Tag: Esther


How Far to Elephantine?

How Far to Elephantine?

When Mordecai created a new edict allowing the Jews of the Persian empire to defend themselves from their attackers (Esther 8:11-12), he needed to send it throughout the kingdom. In fact, it went to the Jewish communities as well as to all the various governors throughout the empire, “from India to Ethiopia, 127 provinces” (Esth 8:9). Once copies of the new edict were made, how far would it need to be taken, and how long would it take to get it to the farthest reaches of the  empire? After Nebuchadnezzar and the......


Haman's No Good, Very Bad Day

Haman’s No Good, Very Bad Day

Its amazing what a single day can bring. For Haman, his final day began with a sense of anticipation. He was waiting in the outer court of the palace at the crack of dawn to ask the king for permission to kill Mordecai. His plan was to impale Mordecai on a 75′ pole that he had set up in his front yard, and he was anxious to get quick approval. His first setback came with the king’s command to honor Mordecai by parading him around the city square, dressed in the king’s......


Haman's "Gallows"

Haman’s “Gallows”

There are a number of references to hanging in the book of Esther, which has traditionally been paired in English translations with the noun “gallows.” Esther 2:23 – the two conspirators were hung Esther 5:14 – Haman’s wife and friends suggest that he hang Mordecai Esther 7:9 – Haman was hung on the “gallows” he had built for Mordecai Esther 9:13 – Haman’s ten sons were hung However, the “gallows” was not a platform and cross beam as we think of it, for hanging a person by breaking their neck or by......


Esther and the Presumption of Innocence

Esther and the Presumption of Innocence

One of the founding legal principles of United States is the presumption of innocence. We are “innocent until proven guilty” in the eyes of the law. Although many American’s do not realize it, this is a principle that originates in the Bible. Two examples demonstrate this. Deut 17:6 requires that corroborated evidence must be used for a conviction, “on the evidence of two or three witnesses . . . not on the evidence of one witness.” An accusation alone is insufficient to condemn. There must be evidence of the strongest kind (multiple......


Esther's Thirty Days (Esther 4:11)

Esther’s Thirty Days (Esther 4:11)

After discovering that an edict had been issued for the extermination of the Jewish people, Mordecai urged Esther to take action by making an appeal to the king. Esther’s response was that, as everyone knew, going before the king without a summons was very risky. Unless the king extended his golden scepter, any such person would be put to death. Esther then makes a very interesting statement: “I have not been summoned to come before the king for these thirty days.” Although this could be taken as a simple observation, the way......


Esther's Rise as Queen

Esther’s Rise as Queen

There are some interesting deductions that can be made with regard to the date and time of Esther’s being chosen as the new queen of the Persian Empire. Although the timing of these events is not obvious to a casual reader of the book, closer inspection does allow for the creation of a fairly precise timeline. Note the following: Both the Hebrew and Persian calendars were lunar-based, and their New Year began in about March/April in the Julian calendar (the exact time fluctuated from year to year, as the date for Easter......


Hidden In Plain Sight

Hidden In Plain Sight

In the introduction to his commentary on Esther entitled “Inconspicuous Providence”, Bryan R. Gregory points out five literary techniques that show us God in the book of Esther. He titles these techniques, “coincidences, peripeteia, naming, point of view, and allusion,”.  I would like to take a few moments to explore the technique called “peripeteia” as I think it highlights how we can learn more than we think by simply observing closely. What is peripeteia? Quoting Gregory: “In literary terms, peripeteia is the sudden or unexpected reversal of a situation.”  The first of......


Esther & Chronology

Esther & Chronology

A quick read through the book of Esther might leave the impression that all of the events in the book transpired within six months. However, there are three references in the book to specific dates in the reign of King Ahasuerus (Xerxes I). The first banquet took place in the third year of his reign, 483 BC (Est 1:3). Esther became queen in the seventh year of his reign, 478 BC (Est 2:16). Haman hatched his plot to destroy the Jews in the 12th year of Ahasuerus. Because this happened in the......


God Keeps His Promises

God Keeps His Promises

Sunday in our introduction to Esther we saw that our God is a covenant keeping God. He is a God whose word can be trusted and relied upon. One of the examples mentioned was Joseph, who believed God would return Israel to the promised land. His belief was so firm that he forced the sons of Israel to promise to take his bones with them when they left Egypt. “Joseph said to his brothers, “I am about to die, but God will surely take care of you and bring you up from......