Esther 1:1-3 open_in_new
I. Let us observe the outward stage of these events. In the books of Ezra and Nehemiah, the Persian court forms, as it were, the background of all the transactions of the history. Cyrus, Darius, Artaxerxes, figure as the deliverers and protectors of the returning Israelites. The scene of the book of Esther is laid in Shushan, or Susa, the capital of Persia. There we see Ahasuerus, "the great king," as he was called by the Greeks, the same, it is believed, as Xerxes. These Gentile monarchs, this Asiatic kingdom, are made to occupy this prominent place in the Bible in order to remind us that beyond the limits of the chosen people, beyond the limits of Jewry or of Christendom, there are kingdoms and races of men who claim, as well as we, a share in the compassion and justice of the all-merciful, all-holy God.
II. That which gives to the book of Esther an enduring spiritual value is the noble, patriotic spirit of the Jewish race in the presence of the Gentiles amongst whom they sojourned, that passionate love of country and home, that generous pride in the independence of their race and creed, which kindled the song of Deborah, which continued to burn in the hearts of her countrymen and country women after the lapse of a thousand years, and broke forth in the pathetic wail, in the courageous defiance, of the Jewish maiden, who, unseduced by the splendours, undaunted by the terror, of the Persian court, exclaimed, with the heroic determination, if need be, to sacrifice her life for her country, "If I perish, I perish! How can I endure to see the evil that shall come unto my people?"
A. P. Stanley, Catholic Sermons,vol. i., p. 75.
Esther 1:1-9 open_in_new
(with Philippians 4:5)
I. The book of Esther is to be held in everlasting remembrance, if only as showing to all ages and to all peoples how much the heavenly love and care concern themselves with those who themselves have no care to keep God's commandments, and no thought of the care and love that are concerned about them. The shepherd watches and seeks the sheep, and throws around them, unseen, protections all through the wilderness where they wander.
II. The feast of Ahasuerus was a wonderful scene. There is nothing morally great about it. There never can be about mere feasting, and splendour, and eating and drinking, and outward show. Neither, so far as we can see, is there anything morally wrong in this, at least when kept in due moderation. It was kept in moderation in this instance. There is the most prodigal abundance, and yet there is a royal wisdom in the dispensation of it. For we read that "the drinking was according to the law," and that law means "no compulsion." If we embody, the principle of moderation in our life, and walk by faith, and not by sight, then, and only then, we surmount the poor pageant in which outwardly we are moving figures; then, and only then, we cast anchor within the veil, and lay up treasure where it can never be lost.
A. Raleigh, Penny Pulpit,No. 614.
References: Esther 1:1-10. A. Raleigh, Book of Esther,p. 1.Esther 1:1-12. A. D. Davidson, Lectures on Esther,p. 9. Esther 1:10. A. Raleigh, Book of Esther,p. 24.Esther 1:13-22. A. D. Davidson, Lectures on Esther,p. 29. Esther 2:1-4. Ibid.,p. 49. Esther 2:1-20. A. Raleigh, Book of Esther,p. 48. Esther 2:5-20. A. D. Davidson, Lectures on Esther,p. 67. Esther 2:21-23 -iii. 1-5. Ibid.,p. 89. Esther 3:6-11. Ibid.,p. 108. Esther 3:12-15 -iv. 1-9. Ibid.,p. 128. 3 A. Raleigh, Book of Esther,p. 69. Esther 4:10-17. A. D. Davidson, Lectures on Esther,p. 149. Esther 4:13-14 Spurgeon, Sermons,vol. xxx, No. 1777. Esther 4:14. Bishop Woodford, Occasional Sermons,vol. ii., p. 55; G. Brooks, Outlines of Sermons,p. 285; E. Monro, Practical Sermons,vol. iii., p. 245. 4 A. Raleigh, Book of Esther,p. 88. Esther 5:1-8. A. D. Davidson, Lectures on Esther,p. 171.Esther 5:6. J. Jackson Wray, Light from the Old Lamp,p. 160. Esther 5:9-14. A. D. Davidson, Lectures on Esther,p. 192.Esther 5:13. Preacher's Monthly,vol. v., p. 369; M. Nicholson, Communion with Heaven,p. 242. 5 A. Raleigh, Booh of Esther,p. 106.