God Chose a Woman

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In many ways we have too many details when it comes to the story of Esther. If there ever was a series of events that could give rise to a spirit of feminism, this is it. Women subjugated, dehumanized, and brutalized, treated as chattels to be used, abused and then discarded at the whim of the male of the species. That women accepted this role in life without question is a perfect example of the depths to which the curse, placed upon them in Genesis 3:16, had brought them.

Even Mordecai could be accused of using his own niece as a pawn to his political ambitions. Unlike Moses’ mother who hid her son in a basket to protect him from the pharaoh, Uncle Mordecai made no attempt to shield her from the slavers disguised as wife-seekers to King Xerxes.

However, even man’s abhorrent behaviour is woven into God’s divine design. In the book named after Esther we learn about a plot to kill all the Jews, perpetrated by Haman, an intimate of the king. Mordecai passes the information on to Esther. She had been his instrument to save the king’s life earlier (Esther 2:22, 23) so it seemed a good bet that she could inform the king and save the lives of her people.

Except…

Esther had not been called to perform her duties as the king’s wife for some time (4:11) and she couldn’t speak to him without been summoned—at least not without risking her life.

Mordecai’s response to this is interesting. “When Esther’s words were reported to Mordecai, he sent back this answer: ‘Do not think that because you are in the king’s house you alone of all the Jews will escape. For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to royal position for such a time as this?’” (4:12-14).

Perhaps it is just the “edginess” of today that makes me read this passage with a critical eye. It seems that Mordecai is accusing Esther of the same selfishness that made him offer her as the means to pave his path into the inner circle. There is almost a sense of threat here—or perhaps panic. If she kept silent in order to save herself would someone, possible her own uncle, betray her? If she didn’t speak, Mordecai, already clearly identified as a Jew, could be swept up and killed with all the others.

At the same time, Mordecai seems to believe that there is a “Plan B” when he says that, “…relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place.” Which raises the question: if there was a “Plan B” why risk Esther’s life—other than, as a woman, she was disposable and, if she succeeded, Mordecai might be on his way to bigger and better things? (Oh, I am feeling grouchy this morning!)

But it is the last statement that, of all that is recorded for us in this book, is a God-statement. “And who knows but that you have come to royal position for such a time as this?

I can speculate all I like about the motives behind the actions of characters such as Mordecai. I don’t know what was behind the words that he spoke or the actions he took. What I do know is that in the end God used all these events, both good and bad, to allow a woman to save a nation. It wasn’t the first time God has done that, but it serves as another reminder that God values His “girls” in a way that others down through the centuries, even to this present day, haven’t normally done. Perhaps there was a “Plan B” but it seems that a woman was God’s “Plan A.”

And that encourages my soul.

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