Queen Esther is one of the most prominent and inspiring female figure of the Old Testament out of the very few mentioned in the Bible and of course one of the very few books in the bible named after a woman, because her life is worthy of emulation.
Born Hadassah (which means compassion ) to a Jewish family in Persia. Her story set out after Queen Vashti, wife of King Xerxes of the 127 provinvces of Media and Persia-stretching from India to Cush- turned down her husband curtly when asked to put on a show with her dance during the banquet he hosted for his militia and nobles. Vashti is a name of Persian origin which means beautiful. It comes as no surprise that the King of all Persia was proud of his wife’s physical beauty. Enraged, King Xerxes decided to give her position to a much more obedient woman so the search went on and amongst the several women polished and dandied by the Eunuchs , Esther was chosen.
Esther 2:17 “And the king loved Esther above all the women, and she obtained grace and favour in his sight more than all the virgins; so that he set the royal crown upon her head, and made her queen instead of Vashti”.
Now, Esther’s older cousin, Mordecai who had adopted her after she herself became on orphan was announced as the king’s second man after reporting two guards planning the King’s assination. Mordecai’s story evolved once Haman, one of the King’s nobles got vamped to higher position. Everyone bowed to him except Mordecai. Insulted, Haman learned of Mordecai’s people and decided to wipe them out by tricking the King to sign a contract that would doom all Jews.
Mordecai needed Esther to stop her husband from doing such a deed so he pleaded with her. Now, listen, Esther knew nothing about war or these contracts and this was a very frightening yet troubling issue for a lady of her age and calibre. She could have saved herself , going to get a spa bath or something but she acted fast and told Mordecai to tell the the Jews to fast as she solved everything. Stating” If i perish, i perish”.
Esther 4:14,For if thou altogether holdest thy peace at this time, then shall there enlargement and deliverance arise to the Jews from another place; but thou and thy father’s house shall be destroyed: and who knoweth whether thou art come to the kingdom for such a time as this?
When Esther got to the palace, Mordecai charged her not to reveal her identity as a Jew nor should she by any means make known her relation with the Jews in the land of Persia. As to the reason why Mordecai gave her such instructions, I know not. However, what I am sure of is that if Esther had revealed her kindred, she may not have been chosen as queen which will mean she will not be in that position to save her people. That is why Mordecai said perhaps, this is the reason why you are queen.
Esther 4 : 16 Go, gather together all the Jews that are present in Shushan, and fast ye for me, and neither eat nor drink three days, night or day: I also and my maidens will fast likewise; and so will I go in unto the king, which is not according to the law: and if I perish, I perish.
Esther had a choice. She could have said well, uncle you know, I can’t go before the king if I haven’t been invited. If I go into his presence without being invited, I will be killed, so you know what, you people should fight your fight. After all, it’s all your fault.
Fast forward, Mordecai was honoured, the Jews were saved from the King’s wrath incited by Haman, and Haman, he took his own life.
1. A radical feminist will most probably vouch for Vashti and say well she’s a woman who has her rights and they need to be respected and as such she can’t be ordered around just at the King’s will. But it actually goes beyond the King’s will or his instructions, it’s the fact that the Queen did not attach seriousness to instructions. She couldn’t discern between play time and work. As a woman, you should execute every little task assigned to you with all decency, order and diligence. You’ll never know whether your next action gets you promoted or demoted from whatever office you occupy.
2. Unlike Vashti, Esther had the virtue of a queen. Bible says beauty is vain and charm is deceitful. Being a queen demanded more than the physical beauty Vashti had.
3. Esther hearkened unto instruction. She took Mordecai’s instruction and warning with every seriousness. Sometimes, it is wise to hide your identity. You can never tell who’s waiting to destroy you. You never can tell who is laying ambush. Don’t run your mouth too much about your achievements, your blessings or even your weaknesses. Be circumspect.
4. Esther used her position of influence, coupled with fasting and prayers to save her people. If God puts you at a place to help others, don’t hesitate. Be obedient and move. If you aren’t sure about what to do… PRAY!
5. We must all be brave to do something that dares us. Dare yourself. It’s an honour. As women, we are expected to cower and be scared of certain issues but we have to overcome this and face the issues squarely like modern Day Esthers. Move out of your comfort zone. As Kafui Praise puts it, dont just exist, live! Think carefully and plan everything out precisely as well, and commit those plans to God, and your work will surely be established.
BE AN ESTHER THIS WEEK, BE A QUEEN!