Any Reason For A Banquet
By Johnny Tatum
The purpose of studying Esther 1 and 2 is to understand that a believer has dominion over life when he is plugged into Holy Spirit.
PART 1: BEATING THE WATER
In our overview presentation, we saw a fairly elementary picture was presented in the book of Esther:
There are not any coincidences, because God is always controlling things — it is all God's providence — and God is sovereign.
Generally speaking, any unbeliever can read the book of Esther and get that message. However, for believers, there is a much more powerful picture:
The book of Esther is a picture of the life of a believer
The story begins with a king, named Ahasuerus in the Bible. In secular history, he is called Artaxerxes, or his shortened name, Xerxes.
King Ahasuerus is a picture of our will.
Ahasuerus has a kingdom and so do we, which is our being. The king had dominion over his kingdom, and we are [supposed] to have dominion over our soul — our mind, our will, our emotions — but not over all of our circumstances.
The king in this story gets a new queen, named Esther.
Esther is a picture of our new nature(our new person).
In the king's court, there are two high officials, named Mordecai and Haman, and both of them have access to the king.
Mordecai is a picture of Holy Spirit.
Haman is a picture of our flesh.
Both men are vying for control of the king; likewise, our flesh tries to get control of our will and Holy Spirit wants control of our will. The difference is our flesh tries to grab control of our will, but Holy Spirit wants us to let Him have control of our will.
Note:See our Esther: An Allegory study, which presents an overview of the book of Esther.
Exposition of the book of Esther…
1 Now it took place in the days of
What is significant about that beginning? It is a signal in Oriental literature, which means the story is an allegory and is not a fable; the following recorded events actually happened. Since we know this is an allegory, we will want to look for the big, important parts, because they are symbols.
Ahasuerus who reigned from India to Ethiopia over 127 provinces.
Ahasuerus was the last king of the Persian Empire, a wide territory from India to Ethiopia.
2 in those days as King Ahasuerus sat on his royal throne which was at the capital in Susa,
The control of the ancient world had moved from Babylon to Susa, the capital, which was located far in the east of the empire.
3 In the third year of his reign he gave a banquet for all his princes and attendants, the army officers of Persia and Media, the nobles and the princes of his provinces being in his presence.
4 And he displayed the riches of his royal glory and the splendor of his great majesty for many days, 180 days.
Think about the number of days:
180 days = 6 months!
King Ahasuerus threw a six-month party, and he was not serving his guests just burgers and hot dogs.
A COSTLY VENTURE
King Louis XIV of France was extremely wealthy — it is seemingly impossible to have had that much money. His grand Court residence in Versailles, France was unbelievable; even today, the extensive gardens are like a city in themselves. Louis XIV built Versailles because his treasurer, Fuqua, had built a huge estate and Louis XIV did not want to be outdone. So Louis XIV spoke Increase my chateau, move the river, and build me more fountains than Fuqua has. And that is what was done. Construction work was carried out on an increasingly larger scale and a whole river was moved through Versailles so Louis XIV could have his 120 fountains — one more than Fuqua's 119 fountains!
When told about King Ahasuerus' extended gala, King Louis XIV said I do not see how someone could really sustain the energy to have a party like that for 180 days. However, Fuqua, who had financed all of the Versailles construction, said I do not see how the king could have afforded a 180-day party.
Picture:Ahasuerus' party took a lot of energy and it cost a lot of money.
The king threw this banquet for a very important reason, which was not just to show off. Let us see what it was…
5 When the days were completed, the king gave a banquet lasting seven days
When the 180-day party was over, he gave another banquet that lasted only seven days!
for all the people who were present at Susa the capital, from the greatest to the least, in the court of the garden of the king's palace.
Did you catch that? The six-month party was for the nobles, but the seven-day party was for everybody.
6 There were hangings of fine white and violet linen held by cords of fine purple linen on silver rings and marble columns, couches of gold and silver on a mosaic pavement of porphyry, marble, mother-of-pearl and precious stones.
This is a reflection of the palace's opulence and the precious jewels and stones that came from throughout the Persian Empire.
7 Drinks were served in golden vessels of various kinds, and the royal wine was plentiful according to the king's bounty.
8 The drinking was done according to the law, there was no compulsion, for so the king had given orders to each official of his household that he should do according to the desires of each person.
This carnal – fleshly – ungodly – pagan king had the common sense to say We are not going to force you to drink; it is just free will.
Application:Evolutionists say Man is getting better and better; however, this verse seems to indicate that man is getting worse. Today, peer pressure says You should drink more and more and more.
Secular history tells us more about the events in the book of Esther than [probably] any other book in the Old Testament. This six-month banquet is a well-known, historical event, and King Ahasuerus held his extended banquets for a purpose.
Alexander the Great (Macedonian ruler) had arisen in Greece, and he was starting to make his intentions known — to destroy the Persian Empire. Ahasuerus sensed the power of the world was shifting to the west, and he knew We need one last military initiate to assert control of the world back to the east.
Though Ahasuerus had powerful armed forces — a huge army and a huge navy [and if there had been airplanes, he would have had a huge air force] — for this war effort, he called upon the different nationalities so he could levy their armies as well. King Ahasuerus' mission was to make one final strike at Greece to take care of the Alexander the Great problem, and to move the power of the world back to the east. The result of this banquet gathering was the Battle of Thermopylae.
God's Providence:I believe King Ahasuerus would have reasserted power in the east, except that God had decreed the power would go to the west, and His providence always prevails. From that point (around 480 B.C.) on until the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941 A.D., no eastern power ever tried to regain world dominance.
Picture:A king who is powerful and who is sovereign
Application:Believers are supposed to be sovereign too. There is an area of our lives where we can have dominion. Remember that Adam had total dominion over the earth, then he fell and he lost his dominion. Now believers in Messiah can regain part of that dominion we were supposed to have. How? Through our will.
Our will is sovereign over our bodies. When I do something simple, such as sitting - standing - walking, my will orders my body to sit - to stand - to walk. What does the body do? The body obeys the will. [We take that for granted.]
Everything done in our body is determined by our will. Our will sends the message out, and the body does not rebel [except in sickness and disease]. We can have that same kind of control over our minds and our emotions; we can have that dominion back.
DOMINION OVER THE EARTH
Adam had total dominion over the earth, then he fell and he lost his dominion. However, I believe there is a remnant of everything, which God told Adam, that is still left in every human being.
Note:Some psychologists refer to this as psychic unity.
We want to remember that the brain is physiological, and some of those behaviors we see in humans today, I believe, are a result of what Adam knew from God. Consider the following exploits by individuals:
The ideas for performing these feats must have been from that remnant of the original knowledge Adam had —
Man has dominion over the earth
The human race has a collective memory, and since Adam's fall, mankind has had a reminder of that information passed down. However, there are two problems, as follows:
First Problem: That knowledge we have is just a remnant of the knowledge Adam had; it is not complete.
Second Problem: Adam received that knowledge before his fall; after Adam's fall, the entire human race changed and the whole world changed.
Now humans go out to the world and they are armed with that primordial knowledge (I am to have dominion), but it does not work as expected, because we do not have total dominion over everything.
I believe that is why mankind gets frustrated when things do not work out the way we intend. Sure it is just self —flesh— but it could be that we have that remnant of the idea we are to have dominion, but things do not work out and we do not get our own way. The world has changed and we have changed!
When I was a teenager, I had a Pekinese dog (a toy dog of a breed developed in China, having a flat nose, a longhaired coat, and short, bowed forelegs). I had to watch his whereabouts, because he would attack any dog [and probably any animal, including Polar Bears -sic!] — he had no fear.
It turns out, at one time the Pekinese were huge dogs, they were mean, and they could take on any other dog. Dog brains are not very big anyway; however, the Pekinese still have that memory — they are big dogs — even though they are not anymore.
Application:That is the problem with the human race; we still think we are big dogs, but we are not anymore.
Picture:Though King Ahasuerus has dominion to a degree, he cannot control everything and that frustrates him. Why? He wants his way! Most of the time he gets his way; however, sometimes he does not. And when that occurs, he gets frustrated.
In fact, after the Battle of Thermopylae, when his fleet was destroyed by another coincidental storm, he went down to the Mediterranean Sea and all day long he cursed and beat the water for what the water did to his ships! He was crazy, but behind that lunacy was a normal explanation — the remnant of the idea that he had dominion, but now the sea took his ships.
Application:God created Adam with a spirit, which was the transmitter that God used to:
However, when Adam chose to sin, he plunged the entire human race into spiritual death, and everybody who was born thereafter was born without a spirit.
Though everybody is born with a soul — mind, will, emotions — the soul is like an electrical cord with prongs that is supposed to be plugged into a spirit; however, the unbeliever does not have a spirit. And when human beings do not get their way like they are supposed to, the mind - will - emotions are frustrated.
In the book of Esther, we find King Ahasuerus did not get his way…
9 Queen Vashti also gave a banquet for the women in the palace which belonged to King Ahasuerus.
Queen Vashti was a vicious, wicked woman. She was so vicious that when she learned King Ahasuerus was having an affair, Vashti had the woman killed and the woman's mother mutilated. Queen Vashti was bad news (a dangerous person).
10 On the seventh day, when the heart of the king was merry with wine, he commanded Mehuman, Biztha, Harbona, Bigtha, Abagtha, Zethar and Carkas, the seven eunuchs who served in the presence of King Ahasuerus,
11 to bring Queen Vashti before the king with her royal crown in order to display her beauty to the people and the princes, for she was beautiful.
12 But Queen Vashti refused to come at the king's command delivered by the eunuchs. Then the king became very angry and his wrath burned within him.
The king is supposed to have dominion, but he does not get his way all the time.
Note:The question of whether Queen Vashti should have gone before the king or not is irrelevant. If we worry about the relationship between the queen and the king and why Vashti did not go before the king, we miss the point.
The king is trying to exert the dominion of which he had a dim memory and of which he is supposed to have. When he does not get dominion, his response is to lash out at somebody else. However, beneath his fleshly response, he knows there is something missing. The reason the king does not have dominion is he needs to add something.
Picture:This is a trait that every human being has. When lashing out at somebody else, we want to identify That is my flesh and recognize the real problem is I am not getting things my way…
I am not getting the dominion that I feel I need
I am not going to be satisfied until I get that dominion back
Application:To take care of those situations, we want to understand the way we can get back a certain part of that dominion, and then we will not be lashing out at others when things do not go our own way.
Note:In this life, we can never totally have the dominion that Adam had, because creation fell and flesh became part of the picture.
When the king lashed out, he actually made it worse; he just highlighted his own loneliness…
13 Then the king said to the wise men who understood the times — for it was the custom of the king so to speak before all who knew the law and justice.
14 and were close to him: Carshena, Shethar, Admatha, Tarshish, Meres, Marsena and Memucan, the seven princes of Persia and Media who had access to the king's presence and sat in the first place in the kingdom —
15 "According to the law, what is to be done with Queen Vashti, because she did not obey the command of King Ahasuerus delivered by the eunuchs?"
16 In the presence of the king and the princes, Memucan said 'Queen Vashti has wronged not only the king but also all the princes and all the peoples who are in all the provinces of King Ahasuerus.
Memucan is a sissy (he is hen-pecked). Let us see how we know that…
17 For the queen's conduct will become known to all the women causing them to look with contempt on their husbands by saying, 'King Ahasuerus commanded Queen Vashti to be brought in to his presence, but she did not come.'
18 This day the ladies of Persia and Media who have heard of the queen's conduct will speak in the same way to all the king's princes, and there will be plenty of contempt and anger.
Memucan was afraid to go home.
19 If it pleases the king, let a royal edict be issued by him and let it be written in the laws of Persia and Media so that it cannot be repealed, that Vashti should come no more into the presence of King Ahasuerus, and let the king give her royal position to another who is more worthy than she.
The laws of Persia and Media are very important.
20 When the king's edict which he shall make is heard throughout all his kingdom, great as it is, then all women will give honor to their husbands, great and small.
A way in which all women throughout the empire will know to keep their place!
21 This word pleased the king and the princes, and the king did as Memucan proposed.
The proposed edict sounded good to all the men.
22 So he sent letters to all the king's provinces, to each province according to its script and to every people according to their language, that every man should be the master in his own house and the one who speaks in the language of his own people.
Picture:In a fleshly way, the men were trying to reassert dominion over the earth that Adam had. Dominion cannot be had unless there is a spirit, so the soul can be plugged into a spirit. This is a weak attempt of the flesh to get some kind of dominion when the soul does not have a spirit.
Esther 1:1-2:23, PART 2: SOMETHING IS MISSING
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We want to express our deepest appreciation to Mitchell and Dawn Kolodin for their excellent work in transcribing and editing this entire Esther study.
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