Summary: From rags to riches; the will of God fulfills the faithful if they are willing. God knows best.
HADASSAH: GOD KNOWS BEST
It's that time again; a time to reassess the past and make plans for the future. With this in mind, let's look back 25 hundred years to see what one person can do.
In the Book of Esther, we find Hadassah! It's Hebrew for Ishtar. She was an orphan girl.
This is the story of her life and her impact on history.
She made a difference.
From the Persian Ishtar, we get: Esther.
Her book is a "masterpiece of literature." It is an accurate historical account of Xerxes I. The Hebrews knew him as "Ahasuerus". He reigned as king over Persia 486 465 B.C. (Ezra 4:6).
Both Ruth and Esther are included among the five Megilloth books of Hebrew scriptures. In the Jewish cannon, these books—Song of Solomon, Ruth, Lamentations, Ecclesiastes, and Esther—are related to the festivals or religious feasts on the Jewish calendar.
Ruth, pictured the spring harvest. It was read at the Feast of Weeks or Pentecost, sometime in May or June. Our calendar is not in sync with the Hebrew calendar.
Esther’s story gives the origin of the Feast of Purim. It is read during the celebration of God delivering the Jews, once again, from genocide under Xerxes I. It is held on 14th and 15th of the Hebrew month of Adar, or February-March according to our calendar.. Purim is the only Old Testament feast not legislated by the Mosaic law.
Song of Solomon—or the Hebrew: Solomon's Song of Songs which means the best song—celebrates God’s gift of bodily love between man and woman. In these poems, love is portrayed in its power, its splendor, its freshness and devotion to the beloved.
Love in all its aspects is paraded before us: moments of union and separation, ecstasy and anguish, longing and fulfillment.
It's a celebration of love and life; acceptable satisfaction and fulfillment amid a sinful world.
Meanwhile, back to Esther, her Persian name means, "Ishtar," one of their gods.
Her Jewish name was Hadassah.
This Jewish orphan girl was raised by her cousin, Mordecai, in Persia. Theirs was one of the thousands of families carried to Babylon by Nebochadnezzar and who were freed by Darius—Xerxes' great grand daddy.
This is one of the historical books that builds the foundation for the coming of Jesus as the Christ.
Were it not for Esther, there would have been no Judah—no family from which Jesus could be born.
She had her faith.
She had her beauty.
She had her cousin, and
She had her God.
And he used her in a strange and unusual way to accomplish His purposes.
Esther 1:1 Now it came to pass in the days of Ahasuerus, (this is Ahasuerus which reigned, from India even unto Ethiopia, over an hundred and seven and twenty provinces:)
This is the area from the Khyber Pass in present day Pakistan to Ethiopia (or Cush), and northern Sudan.
2 That in those days, when the king Ahasuerus sat on the throne of his kingdom, which was in Shushan the palace,
"Shushan," which is named "Susa" on many Bible maps, was the capital city of Persia and thus served as the residence of Ahasuerus. It is located 150 miles north of the head of the Persian Gulf.
3 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:
According to Herodotus, there was a council of war in Xerxes' third year to plan the invasion of Greece.
At the conclusion, a seven day drinking binge and feast was held.
4 When he showed the riches of his glorious kingdom and the honor of his excellent majesty many days, even and hundred and fourscore days.
5 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;
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.
7 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.
8 And the drinking was according to the law; none did compel: for so the king had appointed to all the officers of his house, that they should do according to every man's pleasure.
In a kingdom as vast as Xerxes, he had to depend upon the loyalties of chieftains of scattered clans.