TODAY’S SPECIAL: Esther 6:1-14
TO CHEW ON: "That night the king could not sleep; so he ordered the book of the chronicles, the record of his reign, to be brought in and read to him." Esther 6:1
King Xerxes was tired of tossing and turning and trying to fall asleep. “Bring the record books and read to me,” he commanded.
A servant began reading to him and soon came to the part that told about Mordecai telling about the plot to kill him.
“Has anything been done to honor him for that?” Xerxes asked.
“No, nothing,” the servant replied.
Just then there was a sound in the courtyard. It was Haman. “Call him in,” the king commanded.
Haman was excited. He had just finished building a 75-foot gallows in his yard and was on his way to get permission from Xerxes to hang Mordecai on it. But before he had a chance to say anything, the king asked, “What should I do for the person I’d like to honor?”
Who would the king want to honor more than me, Haman wondered. And so he told Xerxes the best thing he could imagine. “That person should wear a royal robe,” he said. “He will be put on the king’s...
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TODAY’S SPECIAL: Esther 2:8-11
TO CHEW ON: "Esther had not revealed her nationality and family background, because Mordecai had forbidden her to do so." Esther 2:10
Why was that man looking at her, Esther wondered as she hurried home from the market. A few days later pounding at the door interrupted their meal. A servant of King Xerxes was there. “She has been chosen for the king,” he said to her cousin Mordecai.
Esther was a beautiful young Jewish girl whose grandparents had been taken to Babylon by Nebuchadnezzar. Because her parents had died when she was little, she had been raised by her kind cousin Mordecai.
Nebuchadnezzar was now dead and the Persian king Xerxes ruled from his palace in Susa. He had recently done away with his first wife Vashti. Now he was looking for a beautiful replacement to be his new queen....
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TODAY’S SPECIAL: Esther 2:12-18
TO CHEW ON: "Now the king was attracted to Esther more than to any of the other women, and she won his favor and approval more than any of the other virgins. So he set a royal crown on her head and made her queen instead of Vashti." Esther 2:17
Esther gathered the few possessions she was planning to take with her. She said goodbye to Hegai and all her friends in the harem. This was the night she would go to the king. She would never come back to live here again. For after this night, the king would either choose her as his new queen or she would be sent to live in another part of the palace.
Even though this night was the most important night in her life, Esther kept things simple. Though she could have taken anything she wanted from the harem to impress the king, she didn’t do that. Instead she took only what Hegai suggested.
But when Xerxes saw her, he was charmed with her natural beauty. In fact she pleased him more than any other woman. The king liked Esther so much, he named her his new queen....
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TODAY’S SPECIAL: Esther 3:1-15
TO CHEW ON: "When Haman saw that Mordecai would not kneel down or pay him honor, he was enraged. Yet having learned who Mordecai’s people were, he scorned the idea of killing only Mordecai. Instead Haman looked for a way to destroy all Mordecai’s people, the Jews, throughout the whole kingdom of Xerxes." Esther 3:5,6
Haman smiled as he walked around the palace. It made him feel good when everyone knelt to him as he went by. Lately life had been altogether excellent. King Xerxes had given him a position above all the other officials. He had even passed a law that everyone should bow to him. He really was pretty special!
Just then he caught sight of someone who wasn’t kneeling. He glared at the man but still that man wouldn’t bow. This must be Mordecai, that Jew he’d been told about. He’d heard that these Jews wouldn’t bow to anyone but their God.
Haman sees Mordecai who will not bow (Artist unknown)
Now his day was wrecked. He couldn’t get that picture of Mordecai out of his head. How could he get back at him? He could have him killed. But that was too easy. Suddenly he had an...
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TODAY’S SPECIAL: Esther 2:19-22
TO CHEW ON: "But Mordecai found out about the plot and told Queen Esther, who in turn reported it to the king, giving credit to Mordecai." Esther 2:22
“Xerxes is a tyrant. He’s gone too far!”
"We should kill him . . .”
Mordecai sat motionless as he strained to hear the secret conversation. In his job at the king’s gate, he had heard a lot of things. But never before had he overheard people actually plotting to murder the king.
As soon as the plotters left, Mordecai hurried to the palace and straight to Queen Esther. He told her everything he had heard.
Esther lost no time in reporting the plot to the king. “And Mordecai your servant, who sits at the king’s gate is the one who uncovered this,” she told him.Illustration by Annie Vallotton from the Good News Bible © American Bible Society 1976, 1992
Immediately Xerxes had the two men arrested and killed for their plans. Then the whole incident was recorded in the king’s record book.
Let’s think about what Esther did for a minute. Now that she was queen, her responsibility to Mordecai was done. She could have taken the credit for uncovering that plot for herself. It...
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TODAY’S SPECIAL: Esther 4:1-17
TO CHEW ON: "For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place but you and your father’s house will perish. And who knows but that you have come to royal position for such a time as this." Esther 4:14
Esther eyes opened wide as the servant delivered Mordecai’s message. Was he telling her to go to the king without an invitation? Didn’t he know that could get her killed?
It had all started when Esther’s servants had seen Mordecai dressed in sackcloth, covered in ashes and wailing as if someone had died. She had sent fresh clothes for him and asked what the problem was. Now the servant had returned with a copy of Haman’s new law and Mordecai’s request. He was asking her to go to the king and beg for the life of the Jews. And she would have to tell him no. Because what he was asking was impossible.
But her servant returned with Mordecai's reply: “Esther, you too are a Jew. Don’t think you’ll escape Haman’s law just because you’re in the palace. Who knows, it may be that you are queen now just so that...
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TODAY’S SPECIAL: Esther 8:11-17
TO CHEW ON:"In every province and in every city to which the edict of the king came, there was joy and gladness among the Jews, with feasting and celebrating..." Esther 8:17
Quickly things turned around in Susa. Haman was gone. When Esther told the king that Mordecai was her cousin, he gave Mordecai the job Haman had before. But the king’s law still stood. The Jews were still in danger.
Again Esther went to the king. “Please spare the life of my people,” she pleaded.
“My law from before can’t be overturned,” the king told her. “But you can write another one.”
So Mordecai called together the secretaries. They wrote a new command. It said that the Jewish people could now fight back to defend themselves from anyone who attacked them. Couriers on horses raced to the farthest parts of the land to post the new law....
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TODAY’S SPECIAL: Esther 7:1-10
TO CHEW ON: "King Xerxes asked Queen Esther, 'Who is he? Where is he—the man who has dared to do such a thing?' Esther said, 'An adversary and enem! This vile Haman!' Then Haman was terrified before the king and queen." Esther 7:5,6
The food was delicious. The wine put everyone in a good mood. Now Esther waited for just the right moment to tell the king what she wanted.
Then he said, “Queen Esther, what is your petition? Whatever you want, I’ll give it to you.”
Esther took a deep breath and began, “O king, if I have found favor with you, please spare my life. For I and my people are about to be slaughtered and wiped out.”
Xerxes’ eyes got wide with surprise. “Who would do such a thing?” he demanded.
“The enemy is this vile Haman!” Esther said.
The king looked in horror at Haman. Then he left the room, too angry to speak.
Haman, who minutes before had been talking and laughing was now shaking and pale. He staggered over to where Esther lay on her couch, fell on his knees and begged for his life. That’s how the king saw him when he came back into the room...
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