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Esther 4

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Mordecai Persuades Esther To Help (ch. 4:1 - 17)  


Verses 1 and 2 show us the reaction of Mordecai to the king's decree to kill all of the Jews.  He ripped his clothes.  He put on sackcloth and ashes and demonstrated in the streets.  I'm sure he was upset and angered by the decree, but we do need to know that this kind of behaviour was common place back then.  He did this to demonstrate a point.  His behaviour was meant to show his disgust to everyone who passed him by, or, who he passed by.  It was a cultural way to protest something in these days.


Verse 3 tells us that it wasn't just Mordecai who ripped his clothes and wore sackcloth and ashes.  Every Jew in every province did the same.  They also fasted, prayed, wept, and wailed.  What this shows is serious petitions to the Lord for deliverance from the hand of their enemies.  Was the crying, the weeping, and the wailing, just put on?  Was it like ripping your clothes and wearing sackcloth and ashes?  Was it just a custom?  Well, maybe for some and maybe to a degree, but you have to remember that their very lives, their very race, was on the verge of distinction.  These people were probably in great fear which would account for their behaviour.


We should realize that throughout the history of the Jews, right from the days of Abraham, and probably even before Abraham and the Jews, satan has been attempting to destroy Israelis.  In Old Testament time it would have  to destroy the lineage that Jesus was born from so Jesus would not be born.  Now, it would be to destroy the Jews because the Jews are central to the return of Jesus to earth.  Here we see just one of those times where satan attempts to destroy God's people.


In verses 4 and 5 Esther hears what Mordecai is doing.  She sends him clothes to wear.  He refuses to wear them. She gets one of the king's servants to talk with Mordecai to see what is upsetting him so much.  She obviously doesn't know about the king's decree. 


You might wonder why Esther might not have heard about the decree to kill the Jews.  We need to understand that although she is the queen, she would not be Xerxes only wife.  She might not actually get to see the king too often, and, she might well be isolated from the general public.  We know that she did not see Mordecai protesting outside the king's gate.  She only heard of it.  She didn't go out to investigate for herself.  A servant went out.  That's what servants are for.  So, for these reasons, she didn't know of the decree to kill her people.


In verses 6 through 8 Mordecai explains everything to this servant so he could pass it on to Esther.  He told him about the payment that was to be made by Haman to the king's treasury once the Jews were killed.  He gave the servant a copy of the decree so Esther could read it for herself.  This clearly shows that Esther knew nothing about the decree, and again, for the reasons I mentioned above.


In verse 11 we note that Esther had not seen the king for thirty days.  This tells you, that even though she was the queen and a wife, she didn't get to see her husband the king all that much.  Xerxes was known to actually have 360 wives, a number of concubines, and a number of virgin girls at his disposal.


From verses 9 through 12 we see that no one, not even the queen could just walk in and see the king.  The king had to invite the person in to see him.  If someone came unexpectedly, he or she would be killed, unless the king so decided not to kill, what he would call, and intruder.  This was the king's law of the land, and Persian laws could not be broken.


In verses 12 to 14 Mordecai responds to Esther through the servant.  He tells Esther that just because she lives in the king's palace, doesn't mean her life will be spared.  She and her family will sooner or later be found out to be Jews, and when that happens, her and her family will be killed. 


Mordecai tells Esther that if she doesn't act, the deliverance and relief will come from another place for the Jews.  This is what I believe Mordecai is saying here.  All the known Jews will be killed, but as God promised, somewhere and someplace, they will be resurrected, not necessarily in their time period.  This will eventually be the case at the end of this age.


In verse 14 Mordecai really puts the pressure on Esther.  The pressure is what I believe is the will of the Lord.  He tells Esther that for this very reason, the reason why she is now queen of Persia, is to free the Jews, her people, from the hands of their enemies.  I believe what Mordecai is saying here is a real Biblical truth.  God puts those in high places, in places of authority, for specific purposes.  He uses these people to get His will accomplished.  These people can be righteous or unrighteous.  Jesus will use the anti-Christ at the end of this age to accomplish His purpose to bring Israelis down to their knees in repentance. 


Esther understood what Mordecai said.  The chapter ends by her telling Mordecai to gather all the Jews in the city and fast and pray for three days and nights.  She would do the same.  Then, she would approach the king.  This is what she then says.  "If I perish, I perish". 


I'm sure Esther weighed this thoroughly.  She was willing to lose her life in the process of attempting to free her people.  Such courage and conviction is what all Christians need today, especially today when our society is fast becoming less Christian influenced.  Our society is actually more anti-Christian than Christian.  We need the faith of Esther as we approach the end of this age. 



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