Scripture: Esther 7:1-10
Key verse: (9) Then Harbona, one of the eunuchs in attendance on the king, said, “Look, the very gallows that Haman has prepared for Mordecai, whose word saved the king, stands at Haman’s house, fifty cubits high.” And the king said, “Hang him on that.”
Reflection: The book of Esther is one of only two books in the Old Testament that never mentions God. As one friend of mine has said, “If you only recognize that God is speaking when the letters are red in your Bible, you’ll miss a lot of what God is saying and doing.” Perhaps we can imagine that God is the paper this story is written on and God is the ink that has written the story.
The Jews were scattered and living in foreign territory. Esther was a beautiful woman who became a queen, married to King Ahasuerus. When the king’s official Haman sought to destroy the Jews, Esther’s uncle Mordecai calls upon her to intercede on their behalf. Haman plots to have Mordecai hanged but the tables turn on Haman and Esther exposes his evil plans. The king then orders Haman to be hanged on the gallows prepared for Mordecai.
This fantastic story is celebrated at the festival of Purim. One of the highlights of the festival is when the story is read aloud. Imagine “Rocky Horror Picture Show” meets a Bible story – the audience participates fully. Children dress in costume like the story characters. Haman is the proverbial bad guy and every time his name is read aloud, the congregation makes raucous noise, with rattles and noisemakers, intended to drown out the sound of his name. Haman becomes a big joke, a laughing-stock, a caricature. (See a picture of a Haman costume mask below!) Maybe we could learn something about how to handle evil in our world. Rather than arming ourselves for a fight, pick up a noisemaker and drown out the evil with laughter and frivolity. And remember that God is always with us like the ground we walk on and the air we breathe, even when God doesn’t appear in the story.
Prayer: Dear God, give me wisdom to deal with evil in the world around me and remind me that you are with me always. Amen.
Author: Millie Snyder
[Scripture quotations are from New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved].