Monday, November 20, 2023

Ladies Bible Class: Esther


I neglected to tell everyone last week that there will be no lesson this week due to the Thanksgiving holidays.

We'll be back next week with lesson 9 in our Esther study.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Until the next class ...

patsy @ From This Heart of Mine

(c) 2023 by Patsy Norwood ~ All Rights Reserved.

Friday, November 17, 2023

Praying Scripture over our Children and Grandchildren: Romans 8:31

This week's scripture contains a principle and a promise that I'm claiming for my grands ...

Romans 8:31

What then shall we say to these things?  If God is for us who can be against us?

My prayer looks something like this ...


I claim this principle and promise for ____________________.  Thank You for being an advocate, intercessor and fighter for them.

In Jesus' name ... Amen

In Him,

patsy @ From This Heart Of Mine

(c) 2023 by Patsy Norwood ~ All Rights Reserved.

Thursday, November 16, 2023

Ladies Bible Class: Esther, Lesson 8

Esther Lesson 8

The book of Esther:  A study of God in action when nothing appears to be happening!

by Patsy Norwood (c) 2023.  All Rights Reserved.

Last week we were introduced to Mordecai and Esther, this week we add another character to the plot … Hegai!

Who was Hegai, let’s find out …

Chapter 2: 8 – 11

8. So it was, when the king’s command and decree were heard, and when many young women were gathered at Shushan the citadel, under the custody of Hegai, that Esther also was taken to the king’s palace, into the care of Hegai the custodian of the women.

What do we know about Hegai?

He was Persian.

He was a eunuch.  (Very important since he was in charge of the young women!)

He was in charge of the maidens who were brought to the king’s harem.

He is mentioned in Esther 2:3 and 2:8.

That’s it, that’s all … don’t you know though that he was in a prime position to obtain any and all info he deemed necessary to help his favorite win the coveted title of Queen of Persia!  Hmmm, now who could have been his favorite?  I love God’s planning and foresight!

 9 Now the young woman pleased him, and she obtained his favor; so he readily gave beauty preparations to her, besides her allowance. Then seven choice maidservants were provided for her from the king’s palace, and he moved her and her maidservants to the best place in the house of the women.

Take note of who Hegai’s favorite turned out to be … you know, Hegai, the man who was ‘in the know’ … it was Esther!  Look how his favor benefited her …

He readily gave beauty preparations/purifications to her, besides her allowance (it seems he gave her more).  

Seven ‘choice’ maidservants were provided for her from the king’s palace (it seems he picked out the best of the best for her).  What was the role of a maidservant?  They were to attend their assigned girl to the bath, anoint and adorn her and be her servant in general.  Hmmm, I can see why having the best of the best maidservants could be an advantage, can’t you?

He moved her and her maidservants to the best place in the house of women. (one has to wonder if that included her place in the rotation as well, which would likely have made a difference).

Could this favor be God providentially working behind the scenes?  When Christians live faithful to God, they possess an inner beauty that cannot be described.  Did God use that in her favor?

Reminder:  From lesson 7, Josephus tells us that Esther was the most beautiful of all the rest, and that the grace of her countenance drew the eyes of the spectators principally upon her.

Sidenote:  Grace of her countenance = inner beauty that comes from living faithful to God.  It is my opinion that this is what set Esther apart, drawing favor from those around her.

10 Esther had not revealed her people or family, for Mordecai had charged her not to reveal it.

Why did Mordecai not want Esther to reveal her Jewish heritage?  

Was he afraid of prejudice against her? 

Would it have prevented her from receiving any kind of special favor?

Whatever the reason, Esther honored and OBEYED Mordecai’s request which had to have called for restraint and self-discipline on her part.   

Could her air of acceptance, trust and obedience in God and Mordecai have given her that ‘grace of her countenance’ mentioned by Josephus?

Remember, few, if any in and around the palace knew that Esther was a Jew and a follower and worshiper of the one true God, but they knew that something was different about her!

Could 'this difference' have been what drew Hegai to favor her?  If so, would it have an effect on the king when it came her turn in the rotation?

At any rate, Esther’s obedience played a very important role in what was to come!

Bible Markings and Notes:  I circled the number 10 of verse 10 and wrote in the margin out to the side … Esther’s obedience played an important role in what was to come.

11 And every day Mordecai paced in front of the court of the women’s quarters, to learn of Esther’s welfare and what was happening to her.

Was Mordecai worried and concerned about what was happening to Esther?  It would seem so!  This verse says he paced in front of the court of the women’s quarters, but how did he get access to it?  We know from previous lessons that the palace was well fortified.

I found the following from the Pulpit commentary on Esther that sheds some light on how he was able to gain access …

Mordecai seems to have been one of the porters at the main entrance to the palace, and his proper place was at the gateway.  He contrived, however, during some part of each day to visit the court in front of the seraglio, in order to see Esther, or at any rate obtain intelligence concerning her.

Sidenote:  I did a quick Google search on the word ‘seraglio’ because I wanted to make sure I understood what it’s meaning was.  Here’s what I found:  the women’s apartments (harem) in an Ottoman palace; the part of a Muslim house or palace in which the wives and concubines are secluded; harem.

Well, that makes sense not only for this verse, but it helps explain Mordecai’s ability to send messages to Esther later in the book.

Out of sight, out of mind, nor acceptance of his powerlessness in the situation don’t appear to be Mordecai’s response.  He continues to take an interest in the young lady he raised as an orphan, taking his role as her guardian very seriously.

I see God’s providence in more than one instance in today’s lesson.  Here’s one … Mordecai’s position at the palace!  Without that position, communicating with Esther would have been near impossible given what we know about the security of the palace/citadel.

What about you, do you see God providentially working behind the scenes in today’s lesson?

Next week we’ll look at verses 12-18 and see that the rotation has started, and that the Mrs. Persia beauty pageant is under way!

I hope you’ve enjoyed today's lesson, what are your thoughts on it?

Don't forget to leave a comment and if you're enjoying this class, please share the link with other ladies who you think might enjoy it as well.

Some of you who know me have opted to do this study with me via private email.  That works too!  The goal is to learn, dig deep and study God’s Word.  The methods/tools we use to do that are limited only by what we have available to us individually.

With this thought in mind, if there is interest, I am willing to send each lesson via email in pdf format to ladies that would rather receive them that way.  This does two things; it gets them into more ladies’ hands that don’t have access to or participate in the online world and it makes it available for use in ladies’ Bible classes.  With the pdf format comes permission for the lessons to be printed and or photocopied (only) for distribution for personal and in person ladies’ Bible class studies (as long as there are no changes made to the lessons).  Let me know in the comments if this is something you would be interested in receiving.

Links to previous lessons: 


Lesson 1

Lesson 2

Lesson 3

Lesson 4

Lesson 5

Lesson 6

Lesson 7

Until the next class ...

patsy @ From This Heart of Mine

(c) 2023 by Patsy Norwood ~ All Rights Reserved.