Book of Esther
There is a book in the Bible
that many believe does not belong there, and that is the Book of Esther.
Those who have read it have been puzzled by it; it is a very curious thing
to find in the Bible; in the entire Book of Esther, it not only does not
mention the name of God once, it doesn't even use the mere title, God,
once. It never mentions prayer to God for help or thanksgiving to God for
deliverance. It is completely and brutally materialistic story of murder
and robbery; and how did this get into the bible in the first place?
First of all, let us summarize
what it says in the Book of Esther. The scene is laid in the Persian empire,
after the overthrow of Babylon by the Medo-Persian empire: Persia swallowed
up Media and it became just the Persian empire.
It opens with the statement
that Ahasuerus gave a six month long feast, or more properly a debauch,
for his nobles. Now, Ahasuerus is, not the name of any person literally,
it means the mighty one, and in English usage it would correspond to "his
majesty." You could not apply it to any king of any kingdom in all world
history, and it would apply as well to one as to another.
Hebrew #325 'Achashverowsh
(akh-ash-vay-rosh'); or (shortened) 'Achashrosh (akhash-rosh') (Esth. 10:1);
of Persian origin; Achashverosh (i.e. Ahasuerus or Artaxerxes, but in this
case Xerxes), the title (rather than name) of a Persian king: KJV-- Ahasuerus.
There has been considerable
speculation as to which Persian king it was talking about, and there is
nothing whatsoever in either the Book of Esther or history to guide them,
but judging by the approximate time it was supposed to have occurred, some
have guessed that this Persian king might have been Xerxes.
'Achashverowsh or (shortened) 'Achashrosh-(Esth. 10:1) Ahasuerus = "I will
be silent and poor"; the title of the king of Persia, probably Xerxes
Some modern translations
put in the name Xerxes, which is downright forgery and falsification because,
in any of the original version of the Book of Esther, it doesn't name anyone
specifically. All the known history of Xerxes' reign proves that the events
of the Book of Esther did not take place during his reign.
So anyway, this un-named
king gave a six month long feast for his nobles, and it mentions who plentiful
the wine supply was, and at the end of a six month debauch for the nobles,
he gave a lesser party of one week for the less important people who worked
at the palace.
While drunk, he commanded
that his queen, Vashti, be brought out and shown to the people, that they
could see her beauty; and if you think that meant Vashti being brought
out dressed in royal robes, it didn't. She was to be brought out naked,
so they could see her physical beauty.
Well, she, (supposedly -
performing as such) being a dignified and moral woman, refused to do this.
So the drunken king called a council of some seven or eight of his drunken
nobles to decide what should be done to punish a queen who refused to do
what her husband told her to do. And, by the way, you cannot find a Persian
name among all these nobles; they are all Semitic and Babylonian names.
These noblemen said, "Well, this is more serious than you realize: it is
not only that she defied you, but if you let her get away with this, then
our wives will also refuse to obey us, and every husband in the kingdom
is going to have trouble making his wife obey." So they said, "Depose her
as queen; fire her, get another queen to take her place."
They decided that that sounded
like the best thing for drunken people to decide, so they went ahead with
that decision, and he deposed her. That in substance is chapter one of
the Book of Esther.
So the king, according to
the book had all the most beautiful virgins of the kingdom brought in and
put in his harem, and they were to be there a year before he inspected
any of them to see if any of them was sufficiently attractive to become
the queen. During that time, if one was too fat, they could put her on
a diet and slim her down; if she was too thin, they could feed her well
and build her up, so that whenever she got to see the king, she was in
her most attractive condition.
The story goes on to say
that one Mordecai, a Jew who lived at the king's palace, had brought up
his cousin as, ostensibly, his daughter. In the English translation, they
give her name as Esther; in the original, it gave her name as Hadassah.
Have you read in the society columns of your newspapers about the Jewish
women's society of Hadassah doing this and that? Well, that is the Hebrew
equivalent of what is called Esther in your Bible.
When the king was having
all the most beautiful virgins brought into his harem, Esther or Hadassah
was among them, and she was kept there in the king's harem for a year before
she got to see this king. Now during all this time, although this was an
oriental country with oriental customs, Mordecai got to go into the harem
every day to talk with Esther; according to the book.
Mordecai was well known as
a Jew. Esther was known to have been raised as his daughter; and every
day during the year she was in the king's harem, this Jew, supposedly her
father, actually her uncle, called there to talk with her, and yet nobody
suspected that she was a Jewess.
In the meantime, Mordecai
discovered that some people were conspiring to murder the king, to assassinate
him. So he went to the harem and told Esther about this. Now here again
we get another curious thing brought in here. According to the book, even
the queen herself could not send any message to the king, no matter how
important; she would have been killed if she had done so. She had to wait
until such times as the king chose to send for her; and then, if he said,
you may speak, she could say, well, can I tell you something? And if he
said, yes, she could go ahead; otherwise they would kill her; according
to the Book of Esther.
During the year she was in
the harem, Esther, knowing about the plot to murder the king, had to keep
silent about it. Eventually the king chose her as queen, and then she got
an opportunity to tell him about the assassination plot, and so he had
the conspirators hanged. But remember now, the king knew of this, because
he is the one who ordered the hanging of the conspirators, and he ordered
the official record to be made that Mordecai was the one who had given
the information that enabled him to hang the conspirators before they could
get around to assassinating him.
The book does not explain
why they were so negligent in letting it drift almost a year before Esther
got a chance to warn the king, but, anyway, they hadn't "bumped him off"
in that time. It says that one Haman, an Agagite, had become the prime
minister of the kingdom: he was given authority above all the princes.
Well now, Agag was a descendant of Amalek. You remember, the most pestilential
of the Jews were the Edomites, the descendants of Esau. Amalek was a grandson
of Esau, and of all the Edomite Jews, the Amalekites were the worst of
the lot. You will find that the Bible condemns them in the strongest terms,
and God told Moses that God Himself was going to direct war against the
tribe of Amalek until their very memory had been blotted out from under
So Haman, an Amalekite Agagite,
a real Jew, became prime minister. Now he was a very wealthy man, and it
gives you a hint of how this came about; it says, all year long "...they
cast Pur, that is, the lot, before Haman from day to day, and month to
month..." casting lots; in other words, dice. This was an early progenitor
of Las Vegas; and since in all gambling games the odds are weighted in
favor of the house, and quite often helped along a little bit by sundry
scientific methods, Haman became very, very wealthy, in addition to being
second in power only to the king, in the kingdom.
Now Mordecai the Jew refused
to bow to Haman, which enraged Haman greatly. This was a insult to his
dignity, so he began plotting revenge. He went to the king and told the
king that the Jews were a people scattered abroad and dispersed among the
people in all the provinces of the kingdom; and it said the kingdom was
divided into 127 provinces. And here were these wicked Jews scattered throughout
Haman offered to pay the
king ten thousand talents of silver, if the king would grant him the privilege
of massacring the Jews and stealing whatever property they might have.
A talent was 65 pounds in weight. So 65 times 10,000 would be 650,000 pounds
of silver, which worked out as roughly equal to about 20 million dollars
which Haman offered for the privilege of killing off the Jews and taking
Contrary to the actions of
any oriental monarch that we have ever read about, the king turned down
the offer and said, "O, be my guest; do it free of charge." He wouldn't
accept this 20 million dollars. He said, "Just go ahead and kill them."
The king issued an edict
which he ordered published in all the provinces of the kingdom, and he
ordered it translated from the Persian into whatever the most common language
spoken in each province, stating that at a time to come, on the 13th day
of the month Adar, that the people should kill the Jews and take their
property. Now, if anybody was still in doubt that Mordecai was a Jew, all
doubt was now dispensed with.
Mordecai went into public
mourning, fasting and wearing sackcloth, as did the rest of the Jews when
they heard that they were going to be slaughtered. Now the book never says
that any one of them prayed to be delivered from this massacre; they simply
put on sackcloth and fasted, in mourning against their coming massacre.
Then Mordecai sent word to
Esther, who by this time was queen, that unless she could get the king
to change this edict, that she like the other Jews would be killed, because
she was a Jewess also. She agreed she would try to persuade the king to
change his mind.
The new queen, Esther, known
by all who knew her as having been raised as the daughter of the Jew Mordecai,
now doubly advertised here Jewishness by also dressing in sackcloth and
fasting and mourning, and compelling all her maidservants to do likewise.
Unless any of the people of the kingdom were in a state of total unconsciousness,
how they could have avoided knowing that she and Mordecai were Jews, is
Esther decided how to do
this, how she would change the king's mind. She gave two great banquets
some little time apart, and she had the king and Haman invited to attend
these two banquettes, which they did. At both of these, the first one was
well as the second, the king was so well pleased that he told Esther, "I
will give you anything whatever that you ask." Did she ask, "Well, don't
massacre the Jews?" No, not a word; not until the second one, and she wasn't
even sure that he would be in a good mood when he came to the second; but
she let it go until the second banquet.
Between those two banquets,
Mordecai again insults and angers Haman still more, so Haman is in a furious
rage. Remember that he has already gotten authority from the king to kill
every Jew in the kingdom. Not only is he second in command of the while
kingdom, and therefore able to do it on his own, but he has even gotten
the specific decree form the king, published as official law; and he knows
that Mordecai is a Jew. But with all this fuming with rage he doesn't do
a thing about it. But after having been authorized to kill all the Jews,
some day or other he is going to ask the king to have Mordecai hanged;
and, in anticipation of it, he builds a big high gallows on which Mordecai
can be hanged; he doesn't wait until he has asked the king, to do that.
The book says that somebody
reminds the king that Mordecai was the man who reported the assassination
plot and saved the king's life, and no reward has ever been given him for
this. So Haman the prime minister comes in about that time and the king
says, "Haman, what should be done for the man whom the king desires especially
to honor?" Haman says to himself, "Well, that must be me, who else could
So Haman says, "Why, the
thing to do is dress him in royal robes, have him ride upon your own horse,
bring him through the streets, parade him before the people with heralds
there blowing trumpets and telling the people; this is the man the king
delights to honor." The king says, "Well, that sounds like a good idea,
Haman, you do that for Mordecai."
That rather stuns Haman;
he has waited too long to get Mordecai put away. So he goes home to consult
with his wife, and his wife says, "If (note this now), if Mordecai is a
Jew, you are certain to fall before him."
How anybody could have had
any question about whether Mordecai was a Jew or not, is not explained,
but it is still apparently in doubt in everybody's mind. But at this second
banquet, Haman rather misbehaves himself, incurs the king's wrath, and
Esther now reveals to the king, what everybody in all of Persia must have
known by that time, that she is a Jewess, and she says, "The official proclamation
(the king's edict) has gone out, to kill all the Jews in the kingdom."
Remember how that came about;
there was a personal discussion between Haman and the king; Haman offered
a bribe equal to 20 million dollars for the privilege of killing all the
Jews and taking their property, and the king thought it was such a good
idea he wouldn't even take any payment, and the king himself issued the
edict that it should be done. But now, when Esther tells him that the edict
has gone out, that on the 13th day of Adar, which is not yet come, the
Jews are to be killed, the king is astonished to hear that any of this
has happened; he doesn't know anything about it. Well, he orders Haman
to be hanged, and Haman is hanged on the big high gallows he had prepared
Then the king tells Esther
that he will set aside this decree, and he says, "You write a new decree:
anything, whatever that you want, and seal it with my seal, so it is official;
anything you want, send it out."
Now remember, this was the
same Medo-Persian empire which came in and conquered Babylon, and remember,
in the early days of it, the prophet Daniel was still alive in Babylon;
and that everything which archeologists have discovered, that has any bearing
on the events in the Book of Daniel, has consistently confirmed the Book
of Daniel as truthful. Jesus Christ Himself spoke of him as "Daniel the
prophet," (Matthew 24:15; Mark 13:14) so we think we can accept as true
what is in the Book of Daniel.
Some of the pagans in Babylon
wanted to get rid of Daniel, so they went to this Persian king and said,
"We would like you to make a decree that, for a month to come, any man
who offers any prayer to any god except you, oh King, shall be killed."
Well, that flattered the king. All the people would have to pray to him
as god so he said, "Fine, I will do it." and he made the decree.
The pagans watched Daniel
for a few days and they caught him praying to Yahweh God. Then they went
back to the king and said," Aha, you remember that decree you made." "Yes"
the king answered. Well, we have caught this fellow Daniel praying to a
different god; so under the law, he has to be killed thrown to the lions."
It says that the king liked
Daniel very much, and he tried to find some way to get around this, and
relieve Daniel of the penalty. But the pagans reminded the king that the
law of the Medes and Persians could not be altered. It doesn't mean that
they couldn't ever make a new law, but what it meant was, that so far as
the law which had been passed, could not be altered retroactively. Then
the king, squirming around and trying to get out of it, found he couldn't.
So he had Daniel thrown into the lion's den and only the help of God got
Daniel out again.
But when Esther asks the
king to set aside the law that was made, he does so and tells her to write
any kind of decree she wants, sign it with his seal and make it official;
changing the law of the Medes and Persians. So she wrote a new decree which
says that the Jews are hereby authorized and commanded" to destroy, to
slay, and to cause to perish, all the power of the people and province
that would assault them, both little ones and women, and to take the spoil
of them for a prey." (Esther 8:11)
See how the Jews have added
this book to the Bible to give Israelites a false impression of them!