I’ve so been looking forward to reading this book you have no idea!
Growing up, Esther was one of my favourite bible characters and will always be one of the greatest women whoever lived.
Perhaps it’s the fact that the book of Esther carries a lot of fairy tale elements (evil queen is banished, king goes on search to find a new bride; young, coy, pretty girl becomes bride,: bride becomes new queen; new queen faces obstacles set by, bad, genocidal inflicting man; queen stops bad man; they all live happily ever after…until the next inciting incident; the end), making it appealing to girls everywhere.
In Chapter 2 vs 12-14, we learn that Esther alongside many other young women, spent six months beautifying herself for the kings pleasure. This idea (I believe) contradicts those who say women should not wear make up or anything that emphasises their beauty. I find it funny when women with extensions in their hair or hint of mascara try to justify why their make up is ok to wear and mine or other women’s is not. Naturally, I don’t believe spending six months in front of a mirror is healthy, but Esther was known for her beauty and it was a contributing factor to saving her people. So although there can be a fine line between looking presentable and vanity, it’s all a matter of discernment, so as long as you use it, I don’t see what’s wrong with wearing a bit of lippy.
Now reading the book of Esther as an adult, I discover additional subjects such as pride, faith and the importance of good organisational skills.
The pride comes from horrid Haman demanding the death of all Jews simply because Mordecai would not bow to him. To me, Mordecai represents the person we should all be and Haman represents the person we all are. Although we hate to admit it, we all fall to pride (more frequently than we realise) and will let this trait stop us from building stronger faith or even accepting that apology from our relative or work colleague. We’re reluctant to be adamant on serving only one God…bit of a shame really 😦
The organisational skills stem from Esther’s strategic plan to persuade King Ahasuerus to free the Jews via a range of banquets and delicate speeches (not just a pretty face eh?)
Dare I say it, but I really do believe that the book of Esther carries a lot of comical value. When reading how Mordecai comes to be honoured by the king and paraded throughout the land, I cannot help but giggle as I picture Haman’s sour face and his bitter embarrassment. How stupid must he have felt! Lol. (Read chapter 6 to understand what I’m on about).
Post Esther’s plea to the King to save the Jews, many other citizens are converted. It all looks like its going well…until chapter 9, when the Jews destroy their tormentors. It’s a shame that power is used for revenge- it’s as though nothing was learned, but equally, the world carries this attitude today, so perhaps it was all just the practice of human nature? Perhaps there was no other choice?
Now moving onto a more festive subject- the feast of Purim. Although the cause for celebration stems from the less appealing aspects of human nature (revenge and death), the feast is also a symbol of triumph and adversary against evil. I’ve often wondered if Christians should acknowledge this feast with the Jews, afterall, had it not been for this story, would we have had a Jesus?
The book of Esther ends on a high note. Mordecai becomes second in command and life resembles a big fat smile. All seems pretty conclusive and just as I’m about to close the bible feeling a sense of lightness and relief, my eyes pop out of my head when I spot the name of the book I’ll be reading next…
I’ll be back with my thoughts on Joyful Job shortly :s