Incline your ear!
Forget your people!
Forget your father’s house!
The king will desire your beauty.
Since he is your lord,
Bow to him.
The people of Tyre will sue your favor with gifts.
The richest of the people,
With all kinds of wealth,
Will come to you.”
This psalmist scribe asks that the daughter listen carefully and consider her words. She was to forget her people and her father’s house. She was to go forward to the king, her new lord. She was to bow to him. She would become powerful and rich with this marriage. These are like the words of encouragement to a reluctant bride before a marriage. Clearly she is to be subject to her new husband, the king. The consequences of this marriage will be enormous power and wealth. There is an interesting note about the new queen coming from Tyre. She may have been a Phoenician or a Philistine, the mortal enemy of David.
“Then Queen Esther spoke again to the king. She fell at his feet, weeping. She pleaded with him to avert the evil design of Haman the Agagite and the plot which he had devised against the Jews. The king held out the golden scepter to Esther. Esther rose and stood before the king. She said.
‘If it pleases the king,
If I have won his favor,
If the thing seem right before the king,
If I have his approval,
Let an order be written to revoke the letters
Devised by Haman the Agagite, the son of Hammedatha,
Which he wrote giving orders to destroy the Jews
Who are in all the provinces of the king.
How can I bear to see the calamity that is coming on my people?
How can I bear to see the destruction of my kindred?’”
Queen Esther again pleaded with the king. She wanted him to rescind the order that Haman had sent out about the execution of all the Jews in the provinces of Persia. Once again, she recognized the authority of the king as he placed his golden scepter on her. She wanted orders sent out to revoke the letter of Haman. She wondered how she could bear to see all this bloodshed on her people and relatives. You have to remember that the king had agreed with the letter of Haman.
“So the king and Haman went in to feast with Queen Esther. On the second day, as they were drinking wine, the king again said to Esther.
‘What is your petition, Queen Esther?
It shall be granted you.
What is your request?
Even to the half of my kingdom, it shall be fulfilled.’
Then Queen Esther answered.
‘If I have won your favor, O king,
If it pleases the king,
Let my life be given me.
That is my petition,
The lives of my people
That is my request.
We have been sold,
I and my people,
To be destroyed,
To be killed,
To be annihilated.
If we had been sold merely as slaves, men and women,
I would have held my peace.
But no enemy can compensate for this damage to the king.’
Then King Artaxerxes said to Queen Esther.
‘Who is he?
Where is he?
Who has presumed to do this?’
Queen Esther said.
‘He is a foe and enemy!
He is the wicked Haman!’
Then Haman was in terror before the king and the queen.”
This dinner seemed to be going well as they were drinking wine. The king then asked the queen what her request was just as he had done on the previous night. This time, Queen Esther was more straightforward. She wanted to save her life and the life of her people because they were going to be killed and annihilated. Then the king wanted to know who was trying to kill her and her people. Then she responded that it was the foe and enemy, the wicked Haman. This really scared Haman. He might have said to the king that the king had approved this action, but he did not.
“Meanwhile Mordecai was serving in the courtyard. Esther had not disclosed her kindred or her people because Mordecai had instructed her not to do so. She was to fear God and keep his laws, just as she had done when she was with him. Esther did not change her mode of life.”
The Greek text is more religious than the Hebrew text as it says here that Esther feared God and kept his laws, so that she did not change her mode of life. The Hebrew text simply says that she did not reveal her origins.
“Then General Holofernes commanded them to bring Judith in where his silverware was kept. He ordered them to set a table for her with some of his own delicacies, and some of his own wine to drink. But Judith said.
‘I cannot partake of them.
It will be an offense.
But I will have enough with the things I brought with me.’
General Holofernes said to her.
‘If your supply runs out,
Where can we get more of the same?
None of your people are here with us.’
‘As surely as you live, my lord,
Your servant will not use up the supplies
That I have with me
Before the Lord carries out by my hand
What he has determined to do.’”
General Holofernes was setting out his silverware with all his delicacies and wine for Judith. Judith reminded him that she could not eat his food because that would offend her God since she had brought enough food for herself. She never mentioned her maid. However, the general insisted, what happens if your food runs out? Where can we get more food like that since none of her people were with her? She replied that she was not going to use up all her supplies because God was going to help her carry out her plan very soon.
“Then General Holofernes said to Judith.
‘Take courage, woman!
Do not be afraid in your heart.
I have never hurt anyone,
Who chose to serve Nebuchadnezzar,
The king of all the earth.
If your people who live in the hill country had not slighted me,
I would never have lifted my spear against them.
They have brought this on themselves.
Now tell me,
Why you have fled from them?
Why have come over to us?
In any event,
You have come to safety.
You will live tonight and ever after.
No one will hurt you.
All will treat you well.
They will treat you as they do the servants of my lord,
General Holofernes was very cordial. He told Judith to take courage and not be afraid. He has never hurt anybody who served his King Nebuchadnezzar, who was the king of the whole earth, certainly a humble title. He would not have lifted a spear against her people, but they brought this on themselves, by slighting him. He wanted to know why she had fled to his side. She could be assured that she would be safe tonight and forever. She would be treated like the other servants of King Nebuchadnezzar.