No doubt esther had prepared herself to look her best

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No doubt Esther had prepared herself to look her best, although humanly the 3 day period without food could havereduced the beauty of her appearance. However, just as with Daniel and his friend in Daniel 1, when they made a standagainst the king’s rich, non-kosher food and ate vegetables only, God overruled to ensure that Esther was notdisadvantaged by the fast. She and others had prayed, and God answered by causing the king to regard her with favour.No doubt she had also prepared herself spiritually, and not just physically, and preparation in prayer is a vital ingredientin our walk with God, especially when important issues are at stake.So often in the book we have seen extravagance, and the division between appearance and reality. For onceappearances do matter, and there must have been a pause that seemed never ending for Esther as she waited for theking to extend his royal sceptre towards her in welcome. Esther shows suitable respect in touching the sceptre that washeld out towards her, showing that she had come as a humble petitioner. This was the usual way of acknowledging theroyal condescension, and at the same time expressing reverence and submission to the august majesty of the king.Just for background, the Septuagint represents “the king as being at first greatly enraged when he saw Esther, becauseshe had dared to appear before him unveiled, and she, perceiving this, was so terrified that she fainted away; on whichthe king, touched with tenderness, sprung from his throne, took her up in his arms, laid the golden sceptre on her neck,and spoke to her in the most endearing manner.” This is more circumstantial than the Hebrew, but is not contrary to it.The king’s response was typically extravagant, for he offered to grant her request, even up to half the kingdom. It wasnormal for the Persian kings to give their wives cities for certain purposes, so it seems that the king was here extendingthat custom, but with potentially extravagant generosity. Surely it is reassuring to us all that God can clearly change anddirect the hearts of powerful earthly leaders. It is likely that the king did not expect the answer that he received, any morethan Herod did when he made a similar offer to his stepdaughter when she danced before him and she asked for thehead of John the Baptist (Matthew 14:6-8).Esther’s request was quite modest, in requesting that the king and Haman attend her banquet. It is likely that as she hadbeen fasting and praying, God had given her wisdom to know how to approach the king. She was aware of herhusband’s unpredictability, and the hold that Haman had on him. She is therefore quite shrewd in inviting the two of themto a banquet, which on the surface seems to agree with her husband’s high opinion of Haman. Her request is a surprise,ESTHER21
EVANGELICAL BIBLE COLLEGE OF WESTERN AUSTRALIAeven to the point of being something of an anti-climax, but she did not want to rush anything. Nevertheless, Esther hadclearly been optimistic of success, for she had already prepared the banquet.

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