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Tuesday, April 16th, 2024
the Third Week after Easter
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Bible Commentaries
Esther 3

Bell's Commentary on the BibleBell's Commentary

Verses 1-15

  1. Slide#3 Intro:
    1. Outline: God’s Bad Timing? God Throws Dice? God Doesn’t Care?
  2. GOD’S BAD TIMING? (1-6) Overlooked and Unrewarded
    1. ​​​​​​​End of last chapter, Mordecai saved the life of the king.
      1. You’d think Mordecai would have been promoted (as was the custom to do immediately) but instead he was passed over…life’s unfair!
      2. On top of that...Haman gets promoted, a hater of Mordecai & bent on his destruction.
      3. Remember a time when you’ve been Overlooked or Unrewarded?
    2. What should we do when we are not treated fairly?
      1. Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you. 1 Pet.5:6,7
        1. Key: Mordecai wasn’t rewarded right away, but he was at the right time.
          1. How do we deal with Injustice in our Life?
          2. How do we deal with unrewarded good deeds?
            1. Can we embrace the perspective of Deferred Rewards?
    3. Mordecai couldn’t turn to the end of the book to read how it all works out. And neither can we in life.
      1. But, we do know the author, & we do know that all things will work out together for good.
      2. Peter reminds us, In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ, whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, receiving the end of your faith; the salvation of your souls. 1 Pet.1:6-9
    4. Not God’s Bad Timing, but instead Perfect Timing!
  3. GOD THROWS DICE? (7-11) Destiny, Decisions, and Determination
    1. ​​​​​​​(7) Haman had the magicians cast Pur (a lot/a dice) which introduces destiny into the story.
      1. Ps.16:5,6 NIV Lord, you alone are my portion and my cup; you make my lot secure. The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance.
        1. Alluding to Joshua’s division of the land by casting lots.
        2. David now reflects on the security found in the Lord alone.
          1. It is the Lord who has secured David’s destiny.
        3. Prov.16:33 The lot is cast into the lap, But its every decision is from the LORD.
          1. Haman cast the lot to secure a date, but God determined how it fell!
    2. No God doesn’t Throw Dice, but instead Controls Them! [even Jonah]
  4. GOD DOESN’T CARE? (12-15) Life’s Unfair
    1. ​​​​​​​Life’s unfair! - Just because of one man’s decision(Mordecai), a whole people group is affected by it? (Yes, that can be a leader of a country; or a deranged gunman)
    2. This is a story that has been replayed over & over many times. Replace the name of Haman with…
      1. Pharaoh where this all started, w/a limited Jewish genocide against the Hebrew male children; to the brickyards in Egypt; to the “almost” Red Sea slaughter.
      2. Assyria - Pulling Israel out of their country as captives in 722bc.
      3. Babylon - Pulling Judah out of their country as captives in 536bc.
      4. Rome - is guilty of their abuse against the Jews.
      5. The Spanish Inquisition – in 1478 w/papal approval, & approval from King Ferdinand V & Queen Isabella I, they targeted 1st the Jews, then Islam, then the Protestants.
      6. Hitler – Where approx. 6 million Jews were killed.
      7. Nasser – the Prime minister & Pres. of Egypt, a hero of the Arab world, led the war against Israel which became the famous “6 day war of 1967”. On Nasser’s side was the Arab nations of “Jordan, and Syria, which were aided by Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, and Algeria.”
        1. “Egypt subsequently blockaded the Gulf of Aqaba, a vital transportation route, to Israeli shipping - a move that Israel regarded as an act of aggression. Hostilities began on June 5 with a massive preemptive strike by Israel that crippled the Arabs' air capacity. Israeli forces then quickly moved to occupy the Gaza Strip and push into the Sinai. At the same time Israelis fought Jordanians in Old Jerusalem and advanced into Syria. By June 10, when the fighting was halted, Israel controlled the entire Sinai Peninsula & all Jordanian territory west of the Jordan River, as well as the strategic Golan Heights of Syria.”
    3. 2 reasons for this hatred:
      1. Natural – Strategic land.
      2. Supernatural – This was prophesied by God back in Genesis.
        1. Abraham/Sarah have Isaac. Isaac/Rebekah have Esau & Jacob. Rebekah said, If all is well, why am I like this?" So she went to inquire of the LORD. And the LORD said to her: "Two nations are in your womb, Two peoples shall be separated from your body; One people shall be stronger than the other, & the older shall serve the younger. Gen.25:22,23
        2. So started the promise of the Israel/Arab conflict.
        3. So far, all who have tried to destroy the Jews have tasted of the wrath of God.
    4. Why doesn’t God interfere w/Haman’s evil deeds? Why doesn't He just stop evil altogether?
      1. Haman’s sins would ultimately destroy him & be used by God for the good of Israel.
      2. And, God will ultimately stamp out evil in the end.
    5. Haman’s roots of bitterness grew out of his family tree.
      1. He was an Agagite. Where does the name of Agag come up in scripture?
        1. Agag was from the royal family of the Amalekites.
      2. Back in Ex.17:8-16 – Amalek’s 1st dealing w/Israel (note: vs.16)
      3. Next, why God wants them wiped out. – Deut.25:17-19
      4. 1 Sam.15 is where Saul was given the command to wipe out “all” the Amalekites. (Samuel spared king Agag)
        1. At this time they had already been at odds w/the Jews 400 years.
        2. Saul’s failure to exterminate them, almost led to the extermination of his own people.
      5. In 1 Sam.30:1-17 David tried to finish the job & smote all but 400, that escaped on camels.
      6. (6) When Haman hears it’s for religious reasons he decided that a nation wide massacre of the Jews would solve the problem.
        1. Remember Haman, not God, plotted the destruction of the Jews. So many point the finger of blame heavenward instead of heart-ward!
        2. C.S. Lewis said, “When souls become wicked they will certainly use this possibility to hurt one another; & this, perhaps, accounts for 4/5th’s of the sufferings of men. It is men, not God, who have produced racks, whips, prisons, slavery, guns, bayonets, & bombs.”
      7. This was Haman’s Holocaust! (8-11)
      8. (8) Their laws are different from all other people's – Haman was right!
        1. Israel Zangwill, Zionist leader & author said, Prejudice is the dislike for all that is unlike.”
        2. Mark Twain called anti-Semitism, “the swollen envy of pigmy minds”
        3. Israel was different…& this difference meant salvation to the world!
      9. (9) This is Haman’s recipe on How to sweeten a poisoned pot!
        1. ​​​​​​​Their liquidation would bring much wealth into his treasuries.
        2. Ahasuerus recently lost a lot of $ in his last wars against Greece.
          1. Some guess 2 million of his soldiers died in those battles.
      10. (10) This sounded good to the king in the best interests to the kingdom, so he gave him the go ahead.
        1. He was given the power of attorney. Money & manpower were at his disposal. Scribes, the Persian postal service, & “all the kings horses & all the kings men, were ready to help Haman kill all Jewish women & men.“
      11. God doesn’t care?...The document WAS distributed. (12-15)
      12. (15) Note the contrast: The 2 at ease kicking back drinking cocktails in the palace, when outside confusion & perplexity with the people.
      13. What a surprise for the people of Persia!
        1. Up to this point Persia was supportive of the Jews.
        2. They weren’t traitors. They didn’t commit any great crime. Why such extreme measures?
        3. King Cyrus allowed them to return to Israel. He even ordered an offering to be collected for restoring the temple (Ezra 1:1-4)
        4. King Darius I commanded Israel’s enemies to leave the Jews alone so they could finish the temple (6:6-12)
        5. Now in stark contrast was Ahasuerusedict.
          1. He never realized this edict would touch his queen! He didn’t realize he just signed the death warrant for his wife!
      14. Gods plan would not be foiled nor frustrated!
        1. Paradoxically, Satan channeled wrath against Jesus through human agents who nailed him on the cross, but it was simultaneously God’s work of Atonement.
        2. Job said, I know that You can do everything, And that no purpose of Yours can be withheld from You.
        3. Solomon said, I know that whatever God does, It shall be forever. Nothing can be added to it, And nothing taken from it. God does it, that men should fear before Him. Eccl.3:14
        4. God said, My counsel shall stand, And I will do all My pleasure. Is.46:10
      15. O. Slide#9 Not God Doesn’t Care, but instead God Cares For You!
        1. ​​​​​​​Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you. 1 Pet.5:6,7
Bibliographical Information
Bell, Brian. "Commentary on Esther 3". "Bell's Commentary". https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/cbb/esther-3.html. 2017.
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