Note: If you are looking for any posts you have missed, or a FREE copy of the study guide, you can find the table of contents by clicking here.
Below are my thoughts for each of the chapters we studied this week along with the answers to the questions I posted in the study guide.
Also, make sure that you get a copy of the coloring page I have pasted below. Have a great weekend!
My thoughts on this chapter…
Being in the position that Esther was in wasn’t as glamorous as we might be led to think. Young virgins were sought out by the King’s servants and taken to the palace. Chapter 2 tells us that Esther was “brought” also unto the King’s house. The word “brought” here, is translated from the Hebrew word, “laqach” which means “to take, get, fetch, lay hold of, seize, receive, acquire, buy, bring, marry, take a wife, snatch, take away.” And so we see that she didn’t go to the kingdom—she was taken there to participate in this competition.
Night after night, women were sent to the King, until one was chosen, which isn’t a love story, but rather a contest based on the King’s lust. There was something different about Esther, however, and we’re told in chapter 2:17 that the King “loved” her.
As we see in this chapter, their marriage wasn’t typical, by any stretch of the imagination. Esther hadn’t spoken to the King for 30 days. She wasn’t allowed to speak to the King in fact, unless she was called.
According to the ancient historian Josephus, the King had made a law that when he sat upon his throne, none of his people should approach him unless they were called. Men with axes in their hands stood around his throne in order to punish any that approached him without being called.
So Esther’s going through this trial, she’s already put up with so much, and now Mordecai is asking her to risk her life for the lives of her people. It’s at that point that we see how none of this is about Esther—she’s simply an instrument in the hand of a mighty God who orchestrating a much bigger plan. She has the opportunity to be used by God, which is never an easy choice, but it’s always the right one to take.
Questions and Answers…
How did the Jews react to the news?
There was great mourning. They were fasting and weeping and wailing, and many including Mordecai put on sackcloth and ashes.
The ashes symbolized inward destruction, torment, and anguish.
Sackcloth is a burlap type of fabric like a potato sack made of goat’s hair.
In the same way that fasting makes us uncomfortable, sackcloth was uncomfortable and itchy to wear. It was worn as a sign of mourning, and a symbol of humility to God. John the Baptist wore camel’s hair which would have had a similar texture, and as we read in Isaiah 20:2, Isaiah wore sackcloth as well.
Who was Hatach/Hathak?
One of the King’s chamberlains who was appointed to Esther. He was also her messenger.
What instructions did Mordecai send to Esther?
Mordecai sent her a copy of the decree that was sent out to destroy the Jews. He also told Hatach about the money that Haman promised to pay the king’s treasuries for the Jews. He instructed Esther to go to the King, and make an appeal on behalf of the Jews.
What was Esther’s initial response to Mordecai’s request?
That anyone who goes in to see the King, who is not called by the King would be put to death unless he held out the golden scepter to them.
She hadn’t been called for 30 days. And so we see that they didn’t have the kind of husband/wife relationship one might have expected them to have. Even the Queen herself could be put to death if the King wasn’t in a favorable mood that day, and so this request must have terrified Esther.
What was Mordecai’s second message to Esther?
The famous verse, “and who knoweth whether thou art come to the kingdom for such a time as this?”
What Mordecai was saying here reflected his faith. He said that whether she chose to help them or not, deliverance would come to the Jews, but that she would be destroyed. This is an example of how God’s name wasn’t mentioned in the book of Esther but was definitely implied.
Essentially he’s asking, Could it be that you were placed in the kingdom, for this very purpose?
What was Esther’s final reply?
She instructed him to gather the Jews in Shushan and to fast both food and water for three days.
Fasting is an exercise of self control. It’s a method of training our mind to be fully reliant on God, and a way of teaching our body to be subject to the Spirit of God.
What can verse 14 teach us about the providence of God and how He uses people for His glory?
This got me thinking about trials in general and how we often think that the purpose of our trial is to personally serve us in some way. “Perhaps we don’t know what it is,” we think, “and maybe some day we’ll find out…” but could it be that the trials we face are part of a much bigger plan? Could our trials be an opportunity to serve God as He orchestrates His plan of salvation? As much as they pain me, I like to think that they are.
My thoughts on this chapter…
As I got to reading this chapter, I wondered why Esther delayed her request not just once, but twice. Was she afraid? Was this part of her plan all along? Was she waiting for the right moment? Whatever the reason, I finally came to the realization that it had nothing to do with Esther’s timing—it was all about God’s.
If He doesn’t want us to proceed, He’ll stop us until the timing is right. God doesn’t allow us to move until every detail of His plan is in place. Sometimes we wonder why we’re stuck in a situation with no end in sight. God closes a door, and certainly He’ll open another, but not until the timing is right.
As we’ll see in the next chapter, God wasn’t finished with Haman quite yet, nor was He finished with Mordecai. There was more to the story—much more—that God wanted in place before Haman fully imploded and met his demise.
Questions and Answers…
What was the King’s response when he saw Esther enter the inner court?
She obtained favor in his sight. He held out the golden scepter to Esther, which was a symbol that she would live.
What was Esther’s first request of the king?
That the King and Haman would attend her banquet that day.
What did the king offer Esther at the banquet?
He asked what her request was, and offered her up to half of the kingdom.
What was her request that first night?
She asked that the King and Haman attend a second banquet that she would host the next evening.
In this chapter, we see that Haman had a false sense of security. What was he excited about?
He was excited that he had not only been promoted by the King, but that the Queen had invited him to attend these banquets with the King.
What was the one thing that brought down Haman’s spirit?
At this point, Haman was at the top of the world. He had a position of authority, he had connections with the King and the Queen, and he had riches. He was proud of the fact that he was the only man invited to the banquet other than the King himself. His pride however was a thorn in his flesh. He couldn’t enjoy what he had as long as Mordecai refused to bow down to him.
What did his wife and friends advise Haman to do about Mordecai?
They suggested that Haman impale Mordecai on pole that was 50 cubits high.
How tall were the gallows to be? What might that compare to?
55 cubits is equal 75 feet. The National Building Museum’s Corinthian Columns are among the largest in the world 75ft each. They are enormous in size.
What does this chapter teach us about our hunger and thirst for this world? Where can be go to be quenched?
Haman had everything a man could want, but still he wanted more. As long as we’re chasing the things of this world, like Haman we’ll never be completely satisfied. There will always be something just out of our reach.
The peace of God is the only thing that will truly satisfy man’s hunger. When we have God we have enough.
Blessed are they who do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled. – Matthew 5:6
But whosoever drinks of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life. – John 4:14
My thoughts on this chapter…
We see Haman and his family start to change in this chapter as they lose faith in themselves. They know the reputation of the Jews and the powerful God that they serve. They recognize that Haman is up against a much bigger force than himself.
If non believers can see this, why can’t we? We serve a God Who, as the Bible says, has the King’s heart in His hand, “as the rivers of water: he turneth it whithersoever he will.” – Proverbs 21:1.
Every detail of our lives from the steps that we’ve taken to the next step we take has been orchestrated by God. The One Who we serve is greater than anything we’ll ever come up against.
Proverbs 16 is a good chapter to read as we focus on providence and pride. We read how God has made every thing for a purpose, and how he directs the lives of those who worship Him.
Faith is a matter of trust, but it also calls us to patiently wait. Sometimes it’s a day and other times it’s a lifetime of hoping, and trusting, and praying… but one thing we can always be sure of is that God is at work.
Questions and Answers…
What did the king discover in The Book of Chronicles?
That Mordecai had saved the King’s life when two of his chamberlains planned to kill him.
What some might call coincidence, is clearly the providence of God throughout the book of Esther. List a few of the events that were clearly orchestrated by God in this story?
That Esther was put in that place at that time.
That the King couldn’t sleep that night and called for the book of Chronicles.
That Mordecai just happened to overhear the chamberlain’s plans to murder the King.
That Esther delayed her request twice.
That Haman’s own pride is being used against him.
Haman went to the palace in hopes of planning Mordecai’s destruction, but instead he was planning a ceremony to honor the man he hated the most.
How was Haman’s own pride used against him?
Haman was so filled with pride that he assumed the King wanted to honor him. And so he came up with this elaborate plan to not only be honored by the King, but to be honored in public so that we would also gain respect in the kingdom and be worshipped by everyone.
His pride took a heavy plunge when Haman discovered that this honor he assumed would be his, was given instead to his worst enemy, Mordecai, the Jew.
What does Proverbs 16 teach us about pride?
That pride is destructive. “Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.” Proverbs 16:18
What did the King instruct Haman to do?
“Make haste, and take the apparel and the horse, as thou hast said, and do even so to Mordecai the Jew, that sitteth at the king’s gate: let nothing fail of all that thou hast spoken.”
What attitude change do we find in both Haman and that of his family and friends?
Mordecai could have been puffed up by this honor, lingering with the people, basking in the light of attention… but the Bible tells us that he went back to the King’s gate.
Meanwhile, Haman was devastated and rushed home. We’re told that he hid his face. This could be a token of his shame, but my guess would be that he didn’t want anyone to recognize his shame and disappointment. That would be a sign of weakness. He wanted to conceal his pain, not expose it.
We see his family start to change in this chapter as they lose faith in Haman. They know the reputation of the Jews and the powerful God that they serve. They recognize that Haman is up against a much bigger force than himself.
What can the providence of God teach us about overcoming the trials we face?
That the God we serve is bigger than the trials we face. That He’s in control whether we see it or not, and that all things are subject to His authority.
“What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us? He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?” – Romans 8:31-32
FREE Coloring Page
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Esther: In-Depth Bible Study Journal – Now Available
WHY READERS ARE BUYING IT:
“Not only is this a companion study to the Bible but it’s a beautiful coloring book too. Lots of little tidbits about the book of Esther and the customs of the time are sprinkled throughout the book. The journal asks many questions to get you thinking and leaves plenty of room to write out your answers.” – Donna M. Trull (Amazon Review)