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Bible Commentaries

John Brown's Commentary on Selected Book of the Bible

Esther 4

 

 

Verses 1-17

John Brown

Esther 4

For Such a Time as This

I. INTRODUCTION

A. Last week we saw "little Hitler" Haman issue a decree to have all the Jews in the Persian empire destroyed because Mordecai wouldn"t bow to him like all the other people in the kingdom!

1. He went to his astrologers and soothsayers and they set the best time for this mass murder11months yet future!

2. Haman, then went to the King, got the king"s approval and began to have the decree translated into the languages of the kingdom.

a) As we have studied,"The Law of the Medes and Persians" was irrevocable! The plan was in motion!

II. TEXT

A. Esther 4:1-3 (NKJV) When Mordecai learned all that had happened, he tore his clothes and put on sackcloth and ashes, and went out into the midst of the city. He cried out with a loud and bitter cry.

2He went as far as the front of the king"s gate, for no one [might] enter the king"s gate clothed with sackcloth.

3And in every province where the king"s command and decree arrived, [there] [was] great mourning among the Jews, with fasting, weeping, and wailing; and many lay in sackcloth and ashes.

1. As we have pointed out in our previous studies, anytime you take a stand, there is a price to pay!

a) I don" t think Mordecai had any idea when he made his stand to not bow to Haman, that it would cost approximately15 million of his countrymen their lives, including the queen!

b) Mordecai is devastated!He knows that the law is irrevocable!

(1) The only thing he knows to do is mourn.

2. Please notice that there is no mention of any call to prayer.

a) These people go through all the other steps of the ritual, but there is no mention of prayer!

(1) When we are backslidden and out of the will of the Lord, prayer is omitted.

(2) The guilt, the suffering, and the pain remain (symbolic of the sackcloth and ashes), but the one thing that can change it all (prayer) is not there.

B. Esther 4:4 (NKJV) So Esther"s maids and eunuchs came and told her, and the queen was deeply distressed. Then she sent garments to clothe Mordecai and take his sackcloth away from him, but he would not accept [them].

1. Esther , no doubt was a little embarrassedby her adoptive father"s actions.

a) But, let"s give her the benefit of doubt and believe that when she heard how much pain he was in, it broke her heart!

b) Look at her solution to Mordecai"s grief.

(1) She bought him a "new suit."

(a) Unlike the sackcloth and ashes, no doubt these clothes were bright, colorful, and very expensive!

(b) They were meant to "cheer him up."

2. Many Christians today deal with their sin and grief the same way.

a) You see, if we are not following the Lord and living by His guidelines, we will fulfill our flesh and end up in grief and pain.

(1) 1 Timothy 6:6-10 (NKJV) Now godliness with contentment is great gain.

7 For we brought nothing into [this] world, [and] [it] [is] certain we can carry nothing out.

8 And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content.

9 But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and [into] many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition.

10 For the love of money is a root of all [kinds] [of] evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.

b) Many times, our solution to problems is much the same as Esther"s

(1) "Let"s go out and charge something!"

(2) The problem with this is that buying is like doing cocaine:

(a) It brings a temporary euphoria, but it doesn"t solve the problem!

(b) When we "come down" from the purchase of the "new suit", the only solution is to keep buying!

(c) (Disclaimer:

(i) Often when I give these illustrations, people think I am saying that it is never OK to buy anything.

(ii) That is not the case, the point here is "buy" out of the will of God!!

3. Another application is the sinful separation of mankind from the Lord.

a) The lost try to cover it up with "a new suit" of success, money and power but the heartache is still there!

4. Mordecai is smart enough to know that the suit isn"t going to solve the problem and rejects the suit!

C. Esther 4:5 (NKJV) Then Esther called Hathach, [one] of the king"s eunuchs whom he had appointed to attend her, and she gave him a command concerning Mordecai, to learn what and why this [was].

Esther 4:6 So Hathach went out to Mordecai in the city square that [was] in front of the king"s gate.

1. Please notice also that Esther was trying to solve the problem without knowing what the problem was!

a) She realizes by Mordecai"s rejection of the new suit that the problem is deeper than she thought so she sends Hathach to find out what the grieving is all about.

D. Esther 4:7-9 (NKJV) And Mordecai told him all that had happened to him, and the sum of money that Haman had promised to pay into the king"s treasuries to destroy the Jews.

8 He also gave him a copy of the written decree for their destruction, which was given at Shushan, that he might show it to Esther and explain it to her, and that he might command her to go in to the king to make supplication to him and plead before him for her people.

9 So Hathach returned and told Esther the words of Mordecai.

1. Mordecai explains it all to Hathach, then gives him a copy if the decree so he can explain it all to Esther.

2. Then he makes another request of the Queen.

a) He wants her to go into the presence of the king and plead for a repeal of the decree to slaughter the Jews.

E. Esther 4:10-12 (NKJV) Then Esther spoke to Hathach, and gave him a command for Mordecai:

11 "All the king"s servants and the people of the king"s provinces know that any man or woman who goes into the inner court to the king, who has not been called, [he] [has] but one law: put [all] to death, except the one to whom the king holds out the golden scepter, that he may live. Yet I myself have not been called to go in to the king these thirty days."

12So they told Mordecai Esther"s words.

1. Hathach must have been getting tired of going back and forth between Mordecai and Esther , but he does his job!

2. Esther has a problem with the last message from Mordecai!

a) It was customary for the king to put to death anyone who came into his presence uninvited!

(1) Unless the king raised his scepter, as a sign of approval, it was off with the visitor"s head.

b) Esther tells Mordecai that she had not even been invited into the king"s presence in over30 days!

(1) She wasn"t even sure where she stood with the king.

F. Esther 4:13-14 (NKJV) And Mordecai told [them] to answer Esther: "Do not think in your heart that you will escape in the king"s palace any more than all the other Jews.

14 "For if you remain completely silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father"s house will perish. Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for [such] a time as this?"

1. Mordecai"s response is basically, "You might die if you do, and you will die if you don"t!"

a) He reminds her that the decree is for the destruction of every Jew. And that includes her.

(1) The king had been bound to a law with his last queen what made Ester think that he would not be bound by this law with her?

2. Mordecai proposes something else to her that is very interesting:

a) . . . if you remain completely silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father"s house will perish.

(1) Mordecai is beginning to place his trust and faith in the Lord!

(a) You see, Xerxes was a world ruler.There wasn"t any "physical" or "logical" solution to their problem.

(b) Their could have been no help from anyone but the Lord!!!

b) He also points out that perhaps God had made her queen just for this purpose!

(1) That the Lord"s hand had been on her for a very long time arranging for her to be in instrument in His hand for the deliverance of His and her people. Could it be:

(a) She was not "accidentally" born beautiful?

(b) She did not "accidentally" win the beauty contest?

(c) And she did not "accidentally" become queen?

(i) IT IS IMPOSSIBLE TO TAKE GOD BY SUPRISE!

(ii) Could it be that now matter you situation this morning, you were born for such a time as this?

G. Esther 4:15-17 (NKJV) Then Esther told [them] to reply to Mordecai:

16 "Go, gather all the Jews who are present in Shushan, and fast for me; neither eat nor drink for three days, night or day. My maids and I will fast likewise. And so I will go to the king, which [is] against the law; and if I perish, I perish!"

17 So Mordecai went his way and did according to all that Esther commanded him.

1. We see now that Esther is every bit a queen!

a) She puts her life on the line for her people.

2. Notice that even though she solicits a fast, there is still no mention of prayer!

a) Aren"t we glad that the Lord is still in control even when we remiss in our duties?

 


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Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography Information
Brown, John. "Commentary on Esther 4:4". John Brown's Commentary on Selected Books of the Bible. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jbs/esther-4.html.

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