THE book of Esther gives an account of a young Jewish girl who changed the course of history for her people by her obedience.
d had orchestrated events that placed Esther in a prime position to influence the leader of the nation of Persia.
Esther and her relative Mordecai were two of the most unlikely people to be chosen to change history; she was his adopted, orphaned cousin and he was a Jewish exile. By what appear to be secular events, Esther became the queen of Persia, but her Jewish identity remained unknown.
At that time, Mordecai sat within the king’s gates to learn of Esther’s welfare. However, when Haman, a prince of the people of Persia passed by, Mordecai would not pay homage to him. Haman then plotted to destroy all the Jews throughout the kingdom to satisfy his alter ego. A day was appointed, with the approval of the king, when the Persians would be given carte blanche to kill any Jewish person, man, woman or child in the land.
The perpetrators would be rewarded with silver. Mordecai learnt of this plan, tore his clothes, put on sackcloth and ashes and cried out in anguish. Esther was informed of her cousin’s distress and learnt of the plot against her people.
Mordecai instructed Esther to go before the king and ask for her peoples’ redemption. Esther was understandably concerned about her life but Mordecai’s words to her were: “Do not think in your heart that you will escape in the king’s palace any more than all the other Jews. For if you remain completely silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” Esther 4:13,14.
Esther called all the Jews to fast and pray for three days that she might find favour with the king. The king offered to satisfy Esther “up to half his kingdom”.
In an inexplicable turn of events to Haman’s horror, the king honoured Mordecai. Queen Esther found the opportunity to reveal her Jewish identity and made a request for the salvation of her people.
Haman’s wicked plot was revealed and the king ordered him hanged on the very gallows Haman had hoped to hang Mordecai. The king then decreed that the Jews take up arms and defend themselves on the day set aside for the Persians to destroy them. On that day against all the odds, the Jews overpowered those who hated them and thus defeated all their enemies.
The analogies we draw from this piece of history and our current situation at this time are endless.
* The author using the pen name Esther writes from Alexandra Park, Harare.