The story of the Bible's Queen Esther is filled with intrigue, romance, bravery, and honor. It is the story of a queen who became the savior of her people through a curious mix of fate and charm. It is also a story of remarkable love and devotion. This is Purim.
The story's setting is when Israel was in captivity to Babylon. The ruler of the Persian Empire is called Ahasuerus in the Bible and is historically known as Xerxes (486-465 B.C.) Ahasuerus divorced his Queen Vashti and began searching for a new queen to take her place at his side.
While Ahasuerus was having 'fair young virgins' brought before him for choosing his queen, a captive from Jerusalem named Esther had been residing in the 'house of women' where she was favored and began what was known as the purification process in order to be brought before the king. The 'keeper of women' wasn't aware of Esther's Jewish heritage. - Soundtrack Music Song
When time arrived for the meeting, Esther was introduced to King Ahasuerus and he fell in love with the lovely and graceful Esther. She was chosen as his wife and queen. Through Mordecai's instincts of caution and warning, it was not revealed to the king that his new bride was Jewish in origin.
How special Esther must have felt! She had no idea at this point that she would become the savior of her people. She didn't have a clue what would be happening in her life, but she did know that she was chosen by the king, and the love he immediately felt for her must have been evident in her eyes.
Every story, good or bad, seems to need a 'bad guy' character. Enter Haman, who came into power beneath the king. This man hated all Jews and talked King Ahasuerus into ridding the kingdom of Jews. He didn't know, as the king didn't, that Queen Esther herself was a Jew.
Unfortunately, Ahasuerus listened to Haman and made the decree. Mordecai was very unhappy, as was Queen Esther upon hearing the news. What should she do? Her husband felt that Haman was his friend. In those days, no one, including the queen, could appear before the king without being summoned. To do so is asking for a death sentence. But Queen Esther knew that only the king could deal with Haman's deceit and she had to risk death to get him to see this.
Did Queen Esther suspect that Ahasuerus had such devout love that he would let no harm come to her? We don't know. Would Haman talk the king into having the queen killed for daring appear without being called? Again, we don't know. We do know that the king clearly trusted Haman and his advice, so Queen Esther's plan was made at significant personal risk.
Esther ordered all Jews to hold a fast for three days and nights to request God's intervention in this vital matter. She herself would also be fasting, and after that time would go to the king although it was against the law to do so.
On day three, Queen Esther donned her royal attire and stood in the inner court of the palace, surely fearing what her fate might be at the moment the king saw her there. Ahasuerus, loving Esther as he did, did not order her put to death, but 'What wilt thou, Queen Esther? and what is it thy request? It shall be even given thee to the half of the kingdom.' ( Purim )
I'd like to think the queen smiled and was very touched at this point. She must have been thrilled to not only have been spared from death, but to have it followed with a statement of such devotion as the offer of up to half of the kingdom! Did she know in her heart of hearts that her husband would not harm a hair on her head? Did her heart swell with tender love to hear this man grant whatever she wished?
Esther's request was that the king and Haman attend a banquet she prepared. It seems rather odd that she didn't immediately tell this man who loved her what was on her mind and in her heart. But Queen Esther had great wisdom and wise people know that sometimes timing is everything. She could not afford to ruin her one chance to save her people from a certain annihilation. It would be a tragedy of immense proportions. So much depended upon her actions!
After the banquet, Esther asked again for the two of them to come for dinner the following night. Haman, at this point, thought he had won the queen's favor as well as the king's.
The following day at dinner, Queen Esther finally told the king about Haman. Haman begged Esther for his life and fell upon her in his dismay. Ahasuerus had gone for a walk after hearing the crimes of Haman and returned to the room and thought Haman was forcing himself on his beloved queen and ordered Haman to be hung.
Queen Esther was given the house of Haman. Mordecai, earlier in the Book of Esther, had been given a place of power in the kingdom due to his trustworthiness. Another decree was made that Jews were allowed to fight and slay their enemies.
This story of sublime love shows not only how a phenomenal woman can earn the lasting devotion of a loving husband, but shows also how God can and does intervene to perform immense miracles.
The bravery of Esther saved the Jews and the genuine love of a woman by a man gives us a story that brings tears to the most sensitive of souls. Can such love exist? It does, then and now, not only for kings and queens, but for many who have chosen love sincerely and deeply. For those who would do and offer anything for the one they cherish.
Such is the eminence of Queen Esther, who will be remembered infinitely for the life she led and the role she played in saving her people through love and selfless devotion. © 2002 PageWise, Inc http://kyky.essortment.com/queenesther_rtfg.htm