Monday, March 23, 2009

Esther Intro

Esther 1:1 "Now it came to pass in the days of Ahasuerus, (this is Ahasuerus which reigned, from India even unto Ethiopia, over an hundred and seven and twenty provinces:) v2 That in those days, when the king Ahasuerus sat on the throne of his kingdom, which was in Shushan the palace, v3 In the third year of his reign, he made a feast unto all his princes and his servants, the power of Persia and Media, the nobles and princes of the provinces, being before him: v4 When he showed the riches of his glorious kingdom and the honor of his excellent majesty many days, even an hundred and fourscore days."

Shushan was known to the greeks as Susa, a chief city of Persia. It was the winter palace of the kings.
Ahasuerus(king): king of Persia 529-521 between Cyrus and Darius. I think this is the same as Artaxerxes (great king) because the events in Jerusalem correspond. i.e. the rebuilding of the temple was interrupted. However CI Scofield says that Artaxerxes was the secular Cambyses of 529-521 and Ahasuerus of Esther's time was Xerxes of secular history 485 BC.

Although the Bible uses the title, the full name would be Ahasuerus Cambyses and Artaxerxes Xerxes according to Scofield. For our purposes and the purposes of the Jews under their rule it is enough to know that they were in charge as far as the world was concerned.

Ahasuerus had a wife named Vashti who was queen with him. The king threw a party and paraded his riches before his guest for a 180 days. Obviously, he had a lot of riches. At the end of this parade of riches, the king wanted to show off his wife, a beautiful women, as if she were one of his treasures. I don't know how the king meant this, I expect it was an honor he wished to bestow on her. Vashti was having a party of her own with the wives that came and did not show up when the king ordered it. She was dethroned as a result. That is where Esther comes into the picture. The king got lonesome.

The king had an advisor named Haman who rises to the kings most trusted advisor.

The Jews had a man who refused to go along with everything Haman insisted on and so incurred the wrath of Haman. Mordecai was the Jews name and he would not bow to Haman.

Mordecai was faithful to the king though and discovered a plot to kill the king and reported it.

So that is how the stage is set for this beautiful book of the Bible. Esther had to take the station of wife of the king and her position in the kingdom was used to save the lives of the Jews, albeit at the risk of her own life. Esther was a young virgin who was taken from the kingdom to be the wife of the king after Vashti was banished.

v10 "On the seventh day, when the heart of the king was merry with wine, he comanded...the seven chamberlains ...v11 to bring Vashti the queen before the king with the crown royal, to show the people and the princes her beauty; for she was fair to look on. v12 But the queen Vashti refused to come at the king's commandment..."

To get a picture of how the government was set up we can go to Daniel 6:1-3 if Darius was following the example of Ahasuerus: "It pleased Darius to set over the kingdom an hundred and twenty princes, which should be over the whole kingdom; And over these three presidents; of whom Daniel was first; that the princes might give accounts unto them, and the king should have no damage. Then this Daniel was preferred above the presidents and princes, because an excellent spirit was in hi; and the king thought to set him over the whole realm." So there are some thoughts to add to our study of Esther.

Vashti refuses to obey king Ahasuerus and Esther comes on the scene.


No comments: