Esther 2 & 3

Esther had been married to the king for four years. During these 4 years the king had fought many battles and suffered humiliating defeats. Esther gave him the measure of consolation that he required. In honor of the occasion the king gave some kind of tax relief to the provinces.

Verses 21-23 show how Mordecai saved the king’s life. He told Esther of the plot, and she in turn told the king. The two would be murderers were taken and hanged. The act of Mordecai was recorded in the book in which valiant deeds were recorded.

In chapter 3 we are introduced to the fourth of the principals in the story: Haman. The chapter is taken up with his plot to exterminate the Jews.

v. 1—Haman is promoted.

v. 2—All the king’s servants were required to bow down to him, but Mordecai refused to do this. The reason was the Mordecai was a Benjamite and refused to honor a descendant of Agag who was Israel’s bitter enemy. See verse 10. Haman was infuriated at this. Also, the nationality of Mordecai was exposed.

v. 6—Haman, after discovering that Mordecai’s refusal to bow before him was based on religious motives, decided that there was only one solution to the problem, “destroy all the Jews.”

v. 7—The astrologers and magicians were called to determine which day would bring destruction on the Jews. They cast lots and the day was fixed. Compare Proverbs 16:33—“When the lot is cast into the lap, the whole disposal thereof is of the Lord.”

v. 8-11—Haman reveals his great cunning. He made the proposition to the king that he exterminate the people who were displeased in the kingdom, who had laws of their own, and who disobeyed the king’s laws. When the subjects of kings bowed down and worshipped them they did so as deity. The proud Jew, though they obeyed the laws of the land, could not and would not do homage to mere man—they worshipped God.

v. 9—Haman offered to bribe the king to massacre the Jews (10,000 talents = 18 million dollars).

v. 10—The king took his ring and gave it to Haman, the enemy of the Jews. Investing him with kingly power.

v. 11—The king refused the bribe but gave Haman the authority to slaughter millions of his subjects. Modern instances of the same brutality.

v. 12—The scribes were called to prepare the death warrants.

v. 13—The letters were sent by parts. There were men on Persian horses, who could not be hindered by snow, rain, heat or by the darkness of the night. These letters contained the order to slaughter the Jews and all who helped could take their property for a reward.

v. 15—The capital city Shushan was perplexed.


His origin—Genesis 36:12.

Timna bore a son to Eliphax, Esau’s son, whose name was Amalek. Amalek sprang from Esau.

Esau and Jacob were twins and when they were being born they struggled together. This is a picture of the flesh warring against the Spirit and the Spirit against the flesh. Esau was the first-born, then Jacob. 1 Corinthians 15:46.

The true character of Amalek is seen in Exodus 17. They were the constant enemy of Israel, forever preying upon the weak and those who could not keep up with the movements of the nation.

1 Samuel 15—Saul was asked to slay the Amalekites. He was to “utterly destroy them and spare them not.” He disobeyed and spared Agag, the king. The prophet Samuel carried out God’s instructions and killed the king. Someone of the family somehow escaped and six hundred years later, a royal Amalekite and a descendent of King Saul confront each other again.

Haman is promoted, and all fall down and worship him, except one old unyielding man, Mordecai.

Mordecai’s stand for God was the beginning of his rise to power. At first it would seem that Mordecai’s stand jeopardized the whole nation. Men of God in all dispensations have acted in this fashion. Noah built a great ship on dry land. Moses forsook Egypt. Caleb cried, “We are well able to overcome.” Gideon went forth to war with lamps and pitches. David fought a giant with a shepherd’s sling and stones. Daniel opened his windows toward Jerusalem to pray to the God of heaven. Paul lived for God in the midst of opposition.

With people of this caliber God is well pleased. Mordecai became the savior of his nation because God so honored him. Satan’s motive was to destroy the people of God through Haman. God’s desire was to preserve His people through Mordecai.