Summary: Esther, Pt. 2
BE THE WORLD TO ONE PERSON (ESTHER 2)
Once a frog fell into a deep pothole and couldn’t get out no matter how hard he tried to jump out. Even his friends couldn’t get him to muster enough strength to jump out of the pothole. After a number of futile attempts, they gave him up to his expected fate. But the next day they saw their frog-buddy bounding around just fine. Somehow he had made it out of the deep pothole, so they asked him how he did it, adding, “It looked so hopeless. We thought you’d never get out of there.”
The frog replied, “I thought so too, but then along came this big truck…and suddenly I had to.” (Appleseeds.org)
It’s been said, “Circumstances do not determine a man; they reveal him.”
The immigrant Mordecai and his native-born cousin Esther were out of their comfort zone, deep in foreign soil and faced problems and challenges they never expected. What were they to do now and how to face the future: involvement or isolation, inclusion or exclusion, participation or prohibition in new surroundings, with new people and new roles?
What are believer’s challenges in an alien and a hostile environment? How can we make a difference and defy the odds?
Lean on One Another
2:1 Later when the anger of King Xerxes had subsided, he remembered Vashti and what she had done and what he had decreed about her. 2 Then the king’s personal attendants proposed, “Let a search be made for beautiful young virgins for the king. 3 Let the king appoint commissioners in every province of his realm to bring all these beautiful girls into the harem at the citadel of Susa. Let them be placed under the care of Hegai, the king’s eunuch, who is in charge of the women; and let beauty treatments be given to them. 4 Then let the girl who pleases the king be queen instead of Vashti.” This advice appealed to the king, and he followed it. 5 Now there was in the citadel of Susa a Jew of the tribe of Benjamin, named Mordecai son of Jair, the son of Shimei, the son of Kish, 6 who had been carried into exile from Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, among those taken captive with Jehoiachin king of Judah. 7 Mordecai had a cousin named Hadassah, whom he had brought up because she had neither father nor mother. This girl, who was also known as Esther, was lovely in form and features, and Mordecai had taken her as his own daughter when her father and mother died. 8 When the king’s order and edict had been proclaimed, many girls were brought to the citadel of Susa and put under the care of Hegai. Esther also was taken to the king’s palace and entrusted to Hegai, who had charge of the harem. (Est 2:1-8)
A decade ago in Beverly Hills, California, the late bathroom fixture magnate Sydney Altman left behind a $5.5 million fortune not to his 32-year old girlfriend Marie Dana or his relatives, but to his cocker spaniel Samantha. Altman, who died at age 60, left his opulent Beverly Hills home and $350,000 to his hound dog Samantha, termed his “loving companion.”
Miss Dana, called his “good friend,” was left with $50,000 cash and a stipend of $60,000 a year, provided she took care of the dog as caretaker. Upon the 15-year old dog’s death, the will stipulated, “the arrangement with Marie Dana is cancelled, and I wish the house to be sold and the money distributed to” to charity. The girlfriend promptly filed a suit contesting Altman’s will. Dana is reportedly seeking $2.7 million.
Many people have no room for loved ones, family members and close friends; they do not share what they have and believe they owe no one anything.
One of the surprises of the book of Esther is that her name is not the most recurring name in the book even though it occurs 56 times, including the name Hadassah; her cousin Mordecai’s name was the most visible with a stirring 58 times. Another surprise is that Mordecai’s name was first introduced before Esther. Why was Mordecai so special and given that much coverage?
In contrast to the coldness of the king and the pride of Haman was the compassion of Mordecai, who stood out like a beacon of light. Mordecai was one of the most inspiring and upright characters in the Bible. When you think of impeccable people, you often think of Daniel and Joshua. Parents are less likely to name babies after Mordecai than Daniel, Joshua and even Esther. One of the marks of a person’s greatness is one’s care for and influence upon family members.
Mordecai had endured untold suffering and survived impossible odds. He was taken captive with King Jeconiah, who was the son of Jehoiakim, the king at the helm when Nebuchadnezzar first invaded Judah. This “captive” word (v 6) is not your ordinary captive word but a technical word for the Babylonian captivity of Judah – the golah - that was first recorded in 2 Kings 24:14. Later, the country fell during Jehoiachin’s reign.