As I began preparing for this week’s Shabbat, knowing it would fall on the eve of Purim, I prayed and asked Abba for ‘new eyes’ in the Book of Esther. As my regular readers know, I love to tease out the prophetic hints and deeper pictures contained in the stories and history recorded in the Tanak. I believe Esther offered some new vistas I had not seen before.
I think most regard Esther as a book of prophecy. I do. In the past, understanding the role of the characters was a little different than this time through, so let’s take a brief look, one which I will expand for our Shabbat reading, a recording of which now appears on Davar Chaim’s blog.
Who is the king? Who is Vashti? Esther? Mordecai? And, Haman?
I’ll ‘give away the farm,’ right up front, then substantiate with Scripture. I would encourage you to dig deeper and prove/disprove these things for yourself.
Ahasuerus, the king, reigns over the entire known world, 127 provinces stretching from India to Ethiopia and has all authority. This one is easy. As most of us previously thought, Ahasuerus represents the King of Kings, Lord of Lords.
The King desires a bride! Vashti is His bride. He displayed His glory for all to see and ‘on the seventh day’ (1:10) He commanded her to come into His presence in order ‘to display her beauty for all to see, for she was beautiful (1:11).’ Yet, she refused. Vashti represents Christendom, the comfortable bride who refuses to be obedient to the King’s command (1:12 & 16) and come into His presence on the seventh day. As such, she embarrasses Him publicly!
Vashti is allowed to remain in the kingdom, but is barred from coming before the King and her royal position is given to another who is more worthy than she (1:19). Matthew 5:19, “Whoever then annuls one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, shall be called ‘least in the kingdom’ of heaven…” Vashti has been relegated to ‘least’ because of disobedience.
A search of ‘every tribe, tongue and nation’ (Rev. 5:9; 7:9; 17:15), leads to the gathering of beautiful young virgins (2:3) to the capital city of Susa (Jerusalem) where the King dwells. Esther is this beutiful, young bride who has no lineage, or, it is masked (2:7), and, she is adopted by ‘the Jew’ (2:7). She is related to the Jews (2:15), but that tie is not clearly made before the people until the end of the story. Esther is Ephraim, coming out of the nations. Notice that 2:6 specifically spells out that at the time of this story (prophecy) both Jews and Esther are in exile. Even today, both are still in the nations, though Judah is coming home, even as Esther/Ephraim is being refined.
Esther’s refinement includes a period of purification and separation (2:12). She only gets to see the King is if ‘He delights in her (2:14).’ Esther, daughter of Avihail, ‘my Father is might,’ finds favor in His eyes (2:15) and becomes His bride in the seventh year of His reign (seventh millennium? 2:16).
Verse 2:20 tells us something interesting about Esther. She doesn’t look like Mordecai, but she learns of him and follows his ways and instruction. Mordecai is the knowledgeable one who is in the position of authority. For our picture, Ephraim does not and will not look like Mordecai the Jew, but Ephraim will respect and learn of Mordecai the Jew.
The text tells us at least eight times that Mordecai is a Jew (2:5; 3:4; 5:13; 6:10; 8:7; 9:29, 31; 10:3). Mordecai is loyal to the Great King, even though persecuted. He refuses to bow down or pay homage to Haman (3:2). He operates without glory or elevation (2:23), yet, he is elevated and rewarded in the end as is prophesied for the Jews. Mordecai represents Judah.
The archenemy of the Jews is Haman the Agagite. Haman, meaning ‘magnificent,’ is filled with rage at Mordecai the Jew (3:5) and seeks to destroy him and his brethren (3:6). He is the accuser of the brethren and does so before the Great King (Esther 3:8-9; Job 1 &2). One of Haman;s chief sins is his pride (5:9ff). The Great King gives him permission and His signet ring, but as we see historically and prophetically, his actions will lead to his own entrapment and destruction as the tables are turned on him (7:10). Haman represents hasatan, the adversary.
This story is as much about the salvation, elevation and preservation of Mordecai and Esther as it is about the destruction and damnation of Haman. It is a microcosm of the story of Scripture!
As our story unfolds, we find the planned destruction of all the Jews in the known world, with Susa in confusion and Haman partying (3:14). It is interesting to note that this edict for destruction was sent out the day before Pesach (3:12). Esther grieves for her adopted father and her people as she writhes in anguish and she seeks to bring relief to them (4:4). Notice it is not Vashti who is concerned. Even today, Vashti has little regard for Mordecai.
Esther demonstrates a rare quality. She fears the Great King! Throughout the Book of Esther, there seems a great air of familiarity between all the characters and the Great King with the notable exceptions of Esther and Mordecai. Our Great King loves and cares for us, but we must always hold Him in the highest regard, approaching with fear and trembling!! Also, if we are unwilling to be associated with Mordecai and the Jews, our day of destruction will come (4:13-14)!! Our ‘lot’ is with Mordecai the Jew, not hiding among the nations.
It is ‘on the third day’ wherein Esther puts on her royal robes and stands in the inner court on behalf of Judah (5:1). Interestingly, as this approach to the Great King happens, it is Mordecai who is obedient to Esther (4:15-17). It is a mutual respect as seen in Isaiah 11:13 (see in context). Only through persecution and standing with Judah will we gain respect and erase centuries of hurts, eliminating jealousies and harassment.
The Great King neither slumbers nor sleeps (6:1; Psalm 121:4) and He always shows up exactly on time (6:4). It is important to note that Mordecai was not outwardly upset about not being rewarded for saving the King’s life (reputation?). When we are not immediately rewarded for walking in integrity and obedience, we must understand that just maybe, the Great King is storing up that reward for the right time (6:10-11)! Further, when Mordecai is honored, it doesn’t ‘go to his head,’ rather, he immediately returns to his post of work interceding before the King’s gate (6:14).
Haman, in a last ditch attempt, assaults the Bride, Esther (7:8; Rev. 12:17), however, again the King shows up right on time!
Hasatan is the Prince of the World, but all he has is given to the Bride (8:1), and she sets Mordecai over it, representing the two sticks ruling and reigning together as fellow heirs. Further, Judah is given the signet ring. Notice, even after this great victory and the tables being turned, Esther is falling at the King’s feet and seeking His favor (8:3-5).
Through Esther and Mordecai, the Jews throughout the world are given authority to protect themselves and plunder the enemy (8:11). They protect themselves, but refuse the plunder as they know they are favored before the King and have no need of anything because the dread of Mordecai had fallen on the world (9:2-5). They also use the sword to bring justice against their enemies.
There are many, many more details in the story worth exploring from this angle, but I’ll only point to two in closing. In 8:15 we find Mordecai wearing robes of blue and white, a large crown of gold and a garment of fine linen and purple. Blue always points to Torah and white to righteousness. The gold crown points to rulership as do the garments of fine linen ad purple. The scepter shall not depart from Judah (Gen. 49:1)!
Mordecai, at the end, has an appearance much like the Mashiach. His ‘role’ in the picture seems to change as the last verse of the book says,
“For Mordecai the Jew was second only to King Ahasuerus, and great among the Jews and in favor with his many kinsmen, one who sought the good of his people and one who spoke for the welfare of his whole nation.”
That verse could be written of Messiah!!
The Book of Esther demonstrates again that Biblical history is also prophecy! We have seen that with Elijah, Ezra, Joesph and others. Esther presents us with a roadmap and hope! I pray this little study has blessed you!! Please consider sharing it.