“5 Now there was in the citadel of Susa a Jew of the tribe of Benjamin, named Mordecai son of Jair, the son of Shimei, the son of Kish, who had been carried into exile from Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, among those taken captive with Jehoiachin king of Judah. Mordecai had a cousin named Hadassah, whom he had brought up because she had neither father nor mother. This young woman, who was also known as Esther, had a lovely figure and was beautiful. Mordecai had taken her as his own daughter when her father and mother died.When the king’s 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 favour. 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.10 Esther had not revealed her nationality and family background, because Mordecai had forbidden her to do so. 11 Every day he walked to and fro near the courtyard of the harem to find out how Esther was and what was happening to her.” NIV

William Norman Ewer wrote:

‘How odd of God to choose the Jews’

However, there have been several responses. Here is one such:

‘Yet not so odd                                                                                                                                                                                 As those who choose                                                                                                                                                                            A Jewish God                                                                                                                                                                                  Yet spurn the Jews.’

The information given in today’s reading about Mordecai and Esther being Jews should cause the attentive reader of Scripture to prick up his or her ears. Here is an indication that something good is going to happen because God chose these (His) people to be a blessing to the whole world. It is unlikely that Mordecai or Esther would have had any choice in the matter of Esther joining the king’s harem, but we know that ultimately this was God’s choice. Xerxes would not have naturally chosen Esther to be his wife, but God ordered the circumstances so that she was in the right place at the right time to make her unique contribution. Esther’s Hebrew name means ‘Myrtle’, but her Persian name means ‘star’. She was another of those Biblical ‘stars’ who reflected God’s light in a dark world.

PRAYER: May I see that I am where I am by your appointment dear Lord. Cause me to shine right here, right now, until you move me on.