Now there was in the citadel of Susa a Jew of the tribe of Benjamin, named Mordecai son of Jair, the son of Shimei, the son of Kish, who had been carried into exile from Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, among those taken captive with Jehoiachin king of Judah. Mordecai had a cousin named Hadassah, whom he had brought up because she had neither father nor mother. This young woman, who was also known as Esther, had a lovely figure and was beautiful. Mordecai had taken her as his own daughter when her father and mother died.
Now the king was attracted to Esther more than to any of the other women, and she won his favour and approval more than any of the other virgins. So he set a royal crown on her head and made her queen instead of Vashti. Esther 2:5-7;17 (NIV)
The Book of Esther rcords some of the things that happened during the exile of the Jews following their defeat by Nebuchadnezzar. The incidents recorded took place during the reign of a later king, Xerxes. Mordecai, a Jew, finds himself (along with the Jewish people) the subject of a plot by Haman (the king’s close adviser) to annihilate them. Haman’s plot stemmed from Mordecai’s perceived lack of respect for him. To get his revenge he hatched a plot to not only get rid of Mordecai, but also all the Jews.
It is obvious in reading the Book of Esther that Haman was not altogether truthful with king Xerxes. Haman didn’t specifically mention the Jews, but instead used the term ‘… a certain people …’ (Esther 3:8). He was so angry with Mordecai that he decided to take vengeance on all the Jews.
Two things are clear. Firstly, Mordecai had already served the king well by revealing a plot against his life and secondly, Esther was herself of Jewish descent. Mordecai asks Esther to speak about the matter 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. And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?’ Esther 4:14 (NIV)
Esther chooses to bring the situation to the king’s attention, despite the risk to her own life. Two dangers existed for her. No-one could come before the king uninvited (those who did risked death). Further, Esther by revealing her national identity would be siding herself with those who were the subject of the king’s edict (to kill the Jews).
Chapters 6-10 of Esther record the outcome; Mordecai was honoured, Haman’s plot was revealed and Xerxes repealed his edict to kill the Jews.
What we can learn from this is that God puts each of us in a particular place and situation, so that he can use us. Esther was in the right place, at the right time, to save the Jews. Wherever you find yourself today, pray that God will use you in fulfilling his purposes.
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