Spiritual Training

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May 13 - Evening

"When the king’s (Xerxes) order and edict had been proclaimed, many young women were brought to the citadel of Susa and put under the care of Hegai. Esther also was taken to the king’s palace and entrusted to Hegai, who had charge of the harem.  She pleased him and won his favor. Immediately he provided her with her beauty treatments and special food. He assigned to her seven female attendants selected from the king’s palace and moved her and her attendants into the best place in the harem."
- Esther 2:8-9

478 BC, Esther Moves into the Harem in Susa

(See table below and the 478 BC date of Esther chapter 2 and other dates and details.) The “many young women” where more than candidates trying out for Vashti’s abandoned position as wife and queen. Once these girls were taken they were all considered “wives” of King Xerxes and would not be going back home. Indeed, one of these girls would be chosen from among all the “wives” to be the queen, but the rest would remain in the king’s harem and were legally his concubines. When Esther went to sleep with the king she was legally already his “wife” or “concubine” trying out for the royal office of queen.

Hegai, the administrator of the harem, was pleased with Esther and showed her favor before Xerxes began to call for his wives (maybe, even before Xerxes had physically arrived back to Susa from his failure on the battlefields in Greece, since it would have been months of battle followed by months of travel to return.)

Besides extra beauty treatments and special food overseen by Hegai himself, Esther was given seven female attendants hand-picked and taken from Xerxes palace. These attendants would have not only been the most skilled with the most training and experience, but they also would have personal insight into the Xerxes’ personality and preferences.

Esther and her entourage were moved into the most superlatively equip luxury apartment in the harem. And, surely, there, was a nice view looking over the city of Susa from Esther’s harem window there in the citadel. (See details/photos/images on Susa 1, 2. Drawing the the Susa citadel with the palace and administrative buildings.)

Ezra 4:6
  • Xerxes begins to reign.
  • Samaritans take this chance to file a complaint. (Ezra 4:6)

Xerxes displays his vast wealth and military power at a banquet in preparation for his invasion of Greece as seen in Esther 1

Battles of:
• Thermopylae
• Salamis
• Plataea

Daniel 11:2
Xerxes goes to war against Greece. Persia fights the battles of:
  1. Thermopylae – This battle is the basis of the movie “300” that features the Spartan king Leonidas and his 300 men who fight the invading King Xerxes and his Persian troops.
  2. Salamis – Persians occupy Athens and burn the temple.
    The Persians move their ships into a strait through a bottle neck thinking the beached Greek trireme ships are trapped. Xerxes watches from his ivory throne placed on a hill in disbelief as his ships are rammed, congested and unable to maneuver while Persians ships continue to sail into the bottle neck. Xerxes heads back to Persia, leaving behind 1/3 of his troops which then burn Athens to the ground.
  3. Plataea – In what looked like a rout of the Greeks, the Persians fail to stay organized and are driven from Greece.
These Greek battles fulfill Daniel 11:2: “a fourth Persian king, who will be far richer. . .will stir up everyone against the kingdom of Greece.” This sets the stage for the rise of Alexander the Great who will seek deliverance and revenge for the burning of Athens in 336 BC.

Esther goes to Xerxes and becomes Queen in Dec/Jan in Esther 2

Esther 3:7


  • Esther’s fifth year as queen.
  • April 17 is the date set to meet to determine fate of Jews.
Esther 3:7 - "In the twelfth year of King Xerxes, in the first month, the month of Nisan, the pur (that is, the lot) was cast in the presence of Haman to select a day and month. And the lot fell on[a] the twelfth month, the month of Adar."

  • According to Haman’s plans and Xerxes order, the Jews are to be killed in Persia on March 7
  • March 7, the Jews defend themselves. The Jews kill 500 men in Susa and 10 of Haman’s sons.

  • Xerxes is inside his bedchamber when he is assassinated by 3 conspirators. They convince Artaxerxes, Xerxes’s son, to slay his older brother. They then try to kill Artaxerxes who is only wounded but kills his attacker.
  • Artaxerxes becomes Persian Emperor and will reign for 41 years.
  • Esther would be about 38 years old if she became queen when she was 25.

  • Artaxerxes orders the rebuilding of the rebellious city, Jerusalem, to stop.
  • Samaritans send a letter to Artaxerxes to say Jerusalem is a rebellious city. (Ezra 4:7)
  • Artaxerxes replies: “this city will not be rebuilt until I so order.” (Ezra 4:21)

  • In Artaxeres’ seventh year he issues the decree to rebuild and restore Jerusalem.
  • Ezra leaves Babylon on April 8 and arrives in Jerusalem on August.
  • December 19 the people assemble and the investigation of intermarriage begins.
  • The 70 weeks (or, 490 years) of Daniels prophecy in Daniel 9:25 begins with Artaxerxes’ decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem in 458 BC. The decree is found in Ezra 7:12-26. The 70 weeks (490 years) are interrupted after 69 weeks (483 years) with the coming of the Messiah. 458 BC minus 483 years equals 25/26 AD which is when John the Baptists will introduce the Messiah to the Jewish nation.

Ezra committee ends their three month long investigation into intermarriage by Mar/Apr (Ezra 10:17)

Nehemiah Nehemiah 1
Nov/Dec, Nehemiah is in Susa and hears a report from a Jew from Jerusalem that the walls of Jerusalem have not been rebuilt

Nehemiah 2:1

Nehemiah 4

Nehemiah 6:15

Nehemiah 8:2

Nehemiah 8:13

Nehemiah 9

Esther is 58
  • Artaxerxes 20th year
  • Mar/Apr, Nehemiah, Artaxerxes cup bearer, speaks to Artaxerxes about Jerusalem’s ruined wall system. (Neh. 2:1)
  • August 10, Nehemiah begins to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem.
  • Opposition to building the walls. (Neh. 4, 6)
  • October 2, The walls of Jerusalem are completed in 52 days.
    (Neb. 6:15)
  • October 8, Ezra reads the law to public for first time in thirteen years. (8:2)
  • October 9, the people of Jerusalem celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles. (8:13)
  • October 30, Israel confesses their sin. (Neh. 9)
  • If Esther were 25 when she married Xerxes she is now 58
Sophos (Gr) – Wise (Eng) – a Greek word which means “wise” and is used in the New Testament to describe God (1 Tim. 1:17), believers (1 Cor. 3:10), educated men (Romans 1:14, 22) and Jewish scholars (Matt. 23:34 and 11:25).
Is sin part of my accept lifestyle?
Is sin or is righteousness my first choice?
I will learn to recognize sin and instead chose righteousness.

Bible Reading Descriptions Here


(morning only)

Complete Text

General Text


For peace and contentment


Increase Spiritual hunger
Health care

Driving thru Megiddo Valley from Nazareth and heading south.
Details of the governor's house in Beth Shean from
the days of the Judges and King Saul (1200-1000 BC)

Someone to Quote

"An intelligent appreciation of the doctrine of Christ is the best safeguard against most forms of heretical teaching." - F. F. Bruce

Something to Ponder

Seven Points of Doctrine Concerning the Inspiration of Scripture:

All Scripture is inspired.
(2 Tim. 3:16)
Scripture comes from the mouth of God.
(2 Tim. 3:16)
Scripture reveals God’s plan and God’s ways to man.
(2 Tim. 3:16)
Scripture did not originate in the thoughts of man.
(2 Peter 1:20)
Scripture came through men who were carried along by the Holy Ghost in their thinking, speaking and writing.
(2 Peter 1:20)
The Words of Scripture were written through inspiration.
(1 Cor. 2:13)
The Words of Scripture continue to be inspired throughout all time.
(Mark 13:31)

Here’s a Fact

The ancient city of Corinth remained occupied until 1858 when an earthquake destroyed it. At that time the inhabitants moved four mile away to rebuild modern Corinth. In 1896 excavation began in ancient Corinth. Discoveries include:

A 46 foot wide street with sidewalks and gutters but no sign of wear from wagon wheels. This means it was for foot traffic alone.

A marble lintel of a door inscribed with “Synagogue of the Hebrews” (photo)

A limestone block inscribed “Erastus, the Commissioner of the city, paved this plaza at his own expense.” (photo) The plaza was 60 square feet. Erastus is called the “Director of Public Works” or the “Treasure of the City” by Paul in Romans 16:23

A Greek Theater (photo)

A temple for Apollos (photos)

Ancient court with fountain of Peirene (five photos)

Agora market place

The Bema (two photos) , or judgment platform, where Paul was brought to trial before Gallio by the Jews in Acts 18:12 and the pavement (photo) infront of the Bema where the Jews were beaten in Acts 18:17 where the crowd at the trial "turned on Sosthenes the synagogue leader and beat him in front of the proconsul." (Full story Acts 18:10-17)

Meat Market Inscription (photo)


"Where there is strife, there is pride,
    but wisdom is found in those who take advice."

- Proverbs 13:10

Coach’s Corner

Bring your inner peace to your daily encounters with people.

2 Kings 4
New International Version (NIV)
The Widow’s Olive Oil
The wife of a man from the company of the prophets cried out to Elisha, “Your servant my husband is dead, and you know that he revered the Lord. But now his creditor is coming to take my two boys as his slaves.”
Elisha replied to her, “How can I help you? Tell me, what do you have in your house?”
“Your servant has nothing there at all,” she said, “except a small jar of olive oil.”
Elisha said, “Go around and ask all your neighbors for empty jars. Don’t ask for just a few. Then go inside and shut the door behind you and your sons. Pour oil into all the jars, and as each is filled, put it to one side.”
She left him and shut the door behind her and her sons. They brought the jars to her and she kept pouring. When all the jars were full, she said to her son, “Bring me another one.”
But he replied, “There is not a jar left.” Then the oil stopped flowing.
She went and told the man of God, and he said, “Go, sell the oil and pay your debts. You and your sons can live on what is left.”
The Shunammite’s Son Restored to Life
One day Elisha went to Shunem. And a well-to-do woman was there, who urged him to stay for a meal. So whenever he came by, he stopped there to eat. She said to her husband, “I know that this man who often comes our way is a holy man of God. 10 Let’s make a small room on the roof and put in it a bed and a table, a chair and a lamp for him. Then he can stay there whenever he comes to us.”
11 One day when Elisha came, he went up to his room and lay down there. 12 He said to his servant Gehazi, “Call the Shunammite.” So he called her, and she stood before him. 13 Elisha said to him, “Tell her, ‘You have gone to all this trouble for us. Now what can be done for you? Can we speak on your behalf to the king or the commander of the army?’”
She replied, “I have a home among my own people.”
14 “What can be done for her?” Elisha asked.
Gehazi said, “She has no son, and her husband is old.”
15 Then Elisha said, “Call her.” So he called her, and she stood in the doorway. 16 “About this time next year,” Elisha said, “you will hold a son in your arms.”
“No, my lord!” she objected. “Please, man of God, don’t mislead your servant!”
17 But the woman became pregnant, and the next year about that same time she gave birth to a son, just as Elisha had told her.
18 The child grew, and one day he went out to his father, who was with the reapers. 19 He said to his father, “My head! My head!”
His father told a servant, “Carry him to his mother.”
20 After the servant had lifted him up and carried him to his mother, the boy sat on her lap until noon, and then he died. 21 She went up and laid him on the bed of the man of God, then shut the door and went out.
22 She called her husband and said, “Please send me one of the servants and a donkey so I can go to the man of God quickly and return.”
23 “Why go to him today?” he asked. “It’s not the New Moon or the Sabbath.”
“That’s all right,” she said.
24 She saddled the donkey and said to her servant, “Lead on; don’t slow down for me unless I tell you.” 25 So she set out and came to the man of God at Mount Carmel.
When he saw her in the distance, the man of God said to his servant Gehazi, “Look! There’s the Shunammite!
26 Run to meet her and ask her, ‘Are you all right? Is your husband all right? Is your child all right?’”
“Everything is all right,” she said.
27 When she reached the man of God at the mountain, she took hold of his feet. Gehazi came over to push her away, but the man of God said, “Leave her alone! She is in bitter distress, but the Lord has hidden it from me and has not told me why.”
28 “Did I ask you for a son, my lord?” she said. “Didn’t I tell you, ‘Don’t raise my hopes’?”
29 Elisha said to Gehazi, “Tuck your cloak into your belt, take my staff in your hand and run. Don’t greet anyone you meet, and if anyone greets you, do not answer. Lay my staff on the boy’s face.”
30 But the child’s mother said, “As surely as the Lord lives and as you live, I will not leave you.” So he got up and followed her.
31 Gehazi went on ahead and laid the staff on the boy’s face, but there was no sound or response. So Gehazi went back to meet Elisha and told him, “The boy has not awakened.”
32 When Elisha reached the house, there was the boy lying dead on his couch. 33 He went in, shut the door on the two of them and prayed to the Lord. 34 Then he got on the bed and lay on the boy, mouth to mouth, eyes to eyes, hands to hands. As he stretched himself out on him, the boy’s body grew warm. 35 Elisha turned away and walked back and forth in the room and then got on the bed and stretched out on him once more. The boy sneezed seven times and opened his eyes.
36 Elisha summoned Gehazi and said, “Call the Shunammite.” And he did. When she came, he said, “Take your son.” 37 She came in, fell at his feet and bowed to the ground. Then she took her son and went out.
Death in the Pot
38 Elisha returned to Gilgal and there was a famine in that region. While the company of the prophets was meeting with him, he said to his servant, “Put on the large pot and cook some stew for these prophets.”
39 One of them went out into the fields to gather herbs and found a wild vine and picked as many of its gourds as his garment could hold. When he returned, he cut them up into the pot of stew, though no one knew what they were. 40 The stew was poured out for the men, but as they began to eat it, they cried out, “Man of God, there is death in the pot!” And they could not eat it.
41 Elisha said, “Get some flour.” He put it into the pot and said, “Serve it to the people to eat.” And there was nothing harmful in the pot.
Feeding of a Hundred
42 A man came from Baal Shalishah, bringing the man of God twenty loaves of barley bread baked from the first ripe grain, along with some heads of new grain. “Give it to the people to eat,” Elisha said.
43 “How can I set this before a hundred men?” his servant asked.
But Elisha answered, “Give it to the people to eat. For this is what the Lord says: ‘They will eat and have some left over.’”
44 Then he set it before them, and they ate and had some left over, according to the word of the Lord.
1 Chronicles 20
New International Version (NIV)
The Capture of Rabbah
20 In the spring, at the time when kings go off to war, Joab led out the armed forces. He laid waste the land of the Ammonites and went to Rabbah and besieged it, but David remained in Jerusalem. Joab attacked Rabbah and left it in ruins. David took the crown from the head of their king—its weight was found to be a talent of gold, and it was set with precious stones—and it was placed on David’s head. He took a great quantity of plunder from the city and brought out the people who were there, consigning them to labor with saws and with iron picks and axes. David did this to all the Ammonite towns. Then David and his entire army returned to Jerusalem.
War With the Philistines
In the course of time, war broke out with the Philistines, at Gezer. At that time Sibbekai the Hushathite killed Sippai, one of the descendants of the Rephaites, and the Philistines were subjugated.
In another battle with the Philistines, Elhanan son of Jair killed Lahmi the brother of Goliath the Gittite, who had a spear with a shaft like a weaver’s rod.
In still another battle, which took place at Gath, there was a huge man with six fingers on each hand and six toes on each foot—twenty-four in all. He also was descended from Rapha. When he taunted Israel, Jonathan son of Shimea, David’s brother, killed him.
These were descendants of Rapha in Gath, and they fell at the hands of David and his men.
Job 37
New International Version (NIV)
“At this my heart pounds     and leaps from its place.

Listen! Listen to the roar of his voice,     to the rumbling that comes from his mouth.

He unleashes his lightning beneath the whole heaven     and sends it to the ends of the earth.

After that comes the sound of his roar;     he thunders with his majestic voice. When his voice resounds,     he holds nothing back.

God’s voice thunders in marvelous ways;     he does great things beyond our understanding.

He says to the snow, ‘Fall on the earth,’     and to the rain shower, ‘Be a mighty downpour.’

So that everyone he has made may know his work,     he stops all people from their labor.

The animals take cover;     they remain in their dens.

The tempest comes out from its chamber,     the cold from the driving winds.
The breath of God produces ice,     and the broad waters become frozen.
He loads the clouds with moisture;     he scatters his lightning through them.
At his direction they swirl around     over the face of the whole earth     to do whatever he commands them.
He brings the clouds to punish people,     or to water his earth and show his love.
“Listen to this, Job;     stop and consider God’s wonders.
Do you know how God controls the clouds     and makes his lightning flash?
Do you know how the clouds hang poised,     those wonders of him who has perfect knowledge?
You who swelter in your clothes     when the land lies hushed under the south wind,
can you join him in spreading out the skies,     hard as a mirror of cast bronze?
“Tell us what we should say to him;     we cannot draw up our case because of our darkness.
Should he be told that I want to speak?     Would anyone ask to be swallowed up?
Now no one can look at the sun,     bright as it is in the skies     after the wind has swept them clean.
Out of the north he comes in golden splendor;     God comes in awesome majesty.
The Almighty is beyond our reach and exalted in power;     in his justice and great righteousness, he does not oppress.
Therefore, people revere him,     for does he not have regard for all the wise in heart?”

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