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Well, my friends, after hearing what’s been going on in Jerusalem through Ezra and Nehemiah, we now turn to Esther to see what’s happening in ye ole Persia. This is one of the easiest books in the Bible to read, as it reads more like a modern-day paperback than a theological treatise. In fact, God hardly makes an appearance in Esther, which has led some to question whether it belongs in the Bible at all. But we’ll see that God was clearly at work anyway, with or without acknowledgment, which should be an encouragement to us.

In any case, Esther opens with a drunken royal party that lasts for 6 months. After showing such remarkable restraint for half a year, the king decides to parade his wife around for his (we assume, blindingly drunk) friends to ogle at. The queen (wisely) refuses, but the situation escalates as she refuses repeated orders to come. The king then gets his wasted counselors together to decide what to do, and the ultimate verdict is to banish the queen, which paves the way for Esther’s remarkable rise to power.

WHAT ABOUT ME?

It’s interesting why the nobles decide that the queen must be punished. It wasn’t because she was a criminal, but rather because of the example she would set for other women in the empire. It seems that these guys were worried about their own domestic situation if their wives got the idea they could do whatever they wanted.

Now, setting aside the sticky problem of whether or not we should encourage women to obey their husbands no matter what, let’s instead look at the motivation for the men. They don’t really care what happens to the king, but they are concerned that their own lives if the status quo is upset. A man’s primary focus is almost always if he is loved and respected at home, regardless of what his official political office may be.

FIRST THE MEATLOAF, THEN THE WORLD

It used to be fashionable in history to study the lives and great wars of great men, but now historians have started to look at their personal lives in greater detail. Why? Because it’s the personal lives of the great people that make them great. Rarely will you find a great a king or emperor without a great queen or empress at his side. It seems that often the great decisions of state are not made in the counsel chambers, but over the dinner table.

This is important to remember for leaders as well as those who follow them. Leaders are people just like anyone else, and what they want most is peace in their home. We should pray for our leaders to have a strong home life, and be extra careful to guard our own home life before setting out into the world. What happens in the home affects what happens in the empire.

Ironically, the men in Persia were concerned that a woman was going to get uppity, and it turns out that Esther plays them all like a big ole chauvinistic fiddle. As we’ll see, she handles the king and his advisers like simple-minded putty and turns the whole country on its head.

God’s hand indeed.

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