Esther, The Jews Shining Star Essay, Research Paper
Esther, the Jew s Shining Star
However you wish to say it, Hadassah (Hebrew), Ester (Persian for star ), Hester (Latin), or the Greek Esther, one thing remains the same, Esther is the shining star for the Jewish people during the reign of King Ahasuerus in Persia. The book of Esther is found in the Old Testament. It explains how, through Esther, God protected the Jewish from Haman s plot to murder all Jews, young, old, women and children.
The book begins during the reign of King Ahasuerus. During the third year of his reign, he throws a feast for his princes and servants. He then throws a feast for the common people that dwell in the Palace of Shushan. On the seventh day of the feast, the King called for his wife, Queen Vashti, to come forth and show her beauty to his guests. The Queen refused. This enraged King Ahasuerus. He called upon his council for advice. The noblemen felt she did wrong by disrespecting her husband. They told the King he should give her position to another. A decree was drawn up stating the King was looking for a new Queen. It was then sent out to all the provinces.
King Ahasuerus made it known that he wanted a fair, beautiful, young virgin for himself. Appointed officers from the provinces were instructed to bring the women to the palace. Hegai, the keeper of the women, would begin a purification process that would last twelve months. Mordecai brought one of the young maidens. Her name was Esther. Esther had no mother or father and Mordecai took her as his own daughter. Mordecai instructed Esther not to reveal her nationality and family to anyone. Esther obeyed. After six months of oil and myrrh and six months of sweet odours and other purification rituals, the maidens were ready to go before the King. Everyone was impressed with Esther, especially the King. He chose her to be the new Queen. A lavish banquet was given in her honor. Esther still remained faithful to Mordecai s request.
During her reign as Queen, Mordecai sat at the Kings gate. While there, he overheard Bigthana and Teresh, two of the King s officers, conspiring to kill King Ahasuerus. Mordecai revealed this to Esther who in turn told the King in the name of Mordecai. It was recorded in the King s books that Mordecai saved his life and the two officers were hanged.
After this, Haman is promoted to the seat above all princes. In turn, Haman gets a big head and expects everyone to bow down to him. Mordecai did not. This angered Haman. He wanted Mordecai destroyed! Because Mordecai was a Jew, Haman insisted all the Jews in the nation be destroyed along with Mordecai. Haman devised a plan to exterminate the Jewish race. He went to the King and told him that some of the people were not following the laws of the land. Haman asked for a decree to be drawn up against all Jewish people. The King obliged and told Haman to do as he wished. Haman then issued orders to all the provinces to kill and annihilate all the Jews on the thirteenth day of the twelfth month (Adar).
Upon notification, Mordecai shred his clothes, dressed in sackcloth and cried aloud throughout the city and at the King s gate. When Esther s handmaids told her of Mordecai s actions, she immediately sent clothes for him. Mordecai refused and told the maidens to tell Esther to go before the King and ask him to stop the actions of Haman. Anyone who goes before the King without permission is risking his or her life. Esther did not care. She loved her people and was willing to die for them, just like Jesus did for us. All she asked from them in return was to pray and fast for three days.
After the third day, Esther went before the King and he was again enthralled by her beauty so he allowed her to speak. The King told her he would grant any request she made. Esther invited King Ahasuerus and Haman to a feast. Haman went home, boasted to his friends and family about the feast, and told of his fury toward Mordecai for not bowing to him. The family then proceeded to construct the gallows that Mordecai would be hanged on.
During the night Ahasuerus had a bout with insomnia and ordered his book of chronicles to be brought to him. He came across the entry where Mordecai had told of the conspiracy against him and wondered if anything had been done to honor him. Later, the King asked Haman what he thought should be done to honor someone. Haman, thinking it was he, said that the person should be given Royal apparel and paraded on horseback through the town. The King agreed and instructed him to go get Mordecai. Haman went home with his head bowed and told his family what had happened. His family said that since Mordecai was Jewish, he could not go against them now or he would fall to ruin. While discussing this, King Ahasuerus sent someone to hurry Haman to the banquet Esther had prepared.
Again, at the banquet, the King questioned Esther of her purpose and promised that her wish be granted. Esther then told of the plans to kill the Jews and asked that her life be given instead. King Ahasuerus asked who had planned such an attack. Esther revealed that it was Haman. Furious, the King left to cool off. Haman begged Queen Esther for his life. When the King reentered the room, Haman was falling on the bed where Esther was reclining. King Ahasuerus saw this and it infuriated him more. One of the King s servants grabbed Haman and told the King of the gallows Haman had made for Mordecai. The King then ordered Haman to be hanged on those very gallows. By punishing Haman on the gallows, the King was pleased and his anger subsided.
The same day King Ahasuerus gave Haman s estate to Queen Esther. She then appointed Mordecai as head of the House of Haman. Esther then fell at the King s feet and asked him to override the edict that Haman issued to kill all the Jews. The King again granted her wish. He ordered his council to issue another decree proclaiming that the Jews not be touched. They were also allowed to defend themselves against harm. The Jewish people began to feast and celebrate when they heard the news.
On the day Haman s edict was to be carried out, the Jews stood together and no one conquered them because of the strength they maintained together. Other nationalities began to fear Mordecai, making him more powerful than ever. The Jews slaughtered five hundred men and Haman s ten sons. The king reported these results to Esther and asked if there was anything else he could grant her. She wanted the sons of Haman to be hanged on the gallows. On the thirteenth, fourteenth, and fifteenth day, they rested and feasted. The Jews decided to take one day each year for rest and feast. They called it Purim. They wanted this day to continue through all the generations. Mordecai recorded the events and sent letters to every Jew proclaiming they celebrate and give gifts to one another. Through Esther, God saved the Jewish nation from genocide. The celebration was Mordecai s way of thanking God for what he had done for them.
King Ahasuerus prospered throughout his life because he stood up for the Jews. Everyone held him in the highest regards because of all his kind acts towards the Jewish people.
God used King Ahasuerus, Queen Esther and Mordecai to show that He will always preserve His people in spite of opposition and danger. There are so many times that we feel God has abandon us. This is especially true when you loose someone close to you. You must remember that if you remain obedient to God and continue to keep your faith in him, things will work out the way they should, they way God has planned. Remember there will always be a shining star to see you through!