Book of Esther 1 and 2

Chapter 1

  • The royal feast of Ahasuerus
  • Vashti’s refusal to appear
  • The king’s decree

Verses 1-9

The pride of his heart rising with the grandeur of his kingdom, Ahasuerus made an extravagant feast. This was vain glory. Better is a dinner of herbs with quietness, than this banquet of wine, with all the noise and tumult that must have attended it. But except grace prevails in the heart, self-exaltation and self-indulgence, in one form or another, will be the ruling principle.

Yet none did compel; so that if any drank to excess, it was their own fault. This caution of a heathen prince, even when he would show his generosity, may shame many called Christians, who, under pretense of sending the health round, send sin round, and death with it. There is a woe to them that do so; let them read it, and tremble, Habakkuk 2:15, 16.

Verses 10-22

The feast of Ahasuerus ended in heaviness, by his own folly. Seasons of peculiar festivity often end in vexation. Superiors should be careful not to command what may reasonably be disobeyed. But when wine is in, men’s reason departs from them. He that had rule over 127 provinces, had no rule over his own spirit.

But whether the passion or the policy of the king was served by this decree, God’s providence made way for Esther to the crown, and defeated Haman’s wicked project, even before it had entered into his heart, and he arrived at his power. Let us rejoice that the Lord reigns, and will overrule the madness or folly of mankind to promote his own glory, and the safety and happiness of his people.

Chapter 2

  • Esther chosen Queen
  • Mordecai discovers a plot against the king

Verses 1-20

We see to what absurd practices those came, who were destitute of Divine revelation, and what need there was of the gospel of Christ, to purify men from the lusts of the flesh, and to bring them back to the original institution of marriage. Esther was preferred as queen.

Those who suggest that Esther committed sin to come at this dignity, do not consider the custom of those times and countries. Every one that the king took was married to him, and was his wife, though of a lower rank.

But how low is human nature sunk, when such as these are the leading pursuits and highest worldly happiness of men! Disappointment and vexation must follow; and he most wisely consults his enjoyment, even in this present life, who most exactly obeys the precepts of the Divine law.

But let us turn to consider the wise and merciful providence of God, carrying on his deep but holy designs in the midst of all this. And let no change in our condition be a pretext for forgetting our duties to parents, or the friends who have stood in their place.

Verses 21-23

Good subjects must not conceal any bad design they know of against the prince, or the public peace. Mordecai was not rewarded at the time, but a remembrance was written. Thus, with respect to those who serve Christ, though their recompense is not till the resurrection of the just, yet an account is kept of their work of faith and labor of love, which God is not unrighteous to forget.

The servant of God must be faithful to every trust, and watchful for those who employ him. If he appear to be neglected now, he will be remembered hereafter. None of our actions can be forgotten; even our most secret thoughts are written in lasting registers, Revelation 20:12.


Chapter 3