The Marriage of Esther
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For "the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up" II Peter Revelation unfolds the idea of "no more death" in the world to come: there will also be no more "sorrow," "crying" or "pain," for "the former things" will pass away. Our text I Cor.
The word "short" is, literally, "shortened" or shrunken or contracted. Here we should point out several things. Second, time is short from the perspective of the endless ages of everlasting glory. Fourth, the signs of the end of the world—including wars, famines, pestilences and earthquakes Matt.
And the king loved Esther above all the women, and she obtained grace and favour in his sight more than all the virgins; so that he set the royal crown upon her head, and made her queen instead of Vashti Esth. Yet this event is evidently blessed of God in that the deliverance of the Jews turns on it.
The whole coming of Christ, through the preservation of the church in the Old Testament, rested upon one sleepless night of Ahasuerus Esth. Vashti had, for moral reasons, refused to appear at a banquet her husband had prepared for all his government officials throughout the vast Persian Empire. Although she was not a member of the Jewish nation, and was not a child of God, she had higher moral standards than Esther, the Jewess. In a sort of beauty contest, which involved at least one night in bed with the king, Esther the Jewess was chosen to be the new queen.
She had entered the contest at the prompting of her uncle, Mordecai, also a Jew. Both were in Shushan, the capital of the Persian Empire, because they or their ancestors had been taken to Babylon by Nebuchadnezzar and had moved from Babylon to Shushan when the Babylonian Empire had been conquered by the Medes and Persians. It is well our readers read the story once again to refresh their minds.
The questioner asks how it is possible for Esther to marry Ahasuerus and receive the blessing of God. That assumption is wrong, although many commentators take the same position. Many have been the discussions and sometimes arguments I have had with saints who have taken the position that Esther was a true child of God. The book of Esther is itself the proof that she was not. Think of her sins and the sins of her uncle. Their refusal was simply due to the fact that they far preferred life in captivity to a return to the land of promise.
The reason was that they had no interest in the coming of Christ. What child of God would ever enter a beauty contest in the first place? What child of God would ever enter a beauty contest, thereby agreeing to fornication with the one sponsoring it? It was a gross violation of the seventh commandment. She showed that her moral standards, even though a Jewess, were lower than the heathen, Vashti.
I think that Vashti is introduced by God into the history simply to demonstrate into what moral decay the Jewish captives had fallen. By agreeing to marry Ahasuerus, Esther violated the marriage ordinance God had established in paradise, for she contradicted the purpose of marriage by being unequally yoked to an unbeliever. The book of Esther is the only book in Scripture which does not mention the name of God. Did God bless the union of Esther and Ahasuerus? He most emphatically did not!
It was an abomination in His sight and the curse of the Lord was in the palace in Shushan Prov. Technology has become a huge factor in how we look for partners, and then in how we maintain contact with them. What are some themes around relationships that you see at the moment? We come from a model where relationships, in our village lives, in our communal structures, were very clear. The community gave you your sense of identity.
You knew who you were.
9. For Such a Time as This— The Story of Ahasuerus and Esther
You knew what was expected of you, and you knew how to behave. You had a lot of certainty, a lot of belonging, zero freedom. And we have urbanized, and we have moved, and we have taken on radical individualism and aspirational materialism, and all of those things have created a playing field in which relationships are undergoing rapid changes. We have no idea how to handle them.
Rules have been replaced by choices. But at the same time we have massive uncertainty and massive self-doubt. Every second book about relationships these days is about belonging and loneliness. You negotiate with your partner about what matters, where you want to live, if you want to have children, how many children do you want to have, if this is the right time to have children. How can we expect people who have done real wrong to others, in relationships, or in public, or at work, or wherever, to apologize?
Something in our society seems to not allow it.
Sex and Marriage in Persia | Alfred Place Baptist Church
The potential admission is too great. Admission and apology are not the same. There are two justice systems, right? One is focussed on healing.
One is focussed on punishment and vengeance. You describe the facts and you leave the other person the freedom to decide what they want to do with it. You own your wrongdoing. In terms of healing, what we do know is that pain is universal, but the meaning that we give to our pain, and the way we narrate our pain, is highly cultural and contextual.
And there is nothing that helps us deal better with those experiences than our connections with others.
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Social connection is the No. And communities that come together naturally will provide that kind of buffer. What makes the trauma worse is not the event itself. I know it professionally, but I also know it through my own personal life. I mean, I grew up in that experience. I watched it every day.
All Belgian Jews were deported, sixty thousand of them. A few thousand kids got saved by being hidden. After the war, the entire Jewish community of Belgium—which at this point amounts to about forty thousand people out of eleven million Belgians—were people who came from the camps, from the woods, from hiding places. The entire community was a community of survivors.
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And the community of survivors, worldwide, without any input from psychiatrists or psychologists, had gatherings—gatherings for the survivors of camp such-and-such, gatherings for the survivors of village such-and-such, parties, planting of forests, creating life, having children. And that coming together, why is it interesting?
So now we had a notion that you could have been perfectly fine before, but a cataclysmic event like this can destroy you, and the only way you can remember a sense of continuity, a sense of purpose, a sense of connection is by gathering with others. Your parents each were the only survivors in their respective families.
What was that like as a child, growing up in that kind of family? What was their marriage like? I happened to be quite lucky. My parents met the day of liberation, on the road.