Esther Accuses Haman. Gustave Doré – Doré’s English Bible. 1865. Image source.

by Brian Shilhavy

Hathach went out to Mordecai in the open square of the city in front of the king’s gate, and Mordecai told him all that had happened to him, and the exact sum of money that Haman had promised to pay into the king’s treasuries for the destruction of the Jews. Mordecai also gave him a copy of the written decree issued in Susa for their destruction, that he might show it to Esther and explain it to her and command her to go to the king to beg his favor and plead with him on behalf of her people. And Hathach went and told Esther what Mordecai had said.

Then Esther spoke to Hathach and commanded him to go to Mordecai and say, “All the king’s servants and the people of the king’s provinces know that if any man or woman goes to the king inside the inner court without being called, there is but one law–to be put to death, except the one to whom the king holds out the golden scepter so that he may live. But as for me, I have not been called to come in to the king these thirty days.” And they told Mordecai what Esther had said.

Then Mordecai told them to reply to Esther, “Do not think to yourself that in the king’s palace you will escape any more than all the other Jews. For if you keep silent at this time, relief and deliverance will rise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?”

Then Esther told them to reply to Mordecai, “Go, gather all the Jews to be found in Susa, and hold a fast on my behalf, and do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my young women will also fast as you do. Then I will go to the king, though it is against the law, and if I perish, I perish.” Mordecai then went away and did everything as Esther had ordered him. (Esther 4:6-17)

Faith That Changed the World

Much like the stories of Daniel and his three friends, the story of Mordecai and Esther show the incredible testimonies of two minority Jews in a foreign country who trusted in God and his purpose for their lives. The legacy of Daniel and the fruit of his faith and obedience to God culminated during the first year reign of King Cyrus, the Persian king, before Mordecai and Esther came on the scene:

In the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, that the word of the LORD by the mouth of Jeremiah might be fulfilled, the LORD stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, so that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom and also put it in writing: “Thus says Cyrus king of Persia: The LORD, the God of heaven, has given me all the kingdoms of the earth, and he has charged me to build him a house at Jerusalem, which is in Judah. (Ezra 1:1-2)

Cyrus, who refers to God by using the Hebrew name and not the Persian name, issued a decree to allow the Jews to go back to Jerusalem and rebuild the temple.

So here we have the leader of “all the kingdoms of the earth” giving credit to God and wanting to worship him!

Daniel’s faith and the faith of other Jews changed the world, and God’s truth was proclaimed everywhere.

So God’s purpose in history was accomplished without a temple in Jerusalem, and without his chosen people even living in the promised land. The Abrahamic covenant that Abraham’s seed would be a blessing to all the nations on earth (not just the Jews), was partially fulfilled during this captivity period, just as it was partially fulfilled during Solomon’s reign.

Jesus, The Ultimate Fulfillment of Prophecy

The ultimate fulfillment of the Abrahamic covenant, and also the fulfillment of the Davidic covenant that his family would always have someone sitting on the throne of the kingdom, was completely fulfilled through Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who was born to the virgin Mary in the line of David.

It is interesting to note that at the time of the birth of Jesus, that the only Jews who came to worship him as their king and Messiah were some lowly shepherds tending their flocks in the field, who saw a vision of angels from heaven announce his birth.


James Tissot – The Magi Journeying (Les rois mages en voyage) – Brooklyn Museum

But there were also some royal officials from outside Israel, Magi from the “east”, the area that used to be part of the Persian empire, that came to worship him and give very rich gifts. They had determined through the stars that this king of the Jews, the Messiah, was to be born at that time.

Who were these Magi, and how could they have this kind of knowledge? We don’t have much written text on them available, but it is certainly reasonable to think that they were of Jewish descent from the days of the captivity when Daniel and the others had tremendous influence over the culture, and were schooled in the ways of the Chaldeans and later the Medes and Persians, which included astrology. They were also scholars of the Old Testament writings.

So the legacy of Daniel’s obedience, of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, of Mordecai and Esther, and probably many others living in captivity in the ancient land of Persia like Nehemiah and Ezra, bore fruit even hundreds of years later as they recognized the signs and times of the birth of Jesus the Messiah even more than the Jews living in Israel did! The gifts of the Magi from Persia allowed Mary and Joseph to leave Israel and move to Egypt for a period of time as King Herod tried to find Jesus and kill him.

God’s purposes in history were accomplished by people that he created and who understood their purpose in the time in which they lived, and lived a life of simple obedience and faith to their Creator. Most of them could not possibly have foreseen how their simple acts of obedience and faith in their daily lives could be used by God to change the world.

The World Will Oppose You

But as we saw in a previous devotional (When the World is Against You), the kingdom of darkness will always strike back. We see during the time of Mordecai and Esther, that the Jews had plenty of enemies throughout the Persian kingdom during the days of King Ahasuerus. The book of Esther starts out with Mordecai apparently having some kind of government position under the king, but not the highest one. A man by the name of Haman takes on the highest ranking, and he was an enemy of the Jews.

The king had apparently commanded that people bow down and worship Haman, but Mordecai refuses to do so because of his faith as a Jew, and his desire to worship no one except God alone.

So much like what we saw in the book of Daniel, this enemy of the Jews, while apparently finding no fault in Mordecai in terms of his service, attacks the Jews and their faith by getting the king to issue a decree to destroy all the Jews throughout the Persian Empire. The king was tricked into this, as he apparently did not know that the people that supposedly constituted a threat to his kingdom, according to Haman, were Jews.

It just so happened that King Ahasuerus had recently taken a new wife as queen: Esther. Esther was the cousin of Mordecai, and as an orphan was brought up by him. He had instructed her in the beginning not to reveal her ethnic identity to the king. She continued to be obedient to Mordecai, even after she became queen. Therefore the king himself was married to a Jew, and not even Haman knew this.

For Such a Time as This

So when the decree to destroy the Jews goes out, Mordecai tells Esther that it is time to tell the king she is a Jew, and plead for their deliverance from Haman. Esther objects at first, stating that the law did not allow her to approach the king on her own initiative, and that to do so was to risk death. But Mordecai responds:

Do not think to yourself that in the king’s palace you will escape any more than all the other Jews. For if you keep silent at this time, relief and deliverance will rise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?

Esther responds by putting her life on the line in an attempt to save the Jews. She did not regard her position and relationship to the king as more important than obeying God and submitting to the request of Mordecai.

As a result, the most powerful woman in the world at that time accomplished a great victory for God’s people through her faith and obedience. She recognized her role in life, and the purpose for which God created her, and she did not use her position of power for personal gain, but instead to serve the Kingdom of God and save her people. She understood that she was born for “such a time as this.”

So the king and Haman went to dine with Queen Esther, and as they were drinking wine on that second day, the king again asked, “Queen Esther, what is your petition? It will be given you. What is your request? Even up to half the kingdom, it will be granted.”

Then Queen Esther answered, “If I have found favor with you, O king, and if it pleases your majesty, grant me my life—this is my petition. And spare my people—this is my request. For I and my people have been sold for destruction and slaughter and annihilation. If we had merely been sold as male and female slaves, I would have kept quiet, because no such distress would justify disturbing the king.”

King Xerxes asked Queen Esther, “Who is he? Where is the man who has dared to do such a thing?”

Esther said, “The adversary and enemy is this vile Haman.”

Then Haman was terrified before the king and queen. The king got up in a rage, left his wine and went out into the palace garden.

But Haman, realizing that the king had already decided his fate, stayed behind to beg Queen Esther for his life.

Just as the king returned from the palace garden to the banquet hall, Haman was falling on the couch where Esther was reclining. The king exclaimed, “Will he even molest the queen while she is with me in the house?”

As soon as the word left the king’s mouth, they covered Haman’s face. Then Harbona, one of the eunuchs attending the king, said, “A gallows seventy-five feet high stands by Haman’s house. He had it made for Mordecai, who spoke up to help the king.” The king said, “Hang him on it!” (Esther 7:1-9)

What were you born for during this current day and age that we live in?

Have you considered what God’s plan is for your life in “such a time as this?” Esther apparently had no choice when she was chosen to become part of the king’s harem, but she humbly submitted to those in authority over her, and ended up becoming the most powerful woman in the world. Once she attained that status, she did not use it for personal gain, but even risked her life to obey God as she humbled herself before the cousin that brought her up, who was serving in a position in the government that was below hers.

Are you sacrificing your own desires and aspirations today for the sake of serving God and serving others, by putting the needs of others ahead of your own needs, even to the point of being willing to give up everything, even your own life? Esther did, and she changed the world.

Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. (Philippians 2:3-8)

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