Megillat of Hadassah - Esther

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With Rabbi Reuven Ben-Avraham

On this site I will mostly use a version based on the “Jewish Publication Society” Tanakh (JPS)

Part One - Introduction

In this study we are going to look at one of the most unique Books in the Tanakh and yes, this a Book that has been disputed by some for the reason that it does not directly mention the most holy Name of  Elohim, blessed be His Sanctified Name. Indeed this may be strange for a Book in our Tanakh, but the truth is that it is a book filled with what we call “a strong faith in Elohim”, and I will cover this as we go on.

As we would have learned when we read the Book (Scroll) of Hadassah - Esther, she was a queen but she was so much more being a Hebrew woman who was full of faith and loved her Elohim, blessed be He. Even though her faith would be severely tested, she pulled through and Elohim used her to save her people.

The Book of Esther reveals the story of a rather untraditional Persian Queen, for she was a Hebrew and an orphan at that. As we are told that she had been raised by her fatherly cousin Mordecai - Mordechai.

We now turn to Megillat Hadassah - Esther Chapter 2:

“Mordecai the son of Jair the son of Shimei, a Benjamite who had been carried away from Jerusalem with the captives that had been carried away with Jeconiah king of Judah, whom Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon had carried away”. And he brought up Hadassah, that is, Esther, his uncle's daughter; for she had neither father nor mother, and the maiden was of beautiful form and fair to look on; and when her father and mother were dead, Mordecai took her for his own daughter”. Hadassah - Esther 2:5-7. (JPS version of the Tanakh).

Growing up, she may have had thoughts of marrying a devoted Hebrew with Mordecai’s blessing and raising a house full of children. But of course her life took a very different turn when the king issued a certain decree;

“… the king appoint officers in all the provinces of his kingdom, that they may gather together all the fair young virgins unto Shushan the castle”. Verse 3 (JPS).

Many beautiful virgins were to be taken to the palace for what seems like the ultimate beauty pageant. The reason for all this of course, was finding the kings new Queen. And we are told that “the maiden was of beautiful form and fair to look on” Verse 7. Hadassah - Esther was taken to the palace with the other women, “… and the maiden pleased him, and she obtained kindness of him” Verse 9.

Hadassah - Esther was the beautiful Hebrew wife of the Persian king ‘Ahasuerus’ but he is also identified as ‘Xerxes I’. In this study I will use the name ‘Ahasuerus’.

“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”. Verse 17 (JPS).

Life in the royal palace must have been surreal for the Hebrew orphan and she kept her ethnic identity a secret, she received nothing but favour from everyone. But of course visiting the palace on a regular basis was a very dark person Haman, who would enter her life and bring great danger to her people.

“And Haman said unto king Ahasuerus: ‘There is a certain people scattered abroad and dispersed among the peoples in all the provinces of thy kingdom; and their laws are diverse from those of every people; neither keep they the king's laws; therefore it profiteth not the king to suffer them if it please the king, let it be written that they be destroyed; and I will pay ten thousand talents of silver into the hands of those that have the charge of the king’s business, to bring it into the king’s treasuries. And the king took his ring from his hand, and gave it unto Haman the son of Hammedatha the Agagite, the Hebrews enemy. And the king said unto Haman: ‘The silver is given to thee, the people also, to do with them as it seemeth good to thee’”. Hadassah - Esther 3: 8-11 (JPS).

A crisis of faith:

The king’s most trusted adviser, Haman had a great hatred of the Hebrews, and for some reason he especially hated Mordecai, and he devised a plot to kill every single Hebrew. Somehow, he cunningly gained the king’s support for his evil plot, even though the king was not aware of the total horror his adviser was planning (Hadassah - Esther 3). Thus, if the Hebrews were to survive, Haman’s plans had to fail, and we know that from the very beginning, our Elohim prepared Hadassah - Esther for her special role!!

Mordecai, knew well that Esther, the beloved queen of his king, would do anything to sway her husband. But there was one problem with Esther’s plan: She went before the king without having received his permission to do so, and that was inviting instant death.

Esther realised that if the king did not hold out his golden sceptre to her, she could be killed before even reaching him. In addition, to make things worse, it had been over a month since the king had called for her Hadassah - Esther 4:8-9 (JPS version of the Tanakh).

A faithful step:

Upon hearing Esther’s response, Mordecai, who exhibited great faith as well, replied with what has become one of the most famous quotations from the Tanakh.

“Think not with thyself that thou shalt escape in the king’s house, more than all the Jews. For if thou altogether holdest thy peace at this time, then will relief and deliverance arise to the Jews from another place, but thou and thy father’s house will perish; and who knoweth whether thou art not come to royal estate for such a time as this?” Hadassah - Esther 4:13-14 (JPS).

Here are the same two verses but with emphasis (clarification) added.

“Do not think in your heart that you will escape in the king’s palace any more than all the other Jews. For if you remain completely silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” Esther 4:13-14 (JPS).

There it is obvious that there is so much more to this Book than meets the eye for when first read it, I found that it is not just a remarkable story of victory, but it also contains a massive prophecy that has not been realised until the early 1990s by the author. Therefore, I am sure that you will find that there is far more in the fascinating story of Queen Hadassah - Esther than we may have ever thought about before!

Before we commence we should ask the question, “Who was the author of this Book?” The truth is that the Book of Esther does not actually name its author. However, the most popular Hebrew traditions say that it was Mordecai who was of course one of the major characters in the Book. But, it could also have been either Ezra or Nehemiah for both would have been familiar with Persian customs and the situation at hand. It is estimated that the date of writing would have been between 460 and 350 B.C.

The reason for writing the Book of Esther was to display the providence of Elohim, especially in regard to His people, B’Nai Yisroel (the Children of Israel). The Book of Esther records the institution of the Hebrew Feast of “Purim” and the obligation of its perpetual observation. The Book of Esther is always read on Purim to commemorate the deliverance of the Hebrew nation which was brought about by Elohim through Esther.

Part Two - A Summary of the Book of Esther

The Book of Esther can be divided into three main sections.

1 … Chapters 1:1-2:18 - Esther replaces Vashti.

2 … Chapters 2:19-7:10 - Mordecai overcomes Haman.

3 … Chapters 8:1-10:3 - Israel survives Haman’s attempt to destroy them.

The noble Esther risked her own life when she realized what was at stake for her people and she did what could have been a deadly manoeuvre as she took on the second-in-command of her husband‘s kingdom, the evil ‘Haman’. However, she proved to be a wise and most worthy opponent, all the while remaining humble and respectful of the position of her husband, the king.

In many ways, Esther’s story is much like the story of Yosef - Joseph in Bereshis - Genesis chapter 41. Both stories involve foreign monarchs who control the destiny of the Israelites. Both accounts show the heroism of Israelite individuals who provide the means for the salvation of their people and nation. Thus the hand of Elohim is very evident in that what appears to be a bad situation is indeed very much under the control of Elohim, blessed be He, who ultimately has the good of His people at heart. At the center of this story is the ongoing division between the Hebrews and the Amalakites, which was recorded to have begun in the Book of Shemos - Exodus. Haman’s goal is the final effort recorded in the Tanakh and he plans the total *eradication of the Hebrews. However, his plans end’s up with his own demise and the elevation of his enemy being the godly Mordecai who receives Haman’s position in the royal court, as well as the salvation of the Israelites.

*Amazingly this plan of a “total eradication of the Hebrews” by Haman, became in a way a tragic prophecy that would come true far in the future. Details regarding this is in Part Four!

Feasting is a major theme of this Book: there are ten recorded banquets, and many of the events were planned, plotted, or exposed at these banquets. Although the blessed Name of Elohim is never mentioned in this Book, it is apparent that the Jews of Susa sought His intervention when they fasted and prayed for three days (Hadassah - Esther 4:16).

“Then Esther bade them return answer unto Mordecai: ‘Go, gather together all the Jews that are present in Shushan, and fast ye for me, and neither eat nor drink three days, night or day; I also and my maidens will fast in like manner; and so will I go in unto the king, which is not according to the law; and if I perish, I perish.’ So Mordecai went his way, and did according to all that Esther had commanded him”. Hadassah - Esther 4:15-17 (JPS).

In spite of the fact that the law allowing their destruction was written according to the laws of the Medes and Persians, rendering it unchangeable, the way was cleared for Mordecai and those who joined him to have their prayers to be answered. Esther risked her life by going not once uninvited before the king but she did this twice, (Esther 5:1-3; 8:3).

“Now it came to pass on the third day that Esther put on her royal apparel, and stood in the inner court of the king’s house, over against the king’s house; and the king sat upon his royal throne in the royal house, over against the entrance of the house. And it was so, when the king saw Esther the queen standing in the court that she obtained favour in his sight; and the king held out to Esther the golden sceptre that was in his hand. So Esther drew near, and touched the top of the sceptre. Then said the king unto her: ‘What wilt thou, queen Esther? for whatever thy request, even to the half of the kingdom, it shall be given thee.’” Hadassah - Esther 5:1-3 (JPS).

“And Esther spoke yet again before the king, and fell down at his feet, and besought him with tears to put away the mischief of Haman the Agagite, and his device that he had devised against the Jews. Then the king held out to Esther the golden sceptre. So Esther arose, and stood before the king” Hadassah - Esther 8:3-4 (JPS).

Hadassah - Esther was not content with the destruction of Haman; she was intent on saving her people. The institution of the Feast of Purim is written and preserved for all to see and is still observed today. Elohim’s chosen people, without any direct mention of His Name, were granted a stay of execution through the wisdom and humility of Hadassah - Esther.

There were some wonderful foreshadowing’s in the Book! In Hadassah - Esther, we are given a behind-the-scenes look at the ongoing struggle of HaSatan (the adversary) against the purposes of  Elohim, blessed be His sanctified Name. The eventual arrival of Israel’s Mashiach into the human race would depend on the existence of the Children of Israel. Just as Haman plotted against the Israelites in order to destroy them, obviously HaSatan was against the eventual arrival of the Mashiach and Elohim’s people from the very beginning and thus we have seen the ongoing attempting to destroy B’Nai Yisroel. But thanks to the faithful Mordecai and Hadassah - Esther, Haman was defeated on the very gallows he had built for Mordecai.

Part Three – What does this all mean to us Today?

The Book of Hadassah - Esther shows the choice we make between seeing the very hand of  Elohim, blessed be His Sanctified Name, in our circumstances of life and seeing things merely as a coincidence. Elohim is the sovereign Ruler of the universe and we can be assured that His plans will not be moved by the actions of evil men. Even though His Name may not be mentioned in the Book of Hadassah - Esther, but be assured that His providential care for His people, both individuals and the nation, is evident throughout in this Book. For instance, we cannot fail to see the Almighty exerting influence over King Ahasuerus’ timely insomnia. Through the example of Mordecai and Esther, the silent love language our Father often used to communicate directly to our spirits is revealed in this Book.

Hadassah - Esther proved to have a godly and teachable spirit that also showed great strength and willing obedience. Esther’s humility was markedly different from those around her, and this caused her to be elevated into the position of queen. She shows us that remaining respectful and humble, even in difficult if not humanly impossible circumstances, and often sets us up to be the vessel of untold blessing for both ourselves and others. We would do well to emulate her spiritual attitudes in all areas of life, but especially in trials. Not once is there a complaint or bad attitude exposed in the writings. Many times we read she won the “favour” of those around her. Such “favour” is what ultimately saved her people. We can be granted such “favour” as we accept even unfair persecution and follow Hadassah - Esther’s example of maintaining a positive attitude, coupled with humility and the determination to lean on our Elohim, blessed be He. Who knows but Elohim may have put us in such a position for just such a time as this?

The following are just a few of the Key Verses:

“Now when the turn of Esther, the daughter of Abihail the uncle of Mordecai, who had taken her for his daughter, was come to go in unto the king, she required nothing but what Hegai the king's chamberlain (eunuch) the keeper of the women, appointed” Hadassah - Esther 2:15 (JPS).

“‘For if thou altogether holdest thy peace at this time, then will relief and deliverance arise to the Jews from another place, but thou and thy father’s house will perish; and who knoweth whether thou art not come to royal estate for such a time as this?’” Hadassah - Esther 4:14 (JPS).

“Then said his wise men and Zeresh his wife unto him (Haman): ‘If Mordecai, before whom thou hast begun to fall, be of the seed of the Jews, thou shalt not prevail against him, but shalt surely fall before him’” Hadassah - Esther 6:13 (JPS).

“Esther the queen answered and said: ‘If I have found favour in thy sight, O king, and if it please the king, let my life be given me at my petition, and my people at my request; for we are sold, I and my people, to be destroyed, to be slain, and to perish’” Hadassah - Esther 7:3-4 (JPS).

Part Four - Haman’s “Sum of Money” to destroy Israel

Above we have read about the goodness and faithfulness of Hadassah - Esther as well as that of Mordecai, but we also learnt also regarding the great evil of the lands second in charge, the very rich and evil Haman, the butcher! His desire was to utterly destroy every single Jew that was in the land, thus he was a foreshadow of another evil man (Adolph Hitler) and had he succeeded, he would have achieved, what Hitler could never have done. But of course the Almighty could not allow this evil man to succeed and thus his plans were thrown into disarray and instead he was the one to be hanged, instead of a great man of faith, Mordecai!

The plan Haman devised to destroy B’Nai Yisroel (the Children of Israel) was as follows involving a certain “Sum of Money.”

This evil “Sum of Money” had a powerful and significant future prediction, one that at first may not be comprehended. However, we should look at the puzzle that is presented by this “sum,” which unfolded to me in the early 1990s.

“And Haman said unto king Ahasuerus, ‘There is a certain people scattered abroad and dispersed among the peoples in all the provinces of thy kingdom; and their laws are diverse from those of every people; neither keep they the king’s laws; therefore it profiteth not the king to suffer them. If it please the king, let it be written that they be destroyed, and I will pay ten thousand talents of silver into the hands of those that have the charge of the king’s business, to bring it into the king’s treasuries’” Hadassah - Esther 3:8-9 (JPS).

“And Mordecai told him all that had happened to him and the exact sum of money that Haman had promised to pay into the king’s treasuries for the Jews, to destroy themHadassah - Esther 4:7 (JPS).

Note Haman does not say “all that he had” or “half his possessions”, no, it had to be very a precise; “sum of money” The question arises … What was that sum? Well we saw in chapter 3, verse 9 that is had to be precisely; “ten thousand talents of silver”.

Please view the chart below very carefully with the calculations provided. I somehow came to a realisation back in 1990 that it was even a more powerful statement that what it originally seemed to be. Be assured I studied this “sum” and the result that came to me after a great deal of prayer and it shocked me when I discovered something very powerful. “The Sum of money” contained, well what we could call a prophecy or at least a powerful prediction it WILL shock you as it did me, for it was without a doubt a “sum” of “then thousand talents of silver” which was obviously very carefully made, and this could not have been by just a mere man, but with outside help, which I feel came from a leading of “HaSatan”, “the Adversary”! Don’t ask me why, but it was not just a “sum” that Haman decided on by accident.

“… ‘let it be written that they be destroyed, and I will pay ten thousand talents of silver into the hands of those that have the charge of the king’s business, to bring it into the king's treasuries’” Hadassah - Esther 3:9.

How much do we know about a “Talent?” Most will say very little, or not at all. Below is my calculation looking very closely at Haman’s “Sum of money.

What is a talent?

1 Talent =                                              30 kilograms.

10,000 x 30 kilograms =                       300,000 kilograms of silver (total).

 

1 Talent =                                              60 Mina’s.

1 Mina =                                                50 Shekels.

Meaning that 1 Talent was 60 x 50 =  3,000 shekels.

 

Calculating 10,000 Talents to Shekels.

10,000 x 3,000 =                                   30.000,000 / 30 Million Shekels.

Bamidbar (Numbers) 3:47 - reveals that the redemption price of the firstborn of Israel is …

“‘And as for the redemption of the two hundred and three score and thirteen of the first-born of the children of Israel, that are over and above the number of the Levites, thou shalt take five shekels apiece; after the shekel of the sanctuary shalt thou take them the shekel. And thou shalt give the money wherewith they that remain over of them are redeemed unto Aaron and to his sons’”

Thus find that the redemption price for the firstborn is “five shekels apiece”.

5 Shekels per person. “You shall take five shekels apiece” … or “each one individually.”

Divide 30.000,000 5 =                      6.000,000 / 6 Million

Did the evil Haman prophetically (or predict) offer the exact amount, “THE SUM” in the day of Hadassah - Esther the Queen that amounted to 6 Million precious lives of the Jews that were so tragically lost during HaShoah, the Nazi Holocaust!

Does this prove that we at times, simply have not understood Haman’s prophecy/prediction as we should have?

Many will say that the author has gone off on a tangent and is totally wrong. OK, prove to me that “ten thousand talents” does not add up to 30 million shekels, and that the price of the first born is not 5 shekels, and calculated accordingly and correctly, that this sum becomes precisely 6 million. Is it is so or it is not? Frankly, I wish it had not been so, but it was! Haman’s evil “Sum of Money” to destroy the Jews completely at that time and that could well have been a prophecy re the future tragic murder of 6 million precious Jewish lives! The only good thing to come out of that horrid time is the re-establishment of the State of Israel and the return of so many of our people having returned home to our land! Thank you Elohim, blessed be He.

The story of Hadassah - Esther is a story about the endurance and faith of the Hebrew (including Hadassah) people through persecution and celebration, as well as Elohim’s providence in His people’s life by installing people in power who will fight for B’Nai Yisroel, and that could be you! “Pray for the peace of Jerusalem” Tehillim - Psalm 122:6, and this should include all Jews regardless where you live, and friends, to seek true Shalom / Peace in our hearts is worth while working on and we can do that by being good and faithful Jews, then His peace will fill the hearts of us all, and touch those we pray for!

I pray that this study has touched you, for it does contain so much, and I believe that we should read Megillat Hadassah - Esther in full more frequently, not just on the said the Yom Tov - “Purim”!

Please remember our motto seen on the logo at the top of this page: “The More Torah, the More Life”, for  Elohim, blessed be His Sanctified Name, is the one who gave us our Life!

Rabbi Reuven Ben-Avraham.

 

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