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RESOURCE CENTER AND ARCHIVES

Esther 2:510, 1617, 2123comment (0)

February 1, 2007

By John A. Nixon

Related Scripture: Esther 2:510, 1617, 2123


Explore the Bible
Assistant Professor of Christian Studies, School of Christian Studies, University of Mobile

WHEN LIFE TURNS UPSIDE DOWN
Esther 2:5–10, 16–17, 21–23

No one knows what the future holds, but everyone eventually learns that life is full of radical changes and unexpected events.

Some of these events are positive; others are negative. Most of us resist change and resent the unexpected.

At times, we may find ourselves questioning God’s providence, even His love, particularly when our lives are disrupted by events beyond our control.

The Lord, however, is committed to His people and will act faithfully in relation to those of us who put our trust in Him. Even in the most trying situations, He is always at work for the good of those who love Him.

He wants us to trust Him even in the midst of radical, unexpected change.

Accept Unavoidable Changes (5–7)
Although God is never named in the Book of Esther, His work is evident throughout the story.

The writer describes Mordecai as “a Jewish man … a Benjaminite,” one of the exiles from Jerusalem.

Mordecai’s actions in adopting Esther as his own child after her mother and father died show that he was a man of “pure and undefiled religion before our God and Father” (James 1:27).

We later see his faith expressed as he rallies the Jews in Susa for fasting (and probably prayer) for Esther as she prepares to approach the king (Esther 4:15–17).

We also see his courage when he exposes the assassination plot against the king (Esther
2:19–23).

Finally Mordecai’s refusal to pay honor to Haman the Amalekite may show his zeal for the Lord’s name as he refuses to honor one of the ancient enemies of God’s people.

Thus Mordecai seems to be a man who has put his trust in the Lord, and the Book of Esther suggests that he taught his adopted daughter to do the same.

It seems that Mordecai and Esther are able to accept the unavoidable changes that take place in the story because they have a strong belief that God is in control.

Adjust to New Challenges (8–10)
It is not clear from the text why Mordecai told Esther not to reveal her Jewish heritage.

Whatever the reason may have been, the writer is silent. Rather he describes Esther as a daughter obedient to her father.

Moreover the story as a whole shows Mordecai’s good counsel and Esther’s wisdom in following her adoptive father’s direction.

Esther most likely had no choice in becoming a candidate for queen. It seems that she may have been taken by force.

She, however, adjusted well to this new challenge. Instead of complaining or losing heart, she won the favor of the king’s official and was eventually chosen as queen.

Act with Courage and Integrity (16–17, 21–23)
In verses 16–17, we see Esther’s modesty and humility. When her turn came to go to the king, she only took what Hegai, the king’s eunuch, suggested.

She did not go out of her way to enhance her beauty. The text, however, is clear: she impressed everyone who saw her. In fact, when the king saw her, he immediately knew she was the one. He made her his new queen.

Verses 21–23 focus on Mordecai’s courage and integrity. While he was sitting at the king’s gate, he learned about a plot to assassinate the king.

Acting as a faithful subject of the kingdom, he exposed the plan against the king to Esther.

She warned her husband and together Mordecai and Esther saved the king’s life.

Esther’s and Mordecai’s lives had been turned upside down through the exile, the death of family members and perhaps even a forceful abduction.

They, however, continued to show faithfulness, courage and integrity in their actions.

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