Friday, April 14, 2017

A Study of the Book of Esther: Week Three, Day Four

Day 4: Esther's Second Banquet

     As I read over today's verses, one word stood out to me as the theme here- timing. Timing is essential in everything we do. Baking a cake? The time in the oven better be right. If not, you'll get either burnt cake or raw batter. Incubating chicken eggs? You'll need to give them a full 21 days in the incubator. If not, let's just say you won't get baby chicks.
     Timing bleeds over into human life too. It takes 9 months to grow a baby. Look at the struggles that early babies often have as evidence that timing is essential here. If I'm telling you a joke and blurt out the punch line too soon? I've ruined the joke. My timing was way off. If you and I met in real life for the first time and my very first words to you were a story about my worst moments growing up, you'd probably be pretty turned off the idea of becoming my friend. Timing is everything.
     And Esther knew it too. Read Esther 7:1-10. What did the king and Haman do for the second time?


What question did the king ask Esther for the second time (7:2)?


     The first time the king asked Esther this question, she didn't give any response that he expected. Instead, she invited him and Haman to attend a second banquet. Interestingly, a lot of things happen in two's in this story. There are two banquets, two guys plotting the king's death, two whiney conversations between Haman and his wife...

What answer did Esther give to the king's question (7:3-4, 6)?


Reflection: Why do you suppose that Esther told the king that if her people had only been sold into slavery she wouldn't have said anything?


What is the king's response to her statements (7:5-7)?


     I can totally picture this scenario. In my imagination, the king is holding one of those giant turkey legs that you can get at Renaissance Fairs. He's just taken a big bite and is leaning back, his pudgy belly a little pudgier. Maybe he has a big glass of wine nearby that he's been swigging throughout the dinner. He probably isn't completely sober. I'm sure Esther timed this moment well too. She likely waited until he was relaxed from some wine, but not totally gone yet.
     And when she tells him who did this horrible thing? I bet the king's eyes bugged out of his head and he went into a fit of rage. That's why I imagine he went outside, to cool down and collect his thoughts. But all the collection of cooling thoughts is lost the moment he goes back inside.
What did Haman do while the king was outside (7:7-8)?


How did the king react to seeing Haman in that position (7:8)?


What helpful thought did Harbona, the king's eunuch, offer to the king (7:9)?


     This is more speculation on my part, but I have to wonder if Harbona was so helpful to the king here because he'd had a few upsetting run-ins with Haman too? I would imagine that Haman didn't save up all his jerkiness just for one guy. He likely oozed it with everyone.

What order did the king give (7:9)?


And what finally happened to Haman at the end of the chapter (7:10)?


     I would love to point out here that this is what the majority of the world calls irony and karma. But really it's neither of those things. This is perfect evidence of God's divine timing and intervention. It was God who placed Esther in that palace. It was God who prompted Mordecai to urge his cousin into action. It was God who showed Esther the perfect time and place to discuss the issue with the king. And it's God alone who will save the Jewish people, His people, in the coming chapters.


Personal Reflection: What is a time in your past that you can see God's perfect timing now that you look back on that moment?

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