Esther Part 4

NO

Esther 1:10 – 22 explain the sequence of events leading up to Vashti’s refusal, removal, and ruling. She refused to do as the king asked probably with encouragement from somewhat intoxicated “noble wives,” she raised concerns of this becoming a universal problem with other husbands and families, and the king issuing a ruling throughout his mixed empire that married women are to be subject, as has been the culture since forever, to their husbands.

Vashti must have been a woman of extreme beauty. It is probably her opinion of herself. We cannot comment much on these circumstances as there is little to which we can deduce otherwise. The word in “refused” in Verse 12 may add insight. It is mâ’ên in the Hebrew. This means it was not a simple “no thank you oh king”. As Strong’s Dictionary defines it…X-utterly. A NO; not a no thanks. Who knows how things may have turned out had she simply said, “no thank you, oh King?” This request for her to wear the royal crown is why some daring Bible commentators suggest she was asked to appear wearing only the royal crown. This is a stretch.

Jewish commentaries state that she was willing to do so but was smit by God with Leprosy as she prepared to parade in front of the king and nobles of Persia and Media. This too is a stretch as nothing suggests this in the content or context of the Book of Esther.

 Esther 1:13 “Then the king said to the wise men who understood the times [NKJV]. Where also have we read this statement “who understood the times”? Daniel was one who understood the times. The Christmas Maji were also identified as people who understood the times. I Chronicles 12:32 identifies the men of the Tribe of Issachar as having this ability. Might these wisemen of the King’s court be somehow connected by DNA to these who are identified as blessed with this gift? The Bible does not identify these wise men as folks who THINK or CLAIM to understand the times. It is stated in verse 13 as a foregone fact. Something to toss around in our minds. We Teach – You Decide.

Esther 1:14 seems to address this thought. The Tribe of Issachar, those who understood the times, had been dispersed by the Assyrians along with the other nine northern Tribes of Israel back in 722 B.C. This is some 250 years later. If this was a God-given ability to the men of Issachar, they had multiplied many times over since the Assyrian dispersion. We do not know this “know the times ability” went with them, but it is a dot that might be connected. Do some personal research and see what you find. This area is included to being where some of the ten tribes of Israel were dispersed, i.e. amongst the Medes and into the Zagros Mountains, it has grounds for consideration.

Esther 1:16 – 18 explains the case in front of the wise men who knew the times and the laws of the Medes and Persians.

According to the Brenton translation: And Muchaeus said to the king and to the princes, [the] Queen has not wronged the king only, but also all the king’s rulers and princes: for he has told them the words of the queen, and how she disobeyed the king. As then, said he, she refused to obey king Artaxerxes,

so this day shall the other ladies of the chiefs of the Persians and Medes, having heard what she said to the king, dare in the same way to dishonor their husbands.

The results of the impromptu conference in the King’s banquet hall that day were simple. Return by law of the Medes and Persians what was assumed to be customary up to this event. In these territories of the Middle East and in many Asian countries, this is still the custom. This issue did not completely go away though, that being women (wives) demanding not equal justice but a change in customs. The Apostle Paul had to address it again around 50 A.D.

Ephesians 5:22 “Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord”. [Apostle Paul; KJV] What is the crux of seeming to be disobedient or argumentative? [Read James 4]

Rev. Dr. Jstark
2021

The Bridegroom & Bride

relationshipA few years ago a Russian newspaper reported a light-hearted poll of 100 Soviet households. In 90 of the homes, the wife described herself as the head of the family–and the husband agreed. In nine families the husband said he was head of the household, but the wife disagreed. The only husband whose wife named him as head of the family was told by the newspaper that he had won an award. When asked to select his prize, he turned to his wife and asked: “What shall I choose, Maria?”

If Christ is the groom, then who is his bride? The synoptic Gospels don’t really answer that question, but the rest of the New Testament does. And the answer probably doesn’t offer much help to people hoping Jesus’ marital status could shift the debates over women in ministry or the definition of marriage in a contemporary society where political correctness is accepted and God’s commands are debated. In Ephesians 5 (one of the more controversial passages of the Bible), the apostle Paul tells his readers, “For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior.” Christ’s wife, at least according to Paul, is the church; all believers—not an individual human woman.

That the church is Jesus’ bride gets confirmed in Revelation, the final book of the Bible, which serves as a prophecy for the end of the world. In this apocalyptic vision, Jerusalem, a proxy for God’s people as a whole, is described as “a bride beautifully dressed for her husband.” Later the narrator says, “One of the seven angels who had the seven bowls full of the seven last plagues came and said to me, ‘Come, I will show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb.'” Here, the wife is again Jerusalem, and the Lamb is Jesus.

The image of Christ as groom and the church as bride infuses Christian theology and writing. Pastor and best-selling author Timothy Keller preaches frequently on the topic, including a sermon called “The True Bridegroom,” where he compares God to a husband whose wife (the church) is constantly challenging on him. A classic hymn includes these lines in its opening verse:

The church’s one foundation is Jesus Christ her Lord / She is his new creation by water and the word. / From heaven He came and sought her to be his holy bride.” Countless books have been written meditating on what the Bible means when it calls Christ a groom and the church his bride.

The answer is in a simple Ephesians 5 text but our culture does not want to accept it. So does that make God wrong and political-culture persuasiveness correct?

Political correctness and political party jockeying for votes want all differences between men and women eliminated. Stay at home dad and working mom is more readily accepted then the centuries old norm of mom at home and dad works to pay the bills and maintain the family standard of living.

Why does the Word of God even mention Ephesians 5:21- e.o.c. if it is so hotly debated in so many cultures; the exception being Islam? Why is not that previous of verses 15 – 21 included in this discussion? Are they distinctly different context than 21 forward? A different chapter but mismarked in our translations? Topics too confusing? Instructions that no longer apply?

I am going to make this somewhat simple for all of us and let your own knowledge and understanding take on it be the dominant factor: it is significant that the Bible never says, “Husbands, get your wives to submit to you.” That is not your responsibility, men! It never commands the husband to be the head of his household. Rather, it states it as a fact in the course of discussing the wife’s role. What God’s Word says to the wife is her responsibility.

In other words, it is not God’s responsibility to get individual humans to submit to Jesus as head of the body (church) or the church to submit itself to Jesus as the head of the church. It is up to us as individuals and the church as a God-centered part of the body of Christ to do as it commands. If it was God’s job to force submission, then Israel never would have gone astray. If it was up to Jesus to force submission of his church, then there never would have been the 7 churches discussed in Revelation 1, 2, 3.

“Submission” in English is only a shadow of the Greek and Aramaic definition. One of its synonym’s is “to be open minded.” I close with Isaiah 55:8…The LORD says: “My thoughts and my ways are not like yours…”

Dr. JStarkcropped-minijim1