Daily Bible Studies
|Series Theme: Studies in Esther - "For such a time as this"|
Chapter: Esther 3
Passage: Esther 3:1-6
A. Find Out
1. Who was Haman and what happened to him? v.1
2. How did the royal officials respond to him? v.2a
3. But how did Mordecai respond to him? v.2b
4. Who asked what of Modecai and what did they do? v.3,4
5. What did Haman feel about this? v.5
6. So what did he plan to do? v.6
1. What does the elevating of Haman show about the king?
2. What changes does this bring about, what consequences?
There are two mysteries here. The first is why Haman was promoted and the second is why Mordecai refused to bow before him.
Haman is an Agagite. Now the only Scriptural link suggested is that this means he was a descendant of Agag, the Amalakite king (1 Sam 15). God had told Saul to wipe out the Amalakites, centuries before. Presumably some of Agag's family survived and a dynasty created. This man is therefore an historical enemy of the Jews. When Haman is unaccountably promoted and a command sent out to honour him, this seems the only accountable reason for Mordecai's refusal to bow before him, because the Jews didn't usually have a problem with bowing before kings.
The royal officials, at the gate where they met outside the palace, ask Mordecai about his behaviour and he explains that he is a Jew – and presumably about their history with the Amalakites. The officials mischievously tell Haman to see what will happen. Haman is furious and, as he thinks about the situation, he plans, not merely to kill Mordecai but all of his people, the Jews, as well. The long arm of hatred stretches down through history and Saul's failure to obey God brings a long-term repercussion. Haman is out to balance history. Israel wiped out his people, so he will wipe out the Jews now. This historical linkage can be the only reason for the behaviour of both men. The king has promoted a situation where historical hostility rises to the surface.
1. Disobedience to God will always have repercussions.
2. Time may pass, but the consequences will always arise.
Chapter: Esther 3
Passage: Esther 3:7
A. Find Out
1. When did this occur? v.7a
2. What did they do? v.7b
3. With what aim? v.7c
4. On when did it fall? v.7d
1. What do you think Haman was wanting to know?
2. So how did he find it out?
3. How long was he going to have to wait.
We pause up on this single verse, because the whole history of the celebration of Purim rests on this. The pur was a method of casting a lot.. The astrologers and soothsayers of the day used it as a method of trying to find out when auspicious days were. They believed that certain days would be better than others on which to do particular things. Superstition we might say. However remember that the apostles used the method of casting lots to decide the apostle to replace Judas (Acts 1:26 ).
So, in our present situation, Haman wants to find out when would be the most auspicious day on which to wipe out all the Jews, and so he calls in the soothsayers and they use their method and come up with a date eleven months on. If the lot had fallen on a few days time then surely the Jews would have been exterminated then and there, but in the space of almost a year a lot of things can happen.
We are left pondering then, was God behind this superstitious approach, did He have His hand on these men so that it fell like that. As we've said previously, that is the frustration of this book for it doesn't mention God in it all, yet the things that happen surely must have the hand of providence upon them. If the Lord is in this, then it is a clear indication that He can use even the most strange methods to bring guidance, but then He did guide foreign astrologers (the Wise Men) to the baby Jesus (Mt 2).
2. Yet the Lord is able to guide even through these. He is the Lord!
Chapter: Esther 3
Passage: Esther 3:8-11
A. Find Out
1. Who spoke to whom? v.8a
2. How did he describe the Jews? v.8b,c
3. What did he suggest and offer to provide? v.8d,9
4. What did he do? v.10
5. What he say? v.11
1. How is Haman taking his plot on a stage?
2. How is he limited in what he tells the king?
3. What does the king's response tell us about him?
Haman has got eleven months to wait but he nevertheless has got to progress the plot and the first step is getting the king's agreement to it. The way that he does this is to convey to the king that there are a people scattered among his kingdom who reject the king's authority and who, therefore, need to be dealt with. Note that he doesn't actually say who they are; he just speaks of them generally. Having many riches himself, he offers to provide the finances for this plan to be carried out. That is a good approach, for it makes the king think well of him. The king, for whom life means little, is quite happy to let Haman proceed, at the king's expense, and rid the kingdom of these people. If they are a nuisance in the kingdom, get rid of them, whoever they are!
The king hands over his signet ring to Haman which would be used to sign the seal of all official documents, as a means of saying, just use my authority and do whatever you want to do. The king, as he has indicated before, doesn't give any thought to the long-term effects of his behaviour and is casual about handing out authority. His foolish, casual behaviour has just sealed the fate of the Jews. The way is now set for the plot to proceed and bring about their destruction. From this point it seems they are doomed. Understand this clearly: there is, apparently, nothing that can now stop Haman fulfilling his plan against the Jews. The way is open for their destruction.
1. Things may look bad sometimes, but trust the Lord.
2. God works behind the scenes on behalf of His people. Trust Him!
Chapter: Esther 3
Passage: Esther 3:12-15
A. Find Out
1. When did all this take place? v.12a
2. How were the orders written out? v.12
3. Where were they then sent? v.13a,14
4. What was the command? v.13b
5. Where also was it sent? v.15
6. What did the city feel about it? v.15
1. How comprehensive was the coverage of this order?
2. How comprehensive was its intent?
3. With what authority did these orders go out?
It's all very well to plan the genocide, but now we see the full, legal ordering of it. The king is law and this edict goes out under the name of the king. The king had given Haman his signet ring for the seal on each order, so it goes out in the name of the king. As such there is now no stopping it. This foolish king has handed over his authority to a hateful and vengeful second in command. It is now established!
The order is quite clear: to wipe out every Jew in the kingdom, wherever they may be found, in whatever province governed by the king. It will happen in eleven months time; plenty of time for preparation to make sure it happens! Note that Haman doesn't waste any time. The lot was thrown in the first month and the order is sent out in the first month. There is a set determination in all this. The order is written in the language of every province so there can be no doubt; everyone will read it in their own language, everyone will understand, so there can be no excuses for not carrying out this order. The fate of the Jews IS sealed (literally) and there appears nothing that can change that. We know that this king doesn't like being made to appear silly, in the way he responded to his first Queen, so he's not going to step in and change this now. No, the die is cast and their fate is sealed. It is going to happen, it seems; there is no alternative. Hmmm! Watch this space!
1. Death was an impossibility to overcome – until Jesus came!
2. Some situations seem like death – impossible – until God moves!
RECAP - "Plots & Intrigues" - Esther 3
In this third group of 4 studies we have seen :
- Haman the Agagite being promoted to power (3:1)
- Mordecai refusing to bow before him (3:2-4)
- Haman plots to kill Mordecai & the Jews (3:5,6)
- The lot indicating a day in 11 months time (3:7)
- Haman obtaining the king's permission to act (3:8-11)
- Haman issuing an edict to kill the Jews ( 3:12 -15)
There would seem, possibly, to be historical issues between the Jews and the Amalakites behind what takes place in what we have recently read. Somehow there seems to have been this thread of survivors from Agag who now, in Mordecai's eyes, are unworthy receivers of honour from the king. Haman, in turn, is a vengeful man and is angered by Mordecai's refusal to honour him. Having the power of position Haman let's anger build into plotting the death of not only Mordecai but his fellow Jews as well. (What he doesn't realise is that the Queen is a Jew!!!). The king is shown to be foolish in the way simply hands over authority to Haman without checking further. By the end of this chapter the scene is set for the total destruction of the Jews. What did not happen under Nebuchadnezzar, looks like it will now happen.
1. Historical unresolved disputes have a habit of surfacing later.
2. Pride and power are a combination for abuse of power and injustice.
3. Unrestrained anger brings harm.
4. Authority should never be passed on casually.
5. When all looks black, look to the Lord.
Ask the Lord to show you if you have unresolved disputes in your history that need dealing with righteously.
PART 4 : "Counter-Measures"
In this next Part we'll see how this plot by Haman was foiled. Watch for the series of things that contributed to this, some being human activity, some that must be the intervention of God.