Sunday, December 16, 2012

Esther: The Golden Rule


Esther: The Golden Rule

 

“When the king returned from the palace garden to the place of the banquet of wine, Haman had fallen across the couch where Esther was. Then the king said, “Will he also assault the queen while I am in the house?” – Esther 7:8

Haman’s self-pride had been crushed.  Having been made to parade his enemy Mordecai through the city streets and proclaim his goodness, Haman left his post in the king’s court and went home.  He told his wife and friends of the way the king had honored Mordecai, and how he had been commanded to dress Mordecai in the king’s clothes and set him on the king’s horse and parade him through the streets.  The only consoling words they could offer Haman was that the decree to kill all the Jews was still law, and Mordecai was still a Jew.  While there, the King sent one of his eunuchs to fetch Haman, for this was the day of the second banquet of wine that Queen Esther had prepared for King Ahasuerus and Haman. 
As they sat and dined with Queen Esther, King Ahasuerus asked again, “What is your petition, Queen Esther? It shall be granted you. And what is your request, up to half the kingdom? It shall be done!”  This was the third time the king had said to his Queen these words, and this time nothing prevented her from making her petition.

Queen Esther said, “If I have found favor in your sight, O king, and if it pleases the king, let my life be given me at my petition, and my people at my request. For we have been sold, my people and I, to be destroyed, to be killed, and to be annihilated. Had we been sold as male and female slaves, I would have held my tongue, although the enemy could never compensate for the king’s loss.”
Queen Esther had put a ‘spin’ on the situation for the king to see it from his perspective.  First, it was the king’s responsibility to protect his people, and therefore protecting the economy of the kingdom.  Secondly, she explained to him that if they had been made slaves, at least there would be a chance to revoke the situation and return them to their lives.  But because they would be destroyed, the kingdom would be reduced in size forever.  And third, she explained that these were her people, his beloved Queen’s family and heritage that would be erased.

King Ahasuerus then asked Queen Esther, “Who is he, and where is he, who would dare presume in his heart to do such a thing?”   And then Esther said, “The adversary and enemy is this wicked Haman!”
Haman was there at the banquet when He was revealed as the murderous man that he was.  Imagine the surprise to him that Esther was in fact a Jew!  He was terrified, and rightly so!  He had betrayed the king.

The King, having utmost respect for Haman, and having promoted him to second in command within the land of Persia, was outraged and embarrassed to have been taken in by such a villain.  He left the banquet and went to the palace garden.  But Haman remained with Queen Esther, pleading for his life!  As he did so, he assumed the same position in which he had wanted Mordecai to presume.  He fell prostrate before Esther, and onto her and her couch.
When the king reentered the room, this position looked to be a threat to the queen and her modesty.  It was a position no one should assume with his Queen.  He shouted, “Will he also assault the queen while I am in the house?”, and immediately the guards covered Haman’s face.  This was necessary because a criminal was not worthy to look upon the face of the king. 

Matthew 7:12 gives us what is called the golden rule, which is to do unto others as you would have them do unto you.  What Haman had prepared for Mordecai now became his very own fate.  Harbonah, one of the eunuchs, had seen the gallows that Haman built to for Mordecai’s assassination.  He said “Look! The gallows, fifty cubits high, which Haman made for Mordecai, who spoke good on the king’s behalf, is standing at the house of Haman.”  So the king ordered them to hang Haman in the gallows.  There, in the gallows he had prepared for Mordecai, evil Haman died.  God saw fit to do unto Haman as he would have done to Mordecai.
In Matthew 22 the disciples ask Jesus which of the Levitical laws is the greatest.  Jesus replies to them by saying in verses 37-38, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment.  And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’  

Jesus said “the second is like it”, meaning that the command to love our neighbor as ourselves is like the command to love God with all our heart, mind, and soul.  If we love God with all we have, we cannot treat others, who are His divine creations, in any way other than to love them as much as we love ourselves.  If we could fully practice this command alone, there would be no war, no murder, and no evil acts done to each other.  Our jails would be empty, our courts would be silent, and our homes would be happy.

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