Thursday, February 1, 2024

Ladies Bible Class: Esther, Lesson 16

Esther Lesson 16

Chapter 4: 10 – 17

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

by Patsy Norwood (c) 2023 - 2024.  All Rights Reserved.

In our last lesson we left Esther with a life altering decision to make, let’s see what she decides …

10 Then Esther spoke to Hathach, and gave him a command for Mordecai: 

Esther responds, via Hathach, to Mordecai.  One might wonder why, at this point, Esther didn’t just have Mordecai meet her somewhere.  Was it because of him being dressed in sackcloth and ashes and that attire not being allowed in the palace?  If that was so, could she have met him somewhere outside of the palace, or was she only allowed outside the palace with the strictest of security.  It seems that Mordecai’s attire, and his refusal to remove them, could have been the stumbling block to their actually meeting in person.   What are your thoughts?

11 “All the king’s servants and the people of the king’s provinces know that any man or woman who goes into the inner court to the king, who has not been called, he has but one law: put all to death, except the one to whom the king holds out the golden scepter, that he may live. Yet I myself have not been called to go into the king these thirty days.” 

There’s a lot to unpack in this verse so let’s get started.  The following from the Coffman commentary on Esther (the Pulpit commentary gave the same/similar information) will better help us understand Esther’s comment …

From the Coffman commentary on Esther: “In all of the numerous representations of Persian kings by sculptors and inscriptions recovered by archaeologists), the king holds a long tapering staff (the sceptre of Esther).”  Death was the penalty for any person who came unbidden into the private area of a Persian king.

Esther did not by this reply refuse to accept Mordecai’s charge; she merely apprised him of the extreme danger to herself in such a request.  Esther was also apprehensive that the king had not invited her into his presence in a month, indicating that his love for her had cooled, and that at that time the king might have been sensually involved with someone else. There was certainly no guarantee that the king would be pleased by her coming uninvited into his presence.

Whew, that’s a lot to be going on in Esther’s mind.   She had to be wondering if her husband was tired of her and if so, would he see her appearing before him as an opportunity to ‘get rid of her?’  She knew what had happened to Vashti.  On the other hand, if she didn’t what would be the outcome?   I’m sure at this point Esther is an emotional wreck full of worry and fear not only for her marriage, and all that that entailed, but for her people as well!

12 So they told Mordecai Esther’s words.

Who are ‘they?’  In verse 10, Esther spoke to Hathach and gave him a command for Mordecai, but here in verse 12, we see ‘they told Mordecai Esther’s words.’  Have I missed something?  None of the research I did commented on this.  (I found ‘they’ used in several Bible versions/translations which leads me to think it’s not an interpretation issue.)

13 And Mordecai told them to answer Esther: “Do not think in your heart that you will escape in the king’s palace any more than all the other Jews. 

Mordecai gives ‘them’ an answer to take back to Esther, a somewhat bitter warning kind of answer.  In a nutshell, Mordecai doesn’t want Esther to think that she is safe as the Queen, the edict said ‘all.’

14 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?”

Mordecai wasn’t pulling any punches or playing any kind of cat and mouse games.  He was brutal in getting her to see the situation.  He wanted her to realize that she must not only provide for her own preservation but for the preservation of all the Jews.  And, if she refused, God would provide help another way, but that she and her father’s house would be destroyed.  (It’s clear that Mordecai expects deliverance from another source if Esther refuses.)

Esther has to be under an unbelievable amount of pressure!

15 Then Esther told them to reply to Mordecai: 

Here again is reference to someone in addition to Hathach as being part of the ‘messenger’ group.  Verses 12, 13 and 15 indicate that Hathach might have been the spokesman of the ‘messenger’ group but that he was not the only member of the group.  I’m going to continue researching and would love to hear your thoughts on this.

One more thought and I guess this is what's driving my curiosity, if more than Hathach was privy to the messages going back and forth between Esther and Mordecai, then you have to know that the palace grapevine was going to work faster.

16 “Go, gather all the Jews who are present in Shushan, and fast for me; neither eat nor drink for three days, night or day. My maids and I will fast likewise. And so I will go to the king, which is against the law; and if I perish, I perish!”

Esther has made up her mind and regardless of if it costs her her life, she is going to do the right thing.  She is going to fight for herself and for her people!

‘Go, gather all the Jews who are present in Shushan’ … the seriousness of the situation called for all the Jews in the area to be called into action.

Here’s what they were supposed to do: ‘fast for me; neither eat nor drink for three days, night or day.’  No food or drink for three days!  In the world of fasting, that’s a pretty significant fast and one that would be hard to complete … unless your very existence was at stake.  I feel relatively sure that much prayer was accompanying the fast as the Jews used fasting as a way of zeroing in and focusing on God.

‘My maids and I will fast likewise.’  If Esther’s maids didn’t know up to this point what was going on they were going to soon find out.  Esther surely told them the reason for their fasting.  

We now know that the 'messenger group' and Esther's maids know of Esther's heritage ... will they keep their silence or is it just a matter of time before everyone knows!  Esther would surely have taken all of this into consideration when making her decision of what to do.

In my opinion, Esther had a choice, but then again, she really didn't!

And so I will go to the king, which is against the law; and if I perish, I perish!’   This act will expose Esther as one of the Jews fully and completely.  Such faith and courage!

17 So Mordecai went his way and did according to all that Esther commanded him.

Mordecai starts putting his part of Esther’s plan into action and that’s where we leave things this week.

These are my thoughts on the above verses, what are yours?

I sincerely hope that as we study this book, you’re gathering knowledge about God and that you’re seeing how this account of Esther fits in with His redeeming plan for mankind.  The Bible is about God and the more we learn about Him, the more we fall in love with Him.

In our next lesson, Esther 5: 1-8, Esther tremblingly approaches the entrance to the king’s throne room.  Will he hold out his golden sceptre to her or will she be instantly killed?

I hope you’ve enjoyed today's lesson.  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.

Links to previous lessons can be found HERE.

Until the next class ...

patsy @ From This Heart of Mine; (c) 2023 - 2024 by Patsy Norwood ~ All Rights Reserved.


  1. I see a young girl who is wise and generous way beyond her years. I see a trust in God that many never achieve in a lifetime. What a testimony to her upbringing in Malachi's household. I cannot imagine having that much wisdom or faith when I was Esther's age. And I am sure I would not have been willing to risk my life for others. Surely God had preordained that Esther would be the one to save her people.

    1. Lana, I like your overview of Esther, she really was an exceptional young lady in so many ways. Spiritually, she was and is an example for all of us.