December 15, 2015: Daily Bible Reading with Commentary for Esther 1-5
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Author: Unknown, possibly Mordecai
Date: 483-471 BC
Context: Esther is the only book in the Bible where God is not mentioned by name, yet throughout the book, we can see that God is working behind the scenes to save His people. After Queen Vashti was deposed Esther rose to be Queen. Esther did not rely on herself and her own knowledge to gain that position, but relied on those who knew better than she. A man, Haman, was plotting to destroy the Jews, because Mordecai would not kneel to him. Mordecai persuaded Esther to go to the King and intervene on the behalf of the Jews. According to Persian tradition, no one, not even the king’s wife, could approach the king without being summoned. To do so would result in death. During Passover, traditionally a time of feasting and celebration, Esther and the Jews fasted instead. Esther is spared when she approaches the king, yet she does not give him her request, instead inviting him and Haman to a special banquet. Haman is prideful about his invitation.
World History: Haman was an Agagite, also known as Amalekites, which were descendants of King Agag. Saul was instructed to kill King Agag, however Saul did not obey the Lord and let him live. The descendants of King Agag continued to harbor ill will towards the Jews.