Esther 1:13-22 (Master of the House)

Esther 1:1322
Master of the House

There are probably as many reasons to have faith in the word of God as there are people who read the word of God. Each person who picks it up and finds strength in their faith through it does so because it speaks to them personally. In strengthening their faith, their assurance of the word itself is also strengthened.

Though it is as common as candy bars at 7-11 today for people to say they trust the Christian God in general, or the Lord Jesus in particular, and yet not trust the Bible, that is a logical contradiction. One cannot say he trusts the Lord properly in one breath, and then say he does not trust the source which tells of Him in another.

Not only is it illogical, but frankly, being illogical, it is then also stupid. It would be like saying, “The neighbor built a new concrete house next door to us, but I don’t believe it’s concrete.” “Did you see them build it?” “Yes.” “Did they use concrete?” “Yes.” So, why don’t you believe it’s concrete?” “I just don’t believe it is. They aren’t the kind of people to live in a concrete house.” “So you’re basing your idea about the makeup of the house on what you think, not on what it is made up of.” “Of course! Why would I ever believe that they would live in a concrete house.” Any normally thinking person would find that both illogical and stupid. And yet, the number of people who say they believe in Jesus, but then say that they don’t believe in the word which tells us about Jesus could fill the Pacific Ocean.

But enough about them. For those who actually read the word, accept it as the word, and who then are strengthened in their faith concerning the word, they do so for a ton of reasons. Some, because they find it uplifting, just as God Himself is uplifting. Some because they see the harmony in the message – stretching from Genesis to Revelation. And yet, it was authored by 40 or so men, over 1600 years, in several languages, and in various countries. Despite this, it is seamless and continuous in what it states, how it states it, and the way things are stated.

Some realize that Jesus is revealed pretty much everywhere, and so they come to strength of faith because of this. We could go on and on with things like this because this word is an inexhaustible source of information, wonder, and delight. If we treat it as such, it will always fill our lives with the faith it was intended to impart.

Text Verse: The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but those things which are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law.” Deuteronomy 29:29

For me, all of the things I just mentioned increase my faith in the word, and also in the Lord who gave us the word. But one of the things that just amazes me, and which I can always refer to in my mind when I have doubts, is the patterns found in the Bible. There are numerical patterns, there are pictorial patterns, and there are word patterns. There are also literary patterns such as poetic, chiastic, parallelistic, and acrostic. It goes on and on.

Many of the patterns overlap. Many of the patterns have only been discovered in the past few years. Some of them in the… past few days. And then some that were discovered in the past have been built upon by others using new technologies. Today, guess what we will see in some of our verses? If you said to yourself, “Patterns,” give yourself an A+. We’ll start with some today, and they will continue to develop in the chapters to come.

If you are like me, these will help you in your times of doubt. “Lord, are You there? I feel distanced from You.” Just think on the word, remember the patterns, and they will let you know that He is, in fact, there. If He spent so much time hiding stuff in this word that has never been seen before in order to bring the curious mind to a state of ecstasy, how much more do you think He wants you to trust the stuff that is right there in the open! Be of good cheer. He is there. He has not forsaken you nor abandoned you. This is some of the marvel to be found His superior word. And so let’s turn to that precious word once again and… May God speak to us through His word today and may His glorious name ever be praised.

I. A Question of Law (verses 13 & 14)

13 Then the king said to the wise men

The words here show that the king, though probably rather incensed at the embarrassing situation, still had enough restraint to not fly off the handle. It needs to be remembered that this has been a banqueting party, and he certainly would have been enjoying the banqueting. That alone is enough to lower one’s restraint. But further, he was embarrassed in front of everyone who attended the party, regardless of the propriety of his initial request – something noted in our last sermon. And yet, he kept his demeanor as a wise king before deciding anything, and refers to his wise men.

What type of “wise men” referred to here is debated. The word is a common one which simply indicates intelligent, skillful, and wise-hearted. Some scholars define the counselors of a Persian king as being in two categories. The first being astrologers and astronomers who looked to the heavens for direction. The second would be those schooled in laws and customs of the empire.

Others disagree and state that, unlike the Babylonians, diviners and astrologers were not a known part of the Persian kingdom. Regardless of this, in this case and for the type of decision, the words of the wise men seem to point to a body of men who were familiar with law and custom, rather than seekers of divination. This is seen in the following words…

13 (con’t) who understood the times

The king’s counselors had an understanding of the state of the empire, how Vashti’s actions might affect it, and what the consequences of not taking action appropriate to the situation might be. In saying they “understood the times,” it is almost a metonymy where the things done in the times are spoken of as the times themselves.

The same type of thought is seen in 1 Chronicles 12:32 when the men of Issachar were said to have an understanding of the times concerning David’s position as king. They knew of the importance of aligning with him to unite the kingdom of Israel into one body and then to further the army in that state.

13 (con’t) (for this was the king’s manner toward all who knew law and justice,

Although not a king of Israel, Ahasuerus here displays the wisdom of Solomon. Several times in the proverbs, he expresses a similar thought to that of Proverbs 15:22 –

Without counsel, plans go awry,
But in the multitude of counselors they are established.” Proverbs 15:22

Instead of arbitrarily rendering a decision, or making one without consulting others who were skilled in law and justice, the king sought out his counselors. This was not a trait particular to Ahasuerus though. It was considered the right thing to do among each of the rulers of the empire.

This is expressed in the words davar ha’melekh, or “word (of) the king.” In this sense, the “word” doesn’t signify his command, but the matter and manner of how the king approached such things. It is similar to how the office of US President works. He has cabinet secretaries, a chief of staff, etc., who are there to consult before rendering a decision. In the end, the Bible says that this is the wise path to follow. As such, it is something that we all should apply to our own decisions. Is there someone that you can turn to when you need to make an important decision? Along with prayer to the Lord, seeking out wise human advice is the right thing to do when matters could otherwise go awry.

14 those closest to him being Carshena, Shethar, Admatha, Tarshish, Meres, Marsena, and Memucan, the seven princes of Persia and Media,

This verse closes out a set of two’s. The first was in verse 1:10, listing the seven servants of the king. Now it lists the second set of seven servants of the king. As I said in the previous sermon, two’s in the Bible signify a contrast and yet a confirmation of something. These contrast as they were seven lowly eunuchs and then seven high nobles, but they confirm the orders of the king in regards to Queen Vashti.

For now, like the eunuchs in verse 10, some of the names here are very difficult to pin down as to their meaning. To attempt to find a secret code in them would be an act of finding what one is looking for, rather than finding what is actually intended. But what is interesting is that the number seven arises again. There were seven eunuchs, sent out on the seventh day of the feast, and there are now seven counselors to the king. It is apparent that, like Israel, the number seven was an important one to the Persians.

Some say this is because of the seven planets known at the time, or that it is because of the seven-day cycle which permeates cultures, and which directs the movement of man. Or finally, the seven counselors may have been selected in order to correspond to the seven Amshaspands, or “glorious ones” of the spiritual and mental worlds. These go back to the Babylonian empire, but were known to the empire of the Persians and Medes as well. For whatever reason, the number seven is known to play an important part in the kingdom of the Persians and Medes. This is true with the appointment of these seven counselors…

14 (con’t) who had access to the king’s presence, and who ranked highest in the kingdom):

The translation here is more literally stated as, “who seeing the face of the king; those sitting first in the kingdom.” To sit indicates authority in this case, and thus these seven possessed authority equal to one another, but below that of the king. These seven counselors are most likely similar to those referred to again in Ezra 7:14 at the time of king Atarxerxes. Thus, this is more than just a counsel which would be adjusted based on circumstance and choice of the king. Rather, it was a set number during the duration of the empire.

As they were “seeing the face of the king,” it indicates that they had free and unrestricted access to him. Such was not the case with any others. This will be revealed as we continue through the book. For now, Ahasuerus takes advantage of the wise counsel of these men by asking for their advice.

Is there law and justice in the land?
How shall we approach this thing which has been done?
Can we let what occurred be left to stand?
If not handled, what course will we see run?

There must be order, and there must be law
If not, then things will surely get out of hand
Those who have seen will tell what they saw
No, what occurred cannot be left to stand

Give advice! Tell us what is found in the law
Let us do what is right, so that nothing gets out of hand
Our final decision should be rendered without a flaw
So we will be able to maintain peace throughout the land

II. Memucan’s Advice (verses 15-22)

15 “What shall we do to Queen Vashti, according to law,

The verse actually begins with, ke’dath mah la’asot, or “according to law, what shall we do.” “According to law” prefixes the question, as a strong stress. Further, there is no article in front of “law.” In other words, and as a paraphrase, “Legally, what is required?” Queen Vashti is placed as a subject of the kingdom, and thus one not immune from the standards set within the kingdom.

Along with that, it appears that the king is acting in a completely dispassionate manner concerning what should be decided. In all, the entire matter is being held as a breach of that which is legal and against the throne, rather than a mere offense to the king personally. This is then more fully expressed in the next words…

15 (con’t) because she did not obey the command of King Ahasuerus brought to her by the eunuchs?”

The king doesn’t say, “because she did not obey my command.” Instead, he refers to himself in the third person with, “the command of King Ahasuerus.” Here it uses a word, maamar, or command, which is found only three times in the Bible, and all are right here in Esther. It is derived from the word amar, or “said,” and thus it indicates a command, because it is the stated word of the king.

Interestingly, the first time it is used is here from the mouth of the king. The second will be from Mordecai, the cousin of Esther, and the third will be a command from Esther herself. It is an implicit note of the importance of both Mordecai and of Esther.

One point that John Gill makes while citing ancient sources, and which is worth repeating, is that it very well may be that all of this has occurred while the king and his counselors were still under the wine’s influence. He says, “it was the manner of the Persians at festivals, and when inflamed with wine, to consult and determine about matters of the greatest moment; yea, reckoned their counsels and decrees firmer than when made when they were sober; so the ancient Germans.”

If this is so, one can imagine them actually saying this in an open and even slurred way. In other words, this all may have been conducted in front of the entire group gathered before him, and he is making light of the matter while still being precise in the handling of it. The entire episode may be one of conduct outside of a state of sobriety. If so, it might reveal the substance behind the words of verse 2:1. It is all speculation, but it might help us to explain quite a bit to look at it this way.

16 And Memucan answered before the king and the princes:

Of the seven named princes, Memucan was named last, and yet he is the first and only one recorded as voicing an opinion. It is thus suspected then that he was the youngest of the advisers, and so he was asked to speak first. This is something which carried on even in legal circles of England where the puisne judges, and the youngest peers would voice their thoughts first. His advice now shows that there was no known law to cover this situation. Instead of citing law, he cites what the condition is and what should be done to correct it…

16  (con’t) “Queen Vashti has not only wronged the king, but also all the princes,

Before giving advice on what should be done, he gives a major consideration for the king to contemplate. The first portion of that consideration is the scope of the offense. In this, he goes from the specific, the king, to the general, those below the king. He notes that it is true that the king had been wronged, but then he says that the wrong extends also to those below him as advisers.

In other words, this could affect their positions, which would only cause more harm to the king. The royal court itself had been wronged, bringing the entire scope of the throne into question if the matter was to not be handled in a suitable way, appropriate to the level of the offense. But, Memucan doesn’t stop with this. As an adviser to the king, rejection of his advice would be rather embarrassing.

In fact, in 2 Samuel 17, Ahithophel, adviser to Absalom, son of David, gave advice as the king’s adviser which was rejected. The rejection was so displeasing to him that it says that “he put his household in order, and hanged himself.” And so, in order to have the best possible chance that his advice will be looked on favorably, he continues to exemplify the scope of the crime…

16  (con’t) and all the people who are in all the provinces of King Ahasuerus.

Not only was the king wronged, and not only was the royal court wronged – both of which might be straightened out or handled in a suitable fashion – but no indeed! The entire kingdom was affected. Memucan continues from the more specific to the more general, even to the house of every soul within the empire. It is a kingdom which stretched from India to Ethiopia, and which encompassed 127 provinces. To allow this offense to go unpunished would affect the whole sh’bang. To show how this would come about, he turns next to the second portion of his consideration…

17 For the queen’s behavior will become known to all women,

What Vashti did was against her husband, but it was also against the highest authority in the land. Memucan argues that eventually this will get out, and that when it does, all women will hear of it, and it will be known that the king himself was unable to control his disobediant wife. Thus, she will become a model for all women to follow…

17 (con’t) so that they will despise their husbands in their eyes,

Different words are translated as “husband” in the Bible. Though not uncommon, the word used by Memucan here is one of authority, baal. It means “master” or “owner.” The choice is certainly purposeful in using this word. When the conduct of Vashti towards the king is made known to the women of the realm, he argues that the obvious result will be that every woman will despise their baal.

But the wording is stronger than the NKJV makes it. Rather than “they will despise their husbands in their eyes,” it more literally says, “to render their husbands contemptible in their eyes.” In other words, it’s not just that the husbands will be despised, but that they will appear despicable. “If the king is so weak, then how much more is the man I’m married to who is just one of his lowly subjects!” This is the intent of the Hebrew. Memucan is passing along to the ears, and for the consideration of the king, that it will be empire-wide chaos…

17 (con’t) when they report, ‘King Ahasuerus commanded Queen Vashti to be brought in before him, but she did not come.’

The words “when they report” are actually masculine in the Hebrew. The masculine suffix is substituted for the feminine. It is they who usurp the normal order when they appeal to the disobedience of Queen Vashti. She was commanded, and yet she did not come. The entire body of Memucan’s words are intended to ensure that the king would consider no other option than accepting the advice he is to be given based on the consideration which has been laid before him. The king’s authority is in question, the judgments of the advisers are in question, and the order of the entire realm is in question – all because of disobedient Vashti. In fact, the cancer is already about to spread…

18 This very day the noble ladies of Persia and Media will say to all the king’s officials that they have heard of the behavior of the queen.

If you read the older English, KJV, it says, “Likewise shall the ladies of Persia and Media say…” Reading that in today’s English, one would think it is speaking of all of the ladies in the realm. This is not the intent of the words. The Hebrew word is sarah, which is identical to the name of Abraham’s wife, Sarah. It signifies a noble lady, a princess, etc. In older English, and among the more refined English today, the term “ladies” still carries this connotation, but just note that this is speaking of the wives of the nobility. Memucan is moving from the more general toward the more specific once again to prove his point, and to highlight the urgency of the situation which is…

18 (con’t) Thus there will be excessive contempt and wrath.

In marvelous literary fashion, a man after my own heart, Memucan uses two thoughts when but one might be sufficient. He first says a word unique in Scripture bizayon, or contempt. He precedes it with a preposition u-ke’day bizayon, or “and thus sufficient contempt.” The idea of “sufficient” here, however, is one of excessiveness. He then adds in va’qaseph or “and indignation” for good measure.

One would presume that the excessive contempt would be on the part of the wives, and the wrath would be on the part of the husbands. There would snippy attitudes, there would be angry words, and there would be scratches, punches, and shouting matches. Oh my! Could the realm survive? The entire tenor of Memucan’s consideration is given for the maximum effect upon the mind of the king. He is arguing as an orator before longing ears. And so with his words of consideration complete, he next proceeds to a recommended course of action…

19 If it pleases the king,

im al ha’melekh tov. The identical words are repeated by Nehemiah in Nehemiah 2:15. It is a way of saying, “I have a recommendation for the king to consider, and to act upon, if it is good in his eyes.”

19 (con’t) let a royal decree go out from him,

A royal decree is a published decree. It would be sent out to all provinces, and made public to all people. Coming from the king, it was considered established law.

19 (con’t) and let it be recorded in the laws of the Persians and the Medes, so that it will not be altered,

The Hebrew literally reads, “that it may not pass away.” Once recorded as a law, it would be considered fixed, firm, and unchanging. In theory, it is believed that the king could override the law, but it would be at the expense of his own honor to do such a thing. It would be considered weak and vacillating. Further, if it is written into law as recommended, the king couldn’t later blame Memucan for recommending that he dethrone Vashti. He would thus be safe from any later retribution.

This is also the first of another of the author’s use of two’s in the book – the irrevocability of the law is noted here, and then it is noted again in verse 8:8. They contrast as one is concerning the authority of man over woman in the realm, and the second concerns the protection of the Jew throughout the Gentile realm. But they actually confirm what God has ordained in His word. Man is to have authority over the woman, and the Jew is to be preserved as a people forever. Such sets of two’s will continue to be used throughout the book.

19 (con’t) that Vashti shall come no more before King Ahasuerus;

The law is to read that the separation of them was to be, in fact, a permanent divorce. She would never again enter into the presence of the king.

Another backwards acrostic is seen in this verse. The first letters of the words tavow Vashti lipne ha’melekh Akhashverosh, or “shall come Vashti before the king Ahasuerus,” form the word ohalot, or “tents.”

Ohel, or tent, is the word used to describe the tent of meeting, for example, which was seen numerous times in Exodus. The tents of all men of the empire will be affected by the decree, and the tent of the king is now no longer accessible to the dethroned queen. Instead…

19 (con’t) and let the king give her royal position to another who is better than she.

The word Memucan uses for “another” is reuth. It is a rare one, so far only seen once in Exodus. It is a feminine noun which signifies a fellow woman. In other words, Memucan is anticipating one of the royal concubines would be elevated to queen in place of her. This would be the expected course of action, but there is a hidden Force behind the scenes, working toward a particular end in order to highlight, save, and exalt the people called by His name. The Name of that all-seeing Force is secretly hidden in the next words…

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.”

A new word, pithgam, or “decree” is used. It is of Persian origin and it will be seen just two times. Surprisingly, despite being Persian, the second and final time will be by Solomon in Ecclesiastes 8:11. As this is a royal decree, no wife would dare to challenge it and do less than honor her husband. If the queen was dethroned for her act, a common wife – after the edict was published – would possibly be libel to face execution. No other commentary is necessary on the surface. However, to get to the secrets of Esther, we have to stretch our minds a bit. To begin doing that, I’ll translate the sentence in the order that it is written in the Hebrew. It is a little clumsy, but it will still make sense – “And shall be heard decree the king which he shall make in all his kingdom (for great it) and all the wives shall give honor to their masters to from great and unto small.”

By the time we finish Esther, the words here will fit so many varied patterns that you will need a computer to sort them all out… literally. Some of the patterns came out only days before I typed the sermon as Sergio accessed the Superior Word computer over an entire night in order to run a program to find them.

Great scholars, such as Keil and Lange, note the structure of the verse. Lange says, “The predicate nishma (heard) is chosen, since it makes a presupposition for the yitenu (shall give) which is expressed.” In other words, the proclamation of the king will lead to the giving of honor by the wives to their husbands. Keil notes that the parenthetical clause, “for it is great,” is intended to flatter the king’s vanity, and induce an inclination to agree to the proposal.

These are both correct, but the structure is more purposeful than just that. We’ve already noted that the name of the Lord, Yehovah, is never mentioned in Esther. But this teeny book of 10 chapters with 167 verses, is said by one scholar to mention the king 192 times. The kingdom is mentioned 26 times. The name Ahasuerus is mentioned 29 times. That is a lot in so few verses. But it would actually be untruthful to say, Yehovah isn’t mentioned at all. The first time He is seen is in this oddly-structured verse. It is found in a backward running acrostic of the words hi v’kal hanashim yitenu, or “it and all the wives shall give.” YHVH, or Yehovah, is the first letter of each word, in reverse.

That could be mere coincidence, but it isn’t, as you will see.

Further, the verse itself forms an entire acrostic sentence. In proper sequence it reads, Yehovah harekhem mevi, or “Yehovah brings forth your (pl) mountain.”

Mountains in the Bible have a lot of memorable symbolism attached to them, but as an individual symbol, it represents the place where government is established. This is seen, for example, in Isaiah 2 –

Now it shall come to pass in the latter days
That the mountain of the Lord’s house
Shall be established on the top of the mountains,
And shall be exalted above the hills;
And all nations shall flow to it.
Many people shall come and say,
“Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord,
To the house of the God of Jacob;
He will teach us His ways,
And we shall walk in His paths.”
For out of Zion shall go forth the law,
And the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. Isaiah 2:2, 3

This same type of symbolism is used when speaking of Babylon in Jeremiah 51:25. Here in Esther, we can see that the Lord is behind the scenes continuing to bring Israel to the point where their mountain will be brought forth; the place from which Messiah will send forth His law. All of this is being pictured here in Esther. Further, it is rather amazing because this acrostic is found in a verse about the Persian government; its mountain.

The introduction of the Divine Name here brings in several instances of two’s which we already started earlier. First, this instance is spoken by Memucan, a Gentile. There will be four times the divine name Yehovah is seen in an acrostic. This and the third will both be spoken by Gentiles. Also, the first and the third are a pair because they both have the name spelled backwards. However, the first and the second are a pair because they have the Name formed using the initial letters of the four words of which they are comprised.

Further, the first and the fourth are a pair because they are spoken about Queen Vashti and then about Haman. The third and the fourth, as we will later see, will be spoken by Queen Esther and by Haman. But this in turn makes the first and second a pair because they are both in relation to (about and by) a queen, whereas the third and the forth are both in relation to (about and by) Haman.

And more, the first and the third, which both have the Divine Name spelled backward, form a pair revealing the truth that Yehovah is seen overruling what the Gentiles have counseled in order to effect His own purposes. And then even more, the first and the second, which have already been identified as a pair because they are formed from initial letters, both speak of initial facts within the story, and these initial facts are in relation to events where Yehovah initiates His will to overrule the events.

All of this may be confusing, but the information is so beautifully laid out that it is not possibly by random chance. We will see this as we highlight the other sets of twos which will arise as we get to the next three instances of the hidden Divine Name, Yehovah.

21 And the reply pleased the king and the princes, and the king did according to the word of Memucan.

The words here must be taken in a general way simply because the next verse does not say that the matter was recorded in the law of the Persians and Medes. It very well may have been, and it probably was so, but the king may have simply fired Vashti and put out a proclamation concerning wives being obedient to their husbands.

This is the third, and last, reference to Memucan in the Bible. However, some scholars believe that Memucan is the same as the wicked Haman who will be introduced in verse 3:1. If this is so, then the edict of his own suggestion will eventually lead to his own downfall. That can only be speculation, however. Regardless though, the king and the princes were pleased with the reply of Memucan, and his suggestions were accepted as far as the final verse now notes…

22 Then he sent letters to all the king’s provinces,

The king’s decree went forth copied as individual letters for each of the 127 provinces of the kingdom. It is noted by Herodotus that this was the first standardized postal system of its kind, one which is said to have been an excellent operation. Word was transmitted quickly, efficiently, and throughout the entire kingdom.

22 (con’t) to each province in its own script,

It is not known how many different scripts were used throughout the empire, but it would be a large number. In order to have competent scribes, people would certainly have been brought to the royal palace from each province, and there given an intensive study in the Persian language. From there, they would be maintained as scribes for all royal edicts and other governmental notices.

22 (con’t) and to every people in their own language,

This is an important addition to the verse. There can be many languages which use the same script. To send a note in German could be read, but maybe not understood, by the English. The same is true with the various languages which use Cyrillic symbols, but which are entirely different when spoken. The system employed to ensure all scripts and languages were clearly transmitted must have been massive. But for something as important as the next words, it was a necessary thing to have. They are good and relieving words for the often downtrodden and commonly ignored husband…

22 (con’t) that each man should be master in his own house,

Such words of wisdom. They go back to the creation of man, and they have often been interrupted by bad influence concerning what is right. Solomon speaks quite a bit on the matter, in the positive, and in the negative. In just one proverb, he defines both –

An excellent wife is the crown of her husband,
But she who causes shame 
is like rottenness in his bones.” Proverbs 12:4

From this point on, at least in the kingdom of Ahasuerus, things would be a lot better for the once overwhelmed man of the house. He was now officially appointed as master. A good deal indeed.

*22 (fin) and speak in the language of his own people.

The verse and the chapter close out with some of the most complicated words of the book. The thought, at least translated as it is here, has nothing to do with what occurred with Vashti, and so it seems to have nothing to do with the edict at all. Before analyzing it then, we should see how various translators have handled them –

using his native tongue. NIV

should say whatever he pleases. NLT

speak according to the language of his people. ESV

it should be published according to the language of every people. KJV

should be in charge of their wives and children. CEV

should be the master of his home and speak with final authority.  GNT

be the ruler in his own house and speak with authority. GWT

should publish it according to the language of his people. ERV

The intent here is that the man is to rule his house. If he has a foreign wife, she and the children were to be subject to him. They were to speak his language, thus he would be in control of the house, not a side piece to be picked on in a foreign tongue. This exact occurrence is seen in the book of Nehemiah –

In those days I also saw Jews who had married women of Ashdod, Ammon, and Moab. 24 And half of their children spoke the language of Ashdod, and could not speak the language of Judah, but spoke according to the language of one or the other people.” Nehemiah 13:23, 24

This was not to be accepted within the realm. The husband was to be master of the house, and the structure of the family would be based on that, including the language which he spoke. In this, there would be much less discontent for the once neglected, over-worked, and under-appreciated man of the house.

We’re finished with the first chapter of Esther, and frankly as I typed this (26 February, a few weeks before you got to hear it), I was completely excited about what lay ahead. I hope you feel the same now. The story itself is just fun to read and analyze. With the added bonus of hidden acrostics and the like, it is like opening a treasure chest and seeing wondrous riches.

But let’s also not miss the overall subject while analyzing the details. There is an ultimate point to what we have started in Esther. It is the protection of the Jewish people in order for God to reveal Himself in and through them. He’s done it in the word, as we have seen today, but He has also done it for His people, even in exile – just as His word said He would.

In the protection of Israel, despite their state as exiles and being subjected to foreign rule for disobedience to Him, we see that God is faithful to His covenants through the patriarchs and through Moses, and He is also faithful to His promises which predate those covenants. He said He would send a Redeemer all the way back in Genesis, and He is continuing to work on that promise here in Esther. By preserving Israel, He is preserving the line through whom He would enter the stream of humanity. This is the message of Scripture. Messiah is coming; Messiah has come; Christ will come again. Be assured and reassured of this.

Closing Verse: “For My own sake, for My own sake, I will do it;
For how should 
My name be profaned?
And I will not give My glory to another.”
Isaiah 48:11

Next Week: Esther 2:1-11 Beautiful virgins brought to Shushan. What does it mean? (In Search of a Queen) (3rd Esther sermon)

The Lord has you exactly where He wants you. He has a good plan and design for you. At times, you might feel as if he has no great purpose for you in life, but he has brought you to this moment to reveal His glory in and through you. So follow Him and trust Him and He will do marvelous things for you and through you.

Master of the House

Then the king said to the wise men
Who understood the times
(For this was the king’s manner
Toward all who knew law and justice, and how to handle crimes 

Those closest to him being Carshena
Shethar, Admatha, Tarshish, Meres, Marsena, and Memucan also
The seven princes of Persia and Media
Who had access to the king’s presence; anytime they could go

And who ranked in the kingdom highest
To them his voice he then addressed

What shall we do to Queen Vashti according to law
Because she did not obey the command
Of King Ahasuerus brought to her by the eunuchs?”
She has flippantly disobeyed my demand!

And Memucan answered before the king and the princes:
Queen Vashti has not only wronged the king
But also all the princes
And all the people who are in all the provinces of King Ahasuerus
———-to them also she has done this thing! 

For the queen’s behavior will become known
———-to all women, so that they will despise
Their husbands in their eyes

When they report, ‘King Ahasuerus commanded
Queen Vashti to be brought in before him, but she did not come
———-she refused what he demanded! 

This very day the noble ladies of Persia and Media
Will say to all the king’s officials; just do the math!
That they have heard of the behavior of the queen
Thus there will be excessive contempt and wrath 

If it pleases the king, let a royal decree go out from him
And let it be recorded in the laws of the Persians and the Medes
So that it will not be altered
That Vashti shall come no more before King Ahasuerus
———-for her wicked deeds

And let the king give her royal position; surely you will agree
To another who is better than she 

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
It will be a slam dunk, and also a checkmate

And the reply pleased the king and the princes
———-it was really spot on
And the king did according to the word of Memucan

Then he sent letters to all the king’s provinces
To each province in its own script
And to every people in their own language
And this is what the letters did depict

That each man should be master in his own house
Great advice indeed
And speak in the language of his own people
Yes, each man his own house he should lead

Lord God, thank You for Your presence that is with us
Even when we don’t realize that You are there
Because You sent Your own Son Jesus
We can know that You truly do care

And so Lord, be real to us in a wonderful new way
Open our minds and our hearts to seeing You always
Through every step we take, and throughout every day
Be real to us, O God, and to You will shall give all of our praise

Hallelujah and Amen…

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