God’s hand of providence and protection on His people is evident throughout the book of Esther, even though His name does not appear once. Although God disciplines His covenant people, He never abandons them.
The God of Israel is the sovereign controller of history, and his providential care can be seen throughout the book of Esther. He raises a Jewish girl out of obscurity to become a queen of the most powerful empire in the world. He ensures that Mordecai’s loyal deed is recorded in the palace records and gives the king insomnia to make sure he reads the account at the proper time.
He also makes sure that the powerful and evil Haman has his plans thwarted and His people are once again set free to serve Him in obedience. And all this is done in a nation that did not even recognize there was a God of Israel.
This should give us hope when we find ourselves in a godless situation. Esther was written for our encouragement and admonition.
Now may God richly bless your reading the book of Esther as it opens up to you.
Esther Chapter 1
Now it came to pass in the days of Ahasuerus (this was the Ahasuerus who reigned over one hundred and twenty-seven provinces, from India to Ethiopia), that in those days King Ahasuerus sat on the throne of his kingdom, which was in Shushan the citadel. In the third year of his reign, he made a feast for all of his officials and servants, the powers of Persia and Media, the nobles, and the princes of the provinces being before him. He showed the riches of his glorious kingdom and the splendor of his excellent majesty for many days, one hundred and eighty days in all. And when these days were completed, the king made a feast lasting seven days for all the people who were present in Shushan the citadel, from great to small, in the court of the garden of the king's palace. There were white and blue linen curtains fastened with cords of fine linen and purple on silver rods and marble pillars, and the couches were of gold and silver on a mosaic pavement of alabaster, turquoise, and white and black marble. And they served drinks in golden vessels, each vessel being different from the other, with royal wine in abundance, according to the generosity of the king. In accordance with the law, the drinking was not compulsory, for so the king had ordered all the officers of his household that they should do according to each man's pleasure. Queen Vashti also made a feast for the women in the royal palace which belonged to King Ahasuerus.
On the seventh day, when the heart of the king was merry with wine, he commanded Mehuman, Biztha, Harbona, Bigtha, Abagtha, Zethar, and Carcas, seven eunuchs who served in the presence of King Ahasuerus, to bring Queen Vashti before the king, wearing her royal crown. This was in order to show her beauty to the people and the officials, for she was beautiful to behold. But Queen Vashti refused to come at the king's command brought by his eunuchs. Therefore the king was furious, and his anger burned within him.
Then the king spoke to the wise men who understood the times. (For this was the king's manner toward all who knew law and justice. Those closest to him being Carshena, Shethar, Admatha, Tarshish, Meres, Marsena, and Memucan, the seven princes of Persia and Media, who had access to the king's presence, and who ranked highest in the kingdom.) "What shall we do to Queen Vashti, according to law, because she did not obey the command of King Ahasuerus brought to her by the eunuchs?" And Memucan answered before the king and the princes, "Queen Vashti has not only wronged the king, but also all the princes, and all the people who are in all the provinces of King Ahasuerus. For the queen's behavior will become known to all women, so that they will despise their husbands in their eyes, when they report, 'King Ahasuerus commanded Queen Vashti to be brought in before him, but she did not come.' This very day the noble ladies of Persia and Media will say to all the king's officials that they have heard of the behavior of the queen. Thus, there will be excessive contempt and wrath. If it pleases the king, let a royal decree go out from him. And let it be recorded in the laws of the Persians and the Medes so that it will not be altered. That Vashti shall come no more before King Ahasuerus. And let the king give her royal position to another who is better than she. When the king's decree which he will make is proclaimed throughout all his empire (for it is great), all wives will honor their husbands, both great and small." And the reply pleased the king and the princes, and the king did according to the word of Memucan. Then he sent letters to all the king's provinces, to each province in its own script, and to every people in their own language, that each man should be master in his own house and speak in the language of his own people.