26. Esther, Queen of Persia

King Cyrus permits exiled Jews to return. The remaining choose to remain in exile. It is God’s hand upon these Jews under the Persian rule that is described in this story.

Presentation Overview

  • Read Book of Esther
  • Background
  • Timeline
  • The King, Queen and Empire
  • On God’s watch
  • Esther, the vessel God used
  • God behind the scenes
  • The players today
  • Discussion
  • Lessons Learned

Background – Jews captured

  • After the fall of the kings, God hands His people over to the enemies
  • Israel (northern kingdom) is captured by Assyria in 722 BC;
  • Judah captured by Babylon in 597 BC.

Background - The Persian Empire

The then most powerful empire controlling a large part of the world.

Background - Prophecy on Cyrus

Isaiah probably  prophesied over 200 yrs. Definitely before King Cyrus was born

  • 27″It is I who says to the depth of the sea, ‘Be dried up!’ And I will make your rivers dry.
  • 28″It is I who says of Cyrus, ‘He is My shepherd! And he will perform all My desire.’ And he declares of Jerusalem, She will be built,’ And of the temple, Your foundation will be laid.’“ Isaiah 44:27,28-

Background

  • The Jews were scattered.
  • King Cyrus permits them to return.
  • One group returns to Jerusalem under Zerubabbel.
  • God’s providence is demonstrated

Meaning of Names

  • Hadassah, Esther’s Jewish name, means ‘myrtle’, a tree whose leaves only release their fragrance when crushed.
  • Esther means ‘hidden’: like her Jewish identity.
  • Ahasuerus means ‘ruler of heroes’;
  • Mordecai means warrior
  • Vashti means the beloved one, beautiful, best

The Jews Return [4]

1) Zerubbabel led the first wave of Jewish exiles to return in 536 B.C. (Ezra 1-6)

  • In 535 B.C. the construction of the temple began.
  • In Feb 18, 516 B.C. the temple was completed and dedicated.
  • Big gap of 57 years – Esther’s time

The Jews Return [4]

2) Ezra led the second in 455 B.C. (Ezra 7-10)

  • Ezra left with about 1500 men and their families in mid-March 455 B.C.
  • In August of 455 B.C., the little group arrives safely in Jerusalem.

3) Nehemiah led the third in 445 B.C. (Neh 1-3)

Timeline of Events in Esther [2]

483 BC

Queen Vashti Deposed

Esther 1

478 BC

Esther Becomes Queen

Esther 2

478 BC

Mordecai Thwarts a Conspiracy

Esther 2:21

474 BC

Haman Seeks Revenge on the Jews

Esther 3

473 BC

Mordecai Informs Esther of Haman’s Plot

Esther 4

473 BC

Esther Prepares a Banquet

Esther 5

473 BC

The King Honors Mordecai

Esther 6

473 BC

Haman Is Hanged

Esther 7

473 BC

Xerxes’ Edict on Behalf of Esther and Jews

Esther 8

472 BC

Purim Instituted

Esther 9

472 BC

Xerxes’ Tribute to Mordecai

Esther 10

The King

King Ahaseurus traditionally identified with Xerxes I of Persia.  Xerxes I of Persia reigned from 486 BC when he was 36 until he was assassinated in 465 BC. Darius died in 485 BC   [1]

On God’s Watch

For this is what the LORD Almighty says: “After the Glorious One has sent me against the nations that have plundered you–for whoever touches you touches the apple of his eye”—Zechariah 2:8

The king’s heart is in the hand of the LORD, like the rivers of water; he turneth it withersoever he will. (Proverbs 21:l)

Satan’s Destructive Designs

  • Satan strategy to destroy God’s people
  • Ever since the kingdom was divided
  • culminating in the 1945 holocaust where 6 million Jews were killed.

Soon after was the birth of Israel in 1948 – in one day

Esther – the Vessel God used

Esther demonstrated intelligence, beauty and virtue by her:

  • Unquestioning obedience
  • Unshakeable faith
  • Unwavering determination

Unquestioning Obedience

Obeyed Hegai

15 When the turn came for Esther to go to the king, she asked for nothing other than what Hegai, the king’s eunuch who was in charge of the harem, suggested. And Esther won the favor of everyone who saw her. Esther 2

Obeyed Mordecai

20 But Esther had kept secret her family background and nationality just as Mordecai had told her to do, for she continued to follow Mordecai’s instructions as she had done when he was bringing her up. Esther 2

Disobeyed Kings orders

for any man or woman who approaches the king in the inner court without being summoned the king has but one law: that they be put to death unless the king extends the gold scepter to them and spares their lives.Esther 4:11

I will go to the king, even though it is against the law. And if I perish, I perish.” 4:16

Unshakeable Faith and Courage

Unwavering Determination

Esther saw the defense through to the end

12 The king said to Queen Esther, “The Jews have killed and destroyed five hundred men and the ten sons of Haman in the citadel of Susa. What have they done in the rest of the king’s provinces? Now what is your petition? It will be given you. What is your request? It will also be granted.”

13 “If it pleases the king,” Esther answered, “give the Jews in Susa permission to carry out this day’s edict tomorrow also, and let Haman’s ten sons be impaled on poles.” Esther 9

God Behind the Scenes

Haman’s advisers and his wife Zeresh said to him, “Since Mordecai, before whom your downfall has started, is of Jewish origin, you cannot stand against him—you will surely come to ruin!” Esther 6:13,14

Nations Feared God’s Hand

Haman’s advisers and his wife Zeresh said to him, “Since Mordecai, before whom your downfall has started, is of Jewish origin, you cannot stand against him—you will surely come to ruin!” Esther 6:13,14

Mordecai warns Esther of God’s Hand

12 When Esther’s words were reported to Mordecai, 13 he sent back this answer: “Do not think that because you are in the king’s house you alone of all the Jews will escape.14 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

Obama Presented with Book of Esther

 by Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu as “background reading” on Iran.

 On Purim 2012 (eve of Wed, Mar 7- eve of Thur, Mar 8)

Israel’s Right for Self Defence 2014

Muslim States Say Israel Has No Right to Self-Defense

Wednesday, September 24, 2014 | Israel Today Staff

The representative from Pakistan insisted that it was “morally abhorrent” and “legally incorrect” to label Israel’s actions in Gaza this summer as self-defense. The United Arab Emirates agreed, and asserted that as an occupying power, Israel had no right to use military force in self-defense. [3]

 

Discussion

  • Who was the real star of the story. Why?
  • What do we see happening to the Jews through the centuries?
  • What will be the outcome?

Ref. Jeremiah 23:7-8;  Ezekiel 36:24-32 ; Matthew 24:15-22Jeremiah 30:7   Zechariah 12:1013:1,8-9 ; Romans 11:25-32  Acts 3:19-26 ;Revelation 20:1-6 ; Zechariah 14:9-21 

Conclusion

  • God was bringing them back for Christ’s coming.
  • With his rejection, they are under attack till they again receive Christ as a nation – when He comes again.
  • Is Christ our Lord and King?

Lessons Learned

  • Day of destruction becomes day of deliverance
  • God’s care over Jews within and outside his perfect plan
  • When evil rises, God surprises
  • Even in captivity God raised Esther and Mordecai as his leaders to save his people

References

1.amazingbibletimeline.com

2.Biblehub.com

3.Israel Today

4.foundationsforfreedom.net

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