Day 275: Esther becomes queen

Nehemiah 6:1-19 The Samaritans and other enemies of the Jews continued to agitate against Nehemiah and the building project, fearing the return of Judea as a regional power. Nehemiah persisted, and the workers completed the wall, acknowledging God’s assistance as the reason for their success. This continued enmity between Judah and Samaria would later be evident in the hostility these two groups had for one another in the time of Christ. 

Ch 7:1-72 After establishing a plan for guarding the city and attending its entrance gates, Nehemiah examined the records of the 50,000 or so exiles (cf. Ezr 2:1-67). Nehemiah took a strict line on who might be considered members of the people of Israel, as he was very concerned about establishing and maintaining the purity of the Jewish race. It did not take much for the Jewish people to fall into pagan religious practices on account of intermarriage with foreigners. 

Esther 1:1-22 Ahasuerus, a very autocratic ruler, governed an extensive, powerful, and wealthy empire. When his attractive wife, Vashti, refused his request to show off her beauty at his lavish banquet, he was enraged. His advisor suggested he essentially remove Vashti as queen and seek out another woman who was more worthy. 

Ch 2:1-23 Esther was among the virgin women brought by Ahasuerus’s men to become part of the king’s harem. He became infatuated with her and decided to make her his queen. Esther kept her Jewish identity secret, as Mordecai had advised; meanwhile, he uncovered another plot on the king’s life.

Proverbs 21:1 God is All-powerful and Almighty; he can move the human heart to conversion and influence the course of events according to his will. Though God leaves each person completely free, he can affect a change of heart. In reference to the “king’s heart,” the Church teaches that all civil leaders receive their authority from God, but they exercise that authority legitimately only when they rule in harmony with moral law and act for the common good. (CCC 269, 1472, 1898-1904)

(*The Didache Bible RSV-CE Ignatius Edition, 2006)

Prayer by Fr. Mike: “Father in Heaven we give you praise and glory. Oh thank you so much, Lord. Thank you for your Word. Thank you for this opportunity. Thank you for this community of people, God, who are journeying on this Bible in a Year. Thank you for their faithfulness. Thank you for, not perfection, but thank you for perseverance, perseverance so much more than perfection, faithfulness so much more than anything else we need. Oh God, thank you. Please receive our thanks in Jesus’ name. Amen.”