through my mind as I studied on January 4th, 2005. I trust it would be a blessing to you.
Nehemiah mourned the state of his nation not because he was unaware of the cause of their wounds but because he was concerned. He knew God was true to his covenants (vs 5) and that their destruction and exile was just (vs 8). He also knew that if genuine repentance took place, return will take place as well. And he went ahead to plead Jerusalem’s case before God, and prayed that he’d be instrumental in its restoration.
Such attitudes are far from many of God’s people in present times and I speak of Nigeria for such is what I have observed. Many of us are so “righteous” that we are not concerned about the issues affecting our homeland’s economy, politics and governance. Where we are concerned, it is the observation of faults and flaws in our systems and the condemnation of whoever we think is to blame, of course not ourselves. We mostly do not take up such issues with God in prayer for help and when we do, we mostly don’t wish to be involved. I pray God helps us turn such attitudes around.
Broadening the thought, even when a person rightly deserves the trouble in which he has found himself, it is no credit to us to gloat over the “justice” being done. It is our glory to “speak to the judge” to have mercy and return such a person to his former place of righteousness (2 Corinthians 11:28-29) though we rejoice that truth and right is served as only God can. (1 Corinthians 13:6)
7:9. Mordecai’s life had become valuable to the king because he had saved the King’s life; that is understandable. But what would make Mordecai’s life valuable to Harbonah, one who’s not even a Jew? Being the King’s eunuch and not Esther’s, he would have had few, if any, contact with Mordecai. Maybe Esther had sent him to Mordecai occasionally just as she sent Hathach (ch 4) and so he knew Mordecai.
But more likely, Esther was loved by all of them because she was obviously not vain like Vashti and she honoured their King. More importantly, she probably treated them well, maybe even talking with them about the goodness of her God. Why else would she call her maids to fast with her if they had not come to know the God to whom she fasted? (4:16). And probably she was always speaking of the kindness of her cousin and how valuable he was to her. So maybe, Harbonah was looking after Esther’s interest as an act of kindness too. I don’t know.
But it pays to be nice to everyone, even those socially beneath you.
4:16. “If I must perish, then I perish”. Esther’s most popular quote, probably the only statement we quote from this book. Many would agree, if it was suggested that the whole book of Esther rested on her willingness to save her people … sort of sacrificially.
Well, I think not. Whether she dies by the king’s order for breaking an existing law (ironic, isn’t it? Vashti broke no law and was punished!) or by Hamman’s own plot for being a Jewess, she would have died anyway. She just had to choose.
I think the big thing about Esther is that she was submissive; she allowed herself to be instructed and mentored. It appeared to be a mark of her personality (2:10, 15, 20). Her submission to authority and counsel eventually brought her to this critical point in a different way than she would have approached it if she was more like Vashti – self-willed.
Probably, this was what delighted the king (ch 2) and probably this kind of background thought made the king consider that her action in coming to him uninvited was not out of spite but out of genuine necessity since she would not consciously disobey him.