Then Esther sent this reply to Mordecai: “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.”
Read all of Esther
for the complete story
Imagine government officials coming to your house and taking you to the king’s harem. You were chosen for your beauty and yet, 12 months of beauty treatments still await you. Then, you are sent into the king’s bedchamber a maiden but you leave with your virginity taken from you. If you please the king, you may become queen. But if you do not please the king, you will leave the king’s bedroom and be sent off to the harem where you wait for the king to decide if he ever wants to summon you again.
This is the position that Esther found herself in. King Xerxes had deposed Queen Vashti but then he realized that he missed her. The king’s “wise men” proposed a search for a new queen and Esther was taken from her cousin and guardian, Mordecai to the palace with many other young women. Esther and Mordecai were foreigners. They were Jews who could have returned to Jerusalem after the exile but chose to stay in Susa instead. God had both of them right where He wanted them. He had big plans for them both.
Esther’s emotions and reactions about being taken to the palace are not recorded but it is likely that this was a difficult experience due to her apparent lack of choice. The language in verse 2:8
is that the young virgins were brought in due to a royal edict. One does not simply tell the King of Persia “No, thank you” and live to tell about it. Esther was also “taken” and “put into the custody” of Hegai, the eunuch in charge of the king’s harem. That language makes it seem that the women were taken by the command of the king and had little to no choice about whether or not they wanted to be involved in this. Regardless, we know that harems were there to exploit women in the name of the king’s pleasure.
But even given these circumstances, God was in control of Esther’s life. God is not mentioned by name but He is present orchestrating events. All throughout the book of Esther, He’s setting the right people up in the right place at the right time. He’s elevating the humble and bringing the proud to ruin. He’s working out the salvation of His people-always.
God knew His people would need someone to save them. In this case, the Jews needed saving from an extermination plot by a senior official of the king, Haman. So God made sure Esther won the king’s favor and became the queen. Again, the Bible does not record Esther’s thoughts or feelings about being crowned Queen of Persia.
She had kept her nationality a secret but when she became aware that her people were under Haman’s threat, she did not stay silent. It was against the law to approach the king unsummoned but she went before the king anyway and pleaded for her people to be spared. She courageously said, “If I perish, I perish.” But the king did spare Esther’s people and the wicked man who initiated the plot, Haman, was executed.
The WORD about women in the story of Esther is that God providentially placed a woman in a position of influence to save His people. He has providential control over your life as well. He can use you for His mighty purposes, even when you have been placed in difficult situations. Sisters, no matter what, you are always held in His hands.ReflectHow do you see God’s providence working in your life? Can you perceive how God is using you during these times?PrayFather, I am so grateful that You are always in control of every situation and that all of Your plans are good. I know I can trust You to take care of me. Use me to do your will in such a time as this. Amen.