Summary: People today like to watch the show ‘The Bachelor’ or ‘The Bachelorette’ and yet the reality is this Persian contest was set up only for one person, the King. A big question for today: HOW can God use a pagan King and Esther---unfaithful (to the Jewish) laws. And yet God is in CONTROL
Persian Beauty Contest Esther 2 18 Oct 2020
Hello! I'm Pastor Greg of Calvary Reformed Church.
This video is the second video in a series of Esther, an Old Testament book about a Jewish young lady who becomes Queen of Persia.
Persia, in the 400 BC’s, was one of the greatest capitals of the world at the time. It's a story about God's providence. For such a time as this she was put at a certain place. It's just not a story about her, it's also a story about Mordecai, her cousin. It's a story about King Xerxes. It's a story about a man we're going to learn about next week. A very evil man. Overall, it's the story of God's providence.
Now, if you watched last week's video, we studied chapter one of Esther. Chapter one of Esther deals with King Xerxes (the King of Persia). The borders of Persia at that time went all the way from the
land of Greece to India down into Africa, Egypt, and over to where Libya is today. He was very wealthy, very powerful.
Chapter one shows King Xerxes throwing a 180 day feast, a banquet, for the nobles and the military men getting ready to fight against Greece. We know that after the 180 days he had another seven-day feast and invited all the people in. At the end of this time, when he is (I believe) in a drunken state, he calls to have Queen Vashti come and parade herself with her crown in front of everybody.
Queen Vashti declines. The king doesn't know what to do. He asks his wise men what to do and they say
you need to dispose of the queen. Set her aside or all women will rebel against their husbands. The king says okay I will do that. He then goes off to war and comes back four years later after a humiliating defeat by the Greeks. He comes back humiliated and is still an egotistical and arrogant king. However, he comes back to no queen.
We're going to see what happens when he has no queen. He has all his concubines, but he doesn't have one that he can turn to and confide in and receive comfort in.
If you have your Bibles, I encourage you to read with me in Esther Chapter 2. Esther 2 begins one year later when the anger of King Xerxes had succeeded. He remembered Vashti the queen and what she had done. She denied him and the decree that he had made about her. It sounds like he possibly would have changed his mind. However, when a Persian King made a decree it could not be altered, it could not be changed. We're going to talk about that shortly.
The King’s wise men (I don't think they were very wise to start with) said let's dispose of the queen… now they're saying, ‘Hey, let's have a contest. Let a search be made for beautiful young virgins from all over the land for the king. Let the king appoint commissioners in every providence of his realm to bring these beautiful girls into a harem into the capital city. Let them be placed underneath the care
of one of the king's eunuchs, who oversee the women and the beauty treatments that will be given to them.
This sounded good to the king. The historian Josephus said that there were at least 400 young women that were rounded up at this time. We don't know if women went voluntarily or if they went under the force of the king's order. I don't know about you, but I know I would not be too thrilled to have a daughter taken to go into this Persian beauty contest with the king.
People today like to watch the show ‘The Bachelor’ or ‘The Bachelorette’ and yet the reality is this Persian contest was set up only for one person, the King. I think it would have been hard to give up your daughter to be at the whims of this man. She could be put aside, left in the harem, never to know love…never to have a family…never to be married. She had to do whatever the king said had to be done to her.
Everything centered around King Xerxes ego. I said earlier that the king could not reverse his order. We need to remember that God is in the details. In the beginning of chapter two the King sounds as if he wants to reverse his decree. Yet it was not reversible. If he were able to reverse his original decree from four years prior, Esther would not be in the story and neither would her cousin Mordecai.
Friends, God is in the details of our lives. Those little details and circumstances when you wonder where God is and what’s going on… when we look back, we see that those circumstances have a very significant impact on the direction of our life. Where God is leading us, how God is leading us. God is in the details of our lives and is sovereign over every circumstance of our life. He knows our life. He loves you so much.