Summary: We are introduced to God's cast in His sovereign plan, Mordecai and Esther. They may be unlikely candidates but God uses them to accomplish His purposes.
With the deposed of the Queen (Vashti) in chapter 1, which happened in the 3rd year of King Xerxes’ reign (1:3), the stage is set for the rise of Esther.
• The Jewish girl Esther was made Queen in chapter 2, in the 7th year of the King’s reign (2:16), so some 4 years have passed between chapter 1 and 2.
• History tells us during this time the King fought against the Greeks in the Battle of Salamis and suffered a great defeat.
He came back discouraged and thought of the deposed queen. A suggestion was made by his attendants to hold a beauty pageant to pick a new queen.
• So the King appointed officers in every province of his Kingdom to bring in all the beautiful girls into the harem at the citadel of Susa.
• The ancient Jewish historian Josephus says they had a total of 400 women selected.
It wasn’t going to be a competition among the contestants, with a panel of judges.
• The King alone will decide. It’s a beauty pageant with only one judge. And that meeting will only take place once.
• 2:14 says after that one meet, the girl “would not return to the king unless he was pleased with her and summoned her by name”.
• No one, not even the Queen, can approach the king without being summoned, Esther mentioned that to Mordecai later in 4:11.
Chances are slim but God will put His ‘servants’ in the Persian court, in view of the upcoming threat to His people.
• I call them ‘servants’ because they serve God’s purposes, whether they know it or not at the beginning.
• God makes a way. We are introduced to the casts in God’s play (plan) – Mordecai and Esther.
• Both of them played very important roles. We cannot have one without the other.
MORDECAI (2:5-6) a Jew from the tribe of Benjamin, the son of Jair, the son of Shimei, the son of Kish, his forefather who was deported by King Nebuchadnezzar when the Babylonians invaded Judah.
• The Jewish remnant did not lose their identity, even though they were exiled and living in foreign lands.
• Mordecai is likely an official of the Persian court given his connections to the King’s gate.
• 2:21 he was “sitting at the king’s gate” and 3:2-3 the royal officials at the king’s gate (that is, his colleagues) accused him of not paying homage to Haman (hey men).
Mordecai is not a supporting actor in this story, although many sees Esther as the ‘star’ of this book.
• He plays a very critical role in the unfolding of the events coming up – how he uncovered an assassination plot (2:22, recorded in the chronicles which the King read 6:1); and how he related the news of the threat against the Jewish race.
• Mordecai’s name appears more often than all the other names in this book.
The fact that he raised Esther is itself noteworthy.
• The faith, the courage, and the conduct of Esther that we are going to appreciate, is a reflection of his upbringing. We are told that she follows Mordecai’s instructions.
• Mordecai did a good job raising Esther, considering that she wasn’t even his own daughter.
We see how he continues to watch over her when she was taken into the harem.
• 2:11 “Every day he walked back and forth near the courtyard of the harem to find out how Esther was and what was happening to her.”
• And he instructed Esther not to reveal her nationality and family background, mentioned to us twice, in 2:10 and 2:20.
• Apparently it was not favourable for her to do so, under current circumstances and times. Later on he challenged her to tell the King and that would reveal her race.
And then we have the second great player in God’s scheme of things – ESTHER, “the star” in Persian.
• 2:7 - she is Mordecai’s cousin. She lost her parents but got a “father” in Mordecai.
• An ordinary Jewish girl, orphaned from young, has no status, power or influence. Yet God is going to use her.
• With the position of the queen vacated and now the search for a new queen, God positions Esther for the important task of saving His people.
She is the most unlikely candidate but it doesn’t matter. She is at the right place and time for God to do His work.
• Paul puts it well: 1 Cor 1:26-29 “26Brothers, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. 27But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. 28He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things-and the things that are not-to nullify the things that are, 29so that no one may boast before him.”