This is the story of a girl named Hadassah who lost both her parents at a very young age. She did not have a mother-figure who can teach her how to act like a fine young woman. But thanks to her cousin, who adopted her and took her as his own daughter, Hadassah had a little father-figure that taught her the ways of God throughout her childhood. And this young innocent girl became a great woman of character.
Let us find out how Hadassah is People Just Like You.
Hadassah’s Back story
The story took place in Susa, east of the Tigris River, which is now part of Iraq. Hadassah, or should we call her Esther from now on, became the queen of Persia when the former queen Vashti got dethroned by her husband King Xerxes because of holding on to her traditional beliefs. A man named Haman, the enemy of Jews, stirred up a conflict between his ego and Esther’s people. He planned to annihilate all the Jews in the realm. It is just because Esther’s cousin (a.k.a. her adoptive father) Mordecai, refused to kneel down or pay him honor. The plot of Israelite’s worst enemy in this period was prevented by the bold moves of two commoners with the silent help of God in their lives.
see the full story in the Bible: Esther 1-10
see the story of Mordecai: The Actions of Mordecai
Esther (also known as Hadassah) was summoned in the kingdom of king Xerxes together with other beautiful young virgins throughout the provinces of his realm for a beauty contest. Anyone the king would find pleasing will become queen instead of Vashti.
All the innocent ladies were brought to the harem in the citadel of Susa under the care of Hegai, the king’s eunuch, who was in charge of the women. They were pampered, looked at and given what they’ve wished.
(In Esther 1:1-9, it is well-known that the Kingdom was prosperous and wealthy that they can afford to feed thousands of women as they pleased. The prosperity of the kingdom can also be noticed at the beginning of the book where King Xerxes and former queen Vashti held an overflowing banquet for seven whole days before the drunken incident took place.)
The young women were tested according to the standards of Hegai.
“Esther is pleasant.”
On Esther’s first days of setting foot inside the harem in the citadel of Susa, she won the favor of Hegai.
9 She pleased him and won his favor. Immediately he provided her with her beauty treatments and special food. He assigned to her seven female attendants selected from the king’s palace and moved her and her attendants into the best place in the harem.Esther 2
Unlike queen Vashti who displeased the king, Esther was pleasant. She was quiet and obedient just as the king preferred. She only did what she was told and it earned her the respect of everyone who set eyes on her. Most especially King Xerxes, the king of Persia.
“Esther is respectful.”
Despite her motherless childhood, she is respectful. She respected Mordecai as much as she respected their people. Esther could have easily exposed her identity to the country and make the Israelites popular despite being the minority group in the land. Yet she remained silent because she knows, deep down, that there is fruit for respecting others’ instructions.
10 Esther had not revealed her nationality and family background, because Mordecai had forbidden her to do so.Esther 2
We can see that Mordecai was her inspiration for being respectful. Once, when Mordecai (during his duty as the king’s gateman) uncovered a conspiracy to murder the king, he immediately told the queen, who then told the king, giving credits to Mordecai. He respected the king that he did the right thing even though deep down, he knew that by doing so, it might get him in trouble.
“Esther is an observer.”
Esther was silently living her life inside the harem (the part of the palace where the King’s wives lived). She was unaware of what was happening outside her quarters. But as soon as she was told that Mordecai was outside weeping loudly in sackcloth and ashes (a sign of mourning), she sent her attendants to give him new clothes. Mordecai would not accept because he was mourning along with the Jews. So Esther sent Hathak, one of the king’s eunuchs, to ask what was troubling him.
Mordecai told her about the plot of Haman to annihilate the Jews. Esther knew that on that day onwards, she must be attentive to Haman. Mordecai wanted Esther to go to the king’s presence to beg for mercy and plead with him for her people. She reminded her cousin of the former queen Vashti and what will happen if she disobeyed the law/rule.
“Esther is brave.”
Mordecai and Queen Esther exchanged words through Hathak, and they agreed to make the offence.
Mordecai answered: “Do not think that because you are in the king’s house you alone of all the Jews will escape. For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?”Esther 4
To what Esther answered: “Go, gather together all the Jews who are in Susa, and fast for me. Do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my attendants will fast as you do. When this is done, I will go to the king, even though it is against the law. And if I perish, I perish.”Esther 4
Esther entered the presence of the king and when she was spotted, king Xerxes was pleased with her. He held out to her the golden scepter that was in his hand. Esther approached and touch the tip of the scepter.
(“All the king’s officials and the people of the royal provinces know that for any man or woman who approaches the king in the inner court without being summoned the king has but one law: that they be put to death unless the king extends the gold scepter to them and spares their lives.” – Esther 4:11)
After touching the tip of the scepter, the king asked what was the request and petition of Esther. Instead of telling immediately about her request, she asked for the king and Haman to a banquet that night.
“Esther is patient.”
The banquet was held on the king’s palace to which only queen Esther, King Xerxes and Haman was invited. While drinking wine, the king asked Esther what her petition and request are. She stood her ground and waited to make the offence. So she asked for another banquet with the same guests around the next day.
Haman was so proud about being invited the queen and king not only once but twice. On the way out, he saw Mordecai who still refused to kneel down, and then all the hatred he had with all the Jews came back. But he brushed it all off because he knew that when tomorrow comes, he will ask the king to execute Mordecai on the gallows he set up just for him.
The king could not sleep that night and ordered the book of the chronicles to be read to him. On the recent news of this book was written about how Mordecai saved the king from being murdered. The king wondered what he should do to anyone who he delights to honor.
Unfortunately for Haman, he was the only one who was present. He thought the honor was for him so he proudly answered:
“For the man the king delights to honor, have them bring a royal robe the king has worn and a horse the king has ridden, one with a royal crest placed on its head. Then let the robe and horse be entrusted to one of the king’s most noble princes. Let them robe the man the king delights to honor, and lead him on the horse through the city streets, proclaiming before him, ‘This is what is done for the man the king delights to honor!’”Esther 6
The king was happy and he sent Haman to do the honor without neglect to Mordecai the Jew. After being humiliated, Haman went home and talked to his wife and friends about what happened.
The second banquet began and as they were drinking wine, the king asked: “Queen Esther, what is your petition? It will be given you. What is your request? Even up to half the kingdom, it will be granted.”
“Esther is sharp.”
As soon as the king asked what was the request and petition of Esther, she immediately answered:
“If I have found favor with you, Your Majesty, and if it pleases you, grant me my life—this is my petition. And spare my people—this is my request. For I and my people have been sold to be destroyed, killed and annihilated. If we had merely been sold as male and female slaves, I would have kept quiet, because no such distress would justify disturbing the king.”Esther 7:3-4
Esther saw the perfect opportunity to strike back. With the knowledge she gained from Mordecai (as he was the one to feed her with words of God) and God Himself (who was standing amid the Jews), she stood her ground and she let her faith move for her.
The king was furious and asked who would do such a thing. Haman was on the corner of the table, probably silently choking from the piece of meat he was eating on one hand and trembling the glass of wine on the other. On that very second, he knew.
Esther said, “An adversary and enemy! This vile Haman!”
As soon as the words came out of the queen’s lips, king Xerxes got up in a rage. Haman, who already knew his fate, was falling on the couch where Esther was reclining begged her for his life.
The king saw this and accused Haman of molesting his wife. Then their attendants informed the king about the high pole standing outside of Haman’s house intended for Mordecai the Jew.
By the command of the king, Haman was impaled on that same pole. And the king’s fury subsided.
Esther and Mordecai overturned the plot of Haman
The edict of Haman
Because Haman was honored by king Xerxes and gave him a seat of honor higher than that of all the other nobles, he was able to invoke an edict to assassinate the Jews. It started when Mordecai refused to bow down or kneel for him despite the command of the king to pay him honor.
The edict dictates that dispatches will be sent by couriers to all the king’s provinces with the order to destroy, kill and annihilate all the Jews—young and old, women and children—on a single day, the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, the month of Adar, and to plunder their goods.
The overruling of the edict of Haman
On the same day that Haman was eliminated, Esther got the estate of Haman. Mordecai went to the presence of the king, for Esther had told how he was related to her.
They begged the king to end the evil plan of Haman the Agagite, which he devised against the Jews. The king extended his scepter to Esther and she rose and stood before him.
5 “If it pleases the king,” she said, “and if he regards me with favor and thinks it the right thing to do, and if he is pleased with me, let an order be written overruling the dispatches that Haman son of Hammedatha, the Agagite, devised and wrote to destroy the Jews in all the king’s provinces. 6 For how can I bear to see disaster fall on my people? How can I bear to see the destruction of my family?”Esther 8
At that moment, they wrote another decree in the king’s name on behalf of the Jews as seems best to them, and seal it with the king’s signet ring—for no document was written in the king’s name and sealed with his ring can be revoked.
The king’s edict granted the Jews in every city the right to assemble and protect themselves; to destroy, kill and annihilate the armed men of any nationality or province who might attack them and their women and children, and to plunder the property of their enemies. The day appointed for the Jews to do this in all the provinces of King Xerxes was the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, the month of Adar. (Esther 8:11-12)
We Reflect on Esther because:
Esther was true to her traits.
She knows what was right and she did it. Esther pleased the king and that is why she was invited despite the rule about being summoned first before going in the presence of the king. She respected Mordecai by following his instructions and that gave her the opportunity to draw the last card. Hadassah followed her heart because God was living within her.
Esther feels for her people.
She didn’t want to see her family, even though she lost her real parents, suffer to their annihilation. We do not want our families to go through anything they cannot handle.
6 For how can I bear to see disaster fall on my people? How can I bear to see the destruction of my family?”Esther 8:6
Esther was once nameless.
In the early days, no one has a voice for their rights. Except for the King. Esther did not have that choice when she was little. She was once a nameless person, and because God had a plan for her and Mordecai, she was appointed queen of Persia because shortly a thing like Haman could happen.
Nowadays, we do not need to become queen to be heard. God already has given us a voice to preach His Holy Name. It’s our choice.
God gives wisdom.
6 For the Lord gives wisdom;Proverbs 2
from his mouth come knowledge and understanding.
God used Esther, God will use you.
28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.Romans 8
Do not lean on your own understanding.
5 Trust in the Lord with all your heartProverbs 3
and lean not on your own understanding;
6 in all your ways submit to him,
and he will make your paths straight.
12 For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.Matthew 23
2 Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.Ephesians 4
10 Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.James 4
19 Better to be lowly in spirit along with the oppressedProverbs 16
than to share plunder with the proud.
6 Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.1 Peter 5
We all have imposed different traits intended for different occasions/people. Some would say, “I will be good if they are good to me. I will be bad if they are bad to me.”
It may seem cliché to tell people that this quote is “not good”, pun intended. Because we have gone through this phase in our lives at least once.
But let us not base our personality on how others treat us back. If you are good, you should be good to everybody even though they hurt you. You should be consistent.
Just like Hadassah and Mordecai, they are being tricked just because they are Jews but they did not break a rule or used their voice to manipulate Haman. They stuck with the law and used every legal way possible just as God wanted them to. And it bloomed like a flower in May the right things they’ve done and all their people were blessed just as God will bless us if we keep our traits intact.
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