Updated: Sep 20, 2021
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The king and Haman went in to feast with Queen Esther. On the second day, as they were drinking wine, the king again said to Esther, “What is your petition, Queen Esther? It shall be granted you. And what is your request? Even to the half of my kingdom, it shall be fulfilled.” Then Queen Esther answered, “If I have won your favor, O king, and if it pleases the king, let my life be given me-- that is my petition-- and the lives of my people-- that is my request. For we have been sold, I and my people, to be destroyed, to be killed, and to be annihilated. If we had been sold merely as slaves, men and women, I would have held my peace; but no enemy can compensate for this damage to the king.” Then King Ahasuerus said to Queen Esther, “Who is he, and where is he, who has presumed to do this?” Esther said, “A foe and enemy, this wicked Haman!” Then Haman was terrified before the king and the queen.
Then Harbona, one of the eunuchs in attendance on the king, said, “Look, the very gallows that Haman has prepared for Mordecai, whose word saved the king, stands at Haman's house, fifty cubits high.” And the king said, “Hang him on that.” So they hanged Haman on the gallows that he had prepared for Mordecai. Then the anger of the king abated.
Mordecai recorded these things, and sent letters to all the Jews who were in all the provinces of King Ahasuerus, both near and far, enjoining them that they should keep the fourteenth day of the month Adar and also the fifteenth day of the same month, year by year, as the days on which the Jews gained relief from their enemies, and as the month that had been turned for them from sorrow into gladness and from mourning into a holiday; that they should make them days of feasting and gladness, days for sending gifts of food to one another and presents to the poor.
This is the Track 1 “First Reading” selection that might be selected to be read aloud on the eighteenth Sunday after Pentecost [Proper 21], Year B, according to the lectionary for the Episcopal Church. If this reading is chosen, it will be paired with one from Psalm 124, which sings, “If Yahweh had not been on our side, when enemies rose up against us; Then would they have swallowed us up alive in their fierce anger toward us.” That pair will precede the Epistle selection from James, where the Apostle wrote, “The prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise them up; and anyone who has committed sins will be forgiven.” All will accompany the Gospel reading from Mark, where Jesus said, “No one who does a deed of power in my name will be able soon afterward to speak evil of me. Whoever is not against us is for us.”
I wrote about this reading and posted my views on my website, the last time it came up in the lectionary cycle . That commentary can be read by clicking on this link. I believe that assessment is thorough and still worthy of being read. In it I addressed the links to this reading with Solomon’s writing of the past Sunday and also to the James reading for this Sunday. Thus, I welcome all to read my prior observations and offer comments, suggestions, questions and corrections, as always. I will now be brief in adding additional thoughts.
In my homily that I recently constructed, based on the Proper 20 readings, I placed focus on divine motherhood. In my 2018 commentary about this reading from Esther, I mentioned that she was a queen of King Ahasuerus, not because she was of princess origin; but because she was young and sensuous, thereby a sexual partner of the king, for the sole purpose of giving him a child. Relative to the Proverbs 31:10 verse of Solomon, Esther became “a capable wife.” Such capabilities mean (as Jesus said to his disciples) becoming a mother meant being a servant of all: the king, her people, her child and her God.
In this regard, where motherhood means being all-in, as all things to all others, with self coming in last, my thoughts are now set upon the whole history of the children of Israel, which by this point in time had stretched out over thousands of years [3,403 in the Hebrew calendar, with the event of Purim taking place in 357 B.C.E.]. Judah and Jerusalem had fallen 240 years prior; so, the time the baby was in the womb of the motherland was roughly 2,900-3,000 years. The final collapse of Israel and Judah meant the purpose of that land promised was the equivalent of Esther promising King Ahasuerus her womb, as the sacrifice of herself for him and his child.
The captivity of the Jews in Babylon was only sixty years or so, so the time from that fall to Esther being a queen to Ahasuerus was roughly sixty or seventy years. That was about the length of time the Jews had returned to Jerusalem; but, many Jews remained where they were. While Susa was the ‘capital’ of Persia [one of their main cities], it is probable that Babylon was still occupied and it was there that Ahasuerus was “king.” It would be about 450 years later that Herod would be remodeling the Second Temple and Jesus would be sent by Yahweh to be born. All of this might seem like a long time, but in the grand scheme of Yahweh time the history says a divine seed was planted, it developed and grew, until it was born into the world, forced from its mother’s womb as a necessary act to give life upon the earth.
From this perspective, Esther becomes a reflection of all souls who are of this holy lineage. We are all called to be servants of Yahweh, which means we are all called to be His queens through divine marriage and giving birth to His Son. It is from this story that a true Christian should be seen as an individual servant in ministry, who served Yahweh above all. In that service, we also serve within a legal framework that is whatever laws of whatever nation, under whatever kings and authorities that exist. Esther told her king-husband, “If we had been sold merely as slaves, men and women, I would have held my peace.” That says the world is not meant for us to change to suit our needs, because we are to be servants of all and least of importance, in order to be first in the eyes of Yahweh; but in the name of our Father and all who are our brothers in Christ [this included all human genders] that family brings about a responsibility to speak out for all who are like us, when injustice is done to Christians.
What if Ahasuerus were reincarnated and hosted a 'game show' in the Fifties?
By seeing the fall of Israel and Judah as the physical body's natural expulsion of the placenta and baby, because it could no longer grow in that environment of “the mother’s womb,” the return to Jerusalem must be seen as a newborn being placed to the mother’s breast to suckle and be nourished. Still, the Jews were not given anything by the Persians that they had not been given by the Babylonians, or even the Greeks and Romans that would follow. The “freedom” they experienced was still slavery to the will of higher powers. No deeds to property were given or returned. This is the flaw of philosophies such as “democracy,” as “freedom” is an illusion, such that one cannot ever be free until one accepts life in the material world as being a necessary slavery, in the same way that being bound inside a mother’s womb is no different. Freedom comes when one’s soul marries Yahweh and experiences the inner peace that knows the future means an eternal love of servitude to the King.
The character named “Haman” must be seen as metaphor for what the name means in Hebrew. According to Strong’s, the name means “to rage, be turbulent.” According to Abarim Publications, they say the name was probably Persian and the true meaning has been lost. However, the Hebrew leads one to conject it meaning “Unique, Magnificent, Illustrious; Certainty, Trustworthy; and/or Noisy Bunch.” Seeing how Haman is identified as “Haman the Agagite or Haman the Evil,” who was a high-ranking advisor or minister to Ahasuerus, this makes him be a parallel to the wisdom loved by Solomon. As such, his character reflects the flaws of a ‘big brain,’ especially when it is making deductions based on external stimuli and historical data, not being divinely led by Yahweh. It is this form of knowledge that gains the ears of high dignitaries, often leading them to approve evil agendas, because of misplaced trusts.
It is not coincidence that the method of execution in this story of Esther is by hanging. That typically causes the neck to snap, severing all nerve connection to the brain. For the gallows to be “fifty cubits high” [75 feet], it would be the equivalent of five stories high. The symbolism of “five” [the numerology of “50” is: 5 + 0 = 5] must be seen as relative to the “five” books of the Torah. Thus, the ‘big brain’ of Haman planned to execute the Jews for their belief in their God; but the turn about that is fair play says it was the God of the Jews that destroyed Haman, gaining them freedom from oppression in Persia. Just as they had been freed from the oppression of Egypt, when the plagues of Moses could not be matched by the priests [advisor ‘big brains’] of Pharaoh, they were free to live outside the womb from where they were born.
The character named “Mordechai” is said by Abarim Publications to mean “Of Marduk, Of Bitter Oppression,” where “Marduk” was the “Bull Calf Of Utu (the solar deity).” He was also an advisor to the king, along with Haman, but he refused to prostrate himself before Haman. That caused Haman to plot to kill Mordechai and all Jews like him. Mordechai was a cousin of Esther, but he raised her like a father; and, it was his knowledge of the king wanting to find virgins to dance for him that he brought Esther to that event. She was chosen by Ahasuerus, becoming a queen, which led to her being offered her wish to be granted. As such, Mordechai reflects the opposite of the ‘big brain,’ as his wisdom was from divine sources; so, he was led by Yahweh.
The failure of modern Christianity is seen when female characters in the Holy Bible [Old Testament] become some form of goddess worship, such that special classes are offered but “Women Only” are allowed to attend. This is the essence of female subservience to men, allowing men to be the dominators and controllers of women. All Biblical characters are reflections on oneself, regardless of human gender, because all reflect on souls, which are all sexless. Because these Biblical characters are studied separately by sex, not seen as reflections of all Christians, regardless of their human gender, women characters [which are fewer] seem to be nuggets of wisdom only for the ladies of Christianity. In the same way that women cannot feel their role is to be seen reflected in David and Jesus as wives of Yahweh [through their souls being Anointed by His Spirit], men do not dwell on how someone like Esther projects a need within them. Thus, the ‘big brain’ continues to try and destroy the faith of those seeking the truth, forcing all to be reduced from souls seeking salvation, to being bodies of flesh that identify by their reproductive organs.
As an optional “First Reading” to be read aloud on the eighteenth Sunday after Pentecost, when one’s own personal ministry for Yahweh should already be well underway, the lesson here is to be led by the Spirit of Yahweh. Esther was not seeking to become a queen; and, she did not see that title as anything more than “wife” of a king. She did not try to act ‘like a man’ and step up onto a soapbox and proclaim how there is injustice in the world. She never let the ‘big brain’ lead her, just as Mordechai did not. She spoke the truth, led by Yahweh – her divine Husband – and Ahasuerus responded for right, because he was a king that valued wise advice.
So many in Christian ministry today try to position themselves as high and mighty, based on how many diplomas from universities and seminaries they possess. They build themselves up fifty cubits in height, planning to hang anyone who dares challenge their knowledge of the Holy Bible. Then, a simple wife of Yahweh can have them hanging by their own words of error. Therefore, it is much better to offer one’s soul to Yahweh, give birth to His Son, and let Jesus Christ do all one’s talking. Yahweh has All-Knowing abilities, greater than any school on earth.