Website: Internet Bible Studies
||Esther Chapter 4:1-17
Distributed by: Internet Bible Studies
Lesson Outline on Esther by: E. L. Bynum
Memory verses for this week: Gal 6:2 Bear ye one another's burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.
Introduction: We continue our study on the book of Esther this week as the Jews now face perilous times due to the wicked plot of Haman.
Every Jew is now facing perilous times, and if God does not intervene, they will be wiped out by the wicked plot of Haman. It has been estimated that there were about 15 million Jews in the kingdom of Persia, which stretched from India to Ethiopia.
A small number of the Jews had returned to Jerusalem under Ezra and Nehemiah, but most of them were still scattered among the other provinces of the Persian Empire. The ones that returned to the land were busy trying to rebuild the Temple and the walls of Jerusalem. They were trying to carry on the worship and service of God.
The Jews in Shushan and elsewhere in Persia were not practicing their Jewish religion. The proof of this is to be found in the fact that they fasted and mourned, but there is no mention of prayer being offered to God during this crisis.
We must remember that the Jews were in captivity because of their sin and rebellion against God.
II Chron. 36:15-16, "And the LORD God of their fathers sent to them by his messengers, rising up betimes, and sending; because he had compassion on his people, and on his dwelling place: But they mocked the messengers of God, and despised his words, and misused his prophets, until the wrath of the LORD arose against his people, till there was no remedy."
Now they are continuing to reap the bitter fruits of their sins. A merciful God had made a promise to Abraham and he will keep it.
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."
All the Messianic prophecies were tied to the survival of the Jews, and our all powerful God will work to bring it to pass.
I. THE DISPLAY OF GRIEF
Est 4:1 When Mordecai perceived all that was done, Mordecai rent his clothes, and put on sackcloth with ashes, and went out into the midst of the city, and cried with a loud and a bitter cry;
Est 4:2 And came even before the king's gate: for none might enter into the king's gate clothed with sackcloth.
Est 4:3 And in every province, whithersoever the king's commandment and his decree came, there was great mourning among the Jews, and fasting, and weeping, and wailing; and many lay in sackcloth and ashes.
Verse 1 shows that Mordecai was in great sorrow over the situation. The renting or tearing of clothes was a sign of great grief.
II Sam. 1:11, "Then David took hold on his clothes, and rent them; and likewise all the men that were with him."
The sackcloth and ashes is also a sign of grief. When calamity befell Job, the bible says he repented, but in our lesson we see no sign of repentance.
Job 42:6, "Wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes."
Neh. 9:1-2, "Now in the twenty and fourth day of this month the children of Israel were assembled with fasting, and with sackclothes, and earth upon them. And the seed of Israel separated themselves from all strangers, and stood and confessed their sins, and the iniquities of their fathers."
Now we see the importance of the promotion of Mordecai. At the time, this did not seem significant, but now it is very important.
Est 2:19 And when the virgins were gathered together the second time, then Mordecai sat in the king's gate.
Now as an important ruler sitting in the gate he had access to the decree of the king. It is important for those who know the truth, to make it known, no matter what the cost. He is openly taking a stand as a Jew there in verse 2. When we have an opportunity 'to make up the hedge' for the Lord, we need to do it. Too many today just keep quiet, and evil is flourishing in every aspect of our lives. I saw this week that the American Psychiatric Association said that pedophiles are a 'victim of society' due to the harsh way we perceive them. It is time people realize that the bible is very clear on what happens when you do evil or if you do good.
Gal 6:3 For if a man think himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceiveth himself.
Gal 6:4 But let every man prove his own work, and then shall he have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another.
Gal 6:5 For every man shall bear his own burden.
Gal 6:6 Let him that is taught in the word communicate unto him that teacheth in all good things.
Gal 6:7 Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.
Gal 6:8 For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.
Prov. 24:11-12, "If thou forbear to deliver them that are drawn unto death, and those that are ready to be slain; If thou sayest, Behold, we knew it not; doth not he that pondereth the heart consider it? and he that keepeth thy soul, doth not he know it? and shall not he render to every man according to his works?"
No grieving person was ever allowed to go anywhere near the king, so he is at the gate. The king was kept in an artificial paradise. While he lived the high life, the poor Jews mourned throughout Persia. While there was a lot of mourning, no where is there mention of repentance or prayer. The reason why revival tarries in the 21st Century, is because there is little repentance and prayer. When we have a humble and contrite heart, God hears our prayers and responds.
Isa 57:15 For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones.
Est 4:4 So Esther's maids and her chamberlains came and told it her. Then was the queen exceedingly grieved; and she sent raiment to clothe Mordecai, and to take away his sackcloth from him: but he received it not.
Est 4:5 Then called Esther for Hatach, one of the king's chamberlains, whom he had appointed to attend upon her, and gave him a commandment to Mordecai, to know what it was, and why it was.
Est 4:6 So Hatach went forth to Mordecai unto the street of the city, which was before the king's gate.
Esther is told of the grief of Mordecai, and she too is grieved, but did not know the cause. She loved her cousin, and desired that he have new garments, but he refused them. Many times we try to help those we love with gifts and presents, when many times our presence would be a much greater gift to the one in grief. Hatach who attended to the queen was sent to investigate what was wrong with Mordecai. Hatach was likely a Eunuch, and may well have been a Jew.
Est 4:7 And Mordecai told him of all that had happened unto him, and of the sum of the money that Haman had promised to pay to the king's treasuries for the Jews, to destroy them.
Est 4:8 Also he gave him the copy of the writing of the decree that was given at Shushan to destroy them, to shew it unto Esther, and to declare it unto her, and to charge her that she should go in unto the king, to make supplication unto him, and to make request before him for her people.
Est 4:9 And Hatach came and told Esther the words of Mordecai.
Mordecai unfolded the whole plot to the queen's chamberlain. He unfolded a copy of the writing of the decree to the one who attended Esther so all the truth could be made known. This no doubt resulted in Mordecai revealing the shocking news that he was a Jew. It is a shame when Christians keep their relationship to God a secret. If there isn't enough evidence to the lost around you that you would be convicted as a Christian if brought to trial, you probably are not being much of a witness in the work place.
Acts 1:8, "...ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth."
Mordecai sent a copy of the decree, along with a request that Esher reveal she was a Jew and appeal to the king directly. Her chamberlain did as requested and brought the word to Esther.
Matthew Henry said this about the peril of Esther going before the king.
She sent her case to Mordecai, that she could not, without peril of her life, address the king, and that therefore he put a great hardship upon her in urging her to it. Gladly would she wait, gladly would she stoop, to do the Jews a kindness; but, if she must run the hazard of being put to death as a malefactor, she might well say, I pray thee have me excused, and find out some other intercessor.
1. The law was express, and all knew it, that whosoever came to the king uncalled should be put to death, unless he was pleased to hold out the golden sceptre to them, and it was extremely doubtful whether she should find him in so good a humour, Est_4:11. This law was made, not so much in prudence, for the greater safety of the king's person, as in pride, that being seldom seen, and not without great difficulty, he might be adored as a little god. A foolish law it was; for, (1.) It made the kings themselves unhappy, confining them to their retirements for fear they should be seen. This made the royal palace little better than a royal prison, and the kings themselves could not but become morose, and perhaps melancholy, and so a terror to others and a burden to themselves. Many have their lives made miserable by their own haughtiness and ill nature. (2.) It was bad for the subjects; for what good had they of a king that they might never have liberty to apply to for the redress of grievances and appeal to from the inferior judges? It is not thus in the court of the King of kings; to the footstool of his throne of grace we may at any time come boldly, and may be sure of an answer of peace to the prayer of faith. We are welcome, not only into the inner court, but even into the holiest, through the blood of Jesus.
II. THE DEVELOPING OF A PLAN
Est 4:10 Again Esther spake unto Hatach, and gave him commandment unto Mordecai;
Est 4:11 All the king's servants, and the people of the king's provinces, do know, that whosoever, whether man or woman, shall come unto the king into the inner court, who is not called, there is one law of his to put him to death, except such to whom the king shall hold out the golden sceptre, that he may live: but I have not been called to come in unto the king these thirty days.
Mordecai sent a command and challenges Queen Esther to act. The queen lives in luxury, but was kept in seclusion, so there was no way she could meet with Mordecai personally. She might lose her life if she went in before the king without being called. Only the mercy of the king could spare her, and he was known for not being merciful. It is sometimes necessary to hazard our lives for the cause of Christ.
Acts 15:25-26, "It seemed good unto us, being assembled with one accord, to send chosen men unto you with our beloved Barnabas and Paul, Men that have hazarded their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ."
I Cor. 15:30, "And why stand we in jeopardy every hour?"
II Cor. 11:23-27, "Are they ministers of Christ? (I speak as a fool) I am more; in labours more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequent, in deaths oft. Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one. Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep; In journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; In weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness."
Phil. 2:29-30, "Receive him therefore in the Lord with all gladness; and hold such in reputation: Because for the work of Christ he was nigh unto death, not regarding his life, to supply your lack of service toward me."
I hope if my life was on the line, I'd still speak out in the cause of Christ. But none of us will without the grace of God giving us strength. The apostles did it because they were close to God and let the Holy Spirit guide them. Jesus had told them before he died that when the Holy Spirit came he would give them the words to speak in the hour of trial.
Joh 16:13 Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.
Est 4:12 And they told to Mordecai Esther's words.
Est 4:13 Then Mordecai commanded to answer Esther, Think not with thyself that thou shalt escape in the king's house, more than all the Jews.
Est 4:14 For if thou altogether holdest thy peace at this time, then shall there enlargement and deliverance arise to the Jews from another place; but thou and thy father's house shall be destroyed: and who knoweth whether thou art come to the kingdom for such a time as this?
Mordecai warns Esther than she will perish anyway, if all the Jews were killed, for she was a Jew. He revealed his confidence that the Jews would be delivered one way or another. . Did he believe that the great God of the Jews would deliver, or was it just blind faith? He suggested that she had been placed there for this very thing. God does work things after His own counsel as we discussed last week.
John Wesley talked of how this was all in the providence of God.
Est 4:14 From another place - This was the language of strong faith, against hope believing in hope. Who knoweth - It is probable God hath raised thee to this honour for this very season. We should every one of us consider, for what end God has put us in the place where we are? And when an opportunity offers of serving God and our generation, we must take care not to let it slip.
Est 4:15 Then Esther bade them return Mordecai this answer,
Est 4:16 Go, gather together all the Jews that are present in Shushan, and fast ye for me, and neither eat nor drink three days, night or day: I also and my maidens will fast likewise; and so will I go in unto the king, which is not according to the law: and if I perish, I perish.
Est 4:17 So Mordecai went his way, and did according to all that Esther had commanded him.
The queen accepts the challenge and requests that the Jews fast for her venture. There is still no mention of repentance and prayer to a Holy God. This is tragic in view of the fact that these people were the of the seed of Abraham, and heir to all the promised of God. She consents to try, even if it meant she would perish. Sometimes Christians must do what is right no matter the cost.
Acts 20:24, "But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God."
As Esther had asked, Mordecai proclaims the fast. Hopefully they all not only fasted but sought the Lord's help and guidance. Personal efforts avail little, but God can avail much.
The providence of God was clearly working at this time. We need to understand that even though he permits wicked people, wicked rulers and wicked governments, that God is still God and His divine providence is still in control to bring about His will. We see it in all of the events of history, especially those that are recorded in the Bible. Without God's providential working, all of His people and plans for eternity would have perished long ago.
Kings and rulers think that they are in charge of their own destiny, but the bible teaches differently.
Dan. 2:20-21, "Daniel answered and said, Blessed be the name of God for ever and ever: for wisdom and might are his: And he changeth the times and the seasons: he removeth kings, and setteth up kings: he giveth wisdom unto the wise, and knowledge to them that know understanding."
We see God working on the behalf of His people everywhere in the Word of God.
Rom. 8:28, "And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose."
Five points can be learned so far in our study.
1. It was in God's providence that queen Vashti was removed.
2. It was in God's providence that Esther was chosen as queen.
3. It was in God's providence that Mordecai was her cousin, and that he held a minor position in the government.
4. It was in God's providence that Mordecai was promoted and received the information about the plan to kill all Jews.
5. It was in God's providence that Esther would risk her life to save them from extinction. In spite of all the maddening events of life, we must believe that God is still in charge.
"Careless seems the great avenger;
History's pages but record
One death grapple in the darkness,
Twixt old systems and the Word.
Truth forever on the scaffold;
Wrong forever on the throne;
But that scaffold sways the Future;
And, behind the dim unknown
Standeth God, within the shadow,
Keeping watch above His own."
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Prov 4:18 But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day.
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