Esther – part 1

This week, we’re going to take a look at the OT book of Esther. A book that Christians often ignore. Some of you, I’m guessing, might never have heard a sermon on Esther. Yet among the Jewish people, it’s one of the most popular stories. They read it out loud each year at the feast of Purim, a feast commemorating the events of this book.

(In fact, whenever Esther is read at the feast of Purim, every time the arch villain of the story is mentioned, the audience makes disparaging noises. A bit like a bad pantomime. Or if an Australian prime minister turns up to a sporting event. So whenever you read the name ‘Haman’ later in the story – he’s the bad guy – if you really want to get into the spirit of it, you need to boo and hiss. Maybe in your head, if you’re reading this on public transport. )

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Esther – part 2

This week we’re looking at the OT story of Esther. You really need to start from Monday’s post.

Chapter 2

Xerxes is now missing his wife. After all, she was ‘pleasing to look at’. But the irrevocable law of the Persians meant that he couldn’t go back on what he’d decreed. ‘What will I do?’ he thought. ‘If only I were an Australian politician, this would be an easy barnacle to scrape off.’ But he was stuck.

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Esther – part 3

This week we’re looking at the OT story of Esther. You really need to start from Monday’s post.

Chapter 4

Mordecai, of course, finds out about the proclamation. The impending disaster about to come upon him and his people. So he asks Esther to help.

Esther’s scared. She reminds Mordecai that anyone who just ‘drops by’ uninvited to see the king will be killed; even the queen. Unless the king extends his sceptre and welcomes them in. So basically you’re dicing with death over the king’s mood. If he’s got a hangover that morning, you’re gone. So Esther tries to stay out of it.

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Esther – part 4

This week we’re looking at the OT story of Esther. You really need to start from Monday’s post.

Chapter 6

Later that night. The king can’t sleep. Too much wine, perhaps? So his attendants start reading to him from the chronicles of his reign. The official record of events. All the best stuff that’s happened to him as king so far. That should put him to sleep.

But it doesn’t work. Because it just so happens that they’re reading from the bit where Mordecai saved the king from assassination by Bigthana and Teresh. And the king asks, ‘What honour and recognition has Mordecai received for this?’ But there was no record. Nothing was done for him. The king thinks this is outrageous, and decides he’s going to do something about it. But he can’t think of how to reward Mordecai. And no-one was around to suggest a Coles-Myer gift card.

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