Esther was born in Persia multiple generations following the Jews being freed by King Cyrus and allowed to return to Jerusalem. But the trip was a long one and upon arrival in the Promised Land it would be years before all Jews who wished to return could do so due to lack of necessities to support them in the early stages of survival. Following the death of her parents, Esther was raised by her much older cousin, Mordecai, a devout Jew who nevertheless served ably on the staff of King Ahasueras who we know by the Greek translation, Xerxes. Xerxes was a fairly reasonable king and he had no problem living peacefully with his Jewish subjects despite their unwillingness to alter their beliefs. They were hard working and peaceful and he allowed them their faith, but when his then Queen Vashti chose not to to follow his commands, he decided she had to be replaced with the coaxing of several of his ministers, especially Haman. Haman was an evil and very ambitious man who put his efforts to gaining more power by convincing Xerxes that he was his most loyal and faithful supporter. By doing so, many better qualified men were passed over and Haman was made Senior Minister to the King, a position which allowed him to represent the King by having edicts officially approved with the seal of the King's signet, which the King gave him to use. Meanwhile, when the search for a replacement for the Queen was conducted, the beautiful Esther was placed in the competition by her guardian, Mordecai, who knew it would grant her a life where she could support her people should it be needed. He did, however, tell her not to reveal that she was a Jew, for there were many Jews and non-Jew intermingled in Persia and he knew it would be safer if she kept it to herself. She was quickly selected for her beauty and charm and, with the support of Mordecai, a minister to the King who highly respected him greatly, she quickly learned her role and fulfilled it beautifully. What's more, she and the King actually developed great affection for one another and he generally granted her whatever she wished. She never asked for too much and was always grateful, and that furthered his admiration for her.
Not long after her coronation, Mordecai received information about a plot to kill the King and his warning led to the capture and execution of the culprits. The King made a note in his diary about the event and it served to make him think even more highly of the Queen's relative and former guardian. This afforded him regular access and visitation time with the Queen and it was used to jointly worship their faith in Hebrew and in private to keep them both steadfast in their love for Jehovah. It would play a part again soon just ahead.
Haman despised Mordecai because of the very favorable treatment he had in the King's court and he wanted to end that once and for all. So, he put his newfound powers to powers to use by issuing an edict, stamped with the seal of the signet, that all subjects, including those on the royal court, had to bow to Haman, recognizing him as the man with the power to do the King's bidding. King Xerxes had mistakenly thought the Haman would never abuse his power, so trusting of the man that he sometimes was blinded to the truth. On any occasion when Haman would pass Mordecai, the wise man would refuse to bow, saying that the only one he ever bowed to in the King's court was the King himself, for it was the King who was the power, not Haman. The arrogant Haman was furious and decided to push harder. He even convinced the King that it might be appropriate to kill Mordecai if he wouldn't give appropriate respect to the first Minister of he government. The King put that under advisement but the evil Haman on his own pushed forward with a plan to kill all Jews, using them as a scapegoat for his ambitious overreach. Mordecai learned of his plan and decided he had to do something to inform the King.
During one of his routine visits to the Queen's residence, Mordecai informed her of the plot being proposed and when it was likely to take place. He implored his younger cousin to inform the King and ask for his intervention, otherwise the entire Jewish population would be destroyed and with it all of their history and the artifacts they maintained forever. He also reminded her that it if came to pass the Haman would finally figure out that Esther was also a Jew. She reminded him that she was not fearful for herself, but she was concerned about those of her heritage. She knw that those Jews in Persia had a wealth of information that would play a part in the written Bible when that time came and Mordecai knew that God would not be pleased if it was destroyed. Esther also knew that by approaching the King without a summons, she could immediately be put to death as that was common in Persia. And she had seen how such punishment had been delivered against anyone so foolish, whether the King liked or loved them or not. But she also knew from her upbringing that this was something she must do. And so, she took time to pray to God to give her a plan that would work while giving her protection as well. She would know quickly when she approached whether the King would treat her with favor or not.
As she approached him not long thereafter, King Xerxes held out his golden scepter, the signal that she was granted his protection. She quickly invited him to a special meal and asked that he bring Haman, his special minister to learn of her request. He told her that when they next met he would give her his blessing. Later, at the meal, Esther, Xerxes' Queen, told him that she had concerns but rather than fill in the details, she asked the two of them to join her the next day where she would reveal her special wish. In this way, she indirectly notified Haman that he could not continue presently with his evil plans and she knew the King would say yes, for he had already made that commitment to her and he was a man of his word.
Haman quickly became aware that something was amiss, but he had no way of knowing exactly what was up and would have to rely on his quick mind when he discovered the cause. And so, the next day came and the follow-on meal was held and when the King said he would grant her wish, Queen Esther explained what was going on in the Kingdom and that Haman was the culprit. Xerxes rose from his throne, showed visible distress and rushed out of the room. Haman, now in fear for his life, approached and begged the Queen for forgiveness, but clumsily lost his balance and fell onto the lounge where Esther was reclining. When the King reappeared, it appeared that Haman was assaulting the Queen and the King had him removed and quickly impaled on the stake that the evil man had planned to use on Mordecai. Esther had remained cool, confident that all of her actions were done in a way that God approved of, and was rewarded by the King with a new edict throughout the land that protected the Jewish people and their possessions throughout Persia. Thereafter, Queen Esther became someone who the King would call on routinely in solving all problems and serving Persia well.
From a childhood as a minority citizen in proud and powerful Persia, to a Queen who stood beside the King in all issues he faced and from whom he needed support, Esther became a faithful steward of God's will and His love throughout the land. And that, my friends. is a powerful example of divine womanly leadership. She could have cowered in fear and still probably retained a lifestyle of opulence, but she also knew that she would be cursed if she didn't follow what she discerned through faith to be what she was expected to do. I think that is a great story with a fantastic ending and its why I shared it today. God bless you all and keep His light shining bright on all that you do.