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Esther

1) Nowhere in Chapter 4 does it mention praying to God. Just fasting. Bob Deffingbaugh is pretty hard on Mordecai and Esther. But I wonder?...

Fasting to a Jew is tantamount to offering body as sacrifice to the Lord.
http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/view.jsp?artid=59&letter=F&search=fasting

There are examples of fasting and prayer together in Jewish culture, but I wonder since this book of the Bible intentionally makes no overt reference to God - that the prayer is IMPLIED in chapter 4. This way the harmony of the "not mentioning God" is kept. Just a thought.

2) Mordecai did not follow Daniel or Jeremiah's examples or instructions on behavior while living in a foreign land. Mordecai should have given a representative of the king his due. It was not worship, but respect.

Yet Haman's reaction was over the top, and again half truths and omissions (naming the ethnic group) were used in condemning the Jews to Xerxes.

Mordecai on the other hand told his side to the Queen's servant and gave him a hard copy of the edict of Haman.

3)Haman was full of "pride", and his bragging to wife and friends showed he had a "lot of material things". When asked what the king should do to honor someone he delights in - not only is he conceited to think it is himself, but his suggestion is over the top. When in the clutches of a particular vice, one always wants more, different and grander versions.

4) As Bob Deffingbaugh points out it would be ironic if the king could not sleep because of the noise coming from the building of the oversized gallows.

5)More irony - Haman who was furious that Mordecai would not humble himself before Haman, in turn humbled himself before Esther a Jew.

Haman had no concept of mercy to the people of Israel (kill them all for the act of one man), nor to Mordecai (wanting him hanged). But seeing the handwriting on the wall through the displeasure of the king, Haman seems to now think "mercy" is a pretty good idea!

Note: The gallows mentioned here was not for hanging a victim, but for violently killing and displaying the victim. “A pointed stake is set upright in the ground, and the culprit is taken, placed on the sharp point, and then pulled down by his legs till the stake that went in at the fundament passes up through the body and comes out through the neck. A most dreadful species of punishment, in which revenge and cruelty may glut the utmost of their malice. The culprit lives a considerable time in excruciating agonies.” (Clarke)
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I think an important point of this book is: God will keep His Word. It may not be through spectacular miracles (like the plagues), but through natural means and course of events.

God not being mentioned is not a sleight on God in this book of the Bible. Perhaps it shows that God will keep his Word and fulfill His purpose and plan - whether anyone asks Him to intervene or not.

God's fulfilling His purpose and plan are not dependant on any one person or group of people. It is right and good to consult God, pray to God, and ask for intercession and we see that often in Old Testament. Yet - here in Esther God's Will is that the Jewish nation will not be destroyed (implied in 4:14) despite no overt calls for His help.

Even Haman's wife and friends recognize this:

"Since Mordecai, before whom your downfall has started, is of Jewish origin, you cannot stand against him—you will surely come to ruin!" NIV

What is implicit here is not that Haman cannot stand against Mordecai, but that Haman cannot stand against the God of Israel.

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