April 19, 2020, Esther 7:1-10

This week we look to a woman who while most is often not considered one of the Hebrew prophets does demonstrate she is capable of playing many roles, even when she seems reluctant to do so.

Our reading for the week takes us deep into the story as we focus our attention on chapter 7 of the 10 chapters that constitute the story of Esther.

A read of the first six chapters will help us set the context for what we read this week and help us get a fuller picture of this woman.

In those chapters we see a Queen disposed, a beauty contest to select a new consort for the King, a beauty treatment for Esther, the introduction of Mordecai her cousin and protector (Esther is an ophen), the introduction of Mordecai’s “arch” enemy, Haman, Mordecai’s encouragement of Esther to step up to the task he thinks she is groomed for, Hamen’s plotting, Esther’s call for fasting and prayer, and then her uninvited and dangerous walk into the King’s presence.

Before you read the account in chapter 7, take a few minutes to recall Mordecai’s words to Esther,

“For if you keep silence at such a time as this, relief and deliverance will rise for the Jews from another quarter, but you and your father’s family will perish. Who knows? Perhaps you have come to royal dignity for just such a time as this.” – Esther 4:14

With those profound and frightening words take you time reading chapter 7 and pay attention to how each person is characterized.

Esther 7:1-10

So the king and Haman went in to feast with Queen Esther. On the second day, as they were drinking wine, the king again said to Esther, “What is your petition, Queen Esther? It shall be granted you. And what is your request? Even to the half of my kingdom, it shall be fulfilled.”3 Then Queen Esther answered, “If I have won your favor, O king, and if it pleases the king, let my life be given me—that is my petition—and the lives of my people—that is my request. For we have been sold, I and my people, to be destroyed, to be killed, and to be annihilated. If we had been sold merely as slaves, men and women, I would have held my peace; but no enemy can compensate for this damage to the king.” Then King Ahasuerus said to Queen Esther, “Who is he, and where is he, who has presumed to do this?” Esther said, “A foe and enemy, this wicked Haman!” Then Haman was terrified before the king and the queen. The king rose from the feast in wrath and went into the palace garden, but Haman stayed to beg his life from Queen Esther, for he saw that the king had determined to destroy him. When the king returned from the palace garden to the banquet hall, Haman had thrown himself on the couch where Esther was reclining; and the king said, “Will he even assault the queen in my presence, in my own house?” As the words left the mouth of the king, they covered Haman’s face. Then Harbona, one of the eunuchs in attendance on the king, said, “Look, the very gallows that Haman has prepared for Mordecai, whose word saved the king, stands at Haman’s house, fifty cubits high.” And the king said, “Hang him on that.” So they hanged Haman on the gallows that he had prepared for Mordecai. Then the anger of the king abated.

How does each person stand out to you? What do you admire? What disappoints you?

If you had to sum up your opinion of each, how would you do it in two or three sentences?

Do you think the story has a hero or two? A villain or two?

Where is the God of the Hebrew nation? The Hebrew nation is in captivity in a foreign land and to top that off “God” is not mentioned in the account. “MIA – Missing in Action”?

Let’s start here and get back together in a couple of days and see what we have to share.

{ubi caritas et amor, Deus ibi est}

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