What does the Book of Esther Tell Us About God?
Is There Anything in the Book of Esther That Tells Us About God?
Despite the fact that God’s name is never mentioned in the Book of Esther, there is evidence to imply that the book is centered on God’s desire to redeem his people from their sin. The ancestry of two of the book’s principal characters – Esther and Haman – provides perhaps the most strong evidence in support of this assertion. It is believed by some legends that Esther was the daughter of Abihail, and that she was a descendant of King Saul according to other tales. Meanwhile, Haman was a descendent of Agag of the Amalekites, who was himself a descendant of Agag. After violating God an excessive number of times, Saul fell out of favor with him. One of the earliest instances in which Saul defied God was when God instructed the Israelites to completely annihilate the Amalekites, which was one of the first times Saul disobeyed God. Although Saul and his people massacred the vast majority of the Amalekites, they saved the lives of their ruler. Later, rather of waiting for Samuel, he went ahead and made a sacrifice to God on his own. This transgression resulted in his estrangement from God and the deprivation of the throne for his heir, Jonathan.
The story of Esther might be seen of as a kind of inversion of the story of King Saul. Saul goes from being a guy who does God’s will to being a man who loses his inheritance as a result of his disobedience to God. Through her obedience, Esther transforms from a young girl who blends seamlessly into pagan culture, who eats pagan food and conceals her Jewish heritage, to a Queen, championed by a King and his men, and elevated to one of the highest positions in the Persian kingdom, and a member of a persecuted minority.
This becomes evident when we take the instance of Vashti, who is deposed from her position as a result of her refusal to obey the king’s instructions. Esther, on the other hand, is respectful of the king and follows all of the rules. We can tell that this is significant because the manner in which she addresses the king is repeated again and over in the play. “If it pleases the king,” she says after each request she makes, “and if I have won favor in his eyes,” she says after each request she makes. It is also vital to note that the king has ordered certain steps to be taken. This is evident from the fact that the phrase “the king’s commandment” is repeated numerous times throughout the text. Commands and obedience are clearly a prominent subject in the book of Esther. When we compare the story of Esther to other texts, we find that there is a plethora of evidence that God is at work there. God is notorious for interfering with kings’ sleep, and in this narrative, the King recalls Mordecai at just the proper moment because he is unable to sleep. It is interesting to note that the tables only begin to turn in favor of the Hebrews once both Mordecai and Esther demonstrate their devotion to God and His commands. For example, both of them begin fasting at the same time.
During this time, Esther sacrifices her life for the sake of her companions, and she is willing to acknowledge her Hebrew heritage. Because the author mentions it more than once, we know that the fact that she hides her lineage is significant to the plot. As a result, when she comes to the decision to expose her identity, it is also crucial to note. It is true that her willingness to re-establish a bond with her faith and her people represents a watershed moment in her life. Following this, the King promotes Mordecai to a higher position. Even better, the man who attempted to assassinate Mordecai has been appointed to the position of overseer. A short time later, Mordecai is informed by his relatives that if Mordecai is of Jewish descent, he will “fall.” When he “falls” on Esther’s bed, the term “fall” is used once more to describe his actions. The Hebrews’ triumph over their captors may be symbolized by their emphasis on the fall of objects.
Despite Haman’s defeat, his orders to let the Jews to be slaughtered remain in effect, putting the Jews in grave danger. However, the King encourages his subjects to support the Hebrews while also allowing them to defend themselves if necessary. It’s worth noting that the Hebrews are also aided by the “fear of Mordecai” that descends upon them. This type of paralyzing anxiety frequently appears to precede God’s activity during a particular occurrence. It appears likely that this was the situation in this instance as well.
Another thing that occurs when Haman is hanged on the gallows he had put up for Mordecai is that Esther is granted his house and Mordecai is given control of it, both of which are positive developments. A reversal of this nature is entirely in accordance with God’s will. This idea is reflected in Jesus’ declaration that “the first shall be last, and the last shall be first.” This topic appears often throughout Esther, potentially implying that the events that unfold are the result of God’s plan. Vashti, for example, goes from being a Queen to be envious of to being nothing. Esther, a commoner and a foreigner, is given her home as a gift by her family. During this time, Esther progresses from being a foreigner and a stranger to being Queen. After plotting to have Mordecai put to death, Haman, who had been promoted above other princes and rulers and even granted the ring of the king, is degraded and eventually hanged as a result. After years of sackcloth and ashes and persecution, Mordecai is paraded around on the king’s horse, dressed in the king’s robes, and given ownership of a mansion, among other things.
The Hebrews themselves undergo a transformation from being a people that must fast, mourn, and be concerned to being a people who are victorious, cheerful, and healthy. In a word, they have been redeemed. According to this view, God is still willing to reconcile with his people and redeem them, even after many generations have passed since the events of Genesis.