The Book of Esther is the one of two books in the Bible that have no explicit message about God and his existence, the other being Song of Solomon. It mentions no reference of the existence of God, although it does allude to religious traditions that exemplify certain aspects of that day. For example, Esther fasts for three days before approaching the king in her need, which is an element of religion that we can safely assume means that the Jews were very much about the worship of God.
Esther was born in a time where women were not treated as equals to men – it’s clear that culturally, women were not as held in high regard as men. Consider why Esther become queen in the first place; queen Vashti, her predecessor, was exiled because of her refusal to go before the king. The king had put on a seven day banquet, and was intent on showing off his wife and her beauty to all of his guests – but Queen Vashti refused.
In some texts, Queen Vashti was considered to be a forerunner of feminism, because of her refusal to stand before the king. To be fair, we really don’t know the reason Queen Vashti didn’t come when beckoned; it could have very well been that she was trying to make a point, or because she felt like she was being objectified and was frustrated, or even because, as one of my co-workers put it, maybe she was just busy. The Bible references that Queen Vashti also put on a seven day banquet for the women, so to think that perhaps she was extremely busy does not seem to me a far-fetched explanation.
Nevertheless, this is just one of coincidences that appear in the story of Esther. In a story that includes a plot of royalty, murder, refugees and scandal, many different pieces had to have come together for Esther to save her people.
Bit of a background – Esther was the cousin of the a Jewish refugee named Mordecai, who earned her right to be the king’s wife because of her good looks. Mordecai happened to be in the right place at the right time to hear of a plan to kill the king, and ended up saving his life. The king happened to be reading records one night and was reminded of Mordecai’s heroic acts, which ended up being the catalyst for the event that would eventually crown Mordecai as prime minister. Esther’s position as queen would enable her to go and speak with the king and plead on behalf of her people, the Jews (one of the king’s men thought a genocide would be a good idea, and for some reason the king agreed). You can find the full story in the book of Esther; but the main thing I wanted to get across is how many small things must have been woven together to create the grande finale.
I’m not sure why God is not mentioned explicitly in this book of Esther – maybe it’s to show that reader than even without acknowledgement, God still moves mightily and in the simplest of acts. This is what I like about the story of Esther. There are so many small pieces of the puzzle that needed to come together for the right moment at the right time.
God is big and grand majestic yes, but perhaps He is just as involved with the inner working of our lives – even when we don’t see it.