This 12-part series takes a new look at an old story and finds fresh words of courage, faith, and challenge for today’s Church. It is based on Carol Bechtel’s commentary on Esther in the Interpretation series (Westminster John Knox, 2002).
Esther Argues Her Case
Read: Esther 7
Let my life be given me…and the lives of my people. (v. 3, NRSV)
All eyes are on Esther as this chapter opens. Will she do it? we wonder as the dinner party winds down. Will she intercede for her people?
This is not an idle question. We thought she had the perfect moment before (see Esther 5:5-7). We wondered whether she’d lost her nerve, or if there had been some other more mysterious reason for her failure to “pop the question” at that first banquet. Now, however, we’re in a better position to take stock of her timing.
Think of how much has changed. The king’s divinely inspired insomnia has set up Haman’s downfall and Mordecai’s rise. Whatever Esther’s reasons for hesitating were, God seems to have made good use of them.
God makes good use of Esther’s gifts here as well. In a beautifully crafted argument, she pleads for the life of her people. If we thought she was just a pretty face, we underestimated her. If we wondered whether anyone was smart enough to outwit the wicked Haman, we now see that Esther can run circles around him. And if we doubted that the wicked are punished, we have only to look at the gallows in Haman’s back yard. He certainly never expected to test them himself.
Prayer: Help us to be ready, dear God, to use our gifts for others’ good and your glory.