Notes: June 12, 2009

Who will be the next Persian queen?

Esther 2

  • After the king calmed down, realizing that he had banished Vashti, he wondered what to do next (v. 1). How often have you made a rash decision, only to regret it later?
  • His advisor’s recommended a beauty contest of hand-picked entrants with the king as the sole judge and the winner’s prize being the queen’s crown. (v. 2-4).
  • Mordecai, an officer of the court and  a Jew, on learning that his ward and cousin Esther was selected for the search for a new queen, advised her not to tell anyone that she, too, was  Jew (v.5-10).
  • Every day he checked on her (v. 11).
  • The candidates were a year in preparation for their one night audition before the king (v. 12-14).

Ezra 6

  • In the days of the prophets Haggai and Zechariah, and under the watchful eye of Ezra the scribe, Jerusalem was rebuilt according to the commandments of 3 Persian Kings (v. 14-15).
  • Although the quantity of sacrifices was not nearly equal to that of the dedication of the original temple in Solomon’s day, yet priests and people were filled with joy (v. 16-22).

Ezra 7

  • Ezra was commissioned by the Persian king to lead the return to Israel and the rebuilding; and he was also instructed to teach the people the ways of the Lord (v. 1-10).
  • A letter of confirmation and authority was given by the king into Ezra’s hand. The right to collect and spend money was granted, as well as limited right to take from the king’s foreign treasuries (v. 11-22).
  • Tax-exempt status was granted to all Jewish religious workers (v.23-24).
  • Death, banishment, confiscation of property and imprisonment were possible punishment for anyone who would impede the work of rebuilding the temple in Jerusalem. (v. 26).