J.E.F. of Shemen Sasson writes about a curious turn of phrase in the book of Esther:
“For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place—but you and your father’s house will perish. Who knows whether you have attained royal status for such a time as this?” (Esther 4: 14 )
What “other place”?
Esther is one of the most mysterious books in the Bible. Though it does not mention the name of God, His providential oversight is clearly seen. It is not a coincidence that Esther’s name comes from the Hebrew verb “to hide”. Indeed, many identities and mysteries are concealed in the book, including that of Esther herself. The writer however gives us clues throughout the story by using “exact phrases” from other parts of scripture. Those phrases anchor the story to related events in Scripture. Some of those include.
The bitter cry of Mordechai (Esther 4:1) and the bitter cry of Esau, grandfather of Amalek. (Gen 27: 34).
The use of the phrase “On that night”, occurred in the week of Passover, (Esther 3:12) On that night the King Ahasuerus could not sleep, (Esther 6:1), and the plans against Mordechai to be hanged on a tree were reversed.
But in this short article, I want to focus on one unique phrase spoken about the deposed Queen Vashti, “give her royal status to another who is more worthy than she.” (Esther 1: 19). This is almost the exact Hebrew wording, in feminine form, of the words of Samuel to King Saul, “Adonai has torn the kingship over Israel from you today and has given it to your neighbor who is better than you.” (1 Samuel 15: 28)
Does the writer want us to remember Saul?
Saul, the son of Kish of the tribe of Benjamin lost the kingdom because he did not wipe out the Amalekites, saving the life of Agag the king! Now Esther (Hadassah) a royal descendant of the house of Kish has been elevated to the kingdom for such a time as this. What time? The time when Haman the Agagite descendent of Amalek, attempted to annihilate the Jewish people. Esther, a descendent of Kish from the tribe of Benjamin came to the kingdom for such a time. I won’t delve into the reasons that one from Benjamin had to do this work; that can be saved for another time.
But here’s a compelling question:
What did Mordechai mean when he said,
“Deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place—but you and your father’s house will perish?”
Mordechai was not referencing Esther’s father directly; he was speaking of the house of her father, and the book makes clear that this is the House of Kish – the House of Saul Her father’s house was the other royal line in Israel. Esther and Mordechai are given the responsibility to redeem a mistake made generations before. Amalek must be destroyed, and the tribe of Benjamin must do it! But if she refused, Mordechai prophesied help from “another place”.
That brings us to our original question. What other place? To what other royal family in Israel could he be referring? To the Lion of the Tribe of Judah! If Esther could not or would not, I believe that the King Messiah himself would have come to deliver His people Israel. Be encouraged, there is a place and person of refuge, Yeshua, the Savior. He has defeated the enemy, and He will deliver you!