Good Morning Mummy Meditators (or good afternoon/evening if you are catching up later today!) and welcome to week six of our Esther study. This week has been an emotional one for me, as I’ve tried to step into Esther’s shoes and imagine what she was feeling during this verse:
“When Esther’s eunuchs and female attendants came and told her about Mordecai, she was in great distress. She sent clothes for him to put on instead of his sackcloth, but he would not accept them.” Esther 4:4
Something Awful had happened
We have jumped ahead in the story quite a bit this week. Last week we left on a high as Esther had been crowned Queen, and a big party commenced. But then a chunk of the story happened before we next saw Esther. Mordecai uncovered a plot to kill the King (a side-note really but crucial later on) and then we are introduced to Haman. Haman had risen in the ranks and it had kind of gone to his head. He liked it when people knelt down and honoured him, but Mordecai wouldn’t do so. We’re not told why exactly that Mordecai won’t do this – perhaps it is because he sees this as idol worship in a way, and like Daniel refusing to worship the king, Mordecai refused to taint himself by bowing down to anyone other than God.
Haman hears about this, and that Mordecai is a Jew, and gets the hump. He decides to deal with it by blowing it out of proportion and making it sound like the Jews are about to revolt against the King. The King acts appropriately and wants to quell any potential revolution, so allows Haman to issue and edict to kill all the Jews.
grief kicks in
So perhaps we read out meditation verse and thought Mordecai was over-reacting – verse 1 of chapter four says this:
“When Mordecai learned of all that had been done, he tore his clothes, put on sackcloth and ashes, and went out into the city, wailing loudly and bitterly. ” Esther 4:1
But if you knew that yourself and all of your friends/family/relations (even if you didn’t have many) were going to be mass-murdered in a few days, what would you do????! Would you carry on going to work? Would you smile cheerfully as you carried on normal business? Or would you cry like you’ve never cried before? We deduced earlier in the series that actually it might just be Esther and Mordecai left from their family, and so Mordecai heads to the one person he wants to share his last few days with. Esther at the palace. Only he can’t get close.
“But he went only as far as the king’s gate, because no one clothed in sackcloth was allowed to enter it.” Esther 4:2
Just reading this makes my heart go out to Mordecai. It makes me want to hug him and make it all better. So can you imagine what Esther feels when she hears this?
separated from each other
Esther is in the palace and probably isn’t allowed to leave the palace grounds. Mordecai is outside the palace and isn’t allowed in the way that he is dressed. So Esther thinks of the easiest solution that will mean she can comfort her cousin – sending him clothes. Clothing is the barrier between them, and so she tries to fix that. When I read this story as a teenager I always thought she was ashamed of Mordecai for making a big scene outside her palace, but reading it again I see the compassion here, the ache to be with her last remaining blood family member. After losing her parents, it must have been agony not to be there with him. It says in the verse she was in “great distress” and I imagine she was inconsolable by her many servants and eunuchs. As nice as they may have been, they weren’t the one person she wanted to see in that moment.
In the Facebook Community we shared experiences of not being able to physically be with our loved ones during times of need. We said we might feel sad, frustrated and confused as to why our help had been rejected when it would have brought us together. We also mentioned possibly feeling resentful for the position that we were in that was stopping us from getting to our loved one – perhaps Esther also felt resentful that she was now Queen and now allowed the freedom to go outside and see Mordecai. If she had just stayed at home and not tried to become Queen they would have been able to spend those last few days together.
Overall, it sounds like it would have been a very confusing and heart-breaking time for the two of them, and the phrase “great distress” is a very simplified way to describe all those emotions going on. Lets try to remember the state that Esther would have been in as we come to next week’s verse.
From this place of emotion we now see Mordecai’s attempt to solve the problem, as we meditate on this verse:
“He also gave him a copy of the text of the edict for their annihilation, which had been published in Susa, to show to Esther and explain it to her, and he told him to instruct her to go into the king’s presence to beg for mercy and plead with him for her people.” Esther 4:8
I hope you will join in the conversation over in the Facebook Group, and join me at 8pm on Monday evening for a Facebook live discussion to kick off the week! You’ll also find the free phone lock screen over in the group tomorrow morning so you can keep the verse central during the week ahead.