Saturday, June 25, 2011

Esther 3 - When Life Gets Scrambled - 110624PM@TBC

I. Introduction
A. Themes

· Esther: God Wins!
· The rhythm of redemption in Esther points toward the reality that is ours in Jesus.
· The April 4, 1989 edition of the Observer, quoted the then Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher as saying, "I am extraordinarily patient, provided I get my own way in the end."
· Confidence that God wins, you be extraordinarily patient.

All of the “chance” events in life are really working toward the end that God has ordained.  —Karen H. Jobes in The NIV Application Commentary

II. The Story
It is interesting to note that their is no mention of Esther in this chapter.  Apparently she was unaware of what was happening.

1.  “After these events,”  signals a turn in the story.

Chapter 2:  Things tentatively positive—
v.15  and Esther obtained favor in the sight of all who saw her.
v.17 The king … made her queen
v.22 Esther informed the king in Mordecai’s name.
v.23 ...and it was written

Chapters 3-5: Things begin to spin downward.
· The author places the promotion of Haman just where the original readers would have expected a report of Mordecai’s reward as a benefactor of the king.”  —Karen H. Jobes in The NIV Application Commentary
· "The theme of honour provides the backdrop to these verses.  Haman is honoured by a king who craves honour, and, by the end of verse 11, Haman has extracted for himself some of the honour tied up with the king's authority." -- Tyndale Old Testament Commentaries

Chapter 6: Things begin to  turn in Jews favor
6.13  Zeresh said to him, “If Mordecai, before whom you have begun to fall, is of Jewish descent, you will not prevail against him…”
--- Fill in plot chart

1  After these things King Ahasuerus promoted Haman, the son of Hammedatha the Agagite, and advanced him and set his seat above all the princes who were with him. 2 And all the king's servants who were within the king's gate bowed and paid homage to Haman, for so the king had commanded concerning him.

The events in this chapter take place about 5 years after Esther was made queen.

·  promoted: lit. to make big
ylt--exalted; kjv, nasb, nkjv, esv, nlt--promotedniv--honored
advanced: raise
ylt— lifteth him up; kjv, nasb, nkjv, esv--advanced; kjv, niv--elevating him

· Haman
Haman's name sounds something like the Hebrew word for wrath.  (Heb., hamah) —Karen H. Jobes in The NIV Application Commentary

· son of Hammedatha,

· the Agagite
· Agag was the usual title of the Amalekite kings, as “Pharaoh” was of the Egyptian. --
· Amalekites were the "poster children" for anti-semitism.
·  Deut. 25.17-19   "Remember what Amalek did to you on the way as you were coming out of Egypt, 18 how he met you on the way and attacked your rear ranks, all the stragglers at your rear, when you were tired and weary; and he did not fear God. 19 Therefore it shall be, when the Lord your God has given you rest from your enemies all around, in the land which the Lord your God is giving you to possess as an inheritance, that you will blot out the remembrance of Amalek from under heaven. You shall not forget.

Haman need not to have genetically descended from the Amalekites to have earned the name Agagite.  —Karen H. Jobes in The NIV Application Commentary

Compare 3:10; 8:1, 3 5: 9:10, 24.  The effect is to reinforce that an Agagite is, by definition, a Jewish enemy. --Adele Berlin in The JPS* Bible Commentary: Esther  *Jewish Publication  Society

Might be like calling someone a Hitler.  Genetic ancestory could be in view, but  it might just refer to his tyrannical anti-semitism.

 Haman is called the son of Hammedatha הָאֲגָגִי, the Agagite, or of the Agagites. אֲגָגִי recalls אֲגָג kings of the Amalekites, conquered and taken prisoner by Saul, and hewn in pieces by Samuel, 1Sa_15:8, 1Sa_15:33. Hence Jewish and Christian expositors regard Haman as a descendant of the Amalekite king. This is certainly possible, though it can by no means be proved. The name Agag is not sufficient for the purpose, as many individuals might at different times have borne the name אֲגָג, i.e., the fiery. In 1 Sam 15, too, Agag is not the nomen propr. of the conquered king, but a general nomen dignitatis of the kings of Amalek, as Pharaoh and Abimelech were of the kings of Egypt and Gerar. --Keil and De  Commentary on the Old Testament

2...But Mordecai would not bow or pay homage. 3 Then the king's servants who were within the king's gate said to Mordecai, "Why do you transgress the king's command?" 4 Now it happened, when they spoke to him daily and he would not listen to them, that they told it to Haman, to see whether Mordecai's words would stand; for Mordecai had told them that he was a Jew.

Mordecai --
2.5-6   Introduced as a Jew, a Benjamite,
2.7 brought up his Uncle's daughter, Hadassah (Esther)
2.21 sat within the gate, which indicated he was an official in the royal court
2.22  revealed a plot to kill the king as a loyal official would be expected to

Why would he not bow?
1. Personal obstinance. Possible, but doesn't fit as well with the end of verse 4.
2. Refusal to honor an enemy of the Jewish people.
3. The bowing in this context would be construed as an act of worship.

It is not in the character of the way this story is told for the author to say, but probably 2 or 3.

The important thing is that he did not honor Haman and it was connected one way or the other to his being Jewish.  That is all that is important to our plot.

to see whether Mordecai's words would stand...  Here we have the line drawn in the sand.  It was a challenge to Haman's status.  What would Haman do?

5 When Haman saw that Mordecai did not bow or pay him homage, Haman was filled with wrath. 6 But he disdained to lay hands on Mordecai alone, for they had told him of the people of Mordecai. Instead, Haman sought to destroy all the Jews who were throughout the whole kingdom of Ahasuerus--the people of Mordecai.

Note the similar reaction by the king in Esther 1.12 But Queen Vashti refused to come at the king's command brought by his eunuchs; therefore the king was furious, and his anger burned within him.

Review Esther 1.13-20
12   the king was furious
16   wronged the princes, and all the people
20  proclaimed throughout the empire
The offense shamed the king and was made into an empire wide issue.

 It was not enough for Haman to take out Mordecai, revenge that small seemed to be beneath him.

 7 In the first month, which is the month of Nisan, in the twelfth year of King Ahasuerus, they cast Pur (that is, the lot), before Haman to determine the day and the month, until it fell on the twelfth month, which is the month of Adar.

· Haman casts the lot in the first month, Nisan, the month the Jews celebrate passover.
· It was a way of asking the gods for answers to questions about the future.  —Karen H. Jobes in The NIV Application Commentary

Proverbs 22. 33 
The lot is cast into the lap,
But its every decision is from the Lord.

· The name of the feast that this book introduces is called Purim, sort of like naming a feast "dice." 
· It is a silent testimony to how God works through the seemingly random occurrences in life. 
· We don't need to (nor can we) notice or understand every seemingly random event, but rest assured God is "all over it."

 8 Then Haman said to King Ahasuerus, "There is a certain people scattered and dispersed among the people in all the provinces of your kingdom; their laws are different from all other people's, and they do not keep the king's laws. Therefore it is not fitting for the king to let them remain.

Notice that Haman does not even mention who they were.  They were insignificant.  It didn’t matter.

Three lines of reasoning here:
1.  scattered and dispersed...  The idea could be that they do not have a Jewish province that is important to the tax base,  that their being spread all over makes them dispensable. 
It might also allege a wide influence they might have across the empire.

2.  their laws are different...  This would have reference to their religious and cultural observances which might have made them stand out.  Haman's accusation should be understood as an exaggeration, since the Persians were generally tolerant of different cultures.

3.  do not keep the king's laws...  Mordecai would have undoubtedly been exhibit one.

9 If it pleases the king, let a decree be written that they be destroyed, and I will pay ten thousand talents of silver into the hands of those who do the work, to bring it into the king's treasuries."

Understood as hyperbole it is unnecessary to identify the source of this money (empire resources at Haman's disposal, Haman's excessive personal wealth, money accumulated from the intended booty snatch [3:13] are all possibilities), but it is important to note that money is a persuasive and motivating factor in Persian government.  --Derek Kidner in Tyndale OT Commentary.
Estimated to be 333 tons or 302 metric tons of silver--an enormous sum, almost equivalent to the total sum of the annual tribute of the entire Persian empire (see Moore and Bush).  --The JPS Commentary

In verse 11, it is unclear whether the Hebrew calls for a sense of “Well, its your money (if that’s how you want to spend it), you can do with the people as you please.
Keep you money (niv), and you can do whatever you want to the people for free.
Esther’s words in 7.4 “For we have been sold, my people and I…” might favor the first view.

10 So the king took his signet ring from his hand and gave it to Haman, the son of Hammedatha the Agagite, the enemy of the Jews. 11 And the king said to Haman, "The money and the people are given to you, to do with them as seems good to you." 12 Then the king's scribes were called on the thirteenth day of the first month, and a decree was written according to all that Haman commanded--to the king's satraps, to the governors who were over each province, to the officials of all people, to every province according to its script, and to every people in their language. In the name of King Ahasuerus it was written, and sealed with the king's signet ring. 13 And the letters were sent by couriers into all the king's provinces, to destroy, to kill, and to annihilate all the Jews, both young and old, little children and women, in one day, on the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, which is the month of Adar, and to plunder their possessions. 14 A copy of the document was to be issued as law in every province, being published for all people, that they should be ready for that day. 15 The couriers went out, hastened by the king's command; and the decree was proclaimed in Shushan the citadel.

· The repetition of the whole description of Haman is meant to heighten the suspense and dread at such a vicious, sadistic man getting complete free reign to do whatever he wants.
· These verses emphasize the totality and all-inclusiveness of the edict's remit.  It is all-inclusive because it is sent to all the king's provinces and applies to all the Jews--young and old, women and little children.  It means total massacre, for the order is to destroy, kill and annihilate, which amounts to repetition for the sake of solemnity.  --Tyndale OT Commentary
· The edict ironically is sent out on the thirteenth day of the first month, which ironically is the very eve of Passover (cf. Ex. 12:18; Lev. 23:5; Num 28:16).  —Karen H. Jobes in The NIV Application Commentary
Happy Passover!!

"This is not a king with a good head for business or politics.  We again see a weak king who is easily manipulated by his advisors.  --??

So the king and Haman sat down to drink,
but the city of Shushan was perplexed.

"A better translation is to "to party."  The point of our verse is not to indicate that solid food was eaten, but that Haman and Ahasuerus resumed the usual Persian practice of drinking and carousing."  --The JPS Commentary

Haman and the king went on as if nothing had happened!  Another day at the office. 
Haman gets home that evening, and Mrs. Haman askes, "What did you do today?"
"Oh, made a law to sanction genocide on an ethnic group of a man that made me mad and had a couple beers with the king, and you?" Haman.
Mrs. Haman replies, " That’s nice. I went shopping and bought some new shoes,"
The description of the city (which would be the lower city where the general population lived) is made to emphasize how extreme the law was and the seeming inevitability of the Jews complete destruction.

perplexed:   baka  St943 TWOT214  - confused, agitated
ylt, kjv, nkjv--perplexed; nasb, esv, nlt--confusion;
niv, tniv--bewildered

III. The “So What?”  (participation from congregation)
What applications can we make from our three main characters?
Ahaseurus:  Be careful who you trust.  Keep your eye on the ball.  It's not all about you. 

Haman:  Pride and ego are deadly.  They are passions that will end up hurting you.

Mordecai:   Our actions often effect others besides ourselves.  This should be in the back of our minds when we do or say something.

IV. Conclusion
1.  Satan and this world’s system have conspired against the physical decendents of Abraham and especially against his spiritual decendents before and after the cross.
In Acts chapter four the apostles experienced this in a way we in America have not yet. 
Acts 4.27-31
27 "For truly against Your holy Servant Jesus, whom You anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles and the people of Israel, were gathered together 28 to do whatever Your hand and Your purpose determined before to be done. 29 Now, Lord, look on their threats, and grant to Your servants that with all boldness they may speak Your word, 30 by stretching out Your hand to heal, and that signs and wonders may be done through the name of Your holy Servant Jesus." 31 And when they had prayed, the place where they were assembled together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the word of God with boldness. 

2. I suspect that there might have been some Jews who called there rabbi with a question that we have sometimes.  What about these evil doers? How come the workers of iniquity are doing so well while we fear for our lives?

He might have referred them to
Psalm 37 (David) or 

Psalm 73 (Asaph)
1 A Psalm of Asaph.
Truly God is good to Israel, 
To such as are pure in heart.  
2 But as for me, my feet had almost stumbled; 
My steps had nearly slipped.  
3 For I was envious of the boastful, 
When I saw the prosperity of the wicked.  
4 For there are no pangs in their death, 
But their strength is firm.  
5 They are not in trouble as other men, 
Nor are they plagued like other men.  
6 Therefore pride serves as their necklace; 
Violence covers them like a garment.  
7 Their eyes bulge with abundance; 
They have more than heart could wish.  
8 They scoff and speak wickedly concerning oppression; 
They speak loftily. 
9 They set their mouth against the heavens, 
And their tongue walks through the earth. 
  10 Therefore his people return here, 
And waters of a full cup are drained by them.  
11 And they say, "How does God know? 
And is there knowledge in the Most High?"  
12 Behold, these are the ungodly, 
Who are always at ease; 
They increase in riches.  

13 Surely I have cleansed my heart in vain, 
And washed my hands in innocence.  
14 For all day long I have been plagued, 
And chastened every morning.  
15 If I had said, "I will speak thus," 
Behold, I would have been untrue to the generation of Your children.  
16 When I thought how to understand this, 
It was too painful for me--  
17 Until I went into the sanctuary of God; 
Then I understood their end.  
 18 Surely You set them in slippery places; 
You cast them down to destruction.  
19 Oh, how they are brought to desolation, as in a moment! 
They are utterly consumed with terrors.  
20 As a dream when one awakes, 
So, Lord, when You awake, 
You shall despise their image.  

21 Thus my heart was grieved, 
And I was vexed in my mind.  
22 I was so foolish and ignorant; 
I was like a beast before You.  
23 Nevertheless I am continually with You; 
You hold me by my right hand.  
24 You will guide me with Your counsel, 
And afterward receive me to glory.  
25 Whom have I in heaven but You? 
And there is none upon earth that I desire besides You.  
26 My flesh and my heart fail; 
But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.  
27 For indeed, those who are far from You shall perish; 
You have destroyed all those who desert You for harlotry.  
28 But it is good for me to draw near to God; 
I have put my trust in the Lord God, 
That I may declare all Your works.

No comments:

Post a Comment