Daily reading

Today’s reading is: Est. 1-4; Ezra 6:14-22; 4:6


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Esther Chapter One

  1. The drama of Esther begins with the Persian King Ahasuerus and his self-manifested glory (Est. 1:1-9).
    1. Ahasuerus is better known by his Greek name: Xerxes (486-465BC).
    2. Xerxes’ assembly of princes in the 3rd year of his reign is attested in secular history (Herodotus vii.8).
    3. The geographic description of 127 provinces from India to Ethiopia is likewise confirmed by secular history.
  2. Queen Vashti’s refusal to be displayed before the Persian princes is not explained in this passage (Est. 1:10-12).  If we correctly identify her with the historical Queen Amestris, then at this time she is pregnant with Artaxerxes.
  3. Ahasuerus’ advisors warned him about a pending rebellion by Persian noblewomen everywhere if Vashti is not punished (Est. 1:13-22).

Esther Chapter Two

  1. Ahasuerus’ advisors recommend a New Queen Audition Contest (Est. 2:1-4).
  2. The beautiful virgin selected from Susa to compete in the NQAC was an orphaned Jewish girl named Hadassah (Est. 2:5-11).
    1. She had been raised by her uncle Mordecai after her parents death.
    2. She has hidden her racial background all her life, taking the Persian name “Esther.”
    3. Mordecai was a Benjamite and apparently a eunuch in the Persian court.
    4. Esther found favor in the eyes of the chief Eunuch in charge of virgins—Hegai.
  3. Esther’s audition goes very well, and Ahasuerus gives her the Queen’s crown (Est. 3:12-20).
  4. Mordecai discovers a plot against Ahasuerus, and through Esther saves the King’s life (Est. 2:21-23).

Esther Chapter Three

  1. Rather than reward Mordecai for his service (Est. 2:21-23 cf. 6:1-3), Ahasuerus promoted Haman to a position of authority second only to his own (Est. 3:1-2a).
  2. Mordecai’s daily refusal to pay homage became a source of anger to Haman (Est. 3:2b-5).
  3. Haman’s rage motivated him to murder not only Mordecai, but his entire race (Est. 3:6).
  4. Haman followed the Persian soothsaying practice of throwing the Pur (stone) in order to determine fortunate timing for a planned event (Est. 3:7).
    1. In the Sovereignty of God, the casting of lots provided for nearly an entire year of warning to the Jews of the coming genocide.
    2. The King’s edict cannot be changed (Est. 1:19 cf. Dan. 6:8).

Esther Chapter Four

  1. In response to Haman’s edict, Mordecai undertook a public ministry of humble repentance (Est. 4:1-2).  Mordecai’s response was typical of the mourning of Jews throughout the Persian empire (Est. 4:3).
  2. Hathach the Queen’s Eunuch became the go-between for Esther and Mordecai (Est. 4:5ff.).
  3. Esther offers clothing (and likely sanctuary) to Mordecai (Est. 4:4), but he refuses, and orders Esther to plead their case before the King (Est. 4:8).
  4. Esther fears the danger of approaching the King uninvited (Est. 4:11), but Mordecai advises her that she is in danger regardless (Est. 4:13-14).
    1. She is in danger of Haman’s decree.
    2. She is in danger of refusing her work-assignment of deliverance.
    3. Although God is not mentioned here by name it is clear that Mordecai views Esther’s royal office as the Lord’s provision for this very moment.
  5. Esther accepts Mordecai’s rebuke, and asks for a national three day prayer meeting and fast before she approaches the King (Est. 4:15-17).

Ezra Chapter Six

(Outline continues from Day 262)

  1. The temple is completed on the 3rd of Adar, in the 6th year of King Darius (515BC) (Ezr. 6:13-22).

Ezra Chapter Four

(Outline continues from Day 259)

  1. They engaged in legal/political slander to halt the wall building project (Ezr. 4:6).  They file a שִׂטְנָה sitnāh #7855: legal accusation (from שָׂטַן sātan #7853: adversary, accuser).
    1. There is no recorded response by Ahasuerus to their indictment (Ezr. 4:6). He is known in secular history as Xerxes I (485-465BC).
    2. He is the King of Persia featured in the Book of Esther.  It is perhaps her influence, and/or Mordecai’s influence that keeps Ahasuerus from responding to the Ezra 4:6 accusation.

(Chapter Four continues on Day 266)