Friday, June 17, 2011

1st Blog-O-Versary! Precious Women of God--This Includes You!

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Hi Friends~

I am either in Maryland with lots of family...celebrating my FIL's 89th birthday! Happy Birthday, Dad!

 I hope that Blogger posted this correctly.  This is the 3rd Friday of the month, and that means that we are reaching out to all of the "Precious Women of God--This Includes You!"

Michele sent an explanatory writing by Joyce G. Baldwin.  It is from her Introduction and Commentary in 1984.  And, we are talking about one of all Jewish People's favorite Jewish Female Heroines...Esther!!  I have chosen to share a bit about how we, a Jewish family, growing up, celebrated Purim...the celebration where Esther is the Queen of the land...and saves all of the Jews!  And, I may throw in a couple of comments in purple in Ms. Baldwin's work.

I will start with Ms. Baldwin's commentary: Read the book of Esther 1-10.
Esther was a Jew from the tribe of Benjamin.  The name Esther means 'star.' This is a derivation of the root name of the goddess Ishtar.  Esther was also known as Hadassah which means 'Myrtle'.  Myrtle branches signify peace and thanksgiving.

Esther first appears in book of Esther Chapter 2.  She is an orphaned Jew brought up by her cousin Mordecai. In Chapter 1 of the book of Esther, King Xerxes (Zer-cees) decided to display his abundant wealth for 180 days followed by a seven day feast.  A lavish display of his power.  On the seventh day King Xerses called Queen Vashti (Vosh-tee) out in order to display her beauty to the people.  She refused to come and is eventually banished from the King's presence for life.  A new Queen is sought.

In Chapter 2 Esther is chosen to be Queen.  She goes through the normal 12 months of beauty treatment before meeting the King. (That is quite a facial!) It also records the good deed of Mordecai in saving the Kings life by alerting him of an assassination attempt on his life.  This deed is recorded in the record books and later serves as a blessing for Mordecai in the future.  (It's me, Traci, I just want to let you know that this part is VERY important.  Hang in there...there is great news coming...)
"God never forgets our labour of love."  Hebrews 6:10
In Chapter 3 Haman is honoured by the King and given a high position in the Kingdom.  Haman is annoyed with Mordecai because Mordecai refuses to kneel down to him!  Haman's anger leads him to plot the execution of all the Jews in the Kingdom.  (OK- this is a main plot of this story...Jews do not bow down to people...only God...and they won't write down the word "God" because it can be thrown away or fall on the they write "G-d" instead.)
In order to prevent the execution of all the Jews, Mordecai calls on Esther to intercede to her husband, the King.  The only problem here is that the King does not know that Esther is a Jew.  Esther has no idea of how the King will respond to this news.  Esther's reluctance to approach the King is met by stern words from Mordecai. 
 In Chapter 4:14 he (Cousin Mordecai) said, "For if you keep silent
 at this time, relief and deliverance will rise for the Jews
 from another place, but you and your father's house will perish. 
And who knows whether you have not come to the Kingdom
for such a time as this?"

Esther eventually agrees to appeal to the King.  Prior to this she asks Mordecai to organize a time of fasting for her.  She is well aware that she needs God's favour if she is to succeed.

"Go gather together all the Jews who are in Susa,
and fast for me. Do not eat or drink for three days,
night or day.  I and my maids will fast as you do. 
 When this is done, I will go to the King,
even though it is against the law. 
 And, if I perish.  I perish."  Esther 4:16

In Chapter 5 Esther approaches the King and invites him and Haman to a banquet.  This is an attempt to get the timing right before she informs the King about Haman's plot to kill the Jews of which she is one.  Esther hid
this fact that she was a Jew from the King on Mordecai's advice.

God's timing is always best.  We need to wait for God's timing in doing things. It is dangerous to jump out before time.

Meanwhile, Haman's hatred for Mordecai is growing.. and on the advice of his friends and wife he has special gallows prepared beside his house on which to hang Mordecai.  In Chapter 6 God moves to save the Jews. (Isn't God always moving on our behalf?) The King can not sleep and asks for the record books to be read aloud to him.  (Did you remember this from above?)The deeds of Mordecai in saving the king in the past are read out.
(This part is GREAT!)  In an extraordinary change of events the King asks Haman what should be done to a man who the King wants to honor?  Haman, in his arrogance, thinks the King is referring to him and advises a lavish display of wealth and honor to be bestowed on the man publicly.  The King orders Haman to do this to Mordecai!  (WOW!  Love it!)  Can you imagine the shock, horror and humiliation Haman must have suffered? 

In chapter 7 Esther reveals to the king that she is a Jew and that Haman has plotted to kill them all.  Haman is hanged on his own gallows!  In the last chapters all the Jews are saved and Haman is dead.  Esther saved the Jews from annailation. 

When Jews today celebrate Purim (Poor-im) a minor holiday in the Jewish calendar, the children are a main focus.  They will dress up as Queen Esther or Queen Vashti, or Haman (not many do that part), or the King, or Mordecai. (Moord-ick-eye)  They will wear them to the Synagogue for Friday night (Sabbath) Services.  Each child will be given a is a loud cranky noise maker.  They clap and cheer whenever Esther or Mordecai's names are read from the Torah (The Holy Scrolls..the first 5 books of the Bible.)   They stomp their feet and make loud cranky noise with their groggers when they hear Haman's name.  It is quite fun trying to keep up with the story.  (And, what an ingenious way to keep the children's attention!)  All of the children (and some adults!) walk through the Sanctuary, and everyone claps for them! This is a very special treat! (We usually do not even clap in the Sanctuary.  Only after a presentation...but not in music.  So this is quite the celebration.  Usually, there is a Purim Carnival sometime that week.  It is full of the usual carnival type booths set up and run by the older children.  Purim is celebrated in the is not at all related to Halloween.

Michele, thank you for sending this informative narrative for us today.  Great job!  And, I hope that all of you enjoyed learning a bit more about Queen Esther and her friends...and enemies!  And, about celebrating Purim!  So much fun!

I will be getting in late Monday.  I will see you on Wednesday to see who will win the "Card of the Week."  Please be sure to leave a comment before 8pm Tuesday to be eligible...and you will want to leave a comment before midnight on the 29th to be eligible for our Blog-O-Versary Candy Give Away!

He IS Able,
Traci S.


  1. Michele- Once again an enlightening post. I am enjoying the women of the bible. Traci- thanks for your interjections from your childhood.
    Praying for all who read this blog.

  2. Just wanted you to know how much I enjoyed this post on Esther. God is so good! Traci - it is important to wait for God's timing before jumping a head of time!

    I also enjoy hearing about Jewish traditions, their celebrations and the reasons behind it all. It's our heritage and as Christians we need to understand the meaning of things.

    One thing that is interesting to me are the details - example of the prayer shawl, nothing is on the prayer shawl that doesn't represent something. It isn't just a shawl they wear when they pray. We had a pastor for a while that was a first generation "save" Jew. He and his wife was basically disowned from his family. We learned so much from him as he share Jewish traditions.

    Blessings to you~ Praying for you!


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