Esther (Ester) Chapter 1

Introduction

First the Israelites where taken into captivity by the Babylonians (Now Iraq). Later the Media-Persian Empire (Now Iran) conquered the Babylonians. Some of the Jewish people did not return to Israel when they were permitted to do so by the Media-Persian king. Ester’s family was one of the families that stayed behind.

This was written approximately 450 B.C.E. We are not sure who wrote Ester. It may have been an unknown person. There are three people who have been suggested as possible authors: Mordecai, Ezra, and Nehemiah.

Ester is filled with symbolism. We will be study it on two levels: 1) as historical book. Ester is a wonderful example of HaShem’s divine guidance. 2) as symbolic of the relationship of the synagogue/church and Israel to the Father and the Son.

Ester was the Persian word for “star” or possibly from the Babylonian love goddess, Ishtar. In Hebrew her name is “Hadassah” which means “Myrtle”.

Ester 1:1 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),

The first character we meet is Ahasuerus. His name in Greek was Xerxes, in Hebrew Achashverosh. His reign was between 486 B.C and 465 B.C. (Ezra Ch. 6 & 7:7-8)

See our time line

The corresponding letter to the first Chapter is Aleph - meaning head, as in Creator, KING; the head of a bull appointed for sacrifice, etc.

Ahasuerus means “the venerable king, ruler of heroic men”. On the symbolic level he represents “The Eternal Sovereign King of the Universe”.

Ester 1:2 in those days when King Ahasuerus sat on the throne of his kingdom, which was in Shushan the palace,

Shushan is also referred to by its Greek name, Susa. Shushan the palace symbolizes Jerusalem and Shushan the city represents Israel. The root of Shushan means, “exalt or rejoice”.

Ester 1:3 that in the third year of his reign he made a feast for all his officials and servants--the powers of Persia and Media, the nobles, and the princes of the provinces being before him-

Persian kings often-held great banquets before going to war. In 481 B.C.E. Ahasuerus attacked the Greeks only to suffer defeat at their hands.

Ester 1:4 when 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.

During this time, the King and his men would have been planning the up coming attack on Greece.

His display of great wealth showed that they could afford to fund the war.

Just as the king called his officials together in the 3rd year of his reign to display his wealth. So HaShem, king of the Universe, called father Abraham in the 3rd millennium. Abraham was known for his wealth.

It took 180 days for the king to reveal his plan and it took nearly 2000 years for the king of the Universe to fully reveal His plan of eternal Redemption to us.

“Persian Kings loved to flaunt their wealth, even wearing precious gem stones in their beards. Jewelry was a sign of rank for Persian men. Even soldiers wore great amounts of gold jewelry into battle.” The Life Application Bible. Footnote page 823.

Ester 1:5-6 And when these days were completed, the king made a feast lasting seven days for all the people who were present in Shushan the palace , 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.

Shushan the palace - the palace

Here we get a glimpse of the palace. This shows the author of the book had intimate knowledge of the palace.

Ester 1:7-8 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.

Usually the king would control how much the guests drank. Here we see they were permitted as much or as little as they wanted.

Ester 1:9 Queen Vashti also made a feast for the women in the royal palace, which belonged to King Ahasuerus.

Queen Vashti was the mother of the next King Artaxerxes who was born in 483 B.C.E.

Ester 1:10 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,

Eunuchs - Often the king’s advisors were castrated in order to prevent them from fathering children and rebelling against the king.

These 7 men represent the attributes necessary for executive power.

Just as the spirit of HaShem draws us to the King of the Universe, the 7 eunuchs were to draw Vashti to Ahasuerus.

Ruach HaKodesh is listed as having 7 attributes in the following verse.

Isaiah 11:2 And the spirit of the L-RD will rest upon Him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the L-RD;