Posted by: Maggie | October 24, 2007

Esther

Today I read Esther.  (I hope to come back and try to insert notes on the longer books whose types notes I’ve skipped for now for the sake of time).

It’s amazing–stories I thought I was familiar with and had read many times, I needed to re-read.   What first cracked me up was King Xerxes.  He holds a six month long banquet to show off his wealth and glory, and it says, “When the banquet was finished, he planned a banquet lasting seven days”.  Man!  This guy was all about the banquets!  His caterers and decoratoes had to either love him or they hated him.

I was amazed at how much of the book was well reflected in the recent movie “Esther”.  I really liked the movie a lot.  Many of the things I remember asking, “Is that really what it says?” are in there.  Okay, so not the hokey necklace part of the end of the movie, but that did make for cool visual effect.

I knew she was beautiful, but it also says she found favor with everyone she met and was given special treatment and position even before being chosen.  I didn’t realize the “help” she got from behind, pushing her upward, just like the movie.  It’s great how God positions people to assist us all on our journey like that when God’s favor is on us.

I thought it was also neat at the end of the book how the Jews made a national holiday out of the two days they were given “extra” to defeat anyone who wanted a piece of them.  You know how they celebrated?  It’s the first time I’ve seen this in scripture:  they gave each other food, and gifts to the poor…similar to our Christmas-time celebration.  I’ve often wondered how far back gift giving in times of celebration went…and there it is, right in the Bible, in Esther, the next to last chapter.

The word “Purim” for the holiday was from the word “Pur” meaning, lot.  Haman had “cast the lot against them”.

Esther had the people pray and fast for her three days before going to seek the king, as she and her maidservants did also.  She humbled herself.

Mordecei…you gotta love his story.  Man, he is an over-looked icon in scripture as far as I’m concerned.  What a man!  His character qualities:  observant, compassionate, supportive, wise, discerning, obedient, faithful, influential, in touch, sacrificial with his time, connected, tenacious, convincing. 

The Jews was upstanding in this book, though they’d just come out of captivity not long before, and didn’t seem to have a great deal of wealth, when they defeated their enemies, over and over and over it says, “but they did not take the plunder.  They left it alone.”

9:22 it is the first time reading the Bible straight through I think I’ve come across the phrase:  “their sorrow was turned inot joy and their mourning into a day of celebration.”  The day they had prepared to be executed, God granted their victory over their enemies! 

An phrase to reflect on–Mordecei, speaking to Esther, trying to convince her to speak to the king:  “For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish.” 

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