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Esther, 4

April 12, 2017

When the king demanded a second bevy of beautiful girls, Esther resided in her harem apartment, knowing she could not approach the king until she was summoned.

Then the king appointed Haman, who had no love for Jews, Prime Minister. To ingratiate himself to the king, Haman suggested a law requiring all to bow down before his majesty. The idea pleased King Xerxes, and so the law was passed, and everyone bowed his head  when the king passed by.

Mordecai refused to bow his head to any man, and Haman moved against all Jews to rid the country of them. Haman told the king, “There is a group of people scattered throughout the country who refuse to bow down to your royal highness, and therefore they have no right to live in this kingdom. I suggest they be destroyed. Issue a decree and I will pay your treasury $20,000,000 for the expenses involve in this purge.”

“How dare they offend the king! Keep your money, but do as you think best,” the king replied.

Haman joyfully rolled dice to determine the propitious date to carry out his plan. He sent letters sealed with the king’s ring to the rulers of all the provinces, informing them all Jews must be killed on February 28th, and their property given to those who killed them. Then Haman and the king sat down for a drinking spree as all about them fell into panic and confusion.

When Mordecai learned what Haman had done, he tore his clothes and put on sackcloth and ashes in mourning. He wept outside the palace gates, for no one wearing mourning was permitted inside. Throughout the 127 provinces there was much weeping and wailing.

Esther wondered why Mordecai had stopped his frequent visits. She heard nothing until her eunuch told her Mordecai stood outside the gates weeping and wearing mourning. She sent the eunuch with clothing to fetch him, but he refused to come. Esther sent another eunuch to get the story, and Mordecai sent him back with a copy of the king’s decree dooming all Jews. He begged her to go to the king to plead for her people.

But how could she? She had not been called to the king for a month, and she did not know when she would be summoned again. Appearing before him in his inner sanctum without his request was punishable by death.

Mordecai replied, “Do you think you will escape when all the other Jews are killed? If you keep quiet at a time such as this, God will deliver Jews from another source, but you and your relatives will be dead. Perhaps God put you in the palace for such a time as this.”

 

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