Calling together his friends and Zeresh, his wife, Haman boasted to them about his vast wealth, his many sons, and all the ways the king (Xerxes) had honored him and how he had elevated him above the other nobles and officials.
'And that’s not all,' Haman added. 'I’m the only person Queen Esther invited to accompany the king to the banquet she gave. And she has invited me along with the king tomorrow. But all this gives me no satisfaction as long as I see that Jew Mordecai sitting at the king’s gate.'
His wife Zeresh and all his friends said to him, 'Have a pole set up, reaching to a height of fifty cubits, and ask the king in the morning to have Mordecai impaled on it. Then go with the king to the banquet and enjoy yourself.'
This suggestion delighted Haman, and he had the pole set up."
- Esther 5:9-14
Esther Invites Xerxes and Haman to a Banquet
Haman had conspired to execute the Jews in Persia so Esther risked her life and approached King Xerxes uninvited. When he was pleased to see her Xerxes asked Esther what her request was. Esther then invited Xerxes to eat that day a banquet she had prepared for him and Haman. It was at this meal Esther would make her request known. The king accepted and sent for Haman.
This banquet would have been a formal event with attendants, guards and other officials as dinner quests. When the king asked Esther her request she said she would make her request known at a more private meal the next day with only Xerxes and Haman present.
Haman was at the top of his game as he went home that day, or so he thought. Yet, Haman still needed to get rid the Jew Mordecai because he refused to honor Haman in the streets of Susa. With the guidance of the advice of his wife Haman had a place prepared for Mordecai to be impaled and executed. Haman just needed to secure permission for Mordecai’s execution.
- 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.
- 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.
- Plataea – In what looked like a rout of the Greeks, the Persians fail to stay organized and are driven from Greece.
- Esther’s fifth year as queen.
- April 17 is the date set to meet to determine fate of Jews.
- 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.
- 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.
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.
- 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
I will examine my motives.
Am I seeking my own benefit or the benefit of others?
Am I promoting my ideas or the Lord's plan?
Someone to Quote
Something to Ponder
Fifteen Samples of Prayer for fifteen different situations:
Prayer for others
Prayer for enemies
Prayer for followers
Prayer of dedication
2 Chron. 6:14-42
Prayer expressing faith
Prayer of thanksgiving
1 Samuel 2:1-10
Prayer of trust
2 Chron. 20:6-12
Prayer of blessing
Prayer in distress
Prayer for healing
Isaiah 38:3, 9-20
Prayer of confession
Prayer of praise
Prayer before death
Prayer for revelation
Here’s a Fact
but goodwill is found
among the upright."
- Proverbs 14:9
New International Version (NIV)
Samson’s Vengeance on the Philistines
15 Later on, at the time of wheat harvest, Samson took a young goat and went to visit his wife. He said, “I’m going to my wife’s room.” But her father would not let him go in.
2 “I was so sure you hated her,” he said, “that I gave her to your companion. Isn’t her younger sister more attractive? Take her instead.”
3 Samson said to them, “This time I have a right to get even with the Philistines; I will really harm them.” 4 So he went out and caught three hundred foxes and tied them tail to tail in pairs. He then fastened a torch to every pair of tails, 5 lit the torches and let the foxes loose in the standing grain of the Philistines. He burned up the shocks and standing grain, together with the vineyards and olive groves.
6 When the Philistines asked, “Who did this?” they were told, “Samson, the Timnite’s son-in-law, because his wife was given to his companion.”
So the Philistines went up and burned her and her father to death. 7 Samson said to them, “Since you’ve acted like this, I swear that I won’t stop until I get my revenge on you.” 8 He attacked them viciously and slaughtered many of them. Then he went down and stayed in a cave in the rock of Etam.
9 The Philistines went up and camped in Judah, spreading out near Lehi. 10 The people of Judah asked, “Why have you come to fight us?”
“We have come to take Samson prisoner,” they answered, “to do to him as he did to us.”
11 Then three thousand men from Judah went down to the cave in the rock of Etam and said to Samson, “Don’t you realize that the Philistines are rulers over us? What have you done to us?”
He answered, “I merely did to them what they did to me.”
12 They said to him, “We’ve come to tie you up and hand you over to the Philistines.”
Samson said, “Swear to me that you won’t kill me yourselves.”
13 “Agreed,” they answered. “We will only tie you up and hand you over to them. We will not kill you.” So they bound him with two new ropes and led him up from the rock. 14 As he approached Lehi, the Philistines came toward him shouting. The Spirit of the Lord came powerfully upon him. The ropes on his arms became like charred flax, and the bindings dropped from his hands. 15 Finding a fresh jawbone of a donkey, he grabbed it and struck down a thousand men.
16 Then Samson said,
“With a donkey’s jawbone I have made donkeys of them. With a donkey’s jawbone I have killed a thousand men.”
17 When he finished speaking, he threw away the jawbone; and the place was called Ramath Lehi.
18 Because he was very thirsty, he cried out to the Lord, “You have given your servant this great victory. Must I now die of thirst and fall into the hands of the uncircumcised?” 19 Then God opened up the hollow place in Lehi, and water came out of it. When Samson drank, his strength returned and he revived. So the spring was called En Hakkore, and it is still there in Lehi.
20 Samson led Israel for twenty years in the days of the Philistines.
New International Version (NIV)
Naaman Healed of Leprosy
5 Now Naaman was commander of the army of the king of Aram. He was a great man in the sight of his master and highly regarded, because through him the Lord had given victory to Aram. He was a valiant soldier, but he had leprosy.
2 Now bands of raiders from Aram had gone out and had taken captive a young girl from Israel, and she served Naaman’s wife. 3 She said to her mistress, “If only my master would see the prophet who is in Samaria! He would cure him of his leprosy.”
4 Naaman went to his master and told him what the girl from Israel had said. 5 “By all means, go,” the king of Aram replied. “I will send a letter to the king of Israel.” So Naaman left, taking with him ten talents of silver, six thousand shekels of gold and ten sets of clothing. 6 The letter that he took to the king of Israel read: “With this letter I am sending my servant Naaman to you so that you may cure him of his leprosy.”
7 As soon as the king of Israel read the letter, he tore his robes and said, “Am I God? Can I kill and bring back to life? Why does this fellow send someone to me to be cured of his leprosy? See how he is trying to pick a quarrel with me!”
8 When Elisha the man of God heard that the king of Israel had torn his robes, he sent him this message: “Why have you torn your robes? Have the man come to me and he will know that there is a prophet in Israel.” 9 So Naaman went with his horses and chariots and stopped at the door of Elisha’s house. 10 Elisha sent a messenger to say to him, “Go, wash yourself seven times in the Jordan, and your flesh will be restored and you will be cleansed.”
11 But Naaman went away angry and said, “I thought that he would surely come out to me and stand and call on the name of the Lord his God, wave his hand over the spot and cure me of my leprosy. 12 Are not Abana and Pharpar, the rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? Couldn’t I wash in them and be cleansed?” So he turned and went off in a rage.
13 Naaman’s servants went to him and said, “My father, if the prophet had told you to do some great thing, would you not have done it? How much more, then, when he tells you, ‘Wash and be cleansed’!” 14 So he went down and dipped himself in the Jordan seven times, as the man of God had told him, and his flesh was restored and became clean like that of a young boy.
15 Then Naaman and all his attendants went back to the man of God. He stood before him and said, “Now I know that there is no God in all the world except in Israel. So please accept a gift from your servant.”
16 The prophet answered, “As surely as the Lord lives, whom I serve, I will not accept a thing.” And even though Naaman urged him, he refused.
17 “If you will not,” said Naaman, “please let me, your servant, be given as much earth as a pair of mules can carry, for your servant will never again make burnt offerings and sacrifices to any other god but the Lord. 18 But may the Lord forgive your servant for this one thing: When my master enters the temple of Rimmon to bow down and he is leaning on my arm and I have to bow there also—when I bow down in the temple of Rimmon, may the Lord forgive your servant for this.”
19 “Go in peace,” Elisha said.
After Naaman had traveled some distance, 20 Gehazi, the servant of Elisha the man of God, said to himself, “My master was too easy on Naaman, this Aramean, by not accepting from him what he brought. As surely as the Lord lives, I will run after him and get something from him.”
21 So Gehazi hurried after Naaman. When Naaman saw him running toward him, he got down from the chariot to meet him. “Is everything all right?” he asked.
22 “Everything is all right,” Gehazi answered. “My master sent me to say, ‘Two young men from the company of the prophets have just come to me from the hill country of Ephraim. Please give them a talent of silver and two sets of clothing.’”
23 “By all means, take two talents,” said Naaman. He urged Gehazi to accept them, and then tied up the two talents of silver in two bags, with two sets of clothing. He gave them to two of his servants, and they carried them ahead of Gehazi. 24 When Gehazi came to the hill, he took the things from the servants and put them away in the house. He sent the men away and they left.
25 When he went in and stood before his master, Elisha asked him, “Where have you been, Gehazi?”
“Your servant didn’t go anywhere,” Gehazi answered.
26 But Elisha said to him, “Was not my spirit with you when the man got down from his chariot to meet you? Is this the time to take money or to accept clothes—or olive groves and vineyards, or flocks and herds, or male and female slaves? 27 Naaman’s leprosy will cling to you and to your descendants forever.” Then Gehazi went from Elisha’s presence and his skin was leprous—it had become as white as snow.
New International Version (NIV)
Of David. A maskil.
Blessed is the one whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered.
Blessed is the one whose sin the Lord does not count against them and in whose spirit is no deceit.
When I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long.
For day and night your hand was heavy on me; my strength was sapped as in the heat of summer.
Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord.” And you forgave the guilt of my sin.
Therefore let all the faithful pray to you while you may be found; surely the rising of the mighty waters will not reach them.
You are my hiding place; you will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance.
I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my loving eye on you.
Do not be like the horse or the mule, which have no understanding but must be controlled by bit and bridle or they will not come to you.
Many are the woes of the wicked, but the Lord’s unfailing love surrounds the one who trusts in him.
Rejoice in the Lord and be glad, you righteous; sing, all you who are upright in heart!
New International Version (NIV)
For the director of music. A psalm of David. When the prophet Nathan came to him after David had committed adultery with Bathsheba.
Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions.
Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin.
For I know my transgressions, and my sin is always before me.
Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight; so you are right in your verdict and justified when you judge.
Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me.
Yet you desired faithfulness even in the womb; you taught me wisdom in that secret place.
Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.
Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones you have crushed rejoice.
Hide your face from my sins and blot out all my iniquity.
Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me.
Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.
Then I will teach transgressors your ways, so that sinners will turn back to you.
Deliver me from the guilt of bloodshed, O God, you who are God my Savior, and my tongue will sing of your righteousness.
Open my lips, Lord, and my mouth will declare your praise.
You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it; you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings.
My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart you, God, will not despise.
May it please you to prosper Zion, to build up the walls of Jerusalem.
Then you will delight in the sacrifices of the righteous, in burnt offerings offered whole; then bulls will be offered on your altar.