The Story of Esther – Part 6 – Conclusion

King:                           Queen Esther we have eaten your excellent food for two days now, what is it that you request from me? I will give you anything that you request up to half of my kingdom!

Esther:                        (With her heart beating so loudly in her chest that she was afraid that the king might hear it.) If I have found favor with you, my king, and, if it pleases your majesty, please grant me my life. This is my request. Also, that you spare my people, this also is my request. For I and my people have been condemned to horrible punishment and…and…I can‘t even say it! If we had just been sold like fruits and vegetables in the market, I would have kept quiet and not disturbed the king. But, that is not the case . . .

King:                           Who is he, where is he that would do such a thing???

Esther:                        (Standing and pointing at Haman) Here he is, your majesty, the foul villain Haman!!

Esther accusing Haman

Mr. Mathisen:             Now Haman nearly choked on a bit of bread that he was eating and began to sputter food all over himself and the table. He was suddenly more frightened than he had ever been in his whole life. He did not know what to do. He did not know, nor would he have ever guessed that this lovely young queen was a Jew! How could he have known?

The king got up and walked quickly to a nearby garden to think. While he was gone, Haman went up to the queen and began groveling at her feet, pleading for his life. Just as he was doing that the king came back in and found him on the floor clutching at the queen’s feet whimpering for his life. The king thought that Haman was attacking the queen. The king called his servants and ordered Haman to be taken away. Another of the kings servants told the king that Haman had built a huge device in front of his home to punish Mordecai the Jew. The king then ordered that Haman be punished on the very device that he had prepared for Mordecai.

Haman being led to the gallows

Esther explained the whole story to the king. The king then sent for Mordecai and gave him his royal signet ring and appointed him to Haman’s old job. Esther and Mordecai then explained to the king about the proclamation and asked that the king issue a new proclamation saying that the Jews in the country could defend themselves from others that tried to harm them. He did so and on the day appointed the Jews all over the country assembled together to defend themselves. That day is remembered by Jews today as the feast of Purim.

So, always remember to be strong and very courageous and never be afraid to do the right thing.

Stanley:                       Boy! That was some story. Queen Esther sure was brave, even if she was a girl.

Mr. Mathisen:             Stanley, girls can be just as brave as boys. Remember it God who makes us really brave. We can’t be very brave at all without Him. Well, boys and girls, what do you think???

The Story of Esther – Part 6

That night the king could not sleep, so he had one of his servants read to  him the history of his kingdom. When the servant got to the part where Mordecai spoiled the plan of the bad men to kill the king, there was no record of Mordecai being rewarded. So the king decided to figure out how to honor the man who saved his life. By this time, it was early in the morning and Haman came to see the king early to ask for permission to punish Mordecai. The king decided to ask Haman what should be done to honor someone that the king wanted to reward.

King:            Haman, my faithful friend, there is a man in my kingdom that I want to honor. What should I do to honor him?

(Now Haman was so proud that he thought that the king was talking about him, so he said…)

Haman:       Your Majesty, you should dress this man in your own royal robes, let him ride on your own royal horse, let him wear your crown and have one of your most noble princes walk before the man as he rode through the whole city and shout out for all to hear “This is what is done for a man that the king delights to honor!”.

King:           Excellent Haman!! Excellent!! Now go and do all of this for Mordecai the Jew who works at the King’s Gate. Do not forget to do anything that you have suggested.

Mr. Mathisen:   Now Haman was so surprised he could not even speak. He went and did as the king commanded, he put the king’s robe and crown on Mordecai, set him on the king’s horse and led him through the streets of the city shouting “This is what is done for a man that the king delights to honor!”. Haman nearly choked on the words at times, but, did as the king instructed.

He went home with his head covered in shame. He was telling his wife all about what happened when the king’s servants came to get him to take him to the banquet with the king and queen. He was not feeling good about his day. In fact, so far, it had been the worst day of his life. But he cheered up at the thought of the meal with the king and queen. They were honoring him be requesting his presence.

When he arrived at the palace, he was taken directly to the queen’s dining rooms where the feast was to be served. He noticed all of the rich tapestries that decorated the walls, the fine furniture. The table was set with the fanciest dishes and the food. The food! It was the finest and richest in all the land. He was about to enjoy the company of the king, his beautiful young queen and the best food he had ever eaten.

The king was in a happy mood and looked lovingly at his new queen much of the time. Haman told amusing stories about his services to the king. The queen ate slowly and did not raise her head during the meal. When the king and Haman were finished with the meal, the king leaned forward and asked the Queen:

King:           Queen Esther we have eaten your excellent food for two days now, what is it that you request from me? I will give you anything that you request up to half of my kingdom!

The Story of Esther – Part 5

Esther sent a message back to Mordecai to pray & fast for her for the next three days. She also told him that she and her ladies would do the same thing.

After the three days, Esther put on her best courage and her best royal robes and went confidently to the king’s hall. She stood just inside the entrance and waited for the king to notice her. As she stood there, she became frightened for just one little moment but, then she remembered what Mordecai had told her about being strong and courageous and that God may have made her queen “for just such a time as this”. Her courage returned stronger than ever, and she stood just a bit taller than before. The king did notice her, was very happy to see her and asked her to come to him. As she approached, she touched the tip of his royal scepter.

Esther waiting to see the king

Stanley:                       Scepter, what’s a scepter? Is that like a scimitar. That’s a sword isn’t it. I know it is. It’s big and long and curved and SHARP!

Mr. Mathisen:             No, Stanley, a scepter is not a sword it is a staff, a ceremonial staff, rod, or wand used as an emblem of a monarch’s authority. Here, have a picture of the king and his staff. (show slide of picture…)

Now, to continue the story, the king was very glad to see Esther and asked her what she want:

King:                           “What is it, Queen Esther? What is your request?”

Esther:                        “If it pleases the king, let the king, together with Haman come today to a banquet I have prepared for the king.”

King:                           “Bring Haman at once, so that we may do what the Queen asks.”

Mr. Mathisen:             And so it was, that both the king and Haman went to dine with Queen Esther. She provided for them the best food and drink in the whole kingdom, and they were both very pleased. When it was all over, Esther had still not figured out exactly how to tell the king what Haman had done so she invited them both back to another banquet the next day.

Haman was filled with pride that he had been asked to dine with the king and queen. He headed straight home to tell his wife how proud he was. He couldn’t help but strut and swagger as he headed toward the King’s Gate. As usual, Mordecai was on duty at the gate and refused to bow to Haman as he passed. That made Haman madder than he had ever been in his life. While he had planned to go home to his wife and brag to her, he now paced back and forth in his home and shouted out his anger about Mordecai. His wife said since he was so mad, maybe he should so something about it. Build yourself a big machine to punish Mordecai. That will make you feel better. Ask permission from the king to punish Mordecai on it. That will make you happy when you go to the banquet tomorrow with the king and queen. Mordecai ordered the machine built right in front of his house. He wanted everyone to see Mordecai being punished for not bowing to him.

The Story of Esther – Part 4

Haman:                       Your most exalted majesty, are you aware that there is a certain group of people scattered throughout your lands that do not follow your laws? They only follow their own laws and their laws are contrary to your laws. This is not good for your kingdom. I think that you should declare a law (of the Medes & Persians that can never be broken) that these awful, terrible, despicable people should be punished and removed from your kingdom. (Now remember that Haman did not know that Queen Esther was Mordecai’s cousin and a Jew herself.)

haman talking to king

Stanley:                     That’s horrible! He didn’t get away with that did he?

Mr. Mathisen:             Actually, Stanley, he did. The king did not know who these people were and just believed whatever Haman told him (a very dangerous thing to do). He had no idea that it would mean that someone would kill his own queen and the man that had saved his life. So, the king signed the new law (of the Medes & Persians that could never be broken), and Haman left with the proclamation a very happy man. The new law said that on a certain day all of the Jews in the whole country were to be punished and their property taken. He sent copies of the new law that the local rulers in every area of the country.

Now, when Mordecai found out about this new law he did the same as the other Jews, he ripped his robes, put on sackcloth and poured ashes all over himself and went up and down the street moaning and wailing. (By the way so did Jews all over the country when the news became known. They ripped their clothes, put ashes on themselves, put on sackcloth and mourned loudly in the streets…oh, what a noise they made!)

Mordecai could not go through the King’s gate this way so, he didn‘t visit with Esther for several days. She  became concerned when she did not hear from or see him for several days. She did not know about the new law and was just worried about her cousin. Finally, a servant told her what Mordecai was doing, and she sent a servant to bring him new clothes and to find out what was bothering him. He sent the clothes back to Esther with a message telling her what was wrong and sent a copy of the new law. He also told the servant to ask Esther to go to the king about the new law.

Esther sent back a message saying that the king had not called to see her for several weeks and if she went to see the king without him asking to see her…the punishment was….well…it was too horrible to say.

Stanley:                       Now THAT girl was in a pickle! I’m glad it wasn’t me!!

Mr. Mathisen:              You’re sure right, Stanley. But listen up because here’s what happens next: Mordecai sent her a message back saying that the fate of all of her people and her own life as well was up to her. He said in the message: “Perhaps, just perhaps, God put you in this position just for such a time as this. Be strong and very courageous!”

The Story of Esther – with Stanley – Part 1

The Story of Esther

By: God

Adapted by: S.C. Mathisen

Mr. Mathisen:             A long time ago, far, far away, back during the time when the children of Israel were being held captive in a place called Persia. They were there because they had disobeyed the Lord by worshipping other gods and being very wicked. There lived in that land, at that time,  a young Jewish girl named Esther. Now, some of you have probably heard or read her story before, but, this story does not contain any unmade sandwiches, falling birthday cakes or songs about puppies.

Stanley:                       Boy, that‘s not going to be much fun!

Mr. Mathisen:             Stanley, lots of stories are fun just to listen to and to imagine in your mind what is being told. Can you do that?

Stanley:                       Well…

Mr. Mathisen:             Sure you can! Now sit still and be good and try to imagine yourself back in Persia about 2,450 years ago. I think that it might have been early on a Wednesday morning, and the sun was just beginning to warm the stones of the gate and Mordecai the Gatekeeper was about to go on duty. Now, Mordecai was a middle-aged man, slightly round, with a full graying beard and the hair on the top of his head was starting to get thin.

He was just thinking about his young cousin Esther. She was growing up quickly into a very beautiful young woman and how he ought to be thinking about finding her a husband soon. “How time has flown by” he thought to himself, “since her parents died, and she came to live with me.” “These days she takes more care of me than I do of her, hmm, what a girl she is!”

Well, Mordecai arrived at the King’s gate and took over the running of the gate from the man that had stood watch over the gate during the night. As the two men stood talking about the news of the day, the night man (his name was Ira, by the way). Ira was just telling Mordecai what had happened the night before in the palace. Let’s listen in a little:

Mordecai_in_king's_gate_BBL72-727

Ira:                              So, Mordecai, my friend there was such a scene last night that you would not believe.

Mordecai:                   What do you mean Ira? I know that the King has been holding a feast for his royal friends for the last week. I also know that the King tends to drink too much at his feasts and usually does something silly to show off. What did he do this time?

Ira:                              You’re not going to believe what he did, you’re just NOT going to believe it.

Mordecai:                   Alright! Enough already with “you’re not going to believe it”! What did he DO???

Ira:                              He got rid of Queen Vashti! She didn’t obey a royal command, and he just sent her away and she is NO LONGER QUEEN! Can you believe it??

Mr. Mathisen:             Needless to say, Mordecai was astonished at this. He didn’t know that a king could send his queen away! He especially didn’t think that King Ahasueres would do that, but, the king has done some strange things during these feasts of his. He was just glad that this had nothing to do with him or Esther. They and the rest of the Jews in Persia were leading quiet lives during their captivity even if some people did not seem to like them very much.