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Summary: THE HAPHAKH PHENOMENON IN THE BOOK OF ESTHER In the Book of Esther the Hebrew term Haphakh is used to describe how God turns things around. This kind of thing happens throughout the Bible, from Genesis to Revelation.


Have you ever had an experience when you thought that everything was black and against you? You thought that there was no light at the end of the tunnel. Or, if there was a light, as one of Murphy’s laws indicates, it was the light of an oncoming train. Everything seemed bent on your destruction. And then, suddenly, God turned things around. Don’t be surprised if this kind of thing happens to you again and again. You see, God is leading us to trust in His infinite resources

rather than to trust in our own finite resources. And often we do not learn the lesson God is teaching us until the situation is absolutely hopeless without God.

There are several ways by which people describe these kinds of experiences. Man’s extremity is God’s opportunity. The darkest hour of the night is the hour just before the dawn. Every cloud has a silver lining. There is always a light at the end of the tunnel. Weeping may endure for the night, but joy cometh in the morning (Psalm 30:5). Where sin abounds, grace does much more abound. I personally have coined a word to refer to this phenomenon of God’s providential care. I call it the haphakh phenomenon.

In the Hebrew language the word "haphakh" means "he inverted (it)",

"he turned (it) around"; “he reversed (it)"; "he turned (it) right side up."

It is spelled h-a-p-h-a-k-h. Can you say it?


This haphakh phenomenon occurs throughout the Bible, from Genesis to Revelation. Two of the most interesting examples are found in the Book of Esther, almost in the middle of the Bible.

One relates to a Jewish individual named Mordecai, and the other relates to the Jewish nation. In the first case, an evil Gentile named Haman is hanged on the gallows he erected for the hanging of the good Jew, Mordecai; and in the other case, the Jewish nation, threatened with being wiped out by its enemies, is given opportunity to wipe out its enemies.

In the Bible Book of Esther the Hebrew word HAPHAKH is used to describe this phenomenon.

(Est 3:8 KJV) And Haman said unto king Ahasuerus, There is a certain people scattered abroad and dispersed among the people in all the provinces of thy kingdom; and their laws are diverse from all people; neither keep they the king’s laws: therefore it is not for the king’s profit to suffer them.

It is not in the best interests of the king to let them continue to live.

(Est 3:9 KJV) If it please the king, let it be written that they may be

destroyed: and I will pay ten thousand talents of silver to the hands of those that have the charge of the business, to bring it into the king’s treasuries.

(Est 3:10 KJV) And the king took his ring from his hand, and gave it unto Haman the son of Hammedatha the Agagite, the Jews’ enemy.

(Est 3:11 KJV) And the king said unto Haman, The silver is given to thee, the people also, to do with them as it seemeth good to thee.

So a plot to wipe out all Jews is set in motion.

(Est 7:9 KJV) And Harbonah, one of the chamberlains, said before the king, Behold also, the gallows fifty cubits high, which Haman had made for Mordecai, who had spoken good for the king, standeth in the house of Haman. Then the king said, Hang him thereon.

(Est 7:10 KJV) So they hanged Haman on the gallows that he had prepared for Mordecai. Then was the king’s wrath pacified.

(Est 9:1 KJV) Now in the twelfth month, that is, the month Adar, on the thirteenth day of the same, when the king’s commandment and his decree drew near to be put in execution, in the day that the enemies of the Jews hoped to have power over them, (though it was turned to the contrary, that the Jews had rule over them that hated them;)

Over the next few months I want to share with you some Biblical examples of the Haphakh phenomenon. I want also to share another insight I gained this past week. The Greek word translated "to reconcile" literally means "to make thoroughly other." It is almost the equivalent of the word HAPHAKH.

Are there people in this church or in this community, with whom you or the church have bad relationships, and they don’t seem to be getting any better? Are there people in your family or your community

who are enemies of God. God wants to do a HAPHAKH in those relationships. God wants to turn enemies into friends. He has done it in His relationship with us. And He has committed to us a ministry of reconciliation, a ministry of turning people totally around, a ministry of changing people and changing communities for the glory of God.

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