In our times royalty doesn’t mean much to most of us. There are a few royal houses around Europe, perhaps some in Arab countires and small kingdoms elsewhere.
Talking about what I know, the Queen of Great Britian is a ‘titular’ ruler. The elected government are the ones who govern. Not so in Esther’s time. Her husband was the all-powerful – to be feared king Ahesuerus, ruler of one hundred and twenty provinces from India to Ethiopia. No small kingdom.
No one, not even his favoured wife, could enter his inner court if the king had not summoned her. Any person ignorning that rule would be put to death… unless the king held out his sceptre. So when Queen Esther was given the news about Haman’s plot, and her adopted father’s instruction to go to the king, this knowledge was uppermost in her mind.
Do you think she might have considered ‘I am the king’s wife’? I think not. She was a ‘sensible’ person. She had taken the advice of her adopted father, Mordecai, and Hegai, the eunuch who had been in charge before her elevation to queen. She also had the example of the previous queen, Vashti, who had been put away because she displeased the king. So she sent Mordecai a message reminding him she could not approach the king, and telling him she had not been summoned for thirty days.
Mordecai had faith in his God. Perhaps when he sent his message back, he was reminding her of her faith. “Do not think in your heart that you will escape… For if you remain completely silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place…” Esther 4: 13,14. Then the awesome statement “Yet who knows if you have come to the kingdom for a time as this.” Mordecai knew his God.
Queen Esther accepted Mordecai’s correction, and replied with a request that Mordecai gather the Jews in Sushan, and have them fast for her for three days. She said that she and her maids would do the same. This was an absolute fast… no food, no drink for three days and three nights. Seventy two hours without food and water…
After that she intended to go to the king, “and if I perish, I perish” Esther 4: 16
As a Jew, she would perish under the edict anyway, although as yet Haman didn’t know her racial background.
So, they fasted and on the third day, Queen Esther dressed in her royal robes and went and stood in the inner court of the king’s palace. If she was trembling in her robes, the Bible doesn’t mention it. Perhaps in the course of her long fast, she had come to that place of peace, knowing she was within God’s will. And that is the purpose of such a fast, to humble the self before the will of God, and line up personal ideas, with God’s will in the matter.
So, there she is, standing waiting to be noticed. When King Ahasuerus saw her – he extended his sceptre and she was able to go near, touch the end of the sceptre in recognition of his favour.
The king asked her what she wanted, and offered her anything, up to half his kingdom. Perhaps her time of fasting had clarified her thoughts because she didn’t ‘jump in’ and say ‘That evil Haman wants to kill all the Jews… and that will include me.’ No, she was patient and invited him… and Haman to a banquet.
More next week,
In the meantime, tread softly, you may be treading on someone’s dreams.