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The book of Esther explains why Jews in the Persian period began celebrating a new festival called Purim. The Law of Moses had earlier described how God’s mighty acts of deliverance lay behind holidays such as Passover and Tabernacles. The book of Esther shows how God intervened once again to save the Jews, leading to a commemoration of this great rescue in the feast of Purim.

This fast-moving story occurs during the reign of the Persian King Xerxes (most likely Xerxes I, 486–465 BC). It relates the adventures that take place when a Jewish exile named Esther and her cousin and guardian Mordecai work to rescue their people from a plot to destroy them. While the story never mentions God by name, God’s hand of protection can be detected in the timing and combination of events as they unfold.

The book features numerous banquets, including two hosted by Xerxes at the beginning, two given by Esther in the middle, and two celebrated by the grateful Jews at the end. Since this story was told to later generations during the feast of Purim itself, the audience is placed right in the middle of the action. Those who read it can not only join in celebrating God’s deliverance, they can ask themselves, as Mordecai asked Esther, for what great purpose God may have brought them to their own position in life.



13 Then the king said to the wise men who knew the times (for this was the king’s procedure toward all who were versed in law and judgment, 14 the men next to him being Carshena, Shethar, Admatha, Tarshish, Meres, Marsena, and Memucan, the seven princes of Persia and Media, who saw the king’s face, and sat first in the kingdom): 15 “According to the law, what is to be done to Queen Vashti, because she has not performed the command of King Ahasuerus delivered by the eunuchs?” 16 Then Memucan said in the presence of the king and the officials, “Not only against the king has Queen Vashti done wrong, but also against all the officials and all the peoples who are in all the provinces of King Ahasuerus. 17 For the queen’s behavior will be made known to all women, causing them to look at their husbands with contempt, since they will say, ‘King Ahasuerus commanded Queen Vashti to be brought before him, and she did not come.’ 18 This very day the noble women of Persia and Media who have heard of the queen’s behavior will say the same to all the king’s officials, and there will be contempt and wrath in plenty. 19 If it please the king, let a royal order go out from him, and let it be written among the laws of the Persians and the Medes so that it may not be repealed, that Vashti is never again to come before King Ahasuerus. And let the king give her royal position to another who is better than she. 20 So when the decree made by the king is proclaimed throughout all his kingdom, for it is vast, all women will give honor to their husbands, high and low alike.” 21 This advice pleased the king and the princes, and the king did as Memucan proposed.



Kings are usually arrogant because of their powerful position and they have a superficial relationship with their queen. King Ahasuerus was no exception. As for many ancient kings, King Ahasuerus recruited a team of counsellors whom he sought advice from for all things. The success or failure of a king often depended on the wisdom of these counsellors. Even for the king, man is afraid of the contempt by a woman. Although it was King Ahasuerus who disrespected Queen Vashti first, he sought the advice from counsellors such as Memucan on how to deal with the contempt by the queen. The advice of the counsellors was to issue a law to force all the women in Persia to respect their husband. Obviously, this law would not achieve its result as mutual respect between men and women is originated from selfless love rather than the enforcement of the law. If you are a man, reflect if you love your wife. If you are a woman, reflect if you love your husband. Is there mutual respect and appreciation originated from love?



Come before God with godliness and ask God to examine your heart. Do you have resentment and contempt for your wife or husband? If yes, confess your sin and ask for God’s forgiveness. Ask God to give you greater faith and more love so that as wife you can submit to your husband, and as husband you can love your wife and are willing to give up your life for her.



Power of Your Love –