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Bible Commentaries

Wells of Living Water Commentary
Esther 2



Verses 17-23

Esther, the Jewish Queen

Esther 2:17-23


"God works in a mysterious way

His wonders to perform."

The eye of God had beheld a growing antagonism against His people, Israel, during the reign of Ahasuerus. It was in order to break this opposition, and to shield His people, that certain things evidently began to take place in Shushan the palace.

1. The king gave a great feast. As we read the Bible record of this feast given to all the princes and servants throughout the Medo-Persian Empire, we obtain a slight glimpse into the riches, and the glories of the kingdom of one of the world's greatest monarchs. The Bible speaks of "the honour of His excellent majesty" which was portrayed during the feast which lasted one hundred and eighty days.

At the conclusion of the feast, when all the people were found in Shushan the palace, there were seven days of rejoicing in the court of the garden of the king's palace. The hangings of the garden were white, green, and blue, 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. The people drank from vessels of gold, every vessel being different. The royal wine flowed in abundance, and every man drank according to his own pleasure.

2. A recalcitrant queen. In the height of the glory of the feast Ahasuerus sent for Vashti, his queen, to come forth wearing the crown royal that he might show the princes and the people her beauty for she was fair to look upon.

Vashti, the queen, refused the king's request, and would not come. Immediately the king was very angry. He called his wise men and asked what should be done to her according to the law. The result was that the queen was dismissed forever from the king's presence, and her royal estate was to be given to her successor. In this deposing of the queen, we see God at work.

3. Preparing the way for Queen Esther. The Lord was moving toward a great consummation. He was about to open the way for Hadassah to become queen under the name of Esther. It was not only for Esther's sake that He did this. He was rather working in behalf of His chosen people, the Jews.

Is it not wonderful to see all down through the ages how God has taken care of His own people, protecting and shielding them from danger? He brought them through many a difficult place. He brought them into rest and peace. Had Israel only obeyed His voice, and followed Him fully, she had never become a vassal nation: she had never known the sorrow and travail which became her lot; she had never been driven from pillar to post and scattered among the nations, even as she is at this present time. The truth is, that the story of the Book of Esther not only gives us a wonderful historical view of the Jews, but it gives a tremendous plan, and a vital testimony to the history of the Jewish nation and its final restoration under Christ at His Coming.

I. MORDECAI, THE JEW (Esther 2:5 )

When the Jews had been taken into captivity and had been carried away from Jerusalem in the days of Jeconiah, king of Judah, among others Nebuchadnezzar brought with him, was Hadassah, that is, Esther. With her he brought also Mordecai, who was the son of Jair, and an uncle to Esther.

1. A captive of honor. This Mordecai was a captive of honor. We read that he sat at the king's gate. We cannot but think of Daniel and his three companions who were brought to Babylon, and who were given honor by Nebuchadnezzar, under the favor of God. Whom God wills, He sets up, and whom He wills, He puts down.

Mordecai was a man of great worth, and also of spiritual integrity.

2. A safeguard to the king. As Mordecai sat at the king's gate he discovered that two of the king's chamberlains were seeking to lay hands upon Ahasuerus, to slay him. Then it was that Mordecai revealed unto Esther, the queen, the strategy against the king's life. The queen in turn told the king thereof in Mordecai's name. The offenders were put to death on a tree, and the record was written in the Book of the Chronicles of Persia.

3. A Jew with courage. Haman was a great man under Ahasuerus. The king advanced him and set him above all the princes. All of the king's servants bowed before Haman, and reverenced him; with the exception of Mordecai who would give homage to no one except to the God of Israel. He would not bow the knee to any man.

Would that we had more men like Mordecai who would not yield any point contrary to the teachings of the Scriptures. Daniel and his companions had the courage to refuse to obey the king's command. We need men who have iron in their blood; young people who are willing to say "No!" We need young men who will suffer for Christ, rather than kneel to Satan.


1. The exaltation of a Jewish maiden. We remember that Esther, whose Hebrew name was Hadassah, was brought over with the captivity. No matter how high her station may have been in Judah, she was now no more than a captive servant to the Persians. Nevertheless she was fair of form, and of a good countenance.

When the order had gone forth from king Ahasuerus that maidens should be brought to the palace under the custody of his appointed servants, Mordecai arranged that Esther should be brought in with the other women of the realm. Esther pleased the custodian, and received many kindnesses from him. He hastened to give her things for her purification; he also gave her most becoming raiment.

Thus it was, that when her turn came to go before the king, she went robed in the raiment which Hegai, the king's chamberlain, prepared for her. Our key verse says, "And the king loved Esther above all the women, and she obtained grace and favour in his sight more than all the virgins; so that he set the royal crown upon her head, and made her queen instead of Vashti."

2. Her attire. We cannot but speak a moment of the robe which Esther wore when she came before the king. It was a robe furnished by the king through his servants.

Our Lord will one day be crowned King of kings, and Lord of lords. In that hour the queen will come before Him. Our exaltation will be greater than that of Queen Esther.

Here is the way Psalms 45:1-17 describes the queen's dress: "Upon thy right hand did stand the queen in gold of Ophir." As Esther pleased the king, so will the queen please her Lord. In Ezekiel we read: "I decked thee also with ornaments, * * Thus wast thou decked with gold and silver; and thy raiment was of fine linen, and silk, and broidered work; * * for it was perfect through My comeliness, which I had put upon thee, saith the Lord God."

With Esther crowned, a great feast was given in her honor. Also, when the bride, the Lamb's wife, is crowned, we read, "Blessed are they which are called unto the Marriage Supper of the Lamb."


1. The promotion of Haman. "After these things did king Ahasuerus promote Haman the son of Hammedatha the Agagite, and advanced him, and set his seat above all the princes that were with him." This Haman was a man of great magnificence as his name suggests. However, he hated the Jews. When he discovered that Mordecai, the Jew, would not bow to him, nor do him reverence, his anger knew no bounds.

Haman was not satisfied to reek his wrath upon Mordecai alone. He thought that his dignity and honor demanded a far greater revenge, therefore, he sought to destroy all the Jews that were in the kingdom.

2. Haman given a free hand. When Haman appealed to Ahasuerus telling him that there was a certain people scattered abroad in the kingdom whose laws were diverse from all people, and when he offered to pay ten thousand talents of silver, to have them destroyed; Then, "the king took his ring from his hand, and gave it unto Haman * * the Jews' enemy." By this he was given authority to do what he deemed best against the Jews.

3. Esther's inquiry. In chapter 4 we find that Queen Esther perceived that Mordecai had rent his clothes, and put on sackcloth and ashes, and that he had refused the raiment and the food she had sent to him. She was grieved, and sent her maids to find out the reason.

Mordecai sent back word that it was on account of Haman's treachery, and because all the Jews were under sentence of death through Haman, and by order of the king, herself included.

We stop just long enough to remind you that we have a great enemy. He had hated God and the Lord Jesus Christ, and has sought to avenge himself upon the people of God. He goes about "as a roaring lion, * * seeking whom he may devour."


1. Her dependence on God. When Esther received from Mordecai a command that she must appear before the king in his behalf, and in behalf of the Jews, she sent word to Mordecai to tell him "that whosoever, whether man or woman, shall come unto the king into the inner court, who is not called, there is one law of his to put him to death, except such to whom the king shall hold out the golden sceptre." The queen added, "but I have not been called to come in unto the king these thirty days." It was for this cause that the queen, who had determined to show herself before her lord, and king, bade Mordecai, "Go, gather together all the Jews that are present in Shushan, and fast ye for me, and neither eat nor drink three days, night or day: I also and my maidens will fast likewise."

Beloved, what a wonderful thing it is for us to throw ourselves upon the Lord. Esther had no power to stay the king's command, but she knew that God could touch the king's heart when she came into his presence.

2. Her appearance before the king. Dressed in her royal apparel, on the third day, Queen Esther stood in. the inner court of the king's palace. With what temerity, and yet with what confident trust, did the queen await her fate. Esther 5:2 tells us, "And it was so, when the king saw Esther the queen standing in the court, that she obtained favour in his sight: and the king held out to Esther the golden sceptre that was in his hand. So Esther drew near, and touched the top of the sceptre."


1. The queen's feasts. As Esther stood before the king, the king said unto her, "What wilt thou, queen Esther? and what is thy request? it shall be even given thee to the half of the kingdom." Esther then modestly requested that the king and Haman come to her banquet which she had prepared. "Then the king said, Cause Haman to make haste, that he may do as Esther hath said. So the king and Haman came to the banquet that Esther had prepared."

Little did either of the men realize the import of that feast. During the feast the king said to Esther, "What is thy petition? and it shall be granted thee: and what is thy request? even to the half of the kingdom it shall be performed." The queen simply invited them to another feast on the morrow.

2. Haman's joy. As Haman left the feast and went home, he told his wife and family of his invitation with the king to the queen's banquet. It made him very happy. Nevertheless, he was bitter because as he passed from the feast homeward, Mordecai, who sat in the king's gate, stood not up, nor moved for him. As they talked over the matter in his home, his wife suggested that a gallows be made on which Mordecai should be hanged. "Then," said she, "go thou in merrily with the king unto the banquet. And the thing pleased Haman; and he caused the gallows to be made."

As we study this message, step by step, we see God still moving in behalf of His people.


1. A striking event. On the night following the first banquet, the king could not sleep. God was evidently troubling him. At that time he commanded that the book of records be brought, and they were read before him. It was found written therein that Mordecai had discovered unto the king how two men had sought to slay him. Then the king said, "What honour and dignity hath been done to Mordecai for this? Then said the king's servants that ministered unto him, There is nothing done for him. And the king said, Who is in the court? Now Haman was come into the outward court of the king's house, to speak unto the king to hang Mordecai on the gallows that he had prepared for him. And the king's servants said unto him, Behold, Haman standeth in the court." Haman was called in, and the king said to him, "What shall be done unto the man whom the king delighteth to honour?"

2. The beginning of Haman's downfall. "Now Haman thought in his heart, To whom would the king delight to do honour more than to myself?" He answered the king, "For the man whom the king delighteth to honor, Let the royal apparel be brought which the king useth to wear, and the horse that the king rideth upon, and the crown royal which is set upon his head: And let this apparel and horse be delivered to the hand of one of the king's most noble princes, that they may array the man withal whom the king delighteth to honour, and bring him on horseback through the street of the city."

With what anguish of spirit did Haman fulfill the command of the king, for he was told to do the very things he had suggested to Mordecai, the Jew, "that sitteth at the king's gate." Then he hasted to his house mourning, and having his head covered. While he talked with his wife, the king's chamberlains came and hasted to bring him to the banquet that Esther had prepared.

3. Esther's request. At the banquet the king once more asked the queen what her petition was, saying, "It shall be granted thee." "Then Esther the queen answered and said, If I have found favour in thy sight, O king, and if it please the king, let my life be given me at my petition, and my people at my request."

When the king heard what the queen said, he cried out, "Who is he, and where is he, that durst presume in his heart to do so?"

Queen Esther with the courage of undaunted faith, said, "The adversary and enemy is this wicked Haman." Thus it was that Haman died that day by order of the king, upon the gallows which he had prepared for Mordecai.


1. The king's writing could not be changed. When King Ahasuerus gave his ring to Haman, and the order for the slaughter of the Jews was made and sealed with the king's ring, it could not, according to the law of the Medes and Persians, be changed. Thus it was that the king proposed another message, and signed it with his own signet according to the law. By this the effect of the letters which Haman had sent out were practically reversed, and the Jews throughout the kingdom, and by order of the king, were given the privilege to be fully armed against any who might seek to do them harm.

So it happened that the people fought with the Jews against their enemies inasmuch as the king had favored the Jews. The result was that, instead of the Jews being slain, their enemies fell on every hand.

2. The Jews' joy and rejoicing. We read that "The Jews had light, and gladness, and joy, and honour." Their sorrows were turned into joy, and their sighings into rejoicing.

Will it not be so, once more, when the story of Israel's national redemption from the wrath of Satan and the anti-christ has been achieved? God will descend from Heaven in behalf of His people. He will give them a great deliverance. Then shall they go forth with joy, and be led forth with singing.

The greatness of Mordecai following the death of Haman and the victory of the Jews over his intrigue is given in the three short verses which compose the 10th chapter. We quote these in full:

"And the king Ahasuerus laid a tribute upon the land, and upon the isles of the sea. And all the acts of his power and of his might, and the declaration of the greatness of Mordecai, whereunto the king advanced him, are they not written in the Book of the Chronicles of the kings of Media and Persia? For Mordecai the Jew was next unto king Ahasuerus, and great among the Jews, and accepted of the multitude of his brethren, seeking the wealth of his people, and speaking peace to all his seed."


The Deliverance of Jerusalem by Esther's Devotion speaks of another day.

Jerusalem was captured by God and not by guns. When General Allenby had learned that the Germans and Turks had mined all the sacred places in Jerusalem and the order had gone forth that just as soon as the British made entry every sacred place was to be blown into atoms that the British might get the blame and the shame, Allenby called together his military staff. Not a word was said about military affairs. The staff was summoned to pray, and they spent one hour and a half on their knees, asking the God of Jerusalem to give them the city without the destruction of the sacred places. After prayer Allenby ordered one division down the right, another down the left, his airplanes took the air. The enemies got frightened, ran and left their fortifications, and Allenby and his staff walked safely through the open gates. From an intimate friend of Allenby's, through Dr. A. C. Dixon.


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of Used by Permission.

Bibliography Information
Neighbour, Robert E. "Wells of Living Water Commentary on Esther 2:4". "Living Water".

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