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
I have been pondering The Book of Esther as of recent. Quite a fascinating history of the Purim Festival.
The story begins with a banquet held by King Xerxes. Xerxes ruled over 127 provinces stretching from India to Cush. In his drunken stupor, the king sends for his queen, Vashti. Sounds okay right? Wrong. The king’s full motivation is to display his queen’s beauty to his guests.
Queen Vashti refuses. Good on her. Knowing full well that the consequences for denying her king’s request could quite possibly include beheading. But she would rather face death than be exposed by the very man who is supposed to cover her. Her husband, the king is assumed to be her security.
Furthermore, what other probabilities might incur if she had succumbed to his wishes? Beheading could still be an option as a sobered up king might lose all respect for his now “uncovered” queen. I believe Queen Vashti was in a lose-lose situation and she chose the lesser of the two evils.
The King showed mercy to Queen Vashti and sent her off “never again to enter the presence of King Xerxes”. – Esther 1:19
I am not a traditionalist personally. Though I do understand the security a man provides for a woman. Our men are our covering. Single as I am, I recognize that my tribe is now my covering. I chose them as wisely as they chose me.
I also identify with Vashti having once been married to a man of debauch. How he viciously hid me from many, yet loved to show me off to those of his select. Only to one day, send me off for good, all the while shaming me. This, however, was the greatest gift he would ever give to me.
Ugh, I just called out for Chewy…again.
Anywhoo…The King was now on a quest to find a new queen.
The New Queen
“Let a search be made for beautiful young virgins for the king. Let the king appoint commissioners in every province of his realm to bring all these beautiful young women into the harem at the citadel of Susa. Let them be placed under the care of Hegai, the king’s eunuch, who is in charge of the women; and let beauty treatments be given to them. Then let the young woman who pleases the king be queen instead of Vashti.” – Esther 2:2b-4a
Of the many young women, there existed one whose beauty none could compare – Esther. Esther was a Jewish girl being raised by her uncle Mordecai. She immediately became Hegei’s favorite and after one year of beauty treatments was presented before the king. No surprise that King Xerxes chose Esther as his new queen!
This is where the story gets really exciting! Esther’s uncle Mordecai discovers a conspiracy to assassinate the king and reports it. King Xerxes appoints Haman as his highest noble. Everyone bows down to Haman except Mordecai. Out of rage towards Mordecai, Haman convinces the king to issue an edict to destroy all the Jews in the province.
The Jews are about to be wiped out and Mordecai seeks help from his niece – the newest queen, Esther. Esther is feeling a bit timid as it is punishable by death to approximate the king without being summoned.
Mordecai compels her to stand up for her people, “Do not think that because you are in the king’s house you alone of all the Jews will escape. 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 4:13b-14.
After a three-day fast, Queen Esther approaches the King’s throne.
When he saw Queen Esther standing in the court, he was pleased with her and held out to her the gold scepter that was in his hand. So Esther approached and touched the tip of the scepter.
Then the king asked, “What is it, Queen Esther? What is your request? Even up to half the kingdom, it will be given you.” Esther 5:2-3
Am I the only one who sees this “gold scepter”, incident as an utterly sensual moment between a husband and wife who just happen to be King and Queen?
Anyway, back to the story. The queen has a simple wish; to hold a banquet. Not only is Esther beautiful beyond measure, she is also quite strategic. It is at said “banquet” that Esther exposes the motivations of Haman’s evil plan. Haman adds fire to his already out of control flame by throwing himself on the queen begging for mercy. This, of course, infuriates the king and Haman is immediately executed.
Now about that edict. The king cannot reverse an edict (lame) but he can permit the Jews to fight back. This he does. Fight they did. The Jews not only survive, they are victorious against those who would have them exterminated.
Two brave queens; one proud, the other trusting in her God and her husband’s love. Two headstrong men; one seemingly on the right side, the other seemingly on the wrong side. One King who will have to step up.
A handful of pivotal moments that led to the survival of a race. How many times in life do we get to ask ourselves if particular circumstances have been brought to us “for such a time as this”? Life can be boring, and I thank God for boring. However, regardless of the extent of said “pivotal moments” we all experience them at least once in our lives.
This brings me to today. The beginning of 2017 I did not expect to move into an RV, go to Hawaii or meet someone with whom I would find such a strong connection. Yet here I am, in 2018 with more changes in my life than expected. Where will this lead? I don’t know. But I have to believe that I am here for such a time as this…
Stay Blissful My Friends – E
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