Arlen L. Chitwood
After these things, when the wrath of King Ahasuerus subsided, he remembered Vashti, what she had done, and what had been decreed against her. (Esther 2:1)
Chapter two begins with a reference back to events in the previous chapter. Ahasuerus had commanded Vashti to come forth, at a particular time, wearing “her royal crown.” But Vashti refused to heed the king’s command. And the king, because of Vashti’s refusal, became enraged. Vashti was rejected as queen; and her “royal position” was taken from her, with a view to her position being occupied by another (1:10-12).
Then, after a period of time, the king calmed down and his wrath subsided. And after his wrath had subsided he remembered Vashti, that which she had done, and that which had been decreed against her (2:1).
The king’s servants, seeing where the king’s thoughts lay following his wrath subsiding, knew that something had to be done concerning the present state of affairs. And the only thing that could be done was to find someone who could replace Vashti. Therefore, the king’s servants suggested to the king that a search be conducted throughout the kingdom for a maiden who could “be queen instead of Vashti.” And the suggestion “pleased the king” (2:2-4).
The remainder of the chapter is then taken up with a successful search for a new queen, the new queen being crowned, and conditions in the kingdom following this time.
During the search for a queen, Esther was among those singled out and brought into the king’s house. And, after a time of preparation requiring twelve months, Esther’s turn came to appear before the king (vv. 8-16)
Esther, being properly prepared, was taken into the royal palace to appear in the king’s presence, in the tenth month, in the seventh year of his reign. And it is recorded, apart from further revelation surrounding the matter,
The king loved Esther more than all the other women and she obtained grace and favor in his sight more than all the virgins; so he set the royal crown upon her head and made her queen instead of Vashti. (v. 17)
The king once again had a crowned queen to rule in the kingdom with him. A “great feast” followed, and the king “proclaimed a holiday [‘a rest’]” to all the provinces in his kingdom, and “gave gifts” to those in the kingdom (v. 18)
At the same time, Mordecai is seen seated “within the king’s gate,” which, when viewed in the light of the antitype, portends regality (2:17-23). And all of this — Esther crowned queen, and Mordecai seated within the king’s gate — sets the stage for the way matters are depicted in different places throughout the remainder of the book.
The matter is established in chapter two; and both Esther and Mordecai, throughout the remainder of the book, are seen typifying Israel at different times and under different circumstances, with regality in view.
(Reference to a twelve-month preparation time, the tenth month when Esther appeared, and the seventh year of Ahasuerus reign [vv. 12, 16], are fraught with significance and meaning. And the previous reference to certain days and years in chapter one [vv. 3-5, 10] is seen in this same respect as well [ref. chapter 1 in this book].
“Twelve” is the number of governmental perfection; Esther was brought forth after twelve months, with a view to regality. “Ten” is the number of numerical completeness; Esther was brought forth at the close of a complete period of time. And “seven” has to do with the completeness of that which is in view; in this case, completeness is shown by a time of “rest” completing a previous period of time. “Rest” for those inhabiting all the provinces in Ahasuerus’ kingdom occurred during “the seventh year of his reign.”
The complete picture seen through the use of both the numbers ten and seven is twofold. It
has to do with Israel exercising regal power at the full end of the days, shown by the number ten. Then, the number seven, showing another facet of completeness, has to do with Israel exercising regal power at the end of Man’s Day [having to do with six days, six millennia], during the coming Sabbath rest awaiting the people of God [during the coming seventh millennium]. The full seven days, seven millennia, form the complete period of time in view [cf. Genesis 1:1-2:3; Exodus 31:13-17; Hebrews 4:1-9; 2 Peter 3:1-8].)
The King’s Wrath Appeased
Esther chapter two, forming a continuing type of Israel from chapter one, has to do with information that continues and completes the story. Both chapters together provide the complete history of Israel, extending from the time of the nation’s inception during Moses’ day (after Moses had appeared to his people a second time) to the time of the nation’s restoration when the One greater than Moses reappears (after Christ appears to His people a second time).
Chapter two, in this respect, begins with events in that future day when God’s wrath upon Israel will subside and be brought to an end. And the remainder of the book, forming commentary material on chapters one and two, is in complete keeping with that seen in chapter one, the way in which chapter two is introduced, and the way in which chapter two continues and ends.
Most of the remainder of the book (chapters 3-9) has to do with events that will occur very near the end of God’s wrath being manifested toward Israel (which would relate to events in chapter one). God’s wrath during this time will be manifested in all its fullness. This will be “the time of Jacob’s trouble” (Jeremiah 30:7); and God’s wrath, during that coming day, will be manifested in such a full and complete manner that “unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved” (Matthew 24:22).
Then, the conclusion of the book (chapter 10) has to do with that day when God’s wrath will subside and will be brought to an end (which would relate to events in chapter two). Israel will be restored as the wife of Jehovah, a theocracy will once again exist upon the earth, and there will be a time of rest for individuals throughout the entire kingdom.
1) God’s Wrath During That Coming Day
God’s wrath upon Israel, resulting from Israel’s disobedience, has occurred down through the centuries, extending out into millennia. God’s wrath, in this respect, can actually be seen occurring at various times throughout the entire 3,500-year history of the nation.
But, as severe and intense as conditions through which Israel has been brought at times in the past may appear — e.g., conditions in Europe during the days of the Third Reich — “the great day of his [God’s] wrath” is yet future (Revelation 6:17). Israel is yet to pass through the most intense time of the nation’s sufferings.
Approximately three years following the end of World War II and the corresponding end of the Third Reich, a Jewish nation was brought into existence (reestablished) in the Middle East. The leadership of this new Jewish state during those days declared Israel’s independence on May 14, 1948, and a people who had not existed as a nation since 70 A.D. found themselves once again a nation among the nations.
This nation was, in a respect, born out of the Holocaust; and the Jews forming the nation, looking back on those days, together echoed (and continue to echo today) the same cry for all to hear: “Never Again!”
But Israel’s endeavors and cry in this respect — “Never Again!” — will prove to be in vain. Something similar will happen again. It has to happen again, for God’s wrath has yet to be appeased. And, according to Scripture, when it does happen again, past exhibitions of God’s wrath upon His people will pale by comparison.
A remnant of Jews is in the land, in an unrepentant state, without breath (without spiritual life [cf. Ezekiel 37:1-14]), prior to the time when God’s wrath is appeased. This remnant is there for a reason — to set the stage for the final, climactic exhibition of God’s wrath. And God will manifest His wrath upon Israel in that day, in exactly the manner described in Scripture.
God’s wrath will be manifested in this manner, at that time, because of Israel’s disobedience; and this manifestation of God’s wrath will be with a view to bringing about the goal toward which the whole of the exhibition of His wrath has been moving since Moses’ day — to bring Israel to the place of repentance, in order that the nation might realize her calling.
When Scripture deals with God’s wrath upon the Jewish people, events surrounding “the great day of His wrath” — which will occur at the very end of God’s dealings with Israel during Man’s Day — are invariably brought to the forefront. Almost every time that the subject is mentioned in Scripture, the end of the matter is brought into view. Then events continue from that point and carry the reader on into the Messianic Kingdom.
And the revelation surrounding God’s wrath in the book of Esther is a case in point. This is exactly the manner in which God’s wrath is dealt with in this book. God’s wrath is introduced through events in chapter one and His wrath is done away with through events in chapter two. Then, chapters three through ten provide commentary material for both chapters one and two. Chapters three through ten though only deal with one part of God’s wrath, a wrath that was introduced in chapter one and done away with in chapter two; and chapters three through ten, as well, end with events foreshadowing Israel in the Messianic Era, which is seen at the end of chapter two.
Chapters three through ten deal only with God’s wrath as it will be manifested at the very end of Man’s Day, in all its fullness, during Daniel’s unfulfilled Seventieth Week. And the emphasis is upon the last half of Daniel’s Seventieth Week, the last three and one-half years of the full seven years. It will be during these last three and one-half years that God’s wrath upon Israel will reach an apex, with the reason for this wrath ultimately being realized. And that which will ultimately emanate out of God’s wrath befalling His people is seen in the closing verses of the book, in chapter ten, with the Messianic Kingdom in view.
In the preceding respect, most of the book of Esther is solely about the last three and one-half years of the coming Tribulation, providing a wealth of information about that which will occur during this time. That’s one reason why the book of Revelation, which also deals extensively with this same period, must be studied just as much in the light of the book of Esther as in the light of the book of Daniel (along with numerous other books bearing on the subject as well [books in both the Old and New Testaments]).
And all of these books (Esther, Daniel, Revelation, and all other books bearing on the subject) end exactly the same way. They all end with God’s wrath ceasing, for the purpose and ultimate goal of His wrath will have been realized.
2) God’s Wrath Ceasing
God’s wrath will be brought to an end after Israel has been brought to the place where the Jewish people will have no choice but to call upon the God of their fathers. God will then hear, remember His covenant with the Jewish people through Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and turn His attention upon this nation once again (Exodus 2:23-25; 3:7ff).
That is what is portended in Esther 2:1 through Ahasuerus’ wrath subsiding and his remembering Vashti. It points to that future day, at the conclusion of “the great day of His [God’s] wrath,” when God will remember Israel.
Israel, through God manifesting His wrath in all its fullness, will be brought to the place of repentance. And that which is seen occurring throughout the remainder of the chapter foreshadows that which will occur after the purpose for God’s wrath has been realized.
God’s wrath will reach an apex and come to a climax after almost 3,500 years of Jewish disobedience, going all the way back to the time of the inception of the nation during Moses’ day. The bush that burned with fire, apart from being consumed (Exodus 3:2, 3), will then no longer burn. But the One residing in the midst of the burning bush (v. 4) will continue to reside in the midst of the nation (Joel 2:27), though apart from a manifestation of wrath. Rather, blessings will issue forth instead (v. 32).
The people of Israel will be brought to the place where they will do that which God has said that they must do; and God, in turn, will then do that which He has said that He will do. The people of Israel will humble themselves, pray and seek God’s face, and turn from their wicked ways. Then, when the Jewish people do this, they have the promise that God will hear from heaven, forgive their sin, and heal their land (2 Chronicles 7:14).
The solution for the whole of the existing Middle East problem (with almost daily skirmishes between the Arabs and the Jews, which affect the Gentile nations at large), from God’s viewpoint, is really that simple. Israel has to be brought to the place of repentance. This is what God, in His Word, has to say about the matter; and, accordingly, this is the only way in which Middle East peace can be effected.
And also, accordingly, where the Gentile nations of the world are concerned, the existing Middle East problem has a complexity beyond their ability to bring about any type solution. And the reason for this is inseparably connected with that which Scripture reveals concerning the problem. The same One who brought Israel’s present condition to pass (sick, from the crown of the head to the sole of the foot) is the only One who can effect healing. Scripture is very clear on this matter. No one can deliver Israel, aside from the One responsible for the nation being in this condition (Hosea 5:13, 14).
. . . I, even I, will tear them and go away; I will take them away, and no one shall rescue. (v. 14b)
And Scripture is also very clear concerning the fact that Israel is going to continue to be afflicted — God is going to continue manifesting His wrath upon a people whom He has made sick, because of their disobedience — until a certain revealed time. God states that the Jewish people are going to remain in their present condition, being afflicted, “till they acknowledge their offense. Then they will seek My face” (Hosea 5:15a). And this time of affliction will reach an apex and be seen in all its fullness at the very end of God’s dealings with Israel during Man’s Day (v. 15b).
In that coming day, during the affliction that the Jewish people will undergo as they pass through the Great Tribulation, Israel will be brought into such dire straits that the nation will have no choice other than to acknowledge and say,
Come, and let us return to the LORD; for He has torn, but He will heal us; He has stricken, but He will bind us up.
After two days He will revive us; on the third day He will raise us up, that we may live in His sight. (Hosea 6:1, 2)
After the full two days, the full 2,000 years of the Jewish dispensation (seven years yet remain), the nation is going to “return to the Lord.” Then, the One who “has torn . . . has stricken” will provide healing, with the nation being raised up to “live in His sight.”
Events surrounding Esther being crowned queen foreshadow events surrounding Israel being restored, as the wife of Jehovah, within a theocracy. This, as seen in the type in Esther, will occur only after God’s wrath has ended; and, as seen in other types and other portions of Scripture, God’s wrath will end only after Israel has been brought to the place of repentance.
God, through Israel, following the nation’s restoration, will bring two things to pass concerning man that He set forth at the very beginning of His Word: (1) man’s creation, for a purpose; and (2) man realizing that purpose in a certain manner.
Man was created for regal purposes. Man was created to rule and to reign. Satan, the incumbent ruler over the earth, had disqualified himself; and man was created to rule the earth in Satan’s stead.
Then, the manner in which man was to rule the earth had to do with how God had created man.
Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion [‘and let them rule’] . . . .”
So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.
Then God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion [‘and rule’] . . . .” (Genesis 1:26a, 27, 28a)
(The Hebrew word translated “dominion” in Genesis 1:26, 28 is radah, meaning “to rule.” This is the same word used of Christ’s coming rule after the order of Melchizedek in Psalm 110:2 — “. . . Rule in the midst of Your enemies!”)
God did not create man to rule alone. Rather, God created man a dual person physically, a two-part being, male and female. The woman was created in the man; then God put the man to sleep, opened his side, and from this opened side God took a part of the man (a rib) which He then used to bring the woman into existence.
God formed the woman from a part of the man; and, though a separate entity, she was bone of his bones, and flesh of his flesh (Genesis 2:21-23). Since the woman was formed from and is identified with the man in this manner, a man, apart from a woman, is an incomplete being. A woman, when united with a man (the marriage relationship), completes that man.
This is a principle, set forth in the opening two chapters of Genesis; and the matter has its basis in man’s creation, for purposes surrounding regality — “. . . let them [the man and the woman together, forming one complete person] have dominion [‘let them rule’] . . . .”
And the whole of the matter is at the center of that seen in the marriage relationship today and that to which it points. This relationship brings a man and woman together in a manner that forms one complete person. And the two who form this one complete person are seen in Scripture foreshadowing the union between Christ and His wife yet future (Ephesians 5:22-32; cf. Hebrews 2:10), following both the procuring of a bride and the marriage which will follow.
And the bride being procured (through the work of the Spirit during the present dispensation) and the marriage that will follow (through the work of the Son yet future) has to do with regality, which has its basis in that which God brought to pass in the opening two chapters of Genesis. As it was with the first man and his wife, so will it be with the second Man and His wife.
With all of this in view, apart from taking certain things into account, it could only appear strange to see the biblical pattern surrounding rulership being followed in a pagan Gentile kingdom in the book of Esther. This was a kingdom ruled by those who would neither know nor give thought to biblical principles that God had established.
Why would there be both a crowned king and a crowned queen in this pagan Gentile kingdom (showing, through a union of this nature, that they exercised regality together)? This was not just a regal system that closely approximated that which God had established; rather, this was a regal system that was in exact accord with that which God had established.
There can be only one answer concerning why Ahasuerus’ kingdom had been established in this manner. And that answer is found in God’s sovereignty. God, in His sovereign control of all things, saw to it that even this pagan Gentile kingdom had previously followed the biblical pattern, which was to be resumed in the kingdom following Vashti being removed from her position. And God brought matters to pass in this manner so that He could, at a later point in time, take these events in history and use them to teach His people deep spiritual truths relative to the nation of Israel.
There can be no biblically correct rule by man in the kingdom of men, relative to this earth, apart from a husband-wife relationship. Man cannot rule alone, apart from the woman. He has to rule as a complete being, with the woman completing the man.
But, though man can presently follow the biblical order concerning how he is to rule, man is not really in a position to rule today. Man, at the time of his creation, was commanded to rule. But, following man’s fall, this was not the case at all. Note the difference in the command given to Adam and Eve preceding the fall (Genesis 1:26-28) and the command given to Noah and his sons (which would include their wives) following the fall (Genesis 9:1). The command to rule is in the former setting alone (the command to Adam and Eve), for man, following the fall, was in no position to rule.
However, God provided a way whereby a nation could be brought into existence during Man’s Day that could exercise regality in the kingdom of men. This had to do with Israel, ruling within a theocracy; and there had to be a Husband-wife relationship between God and Israel within the theocracy, in exact accord with that which had previously been established in the opening two chapters of Genesis (ref. chapter 2 in this book).
And God has provided a way in which Israel can one day be restored as His wife, within a theocracy; and He has also provided a way in which His Son can, at the same time, possess a wife and, with His wife, rule the theocracy. The former is the central subject of the book of Esther, and the latter is the central subject of the book of Ruth. And revelation in both books moves toward one end — bringing these things to pass.
According to Esther chapter two, the day is coming when God’s wrath will be brought to an end, God will remember Israel, and Israel will once again occupy the nation’s proper place in a restored theocracy. The nation will wear the“royal crown,” and the Messianic Era will be ushered in.
This will be a time of rest — the Sabbath rest awaiting the people of God, following six days of God’s redemptive work — and blessings will then flow out through Israel to the nations of the earth (cf. Esther 2:17, 18; Hebrews 4:4-9).
Mordecai, Seated in the King’s Gate
. . . then Mordecai sat within the king’s gate.
In those days, while Mordecai sat within the king’s gate . . . . (Esther 2:19b, 21a)
“Seated within the gate,” and “possessing the gate,” form expressions that Scripture uses to call attention to an exercise of power and authority. The thought has to do with exercising control over that (a people or a territory) to which the gate leads.
Those “seated within the gate” of a city, for example, conducted legal transactions for those in the city, similar to legal transactions carried out in a modern-day courthouse; and, individuals occupying positions of this nature exercised governing power among the people (cf. Genesis 19:1; 22:17, 18; 24:60; Ruth 4:1ff)
Mordecai, at the same time Esther was wearing “her royal crown” within the palace, was seen seated “within the king’s gate” outside the palace. Governmental control in the kingdom is seen in the antitype through viewing the complete word picture that Scripture sets forth, using both instances. Esther’s position as crowned queen has to do with one facet of the matter, and Mordecai’s position at the king’s gate has to do with the other.
Mordecai, seated within the king’s gate, is seen bringing a matter to pass through Esther. A plot against the king by two of the king’s officials was made known to Mordecai. Mordecai then made the matter known to Esther, who “informed the king in Mordecai’s name.” An inquisition was conducted, the matter was found to be correct, and the two men who had plotted against the king were impaled on a tree [gallows] (vv. 21-23).
In that coming day, when God restores Israel, the whole of that seen in the positions occupied by Esther and Mordecai will be seen in the position that the nation will hold. Israel will be the restored, crowned wife of Jehovah; and Israel will find herself seated in the King’s gate, possessing the gate of the enemy.
Israel will be placed at the head of the nations, exercising governmental control over all the Gentile nations. Israel, in that day, will be “a peculiar treasure” to the Lord, “a kingdom of priests and an holy nation” (Exodus 19:5, 6). And, as Israel occupies this position, with blessings replacing past curses, the Gentile nations will be blessed through the crowned wife of Jehovah.
This will be the day when the one sick “from the sole of the foot even to the head” will be healed, along with restoration provided for the “desolate” land covenanted to Israel through Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (Isaiah 1:5-27). This will be the day when that revealed to Isaiah concerning “Judah and Jerusalem” will come to pass:
Now it shall come to pass in the latter days that the mountain of the LORD’S house shall be established on the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow to it.
Many people shall come and say, “Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob; He will teach us His ways, and we shall walk in His paths.” For out of Zion shall go forth the law and the Word of the LORD from Jerusalem.
He shall judge between the nations, and rebuke many people; they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore.
A “mountain,” used in the preceding respect in Scripture, signifies a kingdom (cf. Daniel 2:34, 35, 44, 45; Matthew 16:28-17:5). And “the house of the God of Jacob” is, textually, a clear reference to the house of Israel, following deliverance from the prophesied desolation having previously befallen the nation, because of disobedience (cf. Daniel 9:27; Matthew 23:37-39).
The picture in Isaiah 2:2-4 is that of a restored nation — restored Israel (seen restored at the end of the preceding chapter) — in a restored theocracy, during the Messianic Era. Israel is seen occupying a position at the head of the nations, all things having to do with the Word of God are seen emanating from Jerusalem, and peace is seen existing worldwide.
This is the biblical picture of Israel in the Messianic Era, and exactly the same thing is seen from another perspective in Isaiah chapter six:
In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lifted up, and the train of His robe filled the temple.
Above it stood the seraphim . . .
And one cried to another and said: “Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts; the whole earth is full of His glory!” . . .
So I said: “Woe is me, for I am undone! Because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts.”
Then one of the seraphim flew to me, having in his hand a live coal which he had taken with the tongs from the altar.
And he touched my mouth with it, and said: “Behold, this has touched your lips; your iniquity is taken away, and your sin purged.” (Isaiah 6:1, 2a, 3, 5-7).
Uzziah was a leper, who had become leprous through disobedience (2 Chronicles 26:16ff). Uzziah, in this respect, typifies Israel, who became sick through disobedience. And Uzziah’s death, bringing an end to his condition, foreshadows that future day when Israel will be healed.
Israel’s healing is further dealt with in verses six and seven. Isaiah, penning this account, dwelt among a nation of unclean people. And, in this condition, they could not properly look upon “the King, the LORD of hosts” (v. 5).
But cleansing for the nation is prophesied (seen in vv. 1, 6, 7). And, in that coming day, the Lord, in relation to the earth, will be seated “on a throne, high and lifted up”; and the whole earth will be “full of His glory” (vv. 1, 3).
And this same scene is repeated, in different ways, over and over throughout the Old Testament prophecies. The book of Esther provides one way, the referenced passages from Isaiah provide two other ways, and the numerous other places in the Old Testament provide other ways.
Then, the whole of God’s revelation surrounding the matter presents the complete picture — a word picture, presented exactly as God would have man see Israel’s future destiny.