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A House of Cards (Esther 1)

The book of Esther has been considered a challenging book for a number of reasons. The primary reason is that we never read the name of God in this book. From its surface it appears to be a Godless book. But if we understand the historical context of the book, we will see why God’s name is lacking from its pages which sets us up for understanding what God is going to teach to those who read it. Charles Dickens famously opens A Tale of Two Cities with “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.” The book of Esther essentially opens with, “It was just the worst of times.” The first few verses of the book set the time as around 486-465 BC in Persia. About one hundred years earlier, the people of Israel were attacked, killed, and taken captive by the Babylonian Empire because the people had rejected the Lord. About fifty years earlier the Persian Empire came to power by conquering the Babylonian Empire. It is at this time that Persia is the great world power. Persia’s rule extends from Africa to Asia at this time (Esther 1:1) and the king over the empire at this time is Ahasuerus (1:1). However, that is his Hebrew name. You know him more famously by his Persian name as Xerxes the Great…

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