Esther Chapter Two
In chapter one I didn’t want to get ahead of myself by going too in-depth on the topic of the Jews and the Gentiles. What we did study was “righteousness” and how important the righteousness of Christ is to one’s salvation. As we know from scripture, it is impossible for one to be saved without faith in Jesus Christ.
For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous. ~ Romans 5:19, KJV
The following verse is key in summing up chapter one and moving on to chapter two:
For they [the Jews] being ignorant of God's righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God. ~ Romans 10:3, KJV
In this chapter we’ll discuss this further, as the story of Esther leads us to explore the Jews, the Gentiles, and the plan of salvation.
Meaning of names in this chapter:
Mordecai: Worshipper of Marduk (a Babylonian god)
Hadassah: Myrtle (a flowering plant)
Esther: Star (Persian name)
Hegai: Meditation, Word, Groaning, Separation
After these things, when the wrath of king Ahasuerus was appeased, he remembered Vashti, and what she had done, and what was decreed against her. Then said the king's servants that ministered unto him, Let there be fair young virgins sought for the king: And let the king appoint officers in all the provinces of his kingdom, that they may gather together all the fair young virgins unto Shushan the palace, to the house of the women, unto the custody of Hege the king's chamberlain, keeper of the women; and let their things for purification be given them:
Here we see a virgin being established in place of Queen Vashti. As we return to the parable of the banquet, let us compare Matthew 22:8-10 with these three
What similarity do you see if any?
And let the maiden which pleaseth the king be queen instead of Vashti. And the thing pleased the king; and he did so.
Pay close attention to this verse as it says, “Let the maiden which pleaseth the king be queen instead of Vashti. And the thing pleased the king.”
In understanding the story of Esther and the symbolism that it has to both Jews and Gentiles, we can look to the passage in Romans 11:7-12:
What then? Israel hath not obtained that which he seeketh for; but the election [Gentiles] hath obtained it, and the rest were blinded. (According as it is written, God hath given them the spirit of slumber, eyes that they should not see, and ears that they should not hear;) unto this day. And David saith, Let their table be made a snare, and a trap, and a stumblingblock, and a recompence unto them: Let their eyes be darkened, that they may not see, and bow down their back alway. I say then, Have they stumbled that they should fall? God forbid: but rather through their fall salvation is come unto the Gentiles, for to provoke them to jealousy. Now if the fall of them be the riches of the world, and the diminishing of them the riches of the Gentiles; how much more their
fulness? ~ Romans 11:7-12, KJV
We see from this scripture that God has never turned His back on the Jewish people in favor of a different bride. He was angry toward them, yes, but has never cast them away (Rom 1:11). A father chastens those he loves.
Look at Romans 11:20-22.
What attitude are we commanded to have toward salvation and to the Jews?
Now in Shushan the palace there was a certain Jew, whose name was Mordecai, the son of Jair, the son of Shimei, the son of Kish, a Benjamite; Who had been carried away from Jerusalem with the captivity which had been carried away with Jeconiah king of Judah, whom Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon had carried away.
Throughout scripture, and even more so in our modern language, the Israelites are often referred to as Jews. The word Jew however comes from the tribe of Judah. Here we see it being used in a broader sense as Mordecai (from the tribe of Benjamin) is referred to as a “Jew.” We see from verse five that Mordecai worked in the palace, but we aren’t told what his duties were. And it would also seem from verse eight that they didn’t live there.
And he brought up Hadassah, that is, Esther, his uncle's daughter: for she had neither father nor mother, and the maid was fair and beautiful; whom Mordecai, when her father and mother were dead, took for his own daughter. So it came to pass, when the king's commandment and his decree was heard, and when many maidens were gathered together unto Shushan the palace, to the custody of Hegai, that Esther was brought also unto the king's house, to the custody of Hegai, keeper of the women.
Here we are introduced Hadassah which is Esther.
1. What relationship does she have to Mordecai?
2. What do we know about her appearance?
3. In verse 8, who do we see as the keeper of the women at the palace?
It is believed by many that Hegai was a eunuch. Eunuchs are mentioned many times in the Bible such as in the book of Isaiah (56:4) using the word סירס (saris). Although the Ancient Hebrews did not practice castration, eunuchs were common in other cultures featured in the Bible, such as Ancient Egypt, Babylonia, the Persian Emprie and Ancient Rome. In the Book of Esther servants of the harem of Ahasuerus such as Hegai and Shashgaz as well as other servants such as Hatach, Harbonah, Bigthan,
and Teresh are referred to as sarisim. Being exposed to the consorts of the king, they would have likely been castrated.
When I compare the story of Esther to that of the bride of Christ preparing herself for the King, I see that Hegai and Mordecai typify the Holy Spirit, which is given to us as a helper.
Looking at these two verses, what do we learn about the Holy Spirit?
A. John 14:26
B. John 16:13
And the maiden pleased him, and she obtained kindness of him; and he speedily gave her her things for purification, with such things as belonged to her, and seven maidens, which were meet to be given her, out of the king's house: and he preferred her and her maids unto the best place of the house of the women.
1. How many maids were given to Esther?
2. As a Christian, who do you see as the "maids" in your life, those who helps you prepare for the coming of Christ?
Esther had not shewed her people nor her kindred: for Mordecai had charged her that she should not shew it. And Mordecai walked every day before the court of the women's house, to know how Esther did, and what should become of her.
We see here that Mordecai charged Esther to keep her presence at the palace a secret from their people. Dake’s annotated Bible (p.515b) suggests that this was likely due to her Jewish origin. That would also explain why her name was changed from Hadassah to Esther, which is a Persian word for “star.”
Now when every maid's turn was come to go in to king Ahasuerus, after that she had been twelve months, according to the manner of the women, (for so were the days of their purifications accomplished, to wit, six months with oil of myrrh, and six months with sweet odours, and with other things for the purifying of the women.
1. How long was Esther in the palace before she saw the king?
2. What were the two beauty treatments that she had during her time of purification?
It’s interesting to note the significance of the two treatments used in the purification process. They are similar to ours as believers. Let’s look at them:
1. The first was the oil of myrrh. Myrrh comes from the Commiphoa Myrra tree. But the significance is in the way that it is extracted. The tree is pierced and the myrrh bleeds out of the tree in droplets. Many Christian historians believe that this symbolizes the suffering of Christ.
And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint- heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together. ~ Romans 8:17, KJV
2. In the second half of the purification Esther was treated with sweet odors.
Compare Ephesians 5:2 and Philippians 4:18 with this part of the purification process.
What might "sweet odors" symbolize in a believer’s life?
3. And finally, here is another verse that reflects our own purification treatment:
Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently: ~ 1 Peter 1:22, KJV
In those verses we see that believers are called to submit to the King through obedience, the very thing that Vashti was lacking.
Then thus came every maiden unto the king; whatsoever she desired was given her to go with her out of the house of the women unto the king's house. In the evening she went, and on the morrow she returned into the second house of the women, to the custody of Shaashgaz, the king's chamberlain, which kept the concubines: she came in unto the king no more, except the king delighted in her, and that she were called by name. Now when the turn of Esther, the daughter of Abihail the uncle of Mordecai, who had taken her for his daughter, was come to go in unto the king, she required nothing but what Hegai the king's chamberlain, the keeper of the women, appointed. And Esther obtained favour in the sight of all them that looked upon her.
In verse 13 we're told that the other women took whatever they desired with them out of the house when they met with the king. More than likely it means that they took fine garments and jewels. However, in verse 15 we see that Esther required nothing but what Hegai had appointed -- I'm really liking this girl!
What lessons can we take from both Esther and 1 Peter 3:3-5 when it comes to adorning ourselves?
So Esther was taken unto king Ahasuerus into his house royal in the tenth month, which is the month Tebeth, in the seventh year of his reign. And the king loved Esther above all the women, and she obtained grace and favour in his sight more than all the virgins; so that he set the royal crown upon her head, and made her queen instead of Vashti.
Looking at 1 Samuel 2:4-8 we find Hannah’s prayer, a portion of scripture that illustrates how God can raise those who are lowly to a position of honor, and take down those who are mighty.
The bows of the mighty men are broken, and they that stumbled are girded with strength. They that were full have hired out themselves for bread; and they that were hungry ceased: so that the barren hath born seven; and she that hath many children is waxed feeble. The LORD killeth, and maketh alive: he bringeth down to the grave, and bringeth up. The LORD maketh poor, and maketh rich: he bringeth low, and lifteth up. He raiseth up the poor out of the dust, and lifteth up the beggar from the dunghill, to set them among princes, and to make them inherit the throne of glory: for the pillars of the earth are the LORD's, and he hath set the world upon them. ~ 1 Samuel 2:4-8, KJV
1. How does this compare to verse 17, and in what ways could this message affect your life?
Then the king made a great feast unto all his princes and his servants, even Esther's feast; and he made a release to the provinces, and gave gifts, according to the state of the king. And when the virgins were gathered together the second time, then Mordecai sat in the king's gate Esther had not yet shewed her kindred nor her people; as Mordecai had charged her: for Esther did the commandment of Mordecai, like as when she was brought up with him.
We can see from verse 20 that her relationship to Mordecai was still being kept as a secret. But what we can tell from his position in the kingdom is that Mordecai still had access to Esther so that he could keep watch over her.
When I see the relationship between Esther and Mordecai, I’m warmly reminded of the love and dedication between Ruth and Naomi. What I’m also reminded of is this portion of scripture:
Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, to visit the fatherless [orphans] and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world. ~ James 1:27, KJV
Pure religion, in this sense, being the way that we live out our faith.
In those days, while Mordecai sat in the king's gate, two of the king's chamberlains, Bigthan and Teresh, of those which kept the door, were wroth, and sought to lay hands on the king Ahasuerus. And the thing was known to Mordecai, who told it unto Esther the queen; and Esther certified the king thereof in Mordecai's name. And when inquisition was made of the matter, it was found out; therefore they were both hanged on a tree: and it was written in the book of the chronicles before the king.
1. What transpired in verse 21?
2. What two things came of it in verse 23?