(presented by: Naomi Blankenship)
When the 180 days had ended, he made a seven day feast in the palace garden for the people that worked in palace Shushan. Both great and small in stature were invited to enjoy the delicacies of the royal feast where there was an abundance of food and drink.
On the seventh day of the feast, when the heart of the king was merry with wine, he sent his seven princes, (also called chamberlains), to bring his queen, Vashti, before him. The king wanted the queen to be seen with her royal crown to show the princes and all the people her beauty. She was very beautiful.
While the men of the king were feasting the queen was having a feast for the women of the palace Shushan. Therefore, when the kings’ chamberlains came to give her the king’s request, she refused to come. Thus, king Ahasuerus became extremely angry when he was told of his queen’s refusal to come before him. (It was mandatory throughout the kingdom that any of the king’s subjects come when he requested their presence.) This looked very bad for the king that his royal wife would willingly disobey his request.
All that were present with the king saw the rage on his face, and the king asked advice of his seven princes of what he should do. All the men knew that the queen, like their king, set an example for all others in the kingdom. Thus, the men did not want the women of the kingdom to become disrespectful and disobedient to them.
So, Prince Memucan told the king that he should make a decree that Queen Vashti not be allowed to appear before him ever again and that her royal estate be given to another that is better than she. The princes counseled the king that all the fair, young virgins be brought to the palace and the one that pleased the king most would replace Vashti and become his new queen.
In the palace was a Jew, named Mordecai, that had raised his niece as his own daughter, because her parents had died. (Mordecai’s descendants had been taken from their home in Judah when King Nebuchadnezzar carried them to Babylon years before.) His niece’s name was Hadassah, that is Esther. She along with all the other maidens in the provinces were brought into the palace before Hegai, keeper of women.
Esther pleased the king and he showed her kindness and gave her seven maids to tend to her needs. He gave her the best place in the house of women. However, the king did not know that she was a Jew. The Jews were not favored in the land and many even hated them. Esther’s uncle Mordecai walked by the court of women’s house to check on his niece’s welfare. He was afraid the king would find out that she was a Jew and her welfare would then be in jeopardy.
After a required twelve months of purification required by the law, Esther went in unto the king and the king loved her and she was chosen as his favorite to replace Queen Vashti.
Meanwhile, Esther’s uncle was the keeper of the king’s gate. When one day, he overheard two of the king’s princes expressing their anger against the king and seeking an opportunity to kill him. Mordecai told Queen Esther what he had heard and she told the king of the danger for his life. The king held an inquisition and the two princes were hung on a tree and it was written in the book of the chronicles before the king.
The king then appointed Haman and set him before all the princes. Everyone in the kingdom was expected to bow down and honor Haman, but Mordecai refused to do so. This angered Haman. He wanted to hurt Mordecai, and when he found out that he was a Jew, Haman sought to destroy all the Jews in the provinces because of his anger toward Mordecai.
Haman, now the king’s head prince, approached the king and told him that there was a group of people in the land that had their own laws and did not obey the laws of the king. He told him they would cause problems for the king and should be destroyed. So, the king gave Haman his ring with his symbol to set a proclamation in order to destroy all Jews from the land. The king’s silver would be paid to all that assisted in the effort. The proclamation was sent to all provinces and within the palace Shushan. No one in the city understood the reason for the decree.
When Mordecai heard what was done, he rent his clothes and put on sackcloth with ashes and cried out in the city even unto the king’s gate. However, the gatekeeper refused him because sackcloth was not permitted inside the king’s gate. All the Jews were weeping and wailing and many joined Mordecai by putting on sackcloth with ashes.
When the news reached Queen Esther that Mordecai was in sackcloth and ashes at the king’s gate, she sent her uncle Mordecai clothes to put on, but he refused them. She sent to question why he was doing this and her uncle sent a copy of Haman’s decree to Queen Esther. He told her of the silver to be paid for the destruction of the Jews. He also, sent her a note charging her to go before the king and make a request for the Jewish people.
There was a law in the land that no individual could enter the king’s court without his blessing or else they would be put to death. Man or woman, it didn’t matter, was never to approach the king without being called for by him. Although, it was well known that if the king held out a golden sceptre, the one who approached would be spared their death by the king.
Mordecai sent a message to Queen Esther and requested an answer from the niece that he had raised as his very own daughter. His message stated to her not to think of herself, but of all Jewish people. He said that if she didn’t help them, their deliverance would come from elsewhere and her father’s house would be destroyed. Mordecai sent his message and said, “Who knoweth whether thou art come to the kingdom for such a time as this.”
Queen Esther sent her reply back to her Uncle Mordecai, “Go, gather together all the Jews that are present in Shushan, and fast for me, and neither eat nor drink three days, night or day: I also and my maidens will fast likewise; and so will I go in unto the king, which is not according to the law: and if I perish, I perish.”
Mordecai did as Queen Esther had requested and gathered all the Jews in Shushan for a three day fast. After the three days were ended Queen Esther put on her royal apparel and came into the inner chamber of the royal court. The king was sitting on the throne when he saw her. He graciously gave her his favor and held out the golden sceptre and she approached and touched it with her hand. He asked her to make her petition and he would grant it even unto half of his kingdom. Esther requested that the king and Haman come to a banquet that she would prepare for them that very day. The king agreed and sent to tell Haman to quickly prepare to attend Queen Esther’s banquet.
Haman was joyful at the invitation and rushed to fulfill the king’s request. When Haman reached the king’s gate, there stood Mordecai, and as usual, he once again would not reverence and bow to him. This made Haman furious.
The king, once again asked Esther what her petition was, but she hestitated to tell him and invited him back tomorrow to hear her request. Thus, the banquet ended and Haman returned home to tell his family all the riches that the king had bestowed upon him and how he had advanced him above all the princes and servants of the king’s court. He boasted to his family that Queen Esther had invited no other man but him to dine at the banquet with she and the king. He added that he was to attend another of the Queen’s banquets tomorrow. He told his family of his hatred for Mordecai, whom he felt was disrespectful and would not reverence his position with the king when he passed by the king’s gate.
Haman’s wife and friends suggested that he have a gallows built, and when he met with the king the following day to request Mordecai be hanged upon it. Haman liked this idea and proceeded to have a gallows built whereby to hang Mordecai on.
That night God caused the king to be unable to sleep. So, he sent for the chamberlains to bring the book of chronicles for him to read. As he read it, he saw how Mordecai, the Jew, had saved his life when he had told of the two princes' plot to kill him. Then, the king asked of his chamberlains what honor had been given Mordecai for saving his life? His servants replied that nothing had been done for Mordecai.
Later, when Haman came to the outer court of the king’s house, the king asked if there was anyone waiting in the court. He was told that Haman was. (Haman had come to request that Mordecai be hanged on the gallows that he had built.) The king sent to have Haman come in.
When Haman approached the king, he asked him, “What shall be done unto the man that the king delighteth to honor?” Thinking that the king was talking about him, Haman answered, “Let the royal apparel be brought that the king useth to wear, and the horse that the king rideth upon, and the crown royal which is set upon his head: And let this apparel and horse be delivered to the hand of one of the king’s most noble princes, that they may array the man withal whom the king delighteth to honor, and bring him on horseback through the streets of the city, and proclaim it before him.”
The king agreed with Haman's idea and told him to quickly take the apparel, and horse, and do what he had said unto Mordecai, the Jew who had saved his life, and now sat in the king’s gate. Therefore, letting nothing fail of all that Haman had suggested.
Haman painfully did as the king said and arrayed Mordecai with the apparel and paraded him on horseback through the streets of the city. Afterwards, he went home weeping and told his family all that had befallen him. Then, shortly thereafter, the king’s chamberlains were at the door to take Haman to the banquet Queen Esther had prepared.
At the banquet, the king asked Queen Esther once again, “What is thy petition, Queen Esther? And it shall be granted thee: and what is thy request? And it shall be performed, even to the half of the kingdom.”
Esther replied, “If I have found favour in thy sight, O king, and if it please the king, let my life be given me at my petition, and my people at my request. For we are sold, I and my people, to be destroyed, to be slain, and to perish. But if we have been sold for bondmen and bondwomen, I had held my tongue, although the enemy could not countervail the king’s damage.”
Then, the king asked, “Who is he, and where is he, that durst presume in his heart to do so?” Queen Esther answered that it was Haman. Haman then began to tremble before the king and queen. The king arose quickly and went into the palace garden in anger. In the meanwhile, Haman stood up to make a request for his life of the queen and saw that evil was determined against him.
When the king returned from meditating in the garden, Haman had fallen upon the queen’s bed where she was in despair and the king saw him. The king cried, “Will he force the queen also before me in the house?” Immediately, the fatality of the words covered Haman’s face.
A chamberlain of the king, said unto him, “Behold also, the gallows fifty cubits high, which Haman had made for Mordecai, who had spoken good for the king, standeth in the house of Haman. Then the king said, “Hang him thereon.” So, they hung Haman on the gallows that he had built for Mordecai, and the king’s wrath was pacified.
The king gave the house of Haman, the Jew’s enemy, to Queen Esther. Mordecai came before the king because Queen Esther told him that he was her uncle. The king took the ring from his finger that he had given to Haman and gave it to Mordecai. Then, Queen Esther put Mordecai in charge of Haman’s estate.
Queen Esther once again requested that the king reverse the decree Haman had put
on the Jews, but he could not because his symbol was on the proclamations sent
to all the provinces. So, he told Mordecai to make a decree and use his
symbol to seal it, that the Jews could kill anyone trying to harm them and could
take their goods and wealth. The decree was sent out from India to
Ethiopia and all the provinces of the kingdom. The Jews rejoiced and were
glad. Mordecai was now wearing fine linen garments and the royal blue and
white apparel and ruled over the house of Haman. Queen Esther was loved
and favored by her king and all the people were afraid to harm any Jew.
If you have a trial and problems as Queen Esther did, just pray to the Lord, and he will help you overcome it. Read the word of the Lord daily and obey your godly parents. If your parents aren't Christians, just keep praying that the Lord will save them as he will save your soul too.