This week with my community group I’m reading Ruth and Esther twice each. More, actually, because I can listen to both while I’m sitting and picking at my guitar, and because they are good stories, and I love them like I love Pride and Prejudice, but more, because they are real, and because of that, more beautiful.
If you do not know the story of Ruth (it’s the one that gets quoted a lot at weddings. CAUSE IT’S GOOD), I reccommend listening to the sermon series Mars Hill put out a few years ago. If you have the bandwitdth to watch it, the videos they made for the scripture part are AMAZING. I don’t care that much about watching Mark Driscoll. (which is not a shot against him, I think he’d probs agree his preaching is not about watching him…i hope.;)
But today I want to talk about Esther. The most common things I’ve ever heard about Esther are that a) we should be prepared for such a time as this (not that I often hear what that means) and that by name, God is not even MENTIONED in this book. So I like it for that reason. I like reading a book where God’s design and the appropriate actions of his people would have been expected, understood by the reader. Where He isn’t in the story, he IS the story.
So anyway, in case you haven’t and won’t (but you should) read Esther, IT IS JUICY, PPLFRIENDS! First, there’s a king, King Ahasuerus (sounds like a dino, right?). We don’t know much about him other than as you read, you get the impression he doesn’t do much thinking for himself and he’s easily swayed by emotions (uh, yeah, i get that). He isn’t one of God’s people so he’s not supposed to be a hero, but it’s not as though God’s people (in the Bible or not) generally behave well anyway.
Well, his wife basically disses him in front of all his freinds, and fearing an early onslaught of violent, society-disrupting feminism (i’m not joking) he banishes her, lest other women get the idea that husband-dissing is okay. (And FTR, I don’t think it is. Married people, like all people, should be kind.)
Then, he’s sad, so his advisors get all the hot girls in the kingdom, make them hotter for a year ( A FULL YEAR OF BEAUTY REGIMEN, i couldn’t make this up, folks), and then parade them, one-a-night, through his bedroom.
Wait, did i say hot girls? My bad. I meant hot VIRGIN girls. Virgins who are now part of his harem, and after sleeping with him ONCE, get sent away, to his SECOND harem (the girls he’s already slept with) unless he calls them back. Stamina, my friends. A backbone or good taste he may not have, but King Wife-Dissed probably walked into every room to K.I.S.S.’s “Rock and Roll all Night.”
Yes, King sex-addict-o-saurus, You DO drive me crazy with your ridiculosity. But that’s okay. God will use these asinine antics of yours.
Now, I guess maybe he did call some of them back, cause, like i said, stamina, but he doesn’t take a special fancy and, ya know, MARRY any of them. Until…
One of the hotties-the-harem is Esther, also named Hadassa, who apparently makes up for in looks what she lacks in pleasant name, and about whom we know a few things: She’s an orphan raised by a devout Jew, her uncle-dad(?) Mordecai (who sits at the gates of the palace, is smart and influencial, and seems to care a LOT about his “daughter” and his people (the Jews)), she’s REALLY REALLY RIDICULOUSLY GOOD LOOKING,
(this video has nothing to do with the story. but my stars, it’s funny)
and she’s got woo. She is often described as winning favor with others. Eeeerbody loves this chica.
And after “one night with the King” (there is a movie or a book named that, but I’m not going to look it up) he falls in love. He buys her presents and generally turns in to a way nicer guy. That’s who Esther is. She’s the beautiful woman married to your jerk friend who then becomes less of a jerk.
Oh, but wait….it gets better! (If you don’t want to wait, just go read it.)