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Covenant-Keeping God


Even though the book of Esther doesn’t directly use the name of God, Yahweh, it reveals much about His character. Specifically, it illustrates His intention and ability to keep His promises. In verse 1, the main antagonist is introduced: Haman, the Agagite. Haman was elevated by the king to a seat higher than all the other nobles.

Haman’s introduction comes right when the reader would assume to hear about the reward of Mordecai. This sudden reversal of fortune further highlights the injustice done to Mordecai.

In a Hebrew narrative, the initial trait(s) used to describe a character foreshadow that character’s function in the story. Remember how Esther’s beauty was called to attention in chapter 2, verses 5–7? Here, we learn that Haman was an Agagite. Agag was the king of the Amalekites at the time of Saul (1 Samuel 15). For centuries, the Agagites had been violent enemies of the Jews. The original readers would have understood this.

With this knowledge, the Jewish readers would have held their breath when Mordecai stood up to Haman and would not bow before him—even at the king’s command (v. 2). They may have gasped when Mordecai revealed his Jewish identity in the court (v. 4). Those original readers certainly would have admired Mordecai’s courage.

And they would have recognized the conflict between Haman and Mordecai as a reflection of the longstanding conflict between themselves and the Agagite nation. Would God still uphold His covenant promises for the Jews living in exile—even when they had failed to keep their end of the bargain? The rest of the narrative will answer that question.

>> Do you ever find yourself doubting that God will fulfill His promises to you? Today, review the following verses that speak of God’s promises: Isaiah 40:31; James 1:5; James 4:7; 1 John 1:9. Hold on to these Scriptures right now and thank the Lord for His goodness.

BY Kelli Worrall

Kelli Worrall is Professor of Communications and Chair of the Division of Music and Media Arts at Moody Bible Institute. She is the author of two books, one of which she co-authored with her husband Peter. Kelli studied at Cedarville University (BA), Trinity Evangelical Divinity School (MRE), and Roosevelt University (MFA).  She enjoys speaking both individually and with Peter at events and retreats. They live in northwest Illinois with their two children.

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