It [the book of Esther] is one of two books in the Bible in which the name of God is not mentioned. The ruler who is featured in the book, is mentioned 175 times; God is never mentioned.
And yet to any reader of the book who reads with understanding, God is the main character in the book.
God is putting Himself on display in amazing ways, even though He is unnamed.
Well, it has this to do with the book of Esther: the emperor whom the Greeks called Xerxes that I’ve been talking about has a different name in Persian–his name is Khasayarsha; in Hebrew, Ahashverosh; in your English Bible Ahasuerus, Ahasuerus, and that’s the name you’re going to find in the book of Esther.
What the book of Esther is all about
And he is the man who has his heart conquered by this Jewish orphan named Esther. And when the opportunity came, she would use her influence to save the Jewish race from genocide. That’s the story of Esther, how one woman through the providence of God saved the Jews from genocide.
Who wrote the book of Esther
The book has her name, not because she wrote it; she didn’t write it. We don’t know who wrote it; maybe Mordecai wrote it, her cousin. Maybe Ezra wrote it; maybe Nehemiah wrote it or some other Jew dwelling at the time in Persia, somebody who understood the Persian scene and somebody who also understood the Jewish culture and had a detailed knowledge of both.
Ahasuerus has a violent temper
Ahasuerus, by the way, has a violent temper and it displayed itself in this action against his queen. Just a year later, in order for his massive army to march from Turkey where they were assembled, as I said, into Greece, Ahasuerus ordered that bridges be built across the Hellespont, that’s that narrow piece of water between the Black Sea and the Mediterranean–they needed to get through there to get to Greece.
And the bridges were, however, destroyed in a storm before the troops were able to use them.
Ahasuerus was furious that the storm had destroyed the bridges they built.
He thought that they had been built inadequately by the engineers, so he gathered all the engineers together and chopped their heads off.
He then was furious with the water, so Herodotus, the historian–the Greek historian–says he sent soldiers into the water with whips demanding that they lash the ocean 300 times for its insubordination.
And then he sent soldiers who threw shackles into the water to bind the water and to stab the waves with red-hot irons.
The plans to commit genocide on the Jews
Furthermore, if we kill them all, we can confiscate all their property and all their spoils and everything they own and a vast sum of money will come into the royal treasury. Ahasuerus says, “Great idea.” Hands his signet ring over to Haman so that Haman can stamp that signet ring on documents that will authorize genocide for the Jews.
Haman hits the fast track, dispatches a royal decree, sends it all throughout the empire, and they did it like the Pony Express. A horse would ride as far he could ride with the message, another horse, another rider, go from there and the word was spread everywhere rapidly with fresh horses and fresh riders all across the parts of the Persian Empire and a date had been established. Look at verse 13 of Esther 3, “To destroy, to kill, to annihilate all the Jews both young and old, little children and women.” All of them.
God in the book of Esther
Amazing story. At this point, we’ll bring it to a conclusion.
Where is God in the book of Esther? Well, the real hero in the story, the real power behind the story, is never mentioned, but it is God.
His hand of providence is manifest in every single tiny detail. His presence is more powerfully and dominantly visible here than maybe in any other story of this complexity in Scripture, though He’s never mentioned.
His providence is at work in filtering down 25 million women to one, a Jew, chosen to be queen.
His providence is demonstrated in Mordecai, being in a place where he could hear a plot and warn the king.
- He overhears a plot, a plot to kill the king, to assassinate the king. These were royal officials who guarded the king’s private quarters. They had access to him and could readily kill him. They were angry. Maybe they were angry because of what he had done to Vashti. Whatever it was that infuriated them, they were plotting to take his life and Mordecai just happens to overhear this.
- And the king’s chroniclers recorded what had happened–the plot–that it had been overheard by Mordecai, that Mordecai had informed Esther, and Esther had informed the king, and the king’s life had been spared, and the two conspirators were hanged. Mordecai’s actions were then written down in the royal record. The Persians kept records of absolutely everything. That’s why we know so much about their history
His providence, his power, his superintending sovereignty can be seen in the night that the king can’t sleep and decides to read the royal record and out of all that could have been read to him, what is read to him has to do with Mordecai being unrewarded. And even Haman’s timing is perfect in the purposes of God.
The invisible hand of God is evident everywhere, everywhere. The absence of God here is, I think, intentional…intentional.
It is an ingenious strategy by the writer to draw the reader to think deeply about how life’s circumstances are ordered to the divine purpose. These are not coincidences–too many.
This is not random. There is a designer. There is a coordinator. There is a power behind all of this. God literally thunders through the book of Esther.
There are no miracles in the book of Esther, but the whole thing is a miracle of divine providence.
People, places, time, action–it’s more than miraculous. Not Haman, not Satan using Haman, could destroy the people of God, could put an end to the Abrahamic and Davidic promises, to the promises of the preservation of the nation for the coming of Messiah and the ultimate salvation of Israel.
No one, no matter how they attempt to destroy the people of God and the purpose of God, can succeed because God’s covenant love for Israel will be fulfilled, is being fulfilled.