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Study Resources :: Text Commentaries :: Don Smith :: Esther - The Study of Providence

Don Smith :: The Study of Providence - Esther 3

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Exposition of Esther - Chapter Three

How Was God’s Providence at Work Raising Up the Enemy of the Seed?

  1. God used the king’s heart to advance the enemy of the Jews for His purposes.
    1. Esther 3:1
      • “After these things” is used again by the author to remind us not only of the proper chronology of this history but also to hint of God’s invisible hand in the sequence of these events.
      • The king advanced a man by the name of “Haman” to the second highest authority under the king.
      • The lineage and history of this man are discussed more in-depth on page five of this study.
      • The irony of his promotion is knowing that the king neglected to reward Mordecai for his bravery and loyalty to him, yet he promoted a man with dubious character to be his highest official.
      • What might have seemed “unfair” to Mordecai would later be used by the Lord for purposes not yet revealed.
  2. God used Mordecai’s protest against Haman to expose the serpent’s enmity.
    1. Esther 3:2-6
      • After Haman’s appointment to power, the king ordered all his servants to pay homage to Haman.
      • They were to yield to him out of respect for the king’s authority.
      • When this royal appointee passed through the city gates people were expected to bow to him.
      • Mordecai refused.
      • His defiance would be perceived not just against Haman but also as disobedience to the king.
      • Such stubbornness could have resulted in severe punishment, if not death on the “gallows”(tree).
      • When other servants who sat with Mordecai in the city gates observed his behavior, they persisted in discovering the reason for his behavior.
      • Mordecai refused to answer their questions other than to say that he was a Jew.
      • There it was, the secret held by him and Esther was now out in the open.
      • As a Jew, he may have had various reasons for not bowing to Haman.
      • He may have been acquainted with Haman’s evil, slanderous ways.
      • He may also have known Haman’s lineage as an enemy of Israel.
      • Remember Mordecai was of the lineage of King Saul.
      • Being related to Saul, Mordecai knew first-hand the enmity of Edom for Israel. (Deut. 25:18)
      • But it is also possible Mordecai knew Haman was a descendent of Amalek who “did not fear God.”
      • In the first case, he didn’t bow out of disrespect for the man.
      • In the second case, he didn’t bow out of recognition that he was “the enemy of the Jews.”
      • In the third case, he didn’t bow out of respect for allegiance to God alone and not to any man who did not fear Him.
      • When the servants heard his secret, they ran like little tattletales to share their secret with Haman.
      • When Haman personally witnessed Mordecai’s public defiance, he was filled with rage and wrath.
      • He determined at that moment not only to strike revenge on Mordecai but on all Jews everywhere.
      • Rather than react immediately against Mordecai’s civil disobedience, he decided to devise a plan of genocide and racial extermination.
      • The enmity of the Seed had once again raised its ugly head.
  3. God used the cast-of-lots to determine the day Haman would tell the king his evil plan.
    1. Esther 3:7-11
      • Haman’s casting of lots (purim) became the name Israel would later give to one of its special feasts, the Feast of Purim, celebrating God’s providence in delivering them from extermination.
      • The timing of Haman’s plot would also be governed by God’s providence. (Proverbs 16:33)
      • Esther had been on the throne almost four years (BC 474).
      • The lot was cast for the day the Jews were to be exterminated and it was determined to be the 13th day of the 12th month.
      • This would give the Jews almost a year to prepare a defense of their homes and families.
      • God’s timing in casting the lot would prove to be perfect for His purposes.
      • Haman approached the king with the cunning and craftiness of a serpent.
      • He tried to ingratiate himself to the king, as though he was motivated for the kings profit.
      • He portrayed the Jews as a defiant, different and dispersed people.
      • They and their laws, he suggested, were different from the king’s laws.
      • He didn’t mention Mordecai’s name, but he alluded to acts of their disobedience to the king’s law.
      • In keeping with his plot, Haman recommended that the king exterminate all Jews from off the face of the earth.
      • Then Haman suggested the king write an edict announcing the destruction of Jews.
      • Haman, a man of significant personal wealth, offered to build up the king’s treasury, as well as pay ten thousand talents of silver (the equivalent of millions of dollars) to those who would destroy the Jews.
      • It is intriguing to wonder where Haman had accumulated such wealth.
      • Was this the treasury taken from Agag?
      • Was his wealth the result of scams and corruption in the king’s service? No one knows, but he was definitely determined to pay any price to accomplish his plan of massacring those of Jacob’s Seed.
      • As we shall see, enmity is a strong motivating force, but it ultimately leads to self-destruction.
      • The king, proven susceptible to persuasion by his appointees, agreed to the plan.
      • King Ahashuerus had not thought through the consequences of this edict any more than he did the edict to remove Vashti from the court.
      • Unbeknownst to him, seated at his side was Esther his beloved queen, the adopted daughter of Mordecai and a Jewess.
      • The king took out his royal signet ring from his hand and gave it to Haman, the enemy of the Jews, authorizing him to act on his behalf.
      • Somewhat disinterested in such a plot, the king told Haman to go do whatever seemed to be good.
      • As Eve was tempted to question God’s good, so Haman was about to do what seemed good in his own eyes.
      • In actuality he was unknowingly doing what seemed good to the serpent, which was “bad, bad!”
      • The king’s proclamation was sent throughout the kingdom declaring mass extermination of the Jews at the end of the year determined by lot.
      • Young and old would not be spared by his wrath.
      • While the king and Haman sat down to drink in celebration, those who read the edict in the city were perplexed by the edict.
      • No doubt many Jews may have wondered, “Where is God in all these things?”
      • Why did He appear to be silent and distant?
      • Did He no longer remember His covenant to provide, protect, preserve and propagate the chosen Seed?
      • The Book of Esther gives us insights into the plans of man, but it isn’t until the end of the story that God prevails not only over man’s plans, but actually prevailing because of them.
      • This can only be the work of a sovereign God.
CONTENT DISCLAIMER:

The Blue Letter Bible ministry and the BLB Institute hold to the historical, conservative Christian faith, which includes a firm belief in the inerrancy of Scripture. Since the text and audio content provided by BLB represent a range of evangelical traditions, all of the ideas and principles conveyed in the resource materials are not necessarily affirmed, in total, by this ministry.

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