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The Blue Letter Bible

Dr. J. Vernon McGee :: Notes for Esther

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This is one of the two books of the Old Testament named for a woman. While Ruth is the story of a Gentile who married a Jew, Esther is the story of a Jewess who married a Gentile.

WRITER: Unknown. Could Mordecai have been the writer? (See Esther 9:29.)

KEY VERSE: Est 4:14

For if thou altogether holdest thy peace at this time, then shall there relief and deliverance arise to the Jews from another place, but thou and thy father’s house shall be destroyed. And who knoweth whether thou art come to the kingdom for such a time as this?

A STRANGE STORY: God’s name is not mentioned in this book; no divine title or pronoun refers to Him. The heathen king’s name is mentioned 192 times. (It is true also that God’s name does not occur in the Song of Solomon, but every masculine pronoun — with a possible exception of Est 8:6 — refers to Him.) Esther is the record of Israel in a self-chosen pathway. Opportunity had been given for the Jews to return under Cyrus, but only a very small remnant returned. Ezra and Nehemiah give the story of those who did return; Esther gives the story of those who did not return but who chose instead the prosperity and luxury of Persia. They are out of the will of God, but they are not beyond His care. Deuteronomy 31:18 explains the reason God’s name does not appear. In the Book of Esther His face is hidden. There is no mention of prayer nor dependence upon God in this book. Esther is never quoted in the New Testament, nor is there even a casual reference to it. However, the Jews give it a peculiar emphasis. It is one of the five books called Megilloth (rolls) and is placed beside the Pentateuch in importance.

SUBJECT: Esther teaches the providence of God. “Providence” comes from the same stem as “provide,” and it means simply that God will provide.

Theologically, providence is the direction God gives to everything: animate and inanimate, good and evil.

Practically, providence is the hand of God in the glove of history — and that glove will never move until He moves it. God is at the steering wheel of this universe. Providence means that God is behind the scenes, shifting and directing them. Providence is the way God coaches the runner on second base. It is the way God leads those who will not be led. As recorded in the Book of Esther, the entire Jewish nation would have been slain had it not been for the providence of God. God stands in the shadows, keeping watch over His own.

ANTI-SEMITISM: This book teaches how God met another satanic attempt to destroy the nation Israel, and how vengeance was wrought upon the perpetrators of the dastardly deed. (See Genesis 12:3.)

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