Notes on Esther
1:1-2:18 - This is a very human story. It is the story of a man - Ahasuerus - and two women - Vashti and Esther. It is the ending of one love and the beginning of a new love (1:19; 2:17). It is also a very important part of the Divine Story. God is at work here. This story teaches us about God’s love for His people. It teaches us that ‘all things work together for the good of those who love God’ (Romans 8:28). It was no accident that Esther was chosen to become the Queen of Persia. God had chosen her for a very special purpose. She was sent there by the Lord. Esther was one of God’s people (2:5-7). She was to serve God’s purpose. She would play an important part in bringing the blessing of God to the people of God. What part will you play in bringing His blessing to others?
2:19-4:17 - ‘Haman sought to destroy all the Jews’ (3:6). This is the work of the devil. He ‘comes only to steal and kill and destroy’ (John 10:10). To oppose such determined enemies of the Lord is never easy. Esther knew this. She was ready to put her life on the line: ‘If I perish, I perish’ (4:16). She knew that this was not a time for remaining silent. She must speak up for the Lord’s people. She was to serve God’s purpose - the deliverance of His people from death at the hands of His enemies (4:14). Esther was prepared to suffer death for the sake of God’s people. Jesus did suffer death for us. Jesus tells us why He came to this world: ‘I have come that they may have life...’. He tells us why He died: ‘I lay down my life for My sheep...I give them eternal life’ (John 10:10,15,27-28).
5:1-6:14 - Haman wanted ‘to have Mordecai hanged’ (5:14). Herod wanted to have Jesus killed (Matthew 2:16-18). Neither Haman nor Herod were successful in their evil plotting (6:13; Matthew 2:19-21). Even when Jesus Christ was ‘crucified at the hands of wicked men’, this was not a victory for the devil. God was in control of the whole situation. Following the death of Jesus, there was the mighty triumph of His resurrection from the dead: ‘God raised Him from the dead’. Christ’s enemies thought that they had triumphed over Him. They were wrong! They could never succeed - ‘It was impossible for death to keep its hold on Him’ (Acts 2:23-24)! Mordecai was honoured by the king (6:10-11). Jesus has been honoured by God - He is ‘both Lord and Christ’ (Acts 2:36).
7:1-8:17 - Esther spoke up for God’s people - ‘spare my people’ (7:3). She spoke out against the enemy of God’s people - ‘A foe and enemy! This wicked Haman!’ (7:6). The tables were turned on the enemy of the Lord’s people - ‘they hanged Haman on the gallows he had prepared for Mordecai’ (7:10). He was replaced by the Lord’s servant - ‘the king took off the signet ring, which he had taken from Haman, and gave it to Mordecai’ (8:2). Instead of the gallows, Mordecai received ‘royal robes of blue and white, with a great golden crown and a purple robe of fine linen’ (8:15)! For God’s people, this was ‘a time of happiness and joy, gladness and honour’ (8:16). Let’s look beyond Mordecai to Christ. Rejoice! He was crucified for us. He is now exalted to the highest place (Philippians 2:8-9).
9:1-10:3 - Among God’s people, there was much ‘feasting and joy’. They gave thanks to the Lord - ‘their sorrow was turned into joy and their mourning into a day of celebration’ (9:17-22). They gave thanks to God for Mordecai - ‘he sought the welfare of his people, he worked for the good of his people’. They rejoiced because of ‘the greatness and high honour of Mordecai, to which the king had raised him’ (10:2-3). We have even more to celebrate. We gather at the Lord’s Table. We celebrate the Lord’s Supper. We rejoice in Jesus Christ our Saviour. He ‘gave His life as a ransom for many’. His body was broken for us. His blood was shed for us. ‘Redeemed with His precious blood’, we rejoice in Christ - ‘crucified’ and ‘risen’ for us (Mark 10:45; 14:22-24; 1 Peter 1:18-19).