The Power of the Written Word

Carol Bechtel

Read: Esther 9–10 [These days were] turned for them from sorrow into gladness and from mourning into a holiday; that they should make them days of feasting and gladness, days for sending gifts of food to one another and gifts to the poor. (v. 22) Of all the chapters of Esther, these are most difficult. On the one hand, we are relieved that the dreaded day is turned from sorrow into gladness. On the other hand, it’s hard to get …

The Battle Is Not Done

Carol Bechtel

Read: Esther 8 For how can I bear to see the calamity that is coming to my people? Or how can I bear to see the destruction of my kindred? (v. 6) It’s a bit like one of those scary movies. Just when the danger seems to be past, the villain jumps out to terrorize us all over again. Here, too, we let our guard down when Haman is safely dead. But we can’t afford to forget that Haman’s words …

Esther Argues Her Case

Carol Bechtel

Read: Esther 7 Then Queen Esther answered, “If I have found favor in your sight, O king, and if it please the king, let my life be granted me for my wish, and my people for my request. (v. 3) All eyes are on Esther as this chapter opens. Will she do it? we wonder as the dinner party winds down. Will she intercede for her people? This is not an idle question. We thought she had the perfect moment …

No Rest for the Wicked

Carol Bechtel

Read: Esther 6:4-14 Then the king said to Haman, “Hurry; take the robes and the horse, as you have said, and do so to Mordecai the Jew, who sits at the king’s gate. Leave out nothing that you have mentioned.” (v. 10) Haman can’t sleep either. He is like the people the psalmist describes who “plot mischief while on their beds” (Psalm 36:4). He is so anxious to set his mischief in motion that he gets up and heads to …

Sleepless in Susa

Carol Bechtel

Read: Esther 6:1-3 On that night the king could not sleep. And he gave orders to bring the book of memorable deeds, the chronicles, and they were read before the king. (v. 1) Have you ever experienced a coincidence that felt more like an act of Providence? Author Frederick Buechner says that a coincidence is God’s way of remaining anonymous! Much has been made of the fact that the name for God never appears in the book of Esther. Yet, …

Haman Gets Indigestion

Carol Bechtel

Read: Esther 5:9-14 Yet all this is worth nothing to me, so long as I see Mordecai the Jew sitting at the king’s gate. (v. 14) Some people are just impossible to please. Haman has just enjoyed a private dinner party with the royals and he has an invitation to a second. Yet, on his way home from the palace he encounters Mordecai, who “neither rose nor trembled before him” (v. 9). When Haman complains to his fan club, they …