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Esther Lesson #3

RETURN TO SYLLABUS
ESTHER 2
LESSON #03

THE SOVEREIGNTY OF GOD IN MUNDANE EVENTS

v     MEMORY VERSE:  PROVERBS 21:1

v     READ ESTHER 2:1-14   PREPARATIONS FOR A QUEEN

Ø      THE NAMES:

§         MORDECAI  (5) — HE PROBABLY HAD ANOTHER NAME BECAUSE THENAME MORDECAI IS A PERSIAN NAME FOR THE BABYLONIAN GOD MARDUK. WE ARE NOT TOLD HIS JEWISHNAME.

·        THE BABYLONIANS AND PERSIANS GAVELOCAL NAMES TO CAPTIVES TO BREAK THEIR SPIRIT AND THEIR TIES TO THEIR OLD CULTURE ANDRELIGION

§         ESTHER’S NAME IS REALLYHADASSAH. (7)

·        HADASSAH = MEANS”MYRTLE” (A VERY SECULAR NAME). HER PERSIAN NAME WAS ESTHER = STAR, FROM THEPERSIAN NAME, “ISHTAR”. ISHTAR WAS THE BABYLONIAN GODDESS OF LOVE.

¨      NOTICE HOW MORDECAI AND ESTHER ARE NAMEDAFTER PAGAN GODS. THIS WAS A COMMON PRACTICE.

Ø      ALSO NOTICE THAT THEY REFER TO EACH OTHER BYTHEIR PERSIAN NAMES THROUGHOUT THE BOOK OF ESTHER. THAT TELLS US THAT THESE JEWISH PEOPLEHAD BECOME ENTRENCHED INTO THE CULTURE IN WHICH THEY WERE CAPTIVE.

§         REMEMBER THAT THE FIRSTPERSIAN KING, DARIUS I HAD FREED THE CAPTIVES OF THE BABYLONIAN CAPTIVITY. THEREFORE,ESTHER AND MOREDECAI WERE FREE TO RETURN TO ISRAEL IF THEY HAD WANTED TO DO SO.

·        DARIUS I HYSTASPIS IS PROBABLYTHE KING IN THE STORY OF ESTHER.

Ø      THE POWERS AROUND THE THRONE:

§         IT WILL BE OBVIOUS, AS WECONTINUE IN THE BOOK OF ESTHER, THAT THE KING IS FREQUENTLY GUIDED AND SWAYED IN HISDECISIONS BY THOSE AROUND HIM. HE DOES NOT MAKE DECISIONS BASED ON WELL THOUGHT-OUT,LONG-RANGE PLANS.

·        THIS WAS NOT UNCOMMON WITH SUCH AVAST KINGDOM TO RUN. THE SITUATIONS IN THE BOOK OF ESTHER PROBABLY SEEMED MINOR AND LOCALTO A KING WHO HAD HIS MIND ON BIGGER THINGS.

¨      THIS IS PROBABLY WHY NONE OF THE EVENTS INTHE BOOK OF ESTHER ARE WRITTEN ABOUT IN THE PERSIAN CHRONICLES OF THEIR HISTORY.

§         THE HAREM:

·        HAREMS IN THE PERSIAN EMPIRE WEREFAMOUS FOR THEIR SIZE, THEIR ORGANIZATION, AND THEIR BEAUTY.

¨      THE PERSIANS PERIODICALLY BROUGHT YOUNGER,MORE BEAUTIFUL WOMEN FROM THE FAR REACHES OF THE KINGDOM TO REPLACE OLDER WOMEN. 

·        HEGAI, THE EUNUCH

¨      HAREMS WERE DENS OF INTERNAL, POLITICAL POWERSTRUGGLES AND INTRIGUE. EUNUCH’S VIED FOR POSITIONS OF POWER BY PROMOTTING WHATEVERPLEASED THE KING. THEREFORE, THE HEAD EUNUCH HAD A GREAT DEAL OF POWER WITHIN THE PALACE.THE KING RELIED ON THE DISCRETION OF THE HEAD EUNUCH BECAUSE HE WOULD KNOW HIS HAREM ANDTHE CHARACTER OF THE PEOPLE IN IT.

·        ESTHER’S SPECIAL PRIVILEGES:

¨      SPECIAL BEAUTY TREATMENTS.

¨      SPECIAL FOOD.

¨      SEVEN MAIDS.

Ø      REMEMBER THAT NUMBER 7 IS GOD’S NUMBEROF COMPLETION. IN OTHER WORDS, SHE HAD EVERYTHING SHE NEEDED AND MORE.

Ø      ESTHER’S SECRET:

§         ESTHER AND MORDECAI KEPTTHEIR JEWISH NATIONALITY A SECRET. (20) HEGAI, THE EUNUCH, DID NOT EVEN KNOW SHE WASJEWISH. ESTHER HAD BECOME SO PERSIAN IN HER LOOKS, ACTIONS, AND SPEECH. SHE HAD MELTEDINTO THE PERSIAN CULTURE.

·        THE BIBLE TELLS US SHE WAS RAISEDBY MORDECAI. HE, TOO, HAD BECOME VERY PERSIAN AND HID HIS IDENTITY. HE DID NOT SEE THENECESSITY OF TEACHING HER ABOUT THEIR JEWISH ROOTS.

¨      WHY DID MOREDECAI TELL HER NOT TO REVEAL HERJEWISHNESS?

Ø      MORDECAI WAS WILLING TO COMPROMISE AND THATMADE HIM FEAR REPRISALS.

§         IT REMINDS US OF”CLOSET CHRISTIANS”.

·        DISCUSSION:  WHAT MAKES CHRISTIANS DECIDE TO HIDE THEIRIDENTITY?

Ø      MORDECAI WAS OPPORTUNISTIC AND AMBITIOUS.

Ø      THERE MAY HAVE BEEN SOME REVELATION BY GODTHAT THIS WAS HIS PLAN.

§         PERHAPS HE SAW THE TIDETURNING AGAINST THE JEWS AND THOUGHT SHE COULD BE OF SOME INFLUENCE TO THE KING TO STEMTHE TIDE.

Ø      ESTHER’S VIOLATIONS OF THE MOSAIC LAW:

§         BY LAW A JEW WAS NOT TOMARRY A PAGAN. (DEU 7:1-4)

§         BY LAW A JEW WAS NOT TOHAVE SEXUAL RELATIONS WITH ANYONE OTHER THAN A SPOUSE. (EXO 20:14)

§         BY LAW A JEW WAS TO EATONLY KOSHER FOOD. (LEV 11:1-44)

·        MORDECAI MUST HAVE KNOWN ABOUTTHESE VIOLATIONS TO THE MOSAIC LAW.

¨      THE CHARACTER CONTRAST TO MORDECAI AND ESTHERHERE IS DANIEL (DAN 1) WHO MAINTAINED HIS JEWISH NAME, HIS KOSHER FOOD, AND HIS STYLE OFWORSHIP IN EXACTLY THE SAME PERIOD OF CAPTIVITY. HE DID NOT HIDE HIS JEWISHNESS AND YETMAINTAINED A HIGH POLITICAL POSITION.

¨      DISCUSSION:  HOW DO WE EXPLAIN GOD’S SOVEREIGNTY DESPITETHE WORLDLY COMPROMISES WE SEE IN THE BOOK OF ESTHER.

Ø      IN DEFENSE OF MORDECAI:

§         MORDECAI DID SEEM TO HAVE AFATHER’S LOVE AND CONCERN                     FORESTHER’S WELL BEING (11) AND FOR HER FUTURE.

Ø      THE BEAUTIFICATION PROCESS (12):

§         JOSEPHUS, THE GREEKHISTORIAN SAYS THERE WERE 400 VIRGINS BROUGHT BEFORE THE KING.

·        THIS WAS A YEAR-LONGBEAUTIFICATION PROCESS.

§         WHAT CHARACTERISTICS WEREIMPORTANT TO BECOMING QUEEN?

·        OUTWARD BEAUTY

¨      THE BEAUTY PROCESS CONSISTED OF FUMIGATION BYCOSMETIC BURNERS WITH OILS AND INCENSE THAT SOFTENED AND PURIFIED THE SKIN AND HAIR.

v     READ EST 2:15-23  ESTHER CROWNED QUEEN

Ø      WHAT QUALITIES DOES ESTHER EXHIBIT IN THISCHAPTER?

§         PATIENCE, SUBMISSION TO HERCOUSIN, MORDECAI AND A QUIET SPIRIT.

·        WHAT QUALITIES DOES GOD LOOK FOR?

¨      READ  1SA16:7  PRO 31:30  1PE 3:3,4  2CO 2:14,15  PSA 119:9-11  JOH 15:5  GAL 5:22,23  EPH 5:18,22  1PE3:5

Ø      BECAUSE OF ESTHER’S POSITION, MORDECAIIS GIVEN A POSITION OF AUTHORITY IN THE GATE OF GOVERNMENT. (19)

§         THIS PUT HIM IN A POSITIONTO OVERHEAR THE PLOT AGAINST THE KING. PERHAPS THE PLOT WAS BECAUSE OF THE SETTING ASIDEOF QUEEN VASHTI.

v     SUMMARY AND APPLICATION: 

Ø      THERE ARE THREE AREAS OF GOD’S SOVEREIGNTY WESEE IN THIS CHAPTER:

§         WE SEE GOD WORK THROUGHCIRCUMSTANCES BEHIND THE SCENES TO PLACE PEOPLE IN THE RIGHT PLACES AT THE RIGHT TIME.

·        THIS ASPECT OF GOD’SSOVEREIGNTY IS BEYOND THE POWER OF HUMAN FORESIGHT.

§         WE SEE GOD WORK IN THEHEARTS OF MEN ENABLING THE GIVING OF FAVOR TO PEOPLE WHERE FAVOR IS NEEDED.

·        ESTHER MADE NO EFFORT TO WINFAVOR.

§         WE SEE GOD WORK INSITUATIONS AND PEOPLE DESPITE MAN’S WORLDLY COMPROMISES AND FAILURES.

·        GOD HAS A PLAN. HE WILLACCOMPLISH THAT IS NOT RELATED TO OR BASED ON MAN’S ACTIONS.

HOMEWORK
ESTHER 3

THIS IS A SELF-STUDY. PLEASE DO NOT SEND HOMEWORK ANSWERS TO THE TEACHER FORCORRECTION.

v     APPLICATION FOR ESTHER 2:

Ø      WHAT ENCOURAGEMENT DOES THIS CHAPTER GIVE YOUREGARDING ANXIETY, WORRY, AND FRUSTRATION WHEN IT COMES TO ACCOMPLISHING YOUR DAILY PLANS?

v     PREPARATIONS FOR EST 3:

Ø      READ EST 3:1-15

§         FIVE TIMES HAMAN IS CALLED“THE ENEMY OF THE JEWS”. WHAT HISTORICAL SIGNIFICANCE DO YOU SEE IN THIS TITLE?

§         SPIRITUALLY SPEAKING, WHOMDO YOU THINK HAMAN REPRESENTS?

v     MEMORY VERSE: PROVERBS 16:33

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About Joyce

Joyce
I came to faith in the Lord Jesus Christ in 1963 giving my heart to Jesus in a Billy Graham crusade in Los Angeles, CA. I have been teaching the Word of God since 1964, Usually two to three adult classes a week.

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