Thursday, February 26, 2009

Esther Part IV

The queen answered and said, If I have found favour in thy sight, 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.

Do you think Haman has an idea yet- do you think he is starting to squirm, wondering if Esther is a Jew- or do you think he is clueless?

The king answers:
Who is he, and where is he that durst presume in his heart to do so?

And Esther replies,
The adversary and enemy is this wicked Haman.

And the scripture says, "Then Haman was afraid before the king and queen." I bet that is an understatement :)

The king, upset, leaves and goes to the palace garden, probably to think and decide what to do. While he is gone, Haman pleads for his life before Esther the queen. They get in some kind of fight, and as the king returns he finds Haman fighting with Esther on the bed.

Poor Esther, I can see her overpowered physically by this horrible man, who is so mad at her. I am sure that she is fearing for her virtue as well as her life.

As you can imagine, walking in on this scene, further angers the king, and if he hadn't decided to before, he now decides to have Haman killed. Ironically, he is hung on the very gallows that he had made for Mordecai.

Yes, perhaps Esther was born at that time, and put in that place, "for such a time as this." What beauty, what bravery, what faith...
(I think this story would make a wonderful movie- a big time movie- with Anne Hathaway as Esther, Liam Nielson as Mordecai, who do you think should play the king - maybe Sean Connery- or is he to predictable- and Haman?)

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Esther Part III

Esther tells her concerns to Mordecai- mainly- she is concerned that going before the king could mean death for her. Mordecai responds: "Think not with thyself." Good advice Mordecai. And then he goes on to say,

who knoweth whether thou art come to the kingdom for such a time as

Esther responds :

Go gather together all the Jews that are present in the Shushan and fast ye for
me, and neither eat nor drink three days, night or day: I also and my
maidens will fast likewise; and so will I go in unto the king, which is not
according to the law: and if I perish, I perish.

On the third day, Esther put on her Royal robes and went tin to the inner chamber. When the king saw her, he was pleased, and the king held out to Esther the golden sceptre, so Esther came closer and touched the top of the sceptre.

The king asks Esther,
"what would you like. I will give you any request, up to half of the

Esther no doubt thought for a moment- maybe I should just ask him now- that is a pretty good offer- but she doesn't. She came in with a plan, knowing what she was going to say- a plan that she had no doubt prayed about, and had all planned out. Instead of asking him right then- she invites the King, and Haman to a banquet- that evening.

However- at the banquet the king asks her again, "what is thy petition?" Here I would think she would tell him the purpose of the visit- but for some reason- she does not- instead, she asks him,

E 5:8
Let the king and Haman come to the banquet that I shall prepare for them, and I
will do tomorrow as the king hath said.

She promises to ask him tomorrow. Why? Did she chicken out? Was she too scared? Or was this too part of her plan? Did the spirit whisper to her- "wait- ask him tomorrow."

Haman went home pretty proud of himself. As he left, ""joyful and glad of heart" he sees Mordecai- the thorn in his side, on duty outside. Of course, Mordecai, like usual- does not bow to him. I see two strong men. One so full of himself, so accustomed to being treated with adoration and respect- to the point that he is requiring a worshipful greeting. And the other- equally strong- if not stronger- but without the position. His strength comes not from a position, but from is knowledge of who he is, and who he worships. And he worships none, but the Lord God.

With his confidence soaring after dinner with the king and queen. he gathers his wife and friends when he gets home, and tells them about his day. He has accomplished so much. He has riches, he has position. He just had dinner with the king and queen! And yet he comes out side, and who is there? Mordecai. he should be thrilled- so happy- but seeing Mordecai- he is filled with anger and indignation.

His wife and friends give him advice- go have some gallows made, and hang Mordecai- tomorrow. Then- when you go to dinner tomorrow evening- you can be truly happy!. Haman thought this was a great idea- and so he had the gallows made.

That same night- the kind could not sleep. And so- he has the book of records brought to him, and read to him.

And it was found written, that Mordecai had told of Bigthana and Tersh, two
of the kings chamberlains, the keepers of the door, who sought to lay had on the
king Ahasuerus.
And the king said, what honor and dignity hath been done to Mordecai for
this? Then said the king's servants that ministered unto him, There is
nothing done for him.

The king then says, I know it's late- but who is still here? Anyone- well yes- Haman is here. (Haman had come back after having the gallows made to convince the king to let him kill Mordecai tomorrow.) The king says- have Mordecai come here.

Haman came to him , and the king asks Haman- I have this person whom I would like to honour- what should I do for him?

Haman, again, so full of himself- things- (he is talking about me! I'm the special guy around here- who would he like to honour more than ME?) Boy he is excited, and he gives the king a good list of nice things to do for this person.

Let him wear your royal clothes, and your crown. Let one of your noble princes parade him through the streets on your horse- parading though the streets - proclaiming all the way that the king delights to honor this man.

The king says- oh yes- good idea- go do all of that for Mordecai.

I cannot imagine how upset this made Mordecai- but the next day- when he was planning on the joy of hanging Mordecai, instead he was parading him through the streets- with Mordecai wearing the kings Royal robes and crown- proclaiming for all that this was whom the kind delighted to honor. I wonder if he did that with a sarcastic tone to his voice.

While he was discussing his horrible day with his wife and friends he is summoned to dinner with the king and queen again.

So- did Esther just chicken out yesterday?- Or was Haman supposed to experience the humiliation and disappointment that he had that day. Once seated and eating, the king again asks Esther- "so, what is thy petition? "

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Esther- Part II

After twelve months of purification, the virgins were brought before the king. When it was Esther's turn- everyone liked her- including the King.

Esther 2:15 and 17-

And Esther obtained favor in the sight of all them that looked upon her. 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.

Mordecai, while at his duty watching the king's gate, found out about a conspiracy. Two of the king's chamberlains, Bigthan and Teresh, were mad at the king and conspiring to kill him. Mordecai told Esther about it, Esther reported it- in Mordecai's name. When it was looked into- and found out to be true- the two were killed. All of this was recorded in the book of the chronicles.

Haman got promoted to be the King's chief of staff. He required, in his new position, that all the guards bow to him. Mordecai wouldn't bow to him. This really chapped Haman- "Haman was full of wrath"- the scripture says- and it didn't take long before Haman hated Mordecai. At first Haman was just going to kill Mordecai- but when finding out he was a Jew- he decided to have all the Jews throughout the kingdom killed instead.

So- Haman goes before the king- and tells him that there is a certain group of people (he doesn't name them by name) who have different laws. he tells the king that they are not keeping his laws- and it doesn't benefit the king to have them around. He should dispose of the people.

The king tells Haman- here is my ring- go ahead and do what you think is best. I picture his ring being a type of "stamp." I can see in my mind's eye- Haman writing a proclamation- and rolling it up- putting some hot wax on the closure- and stamping it with the king's ring. I don't know if that's really how it works- but that's how I see it playing out. In a later scripture- the message is "sealed with the king's ring." (E3:12) The word was spread to all the provinces- that the Jews were to be killed on this certain day.

Mordecai, of course, was very upset. He went before the king's gate in sackcloth and ashes, which is not allowed- but he didn't care. All of the Jews were mourning and fasting and weeping. Esther's chambermaids told her about Mordecai. She sent out clothes for Mordecai, but he refused them. Esther sent someone to go ask Mordecai what was going on. And via this messenger- Esther found out the fate of her people. Mordecai asked Esther to bring it up with the king, and see if she couldn't get him to change his mind.

This might seem easy enough- but appearing before the king uninvited was a risk to your life. If the king did not put forth his scepter to you- you were killed- as simple as that. Furthermore- the king had not summoned Esther in over a month.


All the king's servants and the people of that king's provinces do know that
whosoever, whether man or woman, shall come unto the king into the inner court,
who is not called, there is one law of his to put him to death, except such to
whom the king shall hold out the golden sceptre, that he may live; but I have
not been called to come unto the king these thirty days. be continued

Monday, February 23, 2009

Esther- Part I

This is how the story starts: The King and the Queen had fight.

We don't know the background- but clearly- the King did something to upset the queen. (the scriptures left this part out )

Ahasuerus is the king. He is King over the land from India to Ethiopia- quite a large area- over 127 provinces at the time.

During his third year as king- he threw a feast- inviting all the important people. Somewhere during this- or before this- he ticked off the queen, Vashti.

On the seventh day of the feast- he sent for the queen- to show off her beauty before all his guests. "for she was fair to look upon" the scripture says.

But the queen refused to come. (did I mention that she was upset?) I'm sure this angered the King on several levels. First of all- the queen should always be obedient. Secondly- she is embarrassing him in front of important people. His consultants let him know that he had a third issue on his hands- the queen was setting a bad example for other women- what if other women in the kingdom started disobeying their husbands after seeing such a public example by the queen? They too might start to "despise their husbands." The king needed to show who was boss around here. He was mad - "his anger burned in him." His consultants told him that he should very publicly ditch the queen and get "another that is better than she." And so he did.

The kingdom had the first beauty pageant. All of the fair virgins were were brought in to be "checked out" by the King. The one that "pleaseth the king" the most would be the next queen.

One of the guards at the king's gate was Mordecai. He was a Jew, and was raising his cousin, who was an orphan. The cousin's name was Esther, and she was very beautiful.

And he brought up... Esther, his uncle's daughter: for she had neither
father or mother, and the maid was fair and beautiful; whom Mordecai, when her
father and mother were dead, took for his own daughter.

Esther made the finalists of the competition. As such, she got to stay (or perhpas was forced to stay) at the court of the woman's house.

Esther, under Mordecai's direction, didn't tell anyone who she was- that she was Mordecai's family, or that she was a Jew. (background checks weren't what they are today back then.)

Esther 2:10-11

Esther had not shewed her people nor her kindred: for Mordecai had charged
her that she should not show it.And Mordecai walked every day before the court of the woman's house, to
know how Esther did, and what should become of her. be continued
(I love the painting above- I saw it first in the Bride's Room at the Sacramento Temple- does anyone know where I can purchase a very large one- over 48 inches in length?)

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

My Memorize List

I am trying to memorize a scripture a week this year- I am a bit behind, but I want to start making a list of them here.

  1. 1 Nephi 1:20- I Nephi will show unto you that the tender mercies of the Lord are over all those whom he has chosen because of their faith, to make them mighty even unto the power of deliverance.

  2. 2 Nephi 9:51- Wherefore- do not spend money for that which is of no worth, nor your labor for that which cannot satisfy. Hearken diligently unto me and remember the words which I have spoken; and come unto the Holy One of Israel and feast upon that which perisheth not neither can be corrupted, and let your soul delight in fatness.

  3. Jacob 4:10- Wherefore, brethren, seek not to counsel the Lord, but to take counsel from his hand. For behold, ye yourselves know that he counseleth in wisdom, and in justice, and in great mercy, over all his works.

  4. Enos 1:15- Whatsoever thing ye shall ask in faith, believing that ye shall receive in the name of Christ, ye shall receive it.

  5. Omni 1:26- And now my beloved brethren, I would that ye should come unto Christ, who is the holy one of Israel, and partake of his salvation and the power of his redemption, Yea come unto him and offer your whole souls as an offering unto him, and continue in fasting ands praying and endure to the end, and as the Lord liveth, ye will be saved.
  6. Words of Mormon 1:7- And now, I do not know all things; but the Lord knoweth all things which are to come; wherefore he worketh in me to do according to his will.
  7. Mosiah 24:14- And I will also ease the burdens which are put upon your shoulders, that even you cannot feel them upon your backs, even while you are in bondage; and this will I do that ye may stand as a witness for me hereafter, and that ye may know of a surety that I the Lord God, do visit my people in their afflictions.