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2011.11.20 - Esther, Part 2

  • | Chris McCann
  • Audio: Length: 37:53 Size: 6.5 MB
  • A look at Esther 1:3-5.

If we could turn to the book of Esther, chapter one, we will pick this up in verse 3. We read in Esther 1:3-5:

In the third year of his reign, he made a feast unto all his princes and his servants; the power of Persia and Media, the nobles and princes of the provinces, being before him: When he showed the riches of his glorious kingdom and the honour of his excellent majesty many days, even and hundred and fourscore days. And when these days were expired, the king made a feast unto all the people that were present in Shushan the palace, both unto great and small, seven days, in the court of the garden of the king's palace;

So the book of Esther begins with King Ahasuerus who ruled over 127 provinces holding a feast for six months or 180 days. It says “and hundred and fourscore days,” which is 180 days. Then following that, there were seven more days, which totaled 187 days for the feast.

You might have heard the answer to this, but how many times is the name of God mentioned in the book of Esther? Zero. How many times is the name “Lord” mentioned in the book of Esther? Zero.

I think that it is the only book in the Bible that does not have the name of God or the name “Lord,” and yet we are going to find, of course, that it has the Gospel everywhere.

I was just looking through Esther last night. The book of Esther has national Israel. Then it has a transition to the church age. Then it has the end of the church age. It has the great tribulation. It has the end of the great tribulation and the five months. Then it has post five-month information. And it is in sequence. It is all in order.

So we are going to find as we go through the book of Esther that this book does not mention the name of God and the name “Lord.” I do not think that we find the name “Jehovah” in the book of Esther. This is amazing when we realize that the name Jehovah is found thousands of times in the Old Testament, yet in Esther this is not found once.

This is why so many people tend to overlook Esther. It does not seem all that important. It does not even talk about God. Certainly, some have felt that if there was any book of the Bible that maybe does not belong there, it might be a book like this. Yet we do see the workings of God throughout this book.

For example, Esther was taken into the house of the women. She was a believer and it was probably a tragic thing for her to be taken into the house of women, and yet we see how God used this.

This is just like with Joseph when he was taken as a slave into Egypt, and yet God worked through circumstances. Even though things looked bleak for Esther, it turned into a tremendously wonderful thing that she was taken into the house of the king’s women.

Then we read later when the king could not sleep and he called for the book of the records of the chronicles to be read for him, just by chance. Then he finds out that Mordecai had warned that two of the king’s doorkeepers were going to plot to kill him, and so he asks, “What honour and dignity hath been done to Mordecai for this?” The answer was, “There is nothing done for him.” Just at this time, Haman was in the outer court to come in in order to talk to the king about hanging Mordecai on the gallows, but it so happened at that point that the king wanted to honor Mordecai.

This was not a coincidence. This was not an accident. This was not luck. This was the providence of God and the providence of God can be seen throughout this book.

180 days breaks down into 2x2x3x3x5 or 4x3x3x5 or 12x3x5. I am not sure which one of these we should focus on. But when we take the 180 days plus the 7 days, this breaks down into 11x17. This is significant because 11 points to the first coming of Christ after 11,000 years of history. Of course, 17 has to do with Heaven and Christ’s coming had everything to do with finally bringing His people to Heaven in order to demonstrate what He had done before the foundation of the world.

So here the feast is being held. Then we read in verse six that it is describing the courtyard or the “court of the garden.” We read in Esther 1:6:

Where were white, green, and blue, hangings, fastened with cords of fine linen and purple to silver rings and pillars of marble: the beds were of gold and silver, upon a pavement of red, and blue, and white, and black, marble.

I think that it was in the book Time Has an End where Mr. Camping was referring to an archaeological find in which they found a very similar court that matches this description in the book of Esther. This is one of the reasons why Mr. Camping came up with the year 391 B.C. as the last entry in the twelfth year of King Ahasuerus when they write about the feast of Purim in chapter nine and it was written in a book. This was the last entry into the Old Testament and Mr. Camping has pointed out that this would have been the year 391 B.C.

So the book of Esther would cover the first twelve years of King Ahasuerus, which I think in our calendar would be 404 B.C. to 391 B.C. And this is based on archaeological evidence or on secular evidence. We cannot prove this from the Bible but this does seem to be accurate and fit. You may remember that Mr. Camping did teach that from 391 B.C. to the year 2011 is 7x7x7x7, which is very amazing.

Then it goes on here in Esther 1:7-9 to say:

And they gave them drink in vessels of gold, (the vessels being diverse one from another,) and royal wine in abundance, according to the state of the king. And the drinking was according to the law; none did compel…

This is another thing in the book of Esther, over 2400 years ago. There was very much strong emphasis on the rule of law. Things were done “according to the law”; and when the king would speak, it was an unalterable law. They could not change the law of the king, even if it was a mistake or a foolish law. Maybe we will take a look at a law like this in a little bit. Even though King Ahasuerus was probably an unsaved man, he wanted to do things according to the law of his people.

It continues:

…for so the king had appointed to all the officers of his house, that they should do according to every man's pleasure. Also Vashti the queen made a feast for the women in the royal house which belonged to king Ahasuerus.

The name of Vashti appears ten times in Esther and nowhere else in the Bible. She was the queen. The king had many wives. He had a harem. He had another house and concubines, but there was only one queen who would be taken into the royal house where Ahasuerus himself lived.

Later on when we look at Esther, she is called into one house and under the rule of the keeper of the women. There is a certain house where the eunuch Hege would keep the women. Then the women would go into the royal house to spend one night with the king, and then they would be taken back to the other house and never return unless the king requested them by name. King Ahasuerus delighted in Esther and he chose her to be the queen and she moved out of that house into the royal house where we find Vashti resides.

So Vashti was not the only wife of Ahasuerus, but she was the only wife who lived in the royal house. All of the other wives would have lived in the house of the women.

Then we read in Esther 1:10:

On the seventh day…

This would be the 187th day from the feast, 180 plus seven. It continues:

…when the heart of the king was merry with wine, he commanded Mehuman, Biztha, Harbona, Bigtha, and Abagtha, Zethar, and Carcas, the seven chamberlains that served in the presence of Ahasuerus the king,

This word for “chamberlains” is also translated as the word “eunuch,” and so these men were eunuchs.

It continues:

To bring Vashti the queen before the king with the crown royal, to show the people and the princes her beauty: for she was fair to look on.

Vashti was very beautiful. Of course, dealing with the king is why eunuchs would be sent. This way there would be no possible suggestion that anything might happen with the queen. So they went to get Vashti; and the way that God describes her, she was beautiful.

Let us look at Lamentations 2, because Vashti is a picture and a type of national Israel. This is the main picture that God is using with her. We read in Lamentations 2:15:

All that pass by clap their hands at thee; they hiss and wag their head at the daughter of Jerusalem, saying, Is this the city that men call The perfection of beauty, The joy of the whole earth?

In the case of Israel, Jerusalem, or Judah, God looks at them as being very beautiful. Zion is spoken of as being beautiful in the Psalms. So Vashti was very pretty. She had a special beauty and she was “fair to look on.”

Then we read in Esther 1:12:

But the queen Vashti refused to come at the king's commandment by his chamberlains: therefore was the king very wroth, and his anger burned in him.

So the queen refuses to come. On a physical level, we do not think too much of something like this in our day. This is the day of women’s liberation and everyone is equal, “Who is he to tell me that I have to go? I have my own feast that I am taking care of here with the women. Here he is on the seventh day when his heart is merry with wine – in other words, he is a little tipsy, maybe even drunk – and he is saying that I have to go and show up before him. I know that the king really thinks that I am lovely. He chose me out of all of those other women to live in his royal house and to be the queen. Certainly, he has a special love for me; and so I think I can get away with just telling him to forget it. Forget it; I am busy. I have to keep my own feast with the women.”

So Ahasuerus was angry. He was a king. He was a ruler. His kingdom depended upon people obeying him. If people started disobeying the king who ruled over the kingdom, that would be dangerous and a lot of trouble for the king. Actually, this is pointed out later by his seven princes when they talked about her refusal to come and what should have been done. They point out to the king, “Look; much wrath will arise as a result of this. This will affect all of the husbands. She has not done wrong only to you, but to all of the husbands and all of the princes and all of the men of the kingdom. They are going to have trouble, too, because their wives are going to say, ‘Well, Vashti did not go. Vashti did not come when she was called. Why do I have to listen to you? You are not a king. You are just an ordinary guy. Am I going to listen to you?’” We can see that this was a serious matter for them to handle.

Spiritually, let us look at some things and then we will get back to maybe looking at this a little bit more physically. Let us go to Nehemiah, which is the book right before Esther. We read in Nehemiah 9:16-17:

But they and our fathers dealt proudly, and hardened their necks, and hearkened not to thy commandments, And refused to obey, neither were mindful of thy wonders that thou didst among them; but hardened their necks, and in their rebellion appointed a captain to return to their bondage…

We can stop there. Israel refused to obey God, the King of kings and the Lord of lords.

If you are familiar with the Bible, how many verses could you go to where Israel refuses to obey God? We could go to many. We could go to lots of verses that point this out. Yet with Vashti, she could have been a fairly submissive wife. She probably was in many, many ways. She was beautiful and submissive. She was helping the king. She was holding the feast for women. This was all part of royalty, of entertaining and showing the grandeur of the enormous kingdom of King Ahasuerus; and yet she offends once.

It was a little hard of King Ahasuerus to put her away after only one offence. But what did God do with one offence from Eve? With just one sin, with one refusal to obey God, what did God say? “Of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it.”

That one seemingly insignificant sin to us today who are immersed in a sea of sin seems, of course, like nothing to us because we live and breathe and eat and drink sin all day long. It is all around us. What a “nothing” her sin is to us. And yet in a perfect world, in a good world where sin has never been, we can see how evil a thing it was.

Well, Vashti is a picture of Israel and she refuses to come, but the king wants to do things according to the law. Let us go back to Esther 1:13-15. It says:

Then the king said to the wise men, which knew the times, (for so was the king's manner toward all that knew law and judgment: And the next unto him was Carshena, Shethar, Admatha, Tarshish, Meres, Marsena, and Memucan, the seven princes of Persia and Media, which saw the king's face, and which sat the first in the kingdom;) What shall we do unto the queen Vashti according to law…

Again, he did not want to do anything contrary to the law, “According to the law, what can we do?” It continues:

…because she hath not performed the commandment of the king Ahasuerus by the chamberlains?

This could be one reason why she refused. It was not the king himself standing there in his royal robe. It was seven eunuchs and they could have easily been despised by someone like the queen.

Just as God has not come Himself to bring the Gospel to the world, He sent lowly messengers. How does the world react to lowly messengers who carry His message? We are despised. No one thinks much of us at all.

But look at King Ahasuerus’ reaction, because they were his ambassadors. They were his representatives and she refused them. She refused seven eunuchs or these chamberlains; but, actually, she refused him. She refused him because he had sent them.

So we read in Esther 1:16-18:

And Memucan answered before the king and the princes, Vashti the queen hath not done wrong to the king only, but also to all the princes, and to all the people that are in all the provinces of the king Ahasuerus. For this deed of the queen shall come abroad unto all women, so that they shall despise their husbands in their eyes, when it shall be reported, The king Ahasuerus commanded Vashti the queen to be brought in before him, but she came not. Likewise shall the ladies of Persia and Media say this day unto all the king's princes, which have heard of the deed of the queen. Thus shall there arise too much contempt and wrath.

This was very important to the whole kingdom and to the whole peace of the kingdom. But some people might say, “Look; this is ancient history. This was over 2400 years ago. Of course, they were not a modern society. They did not have modern understanding like we do today. We are so much more knowledgeable today. We really know how to live today. We really know how to do things much better than they did in ancient times. Just look at our society. Just look at our civilization.”

Well, nobody ever says this, of course. Just look at the daily newspaper. Does that really prove that we are really wise? Does it really show when we watch the news that we know better than God? We know how the house should be run. We know that it should be a matter of equality, this whole idea of a husband ruling in his own home and of parents ruling their children. Is the wife really to be in submission to the husband? That is really antiquated. That is just foolish.

Yet where is the evidence that the world’s idea of how the house runs works? Is it in the 50% divorce rate? Is it in just the way that the whole society is operating? There is no evidence that their ideas have any merit at all. This was over 2400 years ago, so let us go to something more recent like something that was a little over 1900 years ago.

Let us go to 1 Timothy 2 where we will see that God’s wisdom concerning this does not change. It says in 1 Timothy 2:11-14:

Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection. But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence. For Adam was first formed, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression.

This has to do primarily with teaching and spiritual things, but this is showing that God has a hierarchy. He has those who should teach. We see this in other places also in the Bible. Here it says that it is the man. The man should teach. The woman should not. And He refers back to Eve being deceived and not Adam, because the serpent went to Eve first. She was the one who fell into sin. Then Adam ate and he also sinned.

Let us go to Ephesians 5:22-24:

Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.

Here, this is talking about an actual marriage, a marriage of today. This is instruction for all marriages, for anybody who wants to become man and wife. God gives later admonition to the husbands, “Husbands, love your wives.” And He says to the wife, “Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands.”

The reason for this is because spiritually this is a picture. It is a figure. It is a type of Christ and His Bride, the eternal Church, those whom He has saved. So in order to properly demonstrate this, the wife should listen to her husband. The husband, of course, should not be a tyrant and he should not command his wife like a king, “Bring me this. Do this. Do that.” It should not be this way because God tempers this with the command to the husband, “Husbands, love your wives.”

Things should not be that way, but what if a woman ends up with a tyrant for a husband? Well, that is a severe test. She can pray for wisdom and help. Over in 1 Peter 3, notice what God says in that kind of case. We read in 1 Peter 3:1-6:

Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives; While they behold your chaste conversation coupled with fear. Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price. For after this manner in the old time the holy women also, who trusted in God, adorned themselves, being in subjection unto their own husbands: Even as Sara obeyed Abraham, calling him lord: whose daughters ye are, as long as ye do well, and are not afraid with any amazement.

So here God indicates that someone might have a tough time at home and their husband maybe is not loving or kind or gentle. But still, they could win him possibly – and this was true all through history – if she has a good conversation (conduct), if she keeps praying for him, and if this is God’s will. If it is the Lord’s will and he is one of His elect, that would be the way to do it.

So here is Vashti and she thinks that she has her reasons. She thinks that she would not just refuse to come if there were not good reasons. But God gives us commandments. He always gives us commandments. Is there ever a sufficient reason to disobey Him? We may think that we have reason to disobey Him, but there is really never justification for disobeying God. Disobeying God is just another way of saying that we are sinning or that we are transgressing His Law, and we never have justification for doing this.

It goes on here in Esther 1:19 to say:

If it please the king, let there go a royal commandment from him, and let it be written among the laws of the Persians and the Medes, that it be not altered, That Vashti come no more before king Ahasuerus; and let the king give her royal estate unto another that is better than she.

So here is Vashti. After consulting with his seven princes, it is determined, “Let us put her away.” She will leave the royal house. Maybe she would go back to a place in the house of the women. But never again will King Ahasuerus and Vashti meet. She is going to be put out of his sight. She will no longer be the queen. She is put away.

Of course, we can see how God did this with Israel. When Jesus went to the cross and the veil of the temple was rent in twain, He divorced national Israel. He put Israel away. When was this? It was after 11,000 years that He was born and entered into the human race and then went to the cross.

So like 187 days of this feast, the focus is on the number 11. After 187 days, Vashti is put away. Notice this statement:

…let the king give her royal estate unto another that is better than she.

Take a look at Matthew 21. It would be good to read this whole parable, but we are only going to look at one verse. We read in Matthew 21:43:

Therefore say I unto you, The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof.

This is Israel. If you read this parable, this is especially obvious. “Given to a nation” would be referring to the New Testament period when God began using churches and congregations to evangelize the world.

So here Vashti is put away and then a search will begin for a replacement. It says in Esther 1:20:

And when the king's decree which he shall make shall be published throughout all his empire, (for it is great,) all the wives shall give to their husbands honour, both to great and small.

Of course, spiritually, God could not continue to put up with Israel’s disobedience and their rebelliousness. This whole thing on an earthly level with the king is true on a spiritual level. Men can tend to think that they can do anything that they want towards the Law of God. Look at Israel or look at the church. Look at how the church responds to the Law of God.

This is why God put away Israel and this is also why He judged the churches and congregations at the end of the church age. It was for the same reason. They were rebellious. They refused to keep His laws.

It goes on to say in Esther 1:21-22:

And the saying pleased the king and the princes; and the king did according to the word of Memucan: For he sent letters into all the king's provinces, into every province according to the writing thereof, and to every people after their language, that every man should bear rule in his own house, and that it should be published according to the language of every people.

It is just amazing when you look at the book of Esther and you see its international scope. It is really worldwide. Of course, it is 127 provinces from India to Ethiopia, so this meant that there were parts of Africa that were not part of the kingdom beyond India. China, Korea, and Japan were not part of the kingdom. The Americas were not part of this kingdom. But it was the greatest kingdom of that day and it typifies the world where all the Jews were found in those 127 provinces. Remember also Sarah’s death age. This is where the elect are. They are out in the 127 provinces or out in the world.

So when the king makes a decree in Shushan, they publish it. They do not just publish it in Shushan and in the surrounding provinces. They publish it in all 127 provinces. Everyone is kept informed. It is like a worldwide notification that this is what happened with the king and with his wife. She was put away and another is going to be chosen. Then the commandment is that every man shall bear rule in his own house.

When God put away Israel and began sending the Gospel into the world, this was really underlying a truth that was a part of this, which is that God is bearing rule in His own house. He put away this rebellious woman and He is now notifying all the world that you can now be what? They can now be His Bride.

This is because the king put away Vashti. In other words, Israel was put away and the Gospel went into all the world to call people like virgins. Are there not ten virgins in Matthew 25, five foolish and five wise? The 144,000 virgins in Revelation 14 typify all those whom God saved during the church age. They were all likened to virgins. This is because when God saves someone, He washes them and cleanses them and makes them pure and innocent, and so a virgin typifies this.

Let us just read the first four verses in chapter two. Then we are going to have to stop. It says in Esther 2:1-4:

After these things, when the wrath of king Ahasuerus was appeased, he remembered Vashti, and what she had done, and what was decreed against her. Then said the king's servants that ministered unto him, Let there be fair young virgins sought for the king: And let the king appoint officers in all the provinces of his kingdom, that they may gather together all the fair young virgins unto Shushan the palace, to the house of the women, unto the custody of Hege the king's chamberlain, keeper of the women; and let their things for purification be given them: And let the maiden which pleaseth the king be queen instead of Vashti. And the thing pleased the king; and he did so.

Read these verses in consideration of the Gospel going out now, because Israel has been put away. So this would be from the first century A.D. on and through the church age.

Let us just read one other verse. We read in Esther 2:7:

And he brought up Hadassah, that is, Esther…

Hadassah is Esther. Hadassah would probably be her Hebrew name and Esther would be a name that she would have taken on because she was in a foreign land.

If anyone is interested in studying this during this next week, Hadassah is found in Zechariah 1. In Zechariah 1:7-11, Hadassah is found three times as “the myrtle trees.” “Myrtle tree” is the word for “Hadassah.”

This is significant. This is because in Zechariah 1, we have post-May 21 information. Zechariah 1:7 says:

Upon the four and twentieth day of the eleventh month…

This is the end of the five-month period, which we will take a look at next time. Then we read of Hadassah three times.

This reminds us of the three times that we read in John 21, “Lovest thou me?” Jesus asked this of Peter three times.

So this is indicating God’s purpose. Esther’s name is also Hadassah. This is giving us information about what comes after May 21.

Dear Heavenly Father, we do thank You for Your grace. We thank You for Your Word. We pray that each of us might be given Your Spirit to be obedient and to obey You more and more. May we not be like a disobedient wife. May You grant us grace to do Your will and to keep Your commandments. We pray this in Christ’s Name. Amen.