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Esther, 7

April 15, 2017

Queen Esther put her life at risk for her people: but first she consulted her brain to use the king’s weaknesses. Haman was executed, and her cousin Mordecai was made prime minister, but what could he do about the king’s decree to kill Jews on the day set by the rolling of the dice.

“Send a message to the Jews, telling them whatever you decide,” said the king, “I am afraid an edict signed by my ring can never be reversed.”

Mordecai ordered the king’s secretaries to send another message throughout the land, permitting the Jews to fight back and kill those who came to kill them on the same day Haman had ordered their killing. Swift messengers were sent to the 127 provinces with notices bearing the king’s seal. Esther probably had a hand in that message.

On February 28th of that year Jews fought back their attackers, killings 500 men in the city and 75,000 throughout the land. Many of the people pretended to be Jews to avoid being killed. Then Mordecai put on royal robes and went out in the city where he was greeted with great joy.

Mordecai wrote a history of these events. He was a wise and thoughtful adviser to the king, and was greatly acclaimed by the people. So it is, throughout Israel and the world the Feast of Purim is celebrated, commemorating the “throwing of the dice” to determine the day when Jews were to be killed, but were saved by the efforts of Esther and her cousin Mordecai.

I do not know what happened to Esther, for I could find no reference to sons and daughters or her life after these events. Perhaps she returned to the royal harem where Mordecai visited her often, and there she was treated by all who knew her with respect and dignity.

Some say the story is a myth, based on Greek legend. Today it is widely believed and the Feast of Purim is celebrated each year by feasting and the giving of gifts according to Jewish tradition.

Xerxes was murdered in 465 BC by the commander of his royal bodyguard. Being a king is a dangerous business.

I believe God values women, and saves some of the most important work in his kingdom for them, and they do it well. He leads us in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. I love to tell the story, especially Bible stories; old, old stories about the workings of God in our sinful world.

Happy Easter! That’s another great story.

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