Esther Explained

Published on
February 6, 2024




The book of Esther in a single episode. Bodie and Joey unpack the essential details of Esther, where it falls on the storyline, the structure of the book, major themes and ideas, what Esther teaches us about God, what it offers our Christian lives, and a couple of our favorite details to equip and inspire you to read, study, and love the last historical book of the Old Testament which covers God's providential protection of the Jewish people during the Persian Empire.



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​Jesus is always the hero of all the Bible that the human characters are the vessels that God is working through, and so, let us always remember that, that God is the ultimate deliverer. God is the God of salvation, but he =uses human vessels. And here, once again, you see God showing himself strong on behalf of the loyal hearts. So that's what I love about the book of Esther. God's faithfulness, God's providence and God's protection of his plan of redemption.

Welcome to the You Can Learn the Bible podcast, where we summarize complete Bible books in single episodes. My name is Bodie Quirk from YouCanLearntheBible.Com, here as always with Joey Rozek, lead pastor of Living Springs Fellowship in New Jersey, and who I have not seen in quite a bit, because we've been on a little bit of a break. Joey, we're back, man. How are you today?

We are back, Bodie, and we've had holidays that have come and gone. We've had changes of weather drastically in these winter months. At least for me, I'm on the East coast in California. Nothing changes over there. You guys have

right now, we're in the middle of a major flooding and, and rainstorm happening coming right now, but I'm thankful for the weather change, but yeah, you're right. Doesn't

And you know,


You know, on a spiritual level, I've been hitting a wave of storms, with just, ministry challenges and various things that people are going through in their lives, and when we pastor and shepherd God's people, we're reminded when we go to Scripture, just how God gives us what we need in every season of our lives, and we are in a book today, Bodie, that really drives that point home.

As we open up the book of Esther, this is a book that really shows that no matter what difficulties we might be facing out there in our spiritual journeys, God is overseeing our lives. He is going to give us insight in this book to show us how he guides us through things and how he delivers us out of those things, and we are going to see some amazing truths in this book Bodie.


glad to get

know I am so excited. I've been looking forward to this book for so long. And so if you've been joining us on this podcast journey that Joey and I are doing, we really try and summarize an entire book for you so that you can go and read it and you can get the most out of it as possible.

And so we use a seven part framework, our goal is to both equip, but also to inspire you so that you see as much as you can when you read through these books. So we offer the essentials of the book. We talk about where this book and each book fits on the storyline. What are the themes and ideas?

Then we start to walk through the structure, and then we ask, what do we learn about God? What can we apply to our Christian life? And what are some of those favorite things that each and every book offers? That's our seven part framework. And today we're here to apply it. Episode 23 to the book of Esther.

We like to summarize everything in a single PDF. That we want to offer you. So at the end of the episode, we're going to give you a link to do that. But we also want to remind you that there is both an audio and a video version of this podcast, the video you'll be able to see on YouTube, which offers some of the visuals we use, some of the slides and timelines, but the audio is available on Apple Podcasts and Spotify.

And so we want to begin right away by kind of starting at the beginning. And asking the most important fundamental question. So Joey, I'm going to toss it to you with this question. If someone wants to read the book of Esther, where do they start and what do they need to know first?

Yes. Well, Esther is picking up right where we've left off from Ezra and Nehemiah. And in actuality, it's in the very midst of that period.

So we're talking about a time period between 483 and 473 BC. It's within this 10 year period where the second temple has been rebuilt in Jerusalem. But what we're seeing with this book of Esther is a book that shows God's protection through times of persecution, times of difficulty. We don't actually know who wrote this book. The author is unknown, but like in many of the historical books, this is those who God raised up to chronicle the history. Now, the setting of this book takes place in Persia. We are in a time where the Babylonian Empire has been replaced by the Medo Persian Empire.

And so what is happening is the Jews are dwelling among Gentiles. And that is a very key component to the purpose of this book, because we're going to see God's hidden hand behind the scenes. In this book of Providence, and so, this book is written for an audience of the Persian world, but of course, all peoples of faith and honing in on the Jewish believers, and of course, we who believe in Christ, who look back and see God's sovereign hand at work and a couple of this extra little nuances I'd like to share with you before we dive in is that this is one of the only books in the Bible where the name of God is not clearly mentioned. And Now Matthew Henry, the great commentator, once said, if the name of God is not here, his finger is,


and there's no doubt about it. This is a book where we see the finger of God writing the story, unfolding the events. And the Book of Esther is, is named after the key woman of the book, whose Hebrew name is Hadassah, which means myrtle and it gets changed to her Persian name, which means star or hidden in the Persian, language.

But the word Esther is the Greek equivalent of that. And so that's why it's called the book of Esther, but she is not the only person we'll be focusing on because, we will discover a man named Mordecai. We will discover other key figures in the book. And this is a book that will give us great encouragement today, Bodie.

Oh, it's so

that's the essentials of the

Excellent. Number one. Perfect, Joey. Yeah, the essentials are always the date, the genre, the author, just kind of we want to get you starting off in the right mindset at the right place. So Joey, awesome. Thank you for walking us through that. Some of the things you mentioned actually now fit in part two of our framework.

So number one is what are the essentials? Number two is where does the book of Esther fit in the overall story of the Bible? And so what's interesting is that Esther is kind of right, if you were to put it on a timeline,

and in fact, I'm going to share just a visual here of the historical event. If we recall in the book of Ezra, there was a 60 year gap from when the Jews who were in Babylon were then freed by King Cyrus to go back and return. We talked about that in our episode on, in the book of Ezra. There's a 60 year gap between that and then in chapter 7 when Ezra himself shows up. That is actually, that gap, that 60 year time frame is actually where the book of Esther takes place.

So if we were to kind of lay this out chronologically, the book of Esther would actually fit inside of the book of Ezra, which is going to be important for a couple of reasons. Here's why this matters. Because we get a glimpse of the world that takes place in the background of this book, because to properly understand the events that happen in the book of Esther, We need to properly place them in the context of the world that the book finds itself.

So this is after the second temple has been rebuilt. Joey just told us that. Ezra had his reforms that he brings, that he starts at the second half of the book of Ezra. They haven't happened yet.

So some of the key details of number two, where does this fall in the storyline? Are these, we have the Persian empire are still, they're the dominant force right now on the scene. They are ruling over the Jews. There is a Jewish remnant that has already gone back and restored Judah. The temple has been restored. It's functioning again. The sacrificial system is happening again. This is the second temple period.

But we're not in Judah right now, are we, Joey? We are back In Persia, and so what there is an anti Semitic spirit that is alive and well in Persia against the Jewish people. Remember, not all the Jews went back to their homeland. The Bible focuses on those who did, not all did. And so we're looking at those who are still in Persia and we're having to deal with this anti Semitic spirit that's alive.

But this book is interesting because this book is really focused on four people. This is a book about people and events and how their lives intersect and collide. Joey already mentioned two of them. Esther and Mordecai. Those are going to be two important people. They are related. Mordecai is Esther's cousin, older cousin. But we also have two other very important people that you need to know who they are and how they function in this book.

First is Haman. And the last one is the king, which, I pronounce Ahasuerus or Ahasuerus. I don't really know how to pronounce it. The idea is you've got these four people, Esther, Mordecai, Haman, and the king, but what really matters is that this is at a crucial moment in the history of the Jewish people. If we don't have the events of this book, we will not realize all that was at stake at this particular spot in the storyline. Joey, anything you want to add on number two storyline?

Well, you know, just as we look at those four key characters, Esther, Mordecai, Haman, and Ahasuerus, it's important to also know that Ahasuerus is also called Xerxes the first in some translations. And if you read about Xerxes, and you're wondering, is this a different person? It's the same person, just a different name that's given now.

The other thing I would just mention is because we're going to really see some great character development in this book. We're going to see some amazing irony and poetic justice in this book, but one of the things we really get to take away as believers is that, we need the people God places in our lives.

God often positions us in the places we're in, at just the right time for God's purposes. And you really see as Esther was an orphaned girl, she lost her parents and Mordecai took that fatherly role in her life. You realize that this is what God often does in the spiritual heritage of his people. He places people in our lives that become like spiritual fathers and mothers, much like Paul was to his spiritual son, Timothy.

And so, if you're out there and, you just think about the people that are in your life, you know, God has placed them there for a reason. And you might be the person who's a Mordecai to an Esther or an Esther for your people, and you might have opposition like a Haman and, and all the rest. So, so there's so many elements here that are so practical and relevant for, for Christian living as well. And so, so many great lessons. So let's dive in and kind of get into the themes and

Yeah, for sure. Yeah,

so number three is our themes and yeah, it actually even reminds me Joey of Ruth and Naomi as well, too. You know, you have the other book that focuses on two female characters, which is great. And so yeah, so number three Themes and ideas. So now we've looked at the essentials.

We've looked at the storyline, the themes and ideas are those, are those major things that really drive the story. They're going to be very, very important for this book as they have been for each and every book. So Joey, walk us through these kind of these major themes of the book of Esther.

Yes. Well, as I begin to go through these themes, it's going to really tell the story a bit in a general sense, and then we're going to dive in and give you the details,

but the overarching theme of the entire book is the hidden providence of God. What do we mean when we say that? We're saying that God is behind the scenes. He is sovereign and in control, and he is literally watching over the events that unfold, in this book and in all of our lives, even to this day. Now, a couple of the key elements that we see as themes in the book is there's a clash going on between pride and humility. We're going to see that played out in the different ways.

We know that God resists the proud person, but he gives grace to the humble. And you will see that in this book. We also see the divine placement of God's servants. This is a massive theme in this book. As I mentioned earlier, God has positioned Mordecai at just the right time. He's going to hear something that he needed to hear Esther's placed inside a palace, which is so vital to the story, so divine placement.

The other thing we're going to see is courage courageous faith overcoming fear We all are afraid of things in our lives, we all have things that sometimes give us anxiety, but we see that we need to go forward in courage and trust the Lord. We see that in the story. I also love this element, Bodie, the theme of poetic justice against evil conspirators. You know, there are many people who conspire against God and against his people, but you're going to see how God is the defender of the meek and he takes care of his people that he's in covenant


We're going to see how the circumstances expose God's overall plan. And we're going to also see, here's another interesting clash, promoting self, which we see in Haman versus preserving others, which is beautifully shown in Esther's life and Mordecai behind that.

And then lastly, I think the overall ending of the book and really what the whole book shows us is the deliverance of God's chosen people, and that's how the whole book ends, and that's really what the book of Esther, means in the metanarrative of the Bible. This book shows us that God preserves his seed, the Messiah.

He takes care of the lineage of the Jewish people, and he protects them even in a time when they were going to be annihilated. And of course, Israel has had this many, many times throughout its history where people tried to take them out, and the anti Semitism that we see even in today has always been around, and so that's the themes of this

Ah, it's so good. Okay, now Joey, I want to see how these themes actually work out because this is an incredible book and we're excited. We're not going to read it for you, but we are going to walk you through the structure. And as we walk through the structure, We're going to ask a couple questions with each section.

We're going to ask, basically, what does this teach us about God, and what does it offer our Christian life? So, here's how the Book of Esther is broken down. We're going to give you the larger structure, and then we're going to go into of these parts. We have four parts for this book, and then we're going, with each part, we're going to ask those two questions about God and about how this applies to our life.

Okay, so here's how you want to think about the Book of Esther. Even if you're kind of driving and listening, if you're not even looking at this, four words that start with the letter P. Okay, so it's Positioning, Persecution, Promotion, and Preservation. So let me expand that a little bit. Chapters 1 and 2, Positioning, Esther becomes Queen, that's the first section.

Section 2 is chapters 3 through 5, Persecution, Jewish people oppressed. Chapters 6 and 7 is Promotion, Mordecai honored over Haman. And then the fourth section is chapters 8 10, Preservation, God's People Protected. So here's what's going to happen in the Book of Esther.

The positioning, Esther becomes Queen, that's it, that's the first one. Persecution, Jewish people oppressed. Promotion, Mordecai honored over Haman. And then Preservation, God's People Protected. If you can remember those four words, which we're going to repeat throughout the episode, you'll have a sense of what's coming when you go to read the Book of Esther. So, Joey, unless you have anything else, I want to jump into the first section.

Now these four P's are all under the big P of Providence,

that's right. You got it. That's right. Awesome. Okay. So Joey, let's go into the first one. Walk us through section one. What happens here in this first section? Esther becomes queen, this theme of of positioning.

Yeah, so when you open up the Book of Esther and you start the narrative, you're going to see that you're right inside of a palace. You're inside the palace of King Ahasuerus, King Xerxes, and he is the king over the area of Shushan, or also Susa is the name there, and what you discover is that there's a positioning happening of God putting his key person inside.

How does it happen? Well, the whole thing starts with a drunken stupor where King Aguilera basically summons Queen Vashti to be, you know, paraded around to show her beauty, you know, he wants to show i've got the most beautiful woman in the palace And the problem is she doesn't come that's right. She refuses the king. This is like whoa, you know, you don't do

You don't do that.

No, you didn't is what's going on in this

That's right.

and so So the king gets enraged All the men are like, if this continues, all of our wives will be, doing their own thing and, and this is going to be a great uproar. And so, um, so what happens is this plan unfolds where basically the king dismisses Vashti, she's replaced, and all these other women come in to be candidates for the next queen.

And one of those candidates is Esther, this Jewish woman, orphaned as her parents were killed. And Mordecai, her cousin comes in and she basically is chosen to be the next queen of the palace. And so what's beautiful is you have the positioning of this new, godly woman inside of a Gentile palace. And you also have the positioning of Mordecai, this, this cousin that's overlooking and taking care of her life.

He's also positioned because he's going to be in a key spot in the end of chapter two, where he overhears a conspiracy to take out the king. So we've got two key people positioned just in the right place at the right time, where you see God's sovereign plan unfold. And that's how the story of Esther

Yeah. It almost reminds me of the positioning of Joseph in the book of Genesis, too, right? How God had chosen somebody to be, was, who did, kind of didn't belong there, but because of their righteousness and because of their virtue, was actually exalted, and we see that Esther is a godly woman.

She's also very beautiful, which is why she's chosen to be the next queen, but it's more the fact that she is the one that God is positioning to really be the representative that actually ends up being the person that helps the people get saved through the providential hand of God there, but we got to position first, and so you see, positioning is really what we see happening again.

It's God's hidden hand here, isn't it Joey? Mordecai is positioned Equally, as is Esther, they're both positioned. They both are needed for what God is going to do to ultimately rescue the people. Mordecai is positioned at the gate, just so happens to overhear this conspiracy to overthrow the king, while at the same time, his beautiful cousin, Esther, is the one chosen to replace Vashti, who actually was replaced because she was virtuous.

So we see that the people who are virtuous are being positioned both in and out of this situation for God's providential hidden hand, so. One and two are great. Any final thoughts, or do you want to go to the next section?

Well said, Bodie. Yeah, I love that point, by the way, I think that's a great thing for us to know is that sometimes we feel like we're being overlooked in the world when we do the right thing and maybe the wrong thing happens. But wait, you don't know how the story is going to unfold. You know, the Bible promises that there's a reaping of what is sown.

And if you sow to the flesh, there's going to be the reaping of the flesh. You sow to the spirit is the reaping of the Spirit, and, and in all matters of life, God has his ways, yeah, of making sure that his plan unfolds and he is the defender of the meek and he loves to honor those who honor him or who even have a righteous heart in something, and so, uh, that's just a great point you, you ended on there. I love


yeah, let's go to the next

Perfect. So walk us in. Introduce us to what's going to happen here, Joey, in section two, which we call Persecution, Jewish People Oppressed. What's going to happen here in chapters three through five?

Yeah, so this is a really interesting turn of events when we get to the second section, because we know that there's always an opposition against God's people. We know the enemy, the devil roams this earth like a lion seeking who may devour any, he often uses people who are pride driven, or selfish driven, to accomplish his purposes.

And , one of the things we see in this, part of the, of the narrative is that there's this guy Haman that shows up now. He is this loyal, , servant of the King. He's promoted by the King. He has authority by the King, and one of the things we see in this chapter is, in chapter three, for example, is that Mordecai The Jewish man that we're talking about, he refuses to bow the knee to Haman when he's going through his ceremony of promotion and exaltation and Mordecai being a God fearing man will not bow the knee to a human man of flesh and blood, and so he doesn't do this. Now, of course, Haman notices this. Haman is bothered when he sees that there's this Jewish servant that has the audacity to not bow

Right. How dare you?

And so he institutes this whole plot of persecuting the whole Jewish people as a whole. He doesn't like that these people serve one God. They're mono theistic people. They serve Yahweh, and he doesn't like this, so he plots a plan of persecution because they don't keep the king's laws.

Now, what you have here is the story builds on this theme and because Esther is the queen now, and she is positioned before the king, Mordecai makes an appeal, sends a message through servants to get to Esther, who basically is told by, Mordecai, he basically says these words, we'll pick it up in, in chapter four, beginning in verse 13, that Mordecai, says, Do not think in your heart that you will escape in the king's palace any more than all the other Jews.

And this is like, the key verse. Now we're going to get to the key verse. Esther four, verse 14, this whole book is almost summarized within this one verse. And here's what he says. He says, for if you keep silent at this time, relief and deliverance will rise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father's house will


And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom. And here's the key phrase for such a time as this and that is the key most, you know, well known verse in the whole book, but it also is the key to the unfolding of the story because God has placed Esther right where she needs to be, to be able to appeal to the king, so we get to the appeal. About Esther's going to show us shortly about how she appeals to the king on behalf of the Jewish people.

But she's got to be creative Bodie because the problem is she can't just approach the king whenever she wants, and so we're going to see how in chapter five Haman's plan is to basically destroy Mordecai by hanging him on the gallows, which he Happens to actually, you know build for this


And this is where God's hand takes over the hand of the enemy, and, the Bible says in Proverbs, he who digs a pit will also fall into it. Well, we're about to see how this happens in the next section. So that's where we're at

Yeah. Well, the verse you called out, Joey, is so important. Esther 4:14, the reason why it's the most well known verse is that we see a lot of the themes of this whole book coming together. For one, Mordecai is the one who says this. If you keep silent, deliverance is coming, and I love the covenantal mindset that he has.

God is for this people. We've seen that all but you have been placed here for this moment, and the idea of time and timeline is so crucial for this particular book, because now he really says, it's the thing for us today, too. God has placed us in this time. for such a time as this. Now, it's not the same time of Esther, but it's also we are the only generation of Christians who are going to live in this time, and you and I have a chance to advance the Kingdom of God with the lives God has given us in the same way that Esther did there.

But what's fascinating, too, is that there's another moment in this section, I believe it's in chapter four, where right after Mordecai says this, Esther basically says these very brave words. We talked about the difference between promoting self and preserving others. She's the one in position to stand before the King on behalf of her people. He can't do it, but she can. But to go before the king uninvited is basically a death sentence if the king wills it to be. And so she knows this. She knows the gravity, not just for her people, but the position that she and she alone is in.

If he does not want to see her, he can strike her dead or he can cast her out. He has that right and that power. And she says this. Very, very beautiful phrase. Well, if I perish, I perish. Which in that phrase alone speaks so deeply to her character and what she truly loves. Haman, as we'll see, loves himself.

Esther and Mordecai, they love their people, and they love the God of their people. And I just love that this section, this is probably the heart of this book. So much, so many important things, but to miss Esther's, not just her courage, but her willingness to die in place of her people just shines the heart of Christ, and it's so important to understand the larger story. Jump in.

Yeah. Yeah. Bodie. I love that you pointed that out, and what a sacrificial spirit once you get to the place where you're saying, if I perish, I perish, this is, this is the principle of the gospel, isn't it? That one has to die for the sake of the rest, you know, and she's realizing she's prepared to do that now.

And I think there's one more thing I'll just add before we leave this section is that, It's not an easy thing to make a stand for God. It's not an easy thing to go up against someone who could literally take your life. So she has counted the cost, which we as Christians always need to do, wherever we are in the world, we've got to make sure that we're willing to lay down the self life for the sake of others, for the community of God's people, and for more importantly, the testimony of God's name.

Now we mentioned that God's name is not mentioned in the book of Esther, but this is a good place to point out that in chapter five, we discover that, the name of God in the Hebrew is actually written in acrostics in this chapter. This is an interesting insight that I learned in a deeper study of this book.

That the name of God in Hebrew Yahweh, those key letters Y H W H is actually in a cross sticks contained in the narrative as it unfolds. What do we have happening? Esther invites the king to a feast and she gets favor from the king and the king says Esther, what do you want? Up to half my kingdom kind of a thing and she, she doesn't want to say it yet for whatever reason, but God is so sovereign here, Bodie, because the fact that she doesn't share it that first time and she instead says, well, here's my request.

Would you come back for dinner a second night? This is so important, Bodie, and we must not miss this. If she didn't do that, a key element would have been missed. You see the very night after the first feast. We discovered that the king can't go to sleep

Mm hmm.

and we discover that because he can't sleep. We're gonna see something in this next section that allows there to be a second feast and This is so key because of what takes place in the middle of the night and it's in this whole unfolding of the narrative where the name Yahweh is behind the scenes in acrostic And it's also where the hidden hand of God is unfolding So perhaps we can dive right in on that point and discuss How this all unfolds as we go to the

Okay. Yeah, right.

they both know what's at stake and so she's invited them to this feast and now we get into section three. So just to zoom back real quick, we have the positioning of one and two, chapters one and two, the persecution, the Jewish people oppressed in three through five. Now we really get to see what happens next. Mordecai is going to be honored over Haman.

So in chapters six and seven, there are two major things that happen. Chapter six is all about Mordecai being honored, and that's exactly the moment that Joey just brought us to, and then it's gonna go to Haman after that. So what happens here in part three? Well, the king, for whatever reason, God, wakes him up, right? As God has done previously in the narrative, right? We think about Eli and Samuel. We think about God's sovereign hand, right?

The Pharaoh in

The pharaoh in Egypt.

dream that he

exactly. So these, these themes, we love to connect this to other books, because again, this is, these are all, every book is part of the larger story of who God is, the Bible is a book about God. So at this moment, ironically, the king can't sleep, and so he says, I want to read the books about those who were rewarded for memorable acts.

And he's like, oh. Hey, there's this guy at Mordecai, I remember he thwarted this plot against me. What has been done to recognize him? How did he get rewarded? And the servants kind of look at each other and they're like, nothing happened. And he's like, well, this is not right. We must make this right. I want this guy honored. And lo and behold, who walks in at that exact moment, Joe, exact moment. Joey, what happens in chapter 7?

Oh, I love this. This is such an amazing moment. I wish I could have witnessed it. And you almost feel like when you read the text, you're like getting such a picture in your head of what this might've looked like. Oh man. So this is such a great moment, you have the king literally, so aware that he wants to honor somebody and at that exact moment here comes Haman. He walks into the room, and the king has this great revelation, now.

I've got to honor this man, Mordecai, and so he doesn't say his name. Right off the bat, when he sees Haman, he says, Haman, for what should the king do for the man in whom he likes to honor and delight in? And, and Haman immediately hears those words and his ears pierced and he, and he goes, Well, who would the king want to honor more than

Right. Obviously.

prideful attitude? So, Haman basically says, ah, this is a great moment for me to describe how I want to be honored. So he, he comes up with this whole plan of, you know what you should do, king? You should array the man with royal robes and you should put him on horseback, and you should parade him through the city, and everybody's going to sing and celebrate this man.

And of course, all the while, Haman is saying, this is what the king's going to do for me. But then comes the whopper. Here comes the awesome, beautiful irony is all of a sudden the king says, that's a great plan. Hey man, let's do that for Mordecai. And you can imagine he's mortified. Hey man, here's the name Mordecai and he's mortified because he can't believe it.

The very man he wanted to kill is now the man that the king wants to honor. Talk about irony. Talk about poetic justice. It doesn't get better than this. And so Mordecai has to shamelessly go out the room and he has to be the man that actually puts the robe on Mordecai. He has to be the man that puts him on the horse and he has to actually walk him through the city parading him. I mean, that is just an amazing, a beautiful form of God honoring the humble man and humbling the prideful

Oh my gosh. It's so good. It's so good. Yes. And all of this happens. Everything we just talked about is all in chapter six, which sets the place for now this second feast that Joey had set us up for earlier because now Haman now has to honor this one guy that he's been planning to kill, but the king doesn't know about this yet.

And so, Esther, at this second feast, all of a sudden, the mic drops, and the news is out. Haman has been the one that has secretly been trying to destroy, not just Mordecai, but, all the Jewish people. The king is enraged when he hears this, and of course Haman now is at this feast in front of the king, and everybody knows that the gig is up, so, from here he begs Esther, which enrages the king, and then they say, Oh, well, conveniently, he had these gallows prepared for Mordecai, and what does the king do, Joey? He says, well, hang him on that. And so at the end of chapter 7, Mordecai has been honored, and Haman, who thought he was riding high, has now been executed. Oh my goodness, what a twist of irony anything else you want to add in the Section 3 promotion where Mordecai is honored over Haman? This is such a crazy section.

Absolutely. You know, it's like you see the humiliation of this man that was so full of pride. And then you see the annihilation of the man that's so full with pride. The proverbs tell us that pride comes before destruction and a haughty spirit before the fall. And, you know, it makes me think of Voltaire, you know,

Right. Sure.

philosopher basically said, I predict that Christianity will be extinct in my lifetime, before his life ends. And later on when Voltaire actually did die, what actually happened was his own house got turned into a printing press for the Bible society. And so you, you realize that God has the final word. And the last word on all matters, like Psalm two shows us that God sits from heaven and laughs when somebody comes up with the plot to actually undermine the plans and purposes of God.

And so that's what we see in this story. Once again, he who digs a pit will himself fall into it. That proverb is so important. And we see that in so many ways, as the wicked, will always fall by his own wickedness. Proverbs 26 27. There's so many great Proverbs to go on this, but that's pretty much the end of this section.

And it's the key part of the whole book. And then comes the aftermath. Now, as we get into this final section where God is going to show how he honors his people and protects and preserves them. So why don't we go into this last section,

Exactly. Yeah.

So the last section, as we said, first one was positioning, second was persecution, the third one was promotion, we just looked at that, and now we're going to talk about preservation. And Joey, I think there's still a question, though, that we have not addressed yet as we go into this last section, which really is going to answer that.

Why does Haman want to destroy the Jews? It wasn't just the fact that the guy kind of took his position. There is something deeper going on that I think that we get to see God, his sovereign hand in preserving the Jews overcome. And that is basically that the Jews, as you said, have been persecuted since the beginning.

And Haman was himself not a Jew. He was an Agagite, right? And so we see that this legacy of hatred against the Jewish seed, is still at work and will be at works from the beginning of Scripture until the end. And so now we're in section four, the last one, God's people protected. This is chapters eight through 10. Okay. So what happens in chapters eight through 10?

Let me just hit some of the highlights, Joey, and I want to get some of your thoughts. So the king issues this edict to basically stop Haman's wicked plans, which basically has been, has gone out all through the kingdom to annihilate the Jews. So the king, stops that, but then we see, not just that it stops the script completely flips now where the Jews are the ones who are experiencing victory and battle.

They're celebrating victory by establishing the new Feast of Purim. And then we see just basically the book ending with Mordecai's legacy. And so it's the. The turn of events is so important because this signifies the covenant faithfulness of God, as we have seen from the beginning. But we have also seen how God uses individual people at key moments to do things that are much bigger than just them when their eyes are not on themselves. And so there's a lot that happens in here, but let's talk about this final section, Joey. What do we need to make sure that our listeners don't miss from this section four? Yes.

Yeah. Since this whole section is, underlined by the word preservation, we really see that God is preserving what he intended all along in his promises to Israel and his covenant with them. And so in chapter eight, we see that, this is where, the. decree is basically given where the Jewish people are allowed to defend themselves. They're not going to have to die without the King's support.

The Jewish people now have found favor with the King. I mean, this is a beautiful thing when this happens. And so one of the key things here is that, Mordecai was able to write in the King's name as he now carries sort of the signet ring, if you will.

He basically writes the letters. Which the couriers take by horseback and it goes throughout all the region. The letters basically say that the, Jews are permitted in every city to protect their lives, to destroy, kill, and annihilate all the forces of any people or province that would assault them.

You know, it's interesting because, even in our modern times in the nation of Israel today, we see there's a lot of attacks on Israel from the surrounding enemies. Of course, not the same Israel that we're dealing with here, in the sense that, there is a need for a spiritual revival in Israel to this day.

But you do see God's covenant promise from then till now and always that he continues to have a plan of protection for his people. And I think, you know, we have to realize God's people have always been flawed. Whether you're reading Exodus, where you see them, wandering through the wilderness, and they don't actually show faith, but God still provides from heaven with manna.

He lets water come out of the rock. We see problems with the Jewish people when Jesus shows up. They didn't actually believe in their Messiah, even though they had the time of their visitation, as it tells us in Luke chapter 19.


And so we discovered there's always been a degree of disobedience and unbelief among Israel.

But what we see here is God's commitment to his promise. God is a covenant keeping God. We learn in Psalm 121 when it says, I lift up my eyes to the hills from whence comes my help. My help comes from the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth. And what does it say later on in Psalm 121? He who keeps Israel shall neither slumber.

Nor sleep. He preserves their going out and their coming in from this time forth and forevermore. Psalm 121 verse 8 says. That is such a key verse, and you really see it here in chapter 8. And so you have Mordecai going with great honor in the presence of the king. We have a feast that shows up in chapter 9, don't we Bodie, in chapter 9.

There's the Feast of Purim, and to this day, the Feast of Purim is a beautiful time for the Jewish people. They often celebrate with dressing up it's a time of great joy and victory. They give presents to each other, this is a time where they actually exchange gifts. It's a beautiful time of celebrating God's faithfulness at all times.

And, we've discovered that Mordecai is really kind of the unsung hero behind it all. He's the one that took care of Esther when she was a little girl. He's the one that was positioned by God to, uncover the plot or discover the plot of the men who were scheming to take out the king. He was the one who encouraged Esther to go to the king.

He was the one who was praying for her all along, and he was the one who gets honored sort of at the end of the book, we've got a couple of verses that just kind of highlight and bring out the beauty of all of this, we, Bodie Why you read those verses that kind of summarize the great aftermath of

Well, again, this carries on the wave of what happens in section three, because not only does Haman get hanged, Mordecai then gets all of Haman's stuff. He gets to live in his palace, and he gets all of the honor and the power that Haman wanted and tried to maneuver for himself has now been, it's not just that Mordecai is alive, Mordecai has everything, and he is, he is a venerated Yeah.

Yeah. leader and figure in the world. Now, even though he's not, he's not Persian, he is, he is a massive presence. And so what's crazy is that we go from near annihilation at the beginning of the book to not just protection, but feasting celebration and God's providence being celebrated and delighted it.

And so it's so cool. It summarized Esther 8: 16 when it says the Jews have light, and gladness and joy and honor. Esther 8. 16. Such a beautiful summary verse. And then what's cool is that the book, like you said, Joey, the book is called the book of Esther, but without Mordecai, we do not have the book that we have.

He really is kind of the backbone of this whole book. And it, it highlights that by ending with, with honoring his legacy, where it says for Mordecai, the Jew was second in rank to King Ahasuerus. And he was great among the Jews, popular with the multitude of his brothers, for he sought the welfare of his people, and he spoke peace to all his people.

We see this beautiful picture of his role in this key part, and it's amazing how even later during the intertestamental period, when the Jews are attacked again by the Greek Empire, by Antiochus Epiphanes, how then later when God preserves them again, that's not in the Bible, that's called the intertestamental period, but what Ceremony gets instituted, then it's the ceremony of the celebration of Hanukkah.

So these Jewish feasts that we may not fully understand are major symbols of God's providential faithfulness to this covenant people all throughout history. We see the Feast of Purim, Joey, as you talked about being established, and we see the Book of Esther ending on this beautiful high note. And if you just read the Book of Ezra, you would never know how much incredible faithfulness happens between those two sections of the book of Ezra and on into Nehemiah. This is such an important book. We can't miss it.

Amen. Amen. And so I hope as you look at this book as a whole, and you see the providence of God now, remember those four words again, the positioning, the persecution, the promotion, and the preservation. Those are four key words that really help us to in the narration of this whole book, but I think as we think about all the things that we have learned through this book,

I'd love to ask you, you go first. What do you personally love about the book of Esther, when it's all said and done and you've read this beautiful story and I'll share a couple of my final thoughts before we close here today.

Yeah, I just love how, how kind of understated this book is, how God is right below the surface of every single thing. And even though he is not mentioned, he is present. He's not just present. He is actively working. And for friends, I just think that so seldom we are, we discount God's presence in our life.

The Bible says in the presence of God, there is fullness of joy, and Jesus modeled this so well, Jesus was never unaware of the eternal realm, nor was he uncaring to the people, the individuals that he met on the earthly realm. He was always aware of both. And I like the book of Esther, one of my favorite things about it is that because God is not mentioned, we have to engage with God a little bit differently in this book than we do with other books.

But friends, this book is abundantly clear that God is in charge of what happens. God is, there's no differences. God is the same yesterday, today, and forever. So I kind of like, Joey, how understated God is. The fact that he's not mentioned, he's really the main character of the book, even though he never sets foot on the stage. That's what I love. What do you love?

Yeah. Well, I love the fact that God is present even when you don't see him. I love how you mentioned the presence of God, but I think sometimes we need to just add to that, that sometimes we don't feel God. Sometimes, you know, you're worshiping and you don't feel anything. Well, guess what? Worship is not about your feelings. It's about the honor and glory of almighty God. He's, he's worthy of our honor and praise.

And one of the things that happens for every believer who's being tested and tried by the Lord as he puts us through the fires to refine us He puts us in situations where we know we can't do it without God, and so I love sort of the desperation That's kind of in this book at different points and the way in which God shows his faithfulness at all times, we know Paul writes to Timothy, God is faithful even when we are faithless because he cannot deny himself. We really see the undeniable immutability of God. He is unchanging.

He is faithful and true. I mentioned before about that the name of God may not be mentioned, but of course, his hand is at work through the whole of the book, and we know that there is the acrostic name of Yahweh in a few of the different verses in chapter five. I think it's also in chapter seven, but, I'll just end with this.

Every book of the Bible, in some way or another, is pointing us to Jesus. And the way that this book points us to Jesus is that God is always moving events for the purpose of redemption, and we see that in order for Jesus to come into the world, the Jewish people had to be preserved. Because the promise came through Abraham and his seed, and so what you have in the book of Esther is the preservation of the seed, the promised son, which is Jesus, who would be the one that in which God spoke to Adam all the way back in Genesis 3 15. That he would put enmity between Satan's seed and her seed and we discovered that's exactly what the book of Esther is showing us that he protected this seed.

And so, Jesus is always the hero of all the Bible that the human Characters are the vessels that God is working through, and so, let us always remember that, that God is the ultimate deliverer. God is the God of salvation, but he uses human vessels. The Bible says the eyes of the Lord are searching to and fro throughout the whole earth to show himself strong on behalf of those whose hearts are loyal. to him. Second Chronicles 16:9. And here, once again, you see God showing himself strong on behalf of the loyal hearts. So that's what I love about the book of Esther. God's faithfulness, God's providence and God's protection of his plan of redemption.

love it. Joey, I have nothing to add. What a great way to land the plane. Friends, thank you for joining us. That was Esther Explained episode 23, a seven part framework to equip and inspire your Bible study, and I hope we have done both of those things. If you would like a one page summary PDF of all of the ideas and things that we have identified and covered in this episode, you can go to YouCanLearntheBible.com/notes, that is YouCanLearntheBible.com/notes and you'll be able to download a PDF from that.

If you're able to leave a comment on YouTube or a review on Apple podcasts or Spotify that again helps us so much reach the people that we make this podcast to help we want to help you who are already on the journey looking to deepen your love and knowledge of God's Word, and we want you to pray that we can just reach as many people as possible.

But Joey, we're done. We now have episode 24 to look forward to, and we are now done with the historical books, and we're going to enter into a whole new genre of the Bible, aren't we, with Job Explained. As we close, give our listeners one thing to look forward to in episode 24, Job Explained.

Well, I think we all know that just because we have an awesome, faithful, promise keeping God life is still hard. We all go through difficulties and we will go through sufferings. We're going to lean in a bit more in this next book, Job coming because it's a book about suffering, but it's also a book about how God carries out his plan through suffering.

And so this is something we're all going to be able to find great comfort in and hope in. And so you don't want to miss the next book as we discover Job explained. And so I'm looking forward to it,

It's going to be good. It's going to be good. All right, friends, until then, stay in the word, stay prayerful, know that God loves you. And as always, we believe that you can learn the Bible. We'll see you again in episode 24. Grace and peace. See you later.