History of Ezera, Esther, and Nehemiah

All bibles have the order wrong in how they are presented. I am starting a series of teaching’s on the books of Esther, Nehemiah, and Ezra and the first thing the bible student needs to know these books have been placed in the wrong location. They are before Job and Psalms but it took place Much later than that. David reigned from about 1000 BC to 960 BC. Esther was queen from about 492 BC- 462 BC

Someone told me that Job takes place around the middle to the end of Genesis. I have no idea if it’s true or not.

Esther for instance takes place near the end of the book of Daniel.

Ezra records the first return from the captivity. Some forty years later Esther came on the scene, and some forty years after that Nehemiah came on the scene. So the book of Esther fits about halfway between the rebuilding of the temple (the decree given by Cyrus) and the rebuilding of the city of Jerusalem (the decree given by Artaxerxes to Nehemiah). About halfway between fits in the story of the book of Esther.

You may wonder what this has to do with Christianity? Well you will find out why in Acts 2 it talks about several people and what they heard.

Acts 2:5 Now there were staying in Jerusalem God-fearing Jews from every nation under heaven. 6 When they heard this sound, a crowd came together in bewilderment, because each one heard their own language being spoken. 7 Utterly amazed, they asked: “Aren’t all these who are speaking Galileans? 8 Then how is it that each of us hears them in our native language? 9 Parthians, Medes and Elamites; residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia,b 10 Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya near Cyrene; visitors from Rome 11 (both Jews and converts to Judaism); Cretans and Arabs—we hear them declaring the wonders of God in our own tongues!” 12 Amazed and perplexed, they asked one another, “What does this mean?”

These people were living where they were because the Assyrians had gone to war with the 10 northern tribes of Israel and took them captive and made them slaves. Now as they were heading back to Assyria They would leave some of the Jews there. I want you to have some idea where these places are.

Most of the people when given the choice decided not to return to Israel.

Now most believe that Esther was written by Mordecai.

Ezra is believed to have written Ezra and Nehemiah.

I am not a Biblical Historian I found all this information with about half an hour of research. If you want to find even more about the Hebrew scripture A Journey Through the Old Testament The link will take you there you can download the seminar and it is free It is a 26 hour seminar. It takes you through the Old Testament but does not go over every scripture but shows you the highlights of The Hebrew Scriptures.

Now I am starting with the book of Esther.

One interesting thing Malachi was the last book of the Hebrew Scriptures written about 400 BC. So if you take that number and you add the 30 years that it took Christ to get to start his ministry. Do you know how long the  Children of Israel were in bondage from the time Joseph brought them to Egypt till Moses led the out of Egypt was 430 years the same as Malachi to Christ.

Here you will get an idea of where Assyria and Babylonia are. In the bottom left you will see it clearly where Israel is.

Here you will get an idea of where Assyria and Babylonia are. In the bottom left you will see it clearly where Israel is.

You can see it is a long distance and all the places listed in Acts 2 lie in this area.

In 2 Kings 15 you have the record of this: 29 In the days of Pekah king of Israel came Tiglathpileser king of Assyria, and took Ijon, and Abelbethmaachah, and Janoah, and Kedesh, and Hazor, and Gilead, and Galilee, all the land of Naphtali, and carried them captive to Assyria.
You will notice that Nineveh is at the top. That was where Jonah was told to go to there by God and preach against it. Then Jonah headed in the opposite direction and got swallowed by the great fish. There had to have been a prophecy that Nineveh would overrun Israel so Jonah didn’t want them to repent if they did there would be a chance for the Assyrians to conquer Israel which is exactly what happened. Now I don’t want to do any more spoilers so we best start with the book of Esther. I am starting with the book of Esther because most seem to believe this took place first by a few years.

2 Kings 17:6
In the ninth year of Hoshea, the king of Assyria captured Samaria and carried Israel away into exile to Assyria, and settled them in Halah and Habor, on the river of Gozan, and in the cities of the Medes.

Daniel 1:1 In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came to Jerusalem and besieged it. 2 And the Lord delivered Jehoiakim king of Judah into his hand, along with some of the articles from the temple of God. These he carried off to the temple of his god in Babylonia and put in the treasure house of his god.

So that is how the dispersion happened.

Now onto the book of Esther.

I will be using the REV for this teaching. All Commentary quoted is from the REV unless otherwise noted.

Esther 1

Vashti Angers the King

1 Now it came to pass in the days of Ahasuerus (this is Ahasuerus who reigned from India even to Ethiopia, over 127 provinces), 2 that in those days, when the King Ahasuerus sat on the throne of his kingdom in the palace-fortress in Susa, 3 in the third year of his reign, he made a feast for all his officials and his servants. The army officers of Persia and Media, and the nobles and leaders of the provinces were before him. 4 He displayed the riches of his glorious kingdom and the honor of his excellent majesty many days, even 180 days.

In verse 2 it mentions the palace-fortress. The word we translate as palace fortress is biyrah (#01002 בִּירָה), which is not originally a Hebrew word but is a loan word from the Persian that means palace, castle, citadel, fortress. It is talking about the part of the city where the king would live

Verse 3 is translated in the KJV as:

Esther 1:3 In the third year of his reign, he made a feast unto all his princes and his servants; the power of Persia and Media, the nobles and princes of the provinces, being before him:

Now there is a Figure of Speech in verse 3 Met-o'-ny-my; or, Change of Noun. When one name or noun is used instead of another, to which it stands in a certain relation. When he says the power of Persia and Media he is talking about those who exercise power. Bullinger translates it people of power

In verse 4 it talks about a party going on for 180 days that is about half a year. Most historians don’t believe it was possible for all those people to be away from their posts for that long the empire would have collapsed. Many believe that a group would come to the feast for several days then return home and a new group would come to the feast and so on and so on.

5 When those days were completed, the king made a seven-day feast for all the people who were present in Susa the palace-fortress, both great and small, in the court of the garden of the king’s palace. 6 There were hangings of white, green, and blue material, fastened with cords of fine linen and purple to silver rings and marble pillars. The couches were of gold and silver on a mosaic pavement of red, white, yellow, and other precious stones.

In verse 6 where it talks of hangings no one seems to know what that means.

7 Drinks were served in golden vessels of various kinds, including royal wine in abundance according to the bounty of the king. 8 And the drinking was according to this command: no one was to be compelled. For the king had instructed all the officials of his house to do as every man desired. 9 Also Vashti the queen made a feast for the women in the royal house that belonged to King Ahasuerus.

When the king drank everyone drank. We still practice these sort of traditions now days. If you were at a dinner and dance and the President of the USA were there and he got up to dance everyone would dance. If you were in a poker game with POTUS you would lose the first few hands to POTUS then he would graciously leave and the game would go on normally. Now in this case the king made an exception no one was compelled to drink.

Vashti the queen was having a party for the women. In many places this was a tradition that however was not the case in Persia. They still set it up this way for some reason.

10 On the seventh day, when the heart of the king was merry with wine, he commanded Mehuman, Biztha, Harbona, Bigtha and Abagtha, Zethar, and Carcass, the seven eunuchs who served in the presence of Ahasuerus the king, 11 to bring Vashti the queen before the king with the royal crown, in order to show the people and the officials her beauty; for she was beautiful. 12 But Queen Vashti refused to come at the king’s command delivered by the eunuchs. Then the king was very angry, and his anger burned in him.

From the commentary:
“merry.” The Hebrew word is tov (#02896 טוֹב), and it basically means “good,” but it has a very large semantic range of things that are “good.” In this context of a drinking feast, for example, tov could include everything from happy to really drunk. The context shows us that Ahasuerus the king was at least somewhat drunk.

From what some scholars believe it would appear the king wanted her to come to them only wearing her crown so they could all see her great beauty. That at least would explain her refusal to come to them. It also could be the queen didn’t want to come because she was a very modest women even wear her clothes.

Now the wife refusing her husband's request was almost unheard of. Much the same as today in the middle East women were much better than slaves.

The King’s Decree

13 Then the king said to the wise men who knew the times (for it was the king’s custom to consult those who knew law and justice; 14 and the next to him were Carshena, Shethar, Admatha, Tarshish, Meres, Marsena, and Memucan, the seven officials of Persia and Media who saw the king’s face and sat first in the kingdom), 15 “According to law, what is to be done with Queen Vashti, because she has not obeyed the command of King Ahasuerus delivered by the eunuchs?”

In verse 13 the king consulted the “wise men”.In most bibles in Matthew 2 it talks about “wisemen” or magi coming from the east. I believe along with many scholars that these wise men were coming from Persia. Daniel was the teacher of the magi who studied under. He taught them about the star and the word being written in the stars but that is another teaching and I will get back to this in December.

Now timing was considered very important. When a couple “came together” it was at a time the wise men who “sat in the gate” decided it was the right time again it had to do with location of the stars and is another subject again , that we are not getting into. So the decree went out.

16 Then Memucan said in the presence of the king and the officials, “Vashti the queen has not done wrong to just the king, but also to all the leaders and to all the people who are in all the provinces of the King Ahasuerus. 17 For this deed of the queen will become known to all women, causing them to look upon their husbands with contempt, since they will say, ‘King Ahasuerus commanded Vashti the queen to be brought in before him, but she didn’t come.’ 18 This very day the noble women of Persia and Media who have heard of the queen’s deed will say the same thing to all the king’s officials, which will bring about no end of contempt and wrath.

So the queen had done something that would shake all society apparently. Wives all over the kingdom would not do as they were told. That was her crime.

19 “If it please the king, let a royal command go out from him, and let it be written among the laws of the Persians and the Medes so that it cannot be altered, that Vashti may never again come before King Ahasuerus; and let the king give her royal position to another who is better than she. 20 So when the king’s decree that he will make is proclaimed throughout all his kingdom, though it is vast, all the wives will give their husbands honor, from the greatest to the least.”

The queen was exiled and would no longer be queen. Women would respect their husbands and do as they were told.

21 This advice was good in the eyes of the king and the officials, and the king did according to the word of Memucan; 22 for he sent letters into all the king’s provinces, into every province in its own script and to every people in their own language, that every man should rule his own house and speak the language of his own people.

The king liked the idea and like captain Picard saying make it so Number 1.

Chapter 2

Revised English Version

Esther Chapter 2  

Search for a New Queen

1 After these things, when the wrath of King Ahasuerus had abated, he remembered Vashti and what she had done, and what was decreed against her. 2 Then the king’s servants who attended him said, “Let a search be made for beautiful young virgins for the king. 3 And let the king appoint overseers in all the provinces of his kingdom so that they can gather together all the beautiful young virgins to the palace-fortress of Susa, to the house of the women, to the custody of Hegai, the king’s eunuch who is in charge of the women. Let cosmetics be given them, 4 and let the young woman who pleases the king be queen instead of Vashti.” This advice pleased the king, and so that is what he did.

Now one thing that needs to be understood here as in most kingdom’s including Israel all the women belonged to the king. No one considered this order out of line. The king would take these women and put them in a safe place where eunuchs would take care of them. The king would meet with each of these virgins and they would spend the night with him and in the morning they would become members of the King's Harem. So to become queen you were going to have to impress the king. The king had someone with him every night not just the queen but the members of the Harem. Now these women were not all considered wives they were Concubine’s women strictly for having sex with.

5 There was a certain Jew in the palace-fortress of Susa whose name was Mordecai, the son of Jair, the son of Shimei, the son of Kish, a Benjamite 6 who had been carried away from Jerusalem among the captives who had been carried away with Jeconiah king of Judah, whom Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon had carried away. 7 He was bringing up Hadassah, that is, Esther, his uncle’s daughter, for she had neither father nor mother. The young woman had a beautiful figure and was lovely to look at, and when her father and mother were dead, Mordecai took her for his own daughter.

So we know that Esther was hot.

A point of interest is that Paul and Mordecai, were from the same family.

8 So it came to pass, when the king’s command and his decree was heard and when many young women were gathered together to the palace-fortress of Susa to the custody of Hegai, that Esther was taken into the king’s house, under the authority of Hegai who was in charge of the women. 9 The young woman was pleasing in his eyes, and she found favor with him. So he quickly gave her cosmetics and her portions of food, and seven chosen young women who were given to her out of the king’s house. He moved her and her young women to the best place in the house of the women.

The fortress we have already discussed. The cosmetics were perfumes and spices and she had a year to get ready to spend her night with the king. This shows how real life the word of God truly is. Real life things happening and using real life solutions to put yourself into the best solutions to these situations. Should you wear pink, blue, yellow, or how about red?

10 Esther had not made known her people or her relatives, because Mordecai had commanded her not to make it known. 11 And every day Mordecai walked in front of the court of the house of the women, to find out how Esther was doing and what was happening to her.

Was this because Mordecai had gotten revelation or just common sense . It is a figure of speech common sense’eo. I am kidding but that is an overlooked part of a believers life use your common sense. You don’t need revelation to tell you you shouldn’t be playing on a street with heavy traffic,

Mordecai still kept tabs on his cousin.

12 Now when the turn came for each young woman to go in to King Ahasuerus, after it had been done to her according to the law of the women for 12 months (for this is the way the days of their purification were accomplished: six months with oil of myrrh and six months with sweet fragrances and with preparations for beautifying women), 13 then the young woman came to the king like this: she was given whatever she desired to take with her out of the house of the women to the king’s house. 14 In the evening she would go in, and on the next day she would return to a second house for women, under the authority of Shaashgaz, the king’s eunuch who was in charge of the concubines. She never went to the king again unless the king desired her and she was called by name

They were always looking to purify the women. What a lousy thing that was. Mostly inspired by men.

This is another part of that real life solution. She was given whatever she wanted. She leaves where she is living never to return again because she joins the harem. This past summer my oldest daughter got married. I remember saying to my wife as she left for the church that she would never be a Chamberlain again.

Esther Becomes Queen

15 Now when the turn of Esther, the daughter of Abihail the uncle of Mordecai, who had taken her for his daughter, came to go in to the king, she required nothing but what Hegai, the king’s eunuch who was in charge of the women, advised. Esther obtained favor in the eyes of all those who saw her.

Esther was not too proud to take advice. Hegia had advised Esther about what to take with her and she followed his advice.She found favor in the eyes of the king.

16So Esther was taken to King Ahasuerus in his royal house in the tenth month, which is the month Tebeth, in the seventh year of his reign. 17The king loved Esther more than all the other women, and she obtained favor and kindness in his sight more than all the virgins, so that he set the royal crown on her head and made her queen instead of Vashti. 18 Then the king made a great banquet—Esther’s banquet—for all his officials and his servants, and he proclaimed a holiday in the provinces and gave gifts according to the king’s bounty.

19 When the virgins were gathered together the second time, Mordecai was sitting in the king’s gate. 20 Esther had not yet made known her relatives or her people, as Mordecai had commanded her; for Esther obeyed Mordecai like she did when she was brought up by him.
Mordecai Saves the King

Mordecai had become a wise man that is what sitting in the gate means. Sometime check out the phrase sat in the gate and it was the wise men who judged the civil cases in the court system

21In those days, while Mordecai was sitting in the king’s gate, two of the king’s eunuchs, Bigthan and Teresh, who were doorkeepers, were angry, and sought to lay hands on King Ahasuerus. 22 This thing became known to Mordecai, who told Esther the queen, and Esther informed the king in Mordecai’s name. 23When this matter was investigated and it was found to be so, they were both hanged on a tree; and in the presence of the king it was written in the scroll of the Events of the Days.

So here the focus turns to Mordecai and his information saving the king's life.

We will continue with this in the future.

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