Bible Discussion — Esther 1-2

June 25, 2008, 12:30 pm; posted by
Filed under Bible, Chloe, Connie, David, Erin, Josh J, Kaitlin, Steve  | No Comments

This week, Bweinh.com starts a brand new book by discussing the first two chapters of Esther!

PREVIOUS DISCUSSIONS:
Genesis: 1-4 | 5-9 | 10-14 | 15-18 | 19-22 | 23-26
27-29 | 30-32 | 33-36 | 37-39 | 40-43 | 44-46 | 47-50
Exodus: 1-4 | 5-8 | 9-11 | 12-14 | 15-18
19-22 | 23-26 | 27-30 | 31-34 | 35-40
Romans: Ch. 1 | Ch. 2 | Ch. 3 | Ch. 4 | Ch. 5 | Ch. 6 | Ch. 7 | Ch. 8 (I)
Ch. 8 (II) | Ch. 9 | Ch. 10 | Ch. 11 | Ch. 12 | Ch. 13 | Ch. 14 | Ch. 15-16
Luke: 1:1-38 | 1:39-2:40 | 2:41-3:38 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10
11 | 12 | 13 | 14-15 | 16-17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21 | 22 | 23 | 24

 
INTRODUCTION:
David:
The Greek word “diaspora,” used to describe the scattering of the Jews in the Old Testament, carries with it the idea of being sown like seeds. Here is a wonderful example of God powerfully using two of his people who were carefully planted in the right place while in captivity.

 
SOMETHING YOU’D NEVER NOTICED BEFORE:
Connie:
Esther was really Mordecai\’s cousin, not his niece, which made me wonder why he didn\’t marry her. I mean, Jewish law was weird that way anyway”¦

Erin:
Mordecai and Hadassah (Esther) were of the tribe of Benjamin, the youngest brother of the twelve. Once again, God uses the least to bring about salvation.

Chloe:
The men believed it would only take one action of the queen to cause a rebellion throughout the nation.

Josh:
When I heard the story as a kid, I always pictured some kind of beauty contest with everyone assembled, lasting maybe a day or two. I didn\’t realize it was more of a private audition, stretched out over years. A 12-month beauty treatment?!

David:
The feast at the beginning of the book was in the third year of the King\’s reign, but Esther didn\’t appear before him until his seventh year.

Kaitlin:
Xerxes\’ palace is described in ornate detail, from the colors of the curtains to the “mosaic pavement of alabaster, turquoise, and white and black marble.”

 
BEST BAND NAME FROM THE PASSAGE:
Josh: Kings of Babylon
Steve: The Word of Memucan; Seven Eunuchs
Connie: Thus Prepared
Erin: India to Cush
Chloe: Vashti
David: Hegai, Keeper of The Women

 
STORY IT REMINDS YOU OF:
Steve:
The Bachelor or Flavor of Love, or any other loathsome ‘reality’ show where large numbers of women compete for the attention and affection of some pathetic sap. It was even set up the same way, with a dorm where all the ladies stayed until they were individually called in by the man — who would then reserve the right to recall them if they brought him ‘delight.’

David:
Daniel and Joseph, two other godly examples of how to handle prison and exile without giving up on God\’s plan for your life.

Erin:
Weirdly enough — a bizarre version of Cinderella. Royalty hosts a ball for beautiful woman in order to choose a bride.

Chloe:
I just started Arabian Nights, and its tone and premise sounds a lot like Esther.

 
DEEP THEOLOGICAL MEANING:
Kaitlin:
God works throughout the mundane or even completely vain; all the events of our lives are important.

Erin:
Even though God isn\’t mentioned anywhere in this book, it is impossible to miss the presence of loyalty to the Hebrew faith and people. It just goes to show that the Bible must be read with consideration given to the themes and larger messages from God to His people.

David:
The bad (as well as the good) things that happen to us serve to place us exactly where God intends to use us.

 
RANDOM THOUGHT:
Chloe:
One of the eunuchs is named Carcas. That stinks.

Josh:
“After these things, when the wrath of King Ahasuerus subsided, he remembered Vashti, what she had done, and what had been decreed against her.”

So basically he finally sobered up and had a “Dude, where\’s my wife” moment.

Steve:
First verse: “Now it came to pass in the days of Ahasuerus (this was the Ahasuerus who reigned over one hundred and twenty-seven provinces, from India to Ethiopia). . . ”

Oh!! That Ahasuerus!! I always get that one confused with my mechanic.

Erin:
I love the irony in this story. The reason that Xerxes got rid of Vashti was that she had been disobedient, and ostensibly her disobedience will result in “disrespect and discord” among all the women in the land. Then Esther comes along and disobeys the king by coming before him unsummoned, saving a whole nation of people. No disrespect or discord!

Kaitlin:
Is a royal decree all it would have taken to make the wives of Xerxes\’ kingdom completely submissive towards their husbands?

David:
I wonder if Mordecai ever got in trouble for hanging out in front of the Court of the Women every day looking for word from Esther.

“Hey! I told you, pal, you gotta move along!”

“But I\’m waiting to talk to my daughter!”

“Yeah, yesterday she was your niece . . . move along, buddy!”

Connie:
Why did the King need all those drunken advisors to decide what to do about his wife? According to my careful reading, he\’d been partying for over 180 days, so how long was this going to go on?

I side with Vashti on this: how many times had he called her already during that bender? Does “after these things” in chapter 2 mean he\’d sobered up? Maybe he regretted it too, but it was too late by then. Stupid king\’s wine.

And why were there eunuchs serving as guards at the gate — and why were they so mad? I didn\’t think enuchs got that “upset” — isn’t the point of that procedure to remove fury?

 
VERSE TO REMEMBER:
David:
2:6 — “Kish [Mordecai’s great-grandfather] had been carried away from Jerusalem with the captives who had been captured with Jeconiah king of Judah, whom Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon had carried away.”

Erin:
2:20 — “Now Esther had not revealed her family and her people, just as Mordecai had charged her, for Esther obeyed the command of Mordecai as when she was brought up by him.”

Kaitlin:
1:12a — “But Queen Vashti refused to come at the king\’s command brought by his eunuchs . . .” Unwilling to be disgraced, Vashti forfeited position and riches to preserve her integrity.

Connie:
2:18 — “Then the king made a great feast, the Feast of Esther, for all his officials and servants; and he proclaimed a holiday in the provinces and gave gifts according to the generosity of a king.”

Josh:
2:17 — “The king loved Esther more than all the other women, and she obtained grace and favor in his sight more than all the virgins; so he set the royal crown upon her head and made her queen instead of Vashti.”

Steve:
1:20 — “When the king\’s decree which he will make is proclaimed throughout all his empire (for it is great), all wives will honor their husbands, both great and small.” I’m sure that’s exactly what happened…

 
PORTION YOU WOULD MOST LIKE EXPLAINED IN HEAVEN:
Steve:
Eunuchs, eunuchs, everywhere eunuchs. Were the homicidal eunuchs angry at their physical fate, or was it something Ahasuerus said?

Kaitlin:
What was Esther thinking when she was crowned?

 
GENERAL RESPONSE TO THE PASSAGE:
Josh:
We start with an interesting heroine by biblical standards, one whose most distinguishing feature was her outward beauty, while inwardly she was either ashamed or afraid of her faith.

Chloe:
I\’ve always thought of this book as the Cinderella of Biblical literature. It\’s got the tragic beginning, the pauper\’s rise to honor, the great conflict, the villain thwarted, and the heroine and her king living happily ever after.

Steve:
If you really think about it, this whole contest was pretty odious; just another sign that, as we know, God can and will work all things together for good for those who love Him and are called, according to His purpose.

 
LESSON TO TAKE AWAY:
Kaitlin:
Sometimes winning a beauty contest garners more than just a sash and a tiara.

Josh:
We begin to get a profile in how not to be a good leader from an easily angered drunk who makes important decisions while angry and takes advantage of his influence to claim all of the best things for himself.

Chloe:
Honor your guardian.

Connie:
Count the cost of impatience.

 
CONCLUSION:
Connie:
We\’re all human. Ahasuerus and Vashti sounded a lot like King Henry VIII and Queen Catherine, except that Henry was bound by Christian law and ruled by sinful lust. It seemed, to my romantic heart, that Ahas regretted his command to “divorce his wife,” but had no choice — love can\’t overrule a kingly command. Vashti most certainly regretted her frustrating and impulsive decision to deny her husband\’s request, but had to live with its world-changing consequences.

Oh, to travel back in time”¦


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