Thursday, January 14, 2010

The Book of Esther

Esther 1:1-9
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:)  That in those days, when the king Ahasuerus sat on the throne of his kingdom, which was in Shushan the palace,  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: When he shewed the riches of his glorious kingdom and the honour of his excellent majesty many days, even an hundred and fourscore days.

And when these days were expired, the king made a feast unto all the people that were present in Shushan the palace, both unto great and small, seven days, in the court of the garden of the king's palace;  Where were white, green, and blue, hangings, fastened with cords of fine linen and purple to silver rings and pillars of marble: the beds were of gold and silver, upon a pavement of red, and blue, and white, and black, marble.b, c  And they gave them drink in vessels of gold, (the vessels being diverse one from another,) and royal wine in abundance, according to the state of the king.  And the drinking was according to the law; none did compel: for so the king had appointed to all the officers of his house, that they should do according to every man's pleasure.  Also Vashti the queen made a feast for the women in the royal house which belonged to king Ahasuerus.

The Royal Banquet
Esther lived during the Persian period of world history from 483 to 473 B.C.  The name Ahasuerus is the Hebrew name given this king, his Persian name was “Khshayarsha” and “Xerxes” represents his Greek name. The Persian King is referenced 175 times or more in the book of Esther but the name of God, the mention of God’s Law or any prayer worshiping Him is never referred to. This could raise some question to why was God’s apparent absence so evident in the book of Esther. We know that God’s sovereignty prevailed in saving the Jews and if He desired to be mentioned in the writing of this book, He could have moved the author to do so.  God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good? Numbers 23:19
Shushan the palace or Susa was the winter residence of the king of Persia which was a fortified palace or citadel built above the city for protection. In the third year of his reign, King Ahasuerus, gave a banquet for all his princes and attendants, the army officers of Persia and Media, and the nobles and princes of the provinces surrounding him. The main theme of this banquet was to display the great riches and glory of his majesty and splendor to all his guests. Such hangings of fine linen were arrayed against marble columns, and couches of gold and silver on a mosaic pavement of marble, mother-of-pearl, and precious stones.
Beautiful golden goblets differing one from the another with royal wine in abundance was provided for all attending this great banquet. The tradition of the king in drinking has been stated that every time the king lifted his vessel, all in his presence would be required to lift their glass and drink with the king; but, there was given different instructions at this time that all should do according to every man’s pleasure. They were given the freedom to drink as much or as little as they pleased according to the word of the king.
Thoughts: Though God is not mentioned in the book of Esther, His hand is seen in the saving of the Jews. God’s character and attributes are revealed in His eternal purpose and plan for Israel whether or not His name is ever written down. May we never forget that God, through the merits of His own reputation and integrity, moves in His providential care for the eternal benefit of His people. Psalms 121:4 Behold, he that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep. 
Great riches were displayed in Shushan the palace in the presence of the people of Persia and outlining provinces as an attempt to bring glory and majesty to King Ahasuerus; but, there is only one King that deserves such glory and majesty, only one King worthy of praise and worship, only one King entitled to honor, reverence, and exaltation, He is the KING, LORD GOD ALMIGHTY.

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