The Rev. Dr. Vernon Wendt, pastor of Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Lexington, KY and Missionary-at-Large in Richmond, KY, joins the Rev. Dr. Phil Booe to study Esther 4.
Mordecai reacts to Haman’s deadly plan to destroy all Jews. He turns to Queen Esther, and begs her to use her status to plead for her people before the king. But with a strict law forbidding anyone, including the queen, from approaching the king without being summoned, Esther is faced with a daunting decision. Esther sends word to Mordecai for all the Jews to fast as she contemplates her next move. Mordecai encourages her, “who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this.”
The books of Ruth and Esther from the Old Testament are the only two books in the Bible named for women, and on Thy Strong Word, we delve deep into both. The book of Esther recalls how a Jewish woman marries the Persian king Ahasuerus (Xerxes) and becomes queen. At the urging of her cousin, Mordecai, Esther uses her influence to foil a plot to exterminate the Hebrew people. Although God is not mentioned in the book, his power is at work behind the scenes.
Thy Strong Word, hosted by Rev. Dr. Phil Booe, pastor of St. John Lutheran Church of Luverne, MN, reveals the light of our salvation in Christ through study of God’s Word, breaking our darkness with His redeeming light. Each weekday, two pastors fix our eyes on Jesus by considering Holy Scripture, verse by verse, in order to be strengthened in the Word and be equipped to faithfully serve in our daily vocations. The book of Esther recalls how a Jewish woman marries the Persian king Ahasuerus (Xerxes) and becomes queen. At the urging of her cousin, Mordecai, Esther uses her influence to foil a plot to exterminate the Hebrew people. Although God is not mentioned in the book, his power is at work behind the scenes.
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Esther Agrees to Help the Jews
4 When Mordecai learned all that had been done, Mordecai tore his clothes and put on sackcloth and ashes, and went out into the midst of the city, and he cried out with a loud and bitter cry. 2 He went up to the entrance of the king’s gate, for no one was allowed to enter the king’s gate clothed in sackcloth. 3 And in every province, wherever the king’s command and his decree reached, there was great mourning among the Jews, with fasting and weeping and lamenting, and many of them lay in sackcloth and ashes.
4 When Esther’s young women and her eunuchs came and told her, the queen was deeply distressed. She sent garments to clothe Mordecai, so that he might take off his sackcloth, but he would not accept them. 5 Then Esther called for Hathach, one of the king’s eunuchs, who had been appointed to attend her, and ordered him to go to Mordecai to learn what this was and why it was. 6 Hathach went out to Mordecai in the open square of the city in front of the king’s gate, 7 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. 8 Mordecai also gave him a copy of the written decree issued in Susa for their destruction,[a] 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[b] on behalf of her people. 9 And Hathach went and told Esther what Mordecai had said. 10 Then Esther spoke to Hathach and commanded him to go to Mordecai and say, 11 “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.”
12 And they told Mordecai what Esther had said. 13 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. 14 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?” 15 Then Esther told them to reply to Mordecai, 16 “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.”[c] 17 Mordecai then went away and did everything as Esther had ordered him.
- Esther 4:8 Or annihilation
- Esther 4:8 Hebrew and seek from before his face
- Esther 4:16 Hebrew if I am destroyed, then I will be destroyed
English Standard Version (ESV) The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. esv.org