Esther 3-4: God’s Providence Calls for Courage For Such a Time as This

For such a time as this. That’s a phrase that is often quoted when a person is in the right place at the right time, with proper authority, ability, skill, or wherewithal to do something positive. It could be to fix what is broken, to correct a wrong, or to bring an important issue to a leader. That’s the situation in which we find Queen Esther in these next 2 chapters. Let’s dig in…

Esther 3 – Haman’s Plot against the Jews

Some time later King Xerxes promoted Haman son of Hammedatha the Agagite over all the other nobles, making him the most powerful official in the empire. All the king’s officials would bow down before Haman to show him respect whenever he passed by, for so the king had commanded. But Mordecai refused to bow down or show him respect.

Then the palace officials at the king’s gate asked Mordecai, “Why are you disobeying the king’s command?” They spoke to him day after day, but still he refused to comply with the order. So they spoke to Haman about this to see if he would tolerate Mordecai’s conduct, since Mordecai had told them he was a Jew.

When Haman saw that Mordecai would not bow down or show him respect, he was filled with rage. He had learned of Mordecai’s nationality, so he decided it was not enough to lay hands on Mordecai alone. Instead, he looked for a way to destroy all the Jews throughout the entire empire of Xerxes.

So in the month of April, during the twelfth year of King Xerxes’ reign, lots were cast in Haman’s presence (the lots were called purim) to determine the best day and month to take action. And the day selected was March 7, nearly a year later.

Then Haman approached King Xerxes and said, “There is a certain race of people scattered through all the provinces of your empire who keep themselves separate from everyone else. Their laws are different from those of any other people, and they refuse to obey the laws of the king. So it is not in the king’s interest to let them live. If it please the king, issue a decree that they be destroyed, and I will give 10,000 large sacks of silver to the government administrators to be deposited in the royal treasury.”

10 The king agreed, confirming his decision by removing his signet ring from his finger and giving it to Haman son of Hammedatha the Agagite, the enemy of the Jews. 11 The king said, “The money and the people are both yours to do with as you see fit.”

12 So on April 17 the king’s secretaries were summoned, and a decree was written exactly as Haman dictated. It was sent to the king’s highest officers, the governors of the respective provinces, and the nobles of each province in their own scripts and languages. The decree was written in the name of King Xerxes and sealed with the king’s signet ring. 13 Dispatches were sent by swift messengers into all the provinces of the empire, giving the order that all Jews—young and old, including women and children—must be killed, slaughtered, and annihilated on a single day. This was scheduled to happen on March 7 of the next year. The property of the Jews would be given to those who killed them.

14 A copy of this decree was to be issued as law in every province and proclaimed to all peoples, so that they would be ready to do their duty on the appointed day. 15 At the king’s command, the decree went out by swift messengers, and it was also proclaimed in the fortress of Susa. Then the king and Haman sat down to drink, but the city of Susa fell into confusion.

Esther 3 NLT

Esther 4 – Mordecai Requests Esther’s Help

When Mordecai learned about all that had been done, he tore his clothes, put on burlap and ashes, and went out into the city, crying with a loud and bitter wail. He went as far as the gate of the palace, for no one was allowed to enter the palace gate while wearing clothes of mourning. And as news of the king’s decree reached all the provinces, there was great mourning among the Jews. They fasted, wept, and wailed, and many people lay in burlap and ashes.

When Queen Esther’s maids and eunuchs came and told her about Mordecai, she was deeply distressed. She sent clothing to him to replace the burlap, but he refused it. Then Esther sent for Hathach, one of the king’s eunuchs who had been appointed as her attendant. She ordered him to go to Mordecai and find out what was troubling him and why he was in mourning. So Hathach went out to Mordecai in the square in front of the palace gate.

Mordecai told him the whole story, including the exact amount of money Haman had promised to pay into the royal treasury for the destruction of the Jews. Mordecai gave Hathach a copy of the decree issued in Susa that called for the death of all Jews. He asked Hathach to show it to Esther and explain the situation to her. He also asked Hathach to direct her to go to the king to beg for mercy and plead for her people. So Hathach returned to Esther with Mordecai’s message.

10 Then Esther told Hathach to go back and relay this message to Mordecai: 11 “All the king’s officials and even the people in the provinces know that anyone who appears before the king in his inner court without being invited is doomed to die unless the king holds out his gold scepter. And the king has not called for me to come to him for thirty days.” 12 So Hathach gave Esther’s message to Mordecai.

13 Mordecai sent this reply to Esther: “Don’t think for a moment that because you’re in the palace you will escape when all other Jews are killed. 14 If you keep quiet at a time like this, deliverance and relief for the Jews will arise from some other place, but you and your relatives will die. Who knows if perhaps you were made queen for just such a time as this?”

15 Then Esther sent this reply to Mordecai: 16 “Go and gather together all the Jews of Susa and fast for me. Do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. My maids and I will do the same. And then, though it is against the law, I will go in to see the king. If I must die, I must die.” 17 So Mordecai went away and did everything as Esther had ordered him.

Esther 4 NLT

Who is Haman?

Haman is an Agagite — his hatred for the Jews stems from more than Mordecai’s disrespect. An Agagite — which means “belonging to Agag” — was another name for the Amalekites. The Israelites and the Amalekites had a very long sordid history.

Amalek was a grandson of Esau, Jacob’s (Israel’s) twin brother. In Exodus 17, when they were coming to the Promised Land, the warriors of Amalek attacked the Israelites, but the Israelites beat them.

Later, God tells King Saul to eliminate the whole Amalekite nation — wipe them out completely. That meant, men, women and children. The reason being is that if they allowed a woman or child to live, they’d grow up hating the Israelites and wanting revenge. King Saul does not obey God completely. Read that story here. He spared King Agag, who lived for a day. Apparently, he must have sired a child in that time. Hence we have Agagites and Haman. Thus, Haman plots to have all the Jews annihilated.

Mordecai’s Response

It’s starts with his refusal to bow down to Haman. It could have been because Mordecai knew of Haman’s ancestry and there was animosity. There certainly was on Haman’s part when he found out Mordecai was a Jew! Also, as a Jew, Mordecai was taught not to bow to any thing or any one besides God. That’s part of the 10 Commandments.

When he heard what Haman was planning, he tore his clothes and put on sackcloth. These were mourning clothes. Dressed like that, he could not go near the palace.

Esther’s Response

It’s 4 years later, and the king has not called for Esther in 30 days. The way things worked back then in Persia, was unless the king asked for you, you were not allowed to visit him. If you attempted, you could be punished by death. Besides that, any edict that the king proclaimed and sealed with his signet ring, is law forever.

Nevertheless, Esther, though she was isolated from her people, was the Jews’ only hope. And she knew that. As Mordecai told her, “Who knows if perhaps you were made queen for just such a time as this?”

Where is God?

We go back to providence. Fasting, goes along with praying — praying to God. The whole Jewish community fasted for 3 days, as well as Esther’s maids. Fasting weakens a person’s body but strengthens their soul. Though God’s name technically isn’t mentioned in the whole Book of Esther, His hand is there through every step.

There are no such things as coincidences!

I look back at my life and I see the hand of God in everything! From my surviving college, my surviving hurricanes and 2 years of unemployment. I’m writing this blog and recording this podcast daily for such a time as this.

I think there was a purpose why the unknown author of the Book of Esther did not mention God anywhere. First, the Jews had been in exile for 100 years. It was 30 years since the first of the exiled Jews when back to Jerusalem to rebuild. The remnant that stayed, had settled in so well, that they didn’t want to leave. The Jews were separated from God then, just like we are separated from God now.

Today, there is absolutely no regard for the innocence of elementary-school children. There is no regard for the sanctity of life. So much so, that a child could be eliminated because he or she chose to enter this world at an inconvenient time. Add to that the blatant disregard for the sanctity of marriage. I could go on.

Where is God? Oh, He’s still in control and He will pass judgment on this world at some point. You can count on it.

Where will YOU be on Judgment Day?

If you’re not sure if you’re saved or not, if you truly want to be born again and have the assurance of salvation, receive the Holy Spirit, feel His Shalom — a peace that surpasses all understanding, and get a 1-way, non-stop ticket to Heaven after you die, or that you won’t be left behind at the Rapture, which can happen at any moment, this is what you have to do…

Invite Jesus into Your Heart and Receive the Gift of Grace, Joy, Peace, and the Confident Hope of Eternal Life…

Top image by Sweet Publishing from FreeBibleImages.org, (CC BY-SA 3.0)

For Such a Time as This



Soli Deo Gloria! To God Alone Be the Glory!

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1 thought on “Esther 3-4: God’s Providence Calls for Courage For Such a Time as This”

  1. Pingback: Esther 5-6: Watch God’s Hand Work in this Ironic Reversal of Fortune – Seek the Truth

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