Esther - Lesson 03
Esther Chapter 3:1-15
Distributed by: Internet Bible Studies
Introduction: We continue our study on the book of Esther this week as we see an outbreak of anti-Semitism. The Jews have never been popular, and it was certainly true at this time.
AN OUTBREAK OF ANTI-SEMITISM
If this outbreak of anti-Semitism had succeeded, there would have been at least four terrible results.
(1) There would have been no more Scriptures written.
Rom. 3:1-2, "What advantage then hath the Jew? or what profit is there of circumcision? Much every way: chiefly, because that unto them were committed the oracles of God."
(2) Jesus could not have been born.
Rom. 9:4-5, "Who are Israelites; to whom pertaineth the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the service of God, and the promises; Whose are the fathers, and of whom as concerning the flesh Christ came, who is over all, God blessed for ever. Amen."
Matt. 1:1, "The book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham."
(3) There could have been no salvation to preach, and no savior to save us.
(4) God would have been proven to be a liar, because all that he promised could never have been fulfilled.
I. A WICKED MAN PROMOTED
Est 3:1 After these things did king Ahasuerus promote Haman the son of Hammedatha the Agagite, and advanced him, and set his seat above all the princes that were with him.
Est 3:2 And all the king's servants, that were in the king's gate, bowed, and reverenced Haman: for the king had so commanded concerning him. But Mordecai bowed not, nor did him reverence.
In God's plan, Haman rises and managed to gain 2nd place in the kingdom. This on the surface does not make sense, but God works all things after the counsel of His own will. Haman was a descendant of king Agag the Amalekite. The Amalekites had a long history in respect to the Jews. They descended from Esau through an illicit relationship.
Gen. 36:12, "And Timna was concubine to Eliphaz Esau's son; and she bare to Eliphaz Amalek: these were the sons of Adah Esau's wife."
They represented the flesh, and they were the first to fight against Israel after they came out of Egypt.
Ex. 17:8, "Then came Amalek, and fought with Israel in Rephidim."
The only way that Israel defeated them was through prayer and the sword. Every Christian will have to face Amalek (the flesh) after salvation. The only way to prevail is through prayer and the sword of the Spirit. God declared war on Amalek over in Exodus chapter 17.
Ex. 17:16, "For he said, Because the LORD hath sworn that the LORD will have war with Amalek from generation to generation."
Even Balaam the disobedient prophet knew that Amalek would perish.
Num. 24:20, "... Amalek was the first of the nations; but his latter end shall be that he perish for ever."
God told Israel to remember Amalek, and they were to blot their remembrance totally out.
Deut. 25:19, "...thou shalt blot out the remembrance of Amalek from under heaven; thou shalt not forget it."
King Saul was told to kill all of the Amalekites, and he disobeyed. This caused him to lose his throne. When God tells his people to do something, and they fail to do it, there are always consequences. These Amalekites were thorns in the side of Israel continually.
I Sam. 15:8, "And he took Agag the king of the Amalekites alive, and utterly destroyed all the people with the edge of the sword."
He lied about it, and an Amalekite took his crown.
2Sa 1:6 And the young man that told him said, As I happened by chance upon mount Gilboa, behold, Saul leaned upon his spear; and, lo, the chariots and horsemen followed hard after him.
2Sa 1:7 And when he looked behind him, he saw me, and called unto me. And I answered, Here am I.
2Sa 1:8 And he said unto me, Who art thou? And I answered him, I am an Amalekite.
2Sa 1:9 He said unto me again, Stand, I pray thee, upon me, and slay me: for anguish is come upon me, because my life is yet whole in me.
2Sa 1:10 So I stood upon him, and slew him, because I was sure that he could not live after that he was fallen: and I took the crown that was upon his head, and the bracelet that was on his arm, and have brought them hither unto my lord.
We all have our 'Amalekites' that we battle every day, and that is the flesh that battles against the spirit. One side or the other will control our thought process and our actions. Many Christians will lose their crown because they would not slay Amalek (the flesh). In the book of Esther we see that Israel is threatened with destruction, because they did not obey God concerning Amalek.
The servants bowed before Haman and reverenced him. But note that Mordecai did not do this.
Est 3:3 Then the king's servants, which were in the king's gate, said unto Mordecai, Why transgressest thou the king's commandment?
Est 3:4 Now it came to pass, when they spake daily unto him, and he hearkened not unto them, that they told Haman, to see whether Mordecai's matters would stand: for he had told them that he was a Jew.
Mordecai was a bit like Daniel. He respected and served God, and would not bow down to worship a man. A bow of respect was permitted in the law, but the Jews were not to bow down and worship false gods.
Ex. 23:24, "Thou shalt not bow down to their gods, nor serve them...."
Deut. 6:4, "Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD."
"Reverence" meant to "worship," for it is rendered that way 99 times in our Bible. To choose the ways of God is rarely a popular choice, but it is always the right choice. Mordecai had previously compromised, but now he refuses to worship a descendant of Amalek.
In verse 3, the king's servants sought to persuade Mordecai. He questions him as to why he transgressed the king's commandment. At long last he testified that he was a Jew. When Peter and the other apostles were brought before the leaders and told to not preach in Jesus' name anymore, Peter spoke out forcefully and without hesitation. They could have been put to death, but Peter was bold and stood his ground.
Acts 5:29, "Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men."
Est 3:5 And when Haman saw that Mordecai bowed not, nor did him reverence, then was Haman full of wrath.
Est 3:6 And he thought scorn to lay hands on Mordecai alone; for they had shewed him the people of Mordecai: wherefore Haman sought to destroy all the Jews that were throughout the whole kingdom of Ahasuerus, even the people of Mordecai.
Haman was a leader, and he wanted to be reverenced and respected. He shows his rage toward Mordecai. If there is anything that the world cannot stand, it is a non-conforming believer. In the news, we constantly hear that we should tolerate groups that promote sin, but they have no tolerance for our beliefs in God and the rules and commandments we live by. The abortionists demand we approve of abortion. The homosexuals demand that we accept homosexuality as an alternate lifestyle. These groups have been successful, and they have the flourishing abortion clinics and the AIDS and other sexual diseases epidemic to prove it. They have convinced the government, the courts, the educational institutions, and much of the religious world to accept their demands. The only holdouts are the Bible believing Christians, and they are infuriated with us because we will not conform. Even the military has been forced to accept homosexuals into their ranks, without regard to the eventual results.
There is not anything good that can be said about Haman. In his rage he plots to kill all the Jews. He did not know that Esther was a Jew, nor did he know what God had said to Abraham.
Gen. 12:3, "And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed."
Pharaoh, the king in Egypt, tried it and failed to destroy the Jews. Complete account of that is in book of Exodus. Haman tried it and failed. Hitler tried it and failed. All of these perished and Israel survived. Now the Islamics are trying it, but they will also fail.
John Gill said this about Haman.
Est 3:5 And when Haman saw that Mordecai bowed not, nor did him reverence,.... For, after the information given him, he observed and watched him, to see whether he bowed and did him reverence or not:
then was Haman full of wrath; exceedingly displeased and angry; it was such a mortification to him he could not bear.
II. A WICKED MAN PLOTS
Est 3:7 In the first month, that is, the month Nisan, in the twelfth year of king Ahasuerus, they cast Pur, that is, the lot, before Haman from day to day, and from month to month, to the twelfth month, that is, the month Adar.
The name of Haman means magnificent, and this is what he thought of himself. He chooses a day to destroy the Jews in the 12th year of King Ahasuerus. The casting of lots was to choose a date to kill the Jews.
Ezek. 21:21, "For the king of Babylon stood at the parting of the way, at the head of the two ways, to use divination: he made his arrows bright, he consulted with images, he looked in the liver."
In the providence of God, the date chosen was for late in the year. We must understand that when he chooses, he did not know that God is in charge of the lot. Many leaders have no idea that their hearts are held in the hand of God and they are not really in control at all.
Prov. 16:33, "The lot is cast into the lap; but the whole disposing thereof is of the LORD."
This long wait would give the Jews time to prepare.
Est 3:8 And Haman said unto king Ahasuerus, There is a certain people scattered abroad and dispersed among the people in all the provinces of thy kingdom; and their laws are diverse from all people; neither keep they the king's laws: therefore it is not for the king's profit to suffer them.
Est 3:9 If it please the king, let it be written that they may be destroyed: and I will pay ten thousand talents of silver to the hands of those that have the charge of the business, to bring it into the king's treasuries.
Haman sets out to convince the King of his evil plot. We see that God's people should be diverse from all the rest of the people. We are to be known as a 'peculiar people' the bible says.
II Cor. 6:17, "Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you."
It is tragic that many do not want to obey this.
Tit 2:11 For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men,
Tit 2:12 Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;
Tit 2:13 Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;
Tit 2:14 Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.
He offers to pay a huge amount into the treasury if this would be done. Some say that this 10,000 talents was as much as two-thirds of the annual budget of he kingdom. Haman must have been wealthy. But rich or not, Haman was a liar and a murderer just like Satan, the one that he served.
John 8:44, "Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it."
The king utterly failed to search out the matter, because he was easily influenced. The bible is clear that decisions of importance are to be studied before we jump to a quick decision. In my own life, few decisions made after time and prayer have ever been wrong. But quick decisions can cause us so many problems.
Prov. 25:2, "It is the glory of God to conceal a thing: but the honour of kings is to search out a matter."
I read a good quote this past week by H. B. Masterman. He said:
God often comforts us, not by changing the circumstances of our lives, but by changing our attitude towards them.
Do we pray and give God the opportunity to guide us and let him see things accurately? In this case, the decision was quick and it was wrong.
Matthew Henry had this to say about Haman.
He bids high for leave to destroy them all, Est_3:9. He knew there were many that hated the Jews, and would willingly fall upon them if they might but have a commission: Let it be written therefore that they may be destroyed. Give but orders for a general massacre of all the Jews, and Haman will undertake it shall be easily done. If the king will gratify him in this matter, he will make him a present of ten thousand talents, which shall be paid into the king's treasuries. This, he thought, would be a powerful inducement to the king to consent, and would obviate the strongest objection against him, which was that the government must needs sustain loss in its revenues by the destruction of so many of its subjects; so great a sum, he hoped, would be equivalent for that. Proud and malicious men will not stick at the expenses of their revenge, nor spare any cost to gratify it.
Est 3:10 And the king took his ring from his hand, and gave it unto Haman the son of Hammedatha the Agagite, the Jews' enemy.
Est 3:11 And the king said unto Haman, The silver is given to thee, the people also, to do with them as it seemeth good to thee.
The king takes off his ring and gives it to Haman along with a commandment. The ring was a symbol of authority and contained the seal of state which made documents official. While the king refused the money, he still approved of the evil plan.
Est 3:12 Then were the king's scribes called on the thirteenth day of the first month, and there was written according to all that Haman had commanded unto the king's lieutenants, and to the governors that were over every province, and to the rulers of every people of every province according to the writing thereof, and to every people after their language; in the name of king Ahasuerus was it written, and sealed with the king's ring.
Est 3:13 And the letters were sent by posts into all the king's provinces, to destroy, to kill, and to cause to perish, all Jews, both young and old, little children and women, in one day, even upon the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, which is the month Adar, and to take the spoil of them for a prey.
Haman allowed to write the cruel law and seal it with the kings ring. He calls the King's Scribes on the 13th of the month and they wrote the commandment. Men, women and children were to be killed and their wealth taken for a spoil. . The "posts" was the messenger service, which may have operated somewhat like the pony express. They spread the word and got it out to all the people. You and I too are messengers for God. Are we faithful to witness about Christ. There is good news for both Jew and Gentile. We have a God who sent His only begotten son to die on calvary to save all who will accept him from their sin. We have the power, the authority, and the command of God, and many times we are failing to do what He commanded. The great commission in the end of the book of Matthew is not just for pastors. It is for every child of God who knows Christ as Lord and Savior.
Matt. 28:18-20, "And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen."
The spoil or possessions of the Jews was to be a reward for doing the evil work of Haman. The Jews always seem to have the ability to gain wealth, and this has often brought envy and murder to them, in their long history.
Est 3:14 The copy of the writing for a commandment to be given in every province was published unto all people, that they should be ready against that day.
Est 3:15 The posts went out, being hastened by the king's commandment, and the decree was given in Shushan the palace. And the king and Haman sat down to drink; but the city Shushan was perplexed.
They made copies of the commandment and it was given to every province and published unto all the people. The day of death was widely published and greatly anticipated. The wicked duo have a drinking party, completely uncaring that they have issued the death warrant for all the Jews. .
Amos 6:6, "That drink wine in bowls, and anoint themselves with the chief ointments: but they are not grieved for the affliction of Joseph."
How sad it is that many churches today are having fun, frolic, and food, while all around sits a world of people who are doomed for hell without the saving gospel of Jesus Christ. Food and good times are not forbidden by God, but we have houses to eat in and a responsibility to try and reach the lost of this world.
Outline provided by E. L. Bynum
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