Dinner for Three

Carol Bechtel

Read: Esther 5:1-8 And Esther said, “If it please the king, let the king and Haman come today to a feast that I have prepared for the king.” (v. 4) From this time forward, Esther is every inch a queen. Fortified only by her three-day fast, she dons her “royal robes” and enters the throne room uninvited. We should not downplay the danger. It is a little bit like venturing into a snake pit while doing one’s best imitation of …

God Save the Queen

Carol Bechtel

Read: Esther 4 And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this? (v. 14) News of the death edict seems to have spread everywhere except inside the palace. Esther is oblivious to it when she sends to see why Mordecai is sitting outside the palace gates in sackcloth and ashes. Mordecai does not mince words. The message he sends must have electrified Esther. Not only are her people condemned to die, but …

Haman’s Way with Words

Carol Bechtel

Read: Esther 3:7-15 “If it please the king, let it be decreed that they be destroyed, and I will pay 10,000 talents of silver into the hands of those who have charge of the king’s business, that they may put it into the king’s treasuries.” (v. 9) Whoever coined the proverb “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me” had never met Haman. Haman’s words are designed to hurt, and to hurt badly. By the …

Unjust Deserts

Carol Bechtel

Read: Esther 3:1-6 So, as they had made known to him the people of Mordecai, Haman sought to destroy all the Jews, the people of Mordecai, throughout the whole kingdom of Ahasuerus. (v. 6) It must have irked Mordecai to be passed over for promotion. After all, he had just saved the king from two assassins. And yet, when chapter three begins we are told that “after these things” someone named Haman is promoted. This is not what we as …

The Morning After

Carol Bechtel

Read: Esther 2:1-18 “And let the young woman who pleases the king be queen instead of Vashti.” This pleased the king, and he did so. (v. 4) When Ahasuerus wakes up after his one-hundred-eighty-seven-day drinking bash, he discovers that he has banished Queen Vashti. His courtiers comfort him by suggesting a contest for a new queen. As we read the story of how the young Jewish girl, Esther, gets caught in the king’s dragnet, we would do well to remember …

Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous?

Carol Bechtel

Read: Esther 1 The army of Persia and Media and the nobles and governors of the provinces were before him, while he showed the riches of his royal glory and the splendor and pomp of his greatness for many days, 180 days. (vv. 3-4) The first chapter of Esther introduces us to the Persian emperor, Ahasuerus. His name literally means “high and mighty” and he is out to impress his subjects. Not content with the one-hundred-eighty-day bash he throws for …