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The Queen Who Loves Her Country

Esther 1-10

Once upon a time, there was a little girl, named Esther, who was very obedient and pretty but she was unfortunate to be an orphan child without both parents. A relative brought her up. This couple did not have any children; therefore, they loved this girl very much. They took care, and please her as their own child. Quickly soon, Esther grew up and became a beautiful charming lady.

At one night, after dinner, this girl with her adopted parents sat and talked to each other. The family atmosphere was very peaceful and intimate, but there was something that made her father worried than other days. His wife was going to ask him to see what he was thinking, but he leaned over and mumbled to her: "Do you know what was happening in town today?" The wife was surprised and looked at him, she seemed as knowing nothing; so he continued: "This morning, the king asked his envoy ambassador to go in every city in the nation, find the beautiful ladies, and bring them to the palace for him to select one to be his queen!" After saying that, he glanced at the girl. The wife did so too, but no one said anything to each other.

The girl saw his mother acted strangely so she asked: "Why do you both look at me like that?" The couples were silent and did not answer. But Esther already understood because she heard the soldiers announced the royal proclamation this morning. She said: "Father and mother don't worry, the king's envoy ambassador won't bother me. I am not beautiful, moreover, I am an Israelite; It is not a chance that king Mordecai wants to choose an Israelite girl to be the queen!" Esther said that because she knew in the past that the Persians still looked down on Israelites. Listening to his daughter, the father shook his head and said: "No, I know my daughter is very pretty, but I hope that those people don't see you. To be saved, from tomorrow on, you stay in the house with your mother and don't go anywhere at all."

Even they had planned together so, but the father's worry became true. Esther obeyed her father, hidden carefully inside the house, but when the king's envoy ambassadors cam to that village and heard about her beauty; therefore, they came to her house and requested to bring her back to the palace. In the past, every time the king commanded, nobody would dare to disobey him. Therefore, they had to let their daughter go even though they felt sad. When they said good bye, the father said: "You should not forget two important things: should pray with the Lord everyday and don't tell anyone that you are an Israelite."

When Esther already left, the house became empty. The father also found the way to come to the palace with his daughter. Everyday he walked intended in front of the palace to ask for information about his daughter and know if she was fine. If one day he could not see or send news to his daughter, he was very sad. Sometimes Esther asked someone to send a message to her father so he didn't have to wait. She let him know that people worked in the palace and her young maids had treated her kindly. Even though there were hundreds of beautiful girls around her, Esther was prior treated and loved the most.

Quickly soon, a year had passed. During the year, Esther lived in the palace, prepared and waited but hadn't known the day to come into sight to the king yet. All that time, the king of Persia had arranged many parties to welcome many beautiful girls appeared to the king for him to choose, but there hadn't had any girl who made him satisfied yet. Until one day, there was a message to ask Esther to prepare to meet the king. She was afraid and worried; fortunately, her father outside the palace always sent her comfort and encouragement. After made up for Esther, her maids said: "You are very beautiful, the king definitely choose you!" But Esther didn't pay attention to those compliments, her mind only thought about her loving father waiting outside. Gold, jewelry, or the queen thorn did not make her happy. She only wish to come home, live near her parents, in a small house but it was filled with peace and love, as in the past.

Whatever supposed to come had come. That day, at exact time, Esther saw the eunuchs walked by the king's place to salute the king. The king saw that she had many special differences compared to all the other girls. Therefore, she was loved more and favor in front of the king. Finally, the king of Persia decided to choose Esther to be the queen. That news was transmitted very fast. Some people were happy for Esther, but others were jealous or sad because of their disappointment. In the wedding, the king took the queen's crown and placed on Esther's head; and after that, the party was established jubilantly everywhere to celebrate the king had chosen the right wife. On this occasion, the king exempted tax for his people and rewarded to the people who had helped the country. Even though became the queen, the beautiful girl didn't forget her loving father. Each day, father and daughter found way to send messages to each other to see if there was any way to help their people, who was Israelites.

After awhile, the opportunity had came so that this young queen had a chance to show her love to the people of her race. In the royal at that time, there was a prince named Haman. He was the kind of person who wanted fame and wealth and overbearing with everybody. Haman was promoted and given the highest seat above all the other princes. Therefore, he became much more overbearing. Every time he came to the palace, everyone had to bowed down and paid honor to Haman. Except Mordecai, who was the adopted father of queen Esther, didn't want to head down nor knelt down before Haman. Haman saw that, he was enraged and became hatred Mordecai. When he knew Mordecai was Israelite, he planned to harm the Jews who were living under the reign of king Ahasuerus.

One day, Haman came to see the king and said, "Your honor, there is a certain people dispersed and scattered among the peoples in all the provinces of your kingdom. This nation's has its own customs and do not obey the king's laws. It is not in the king's best interest to tolerate them. If it pleases the king, let a decree be issued to destroy them. Your honor only command it, and I finish the job." King Ahasuerus did not know the deep secret plan of Haman, so the king accepted to do as Haman's suggestion. Seeing that the king followed his plan, he was very happy. Right away he called for a meeting the princes together and told them to send couriers to go to every provinces in the nation, and commanded that: On the thirteenth day of twelfth month, Persians must destroy all the Jews, both young and old, little children and women, don't let anyone alive.

Heard that news, all the Jews who lived in Persia were frightened. They were fasting, weeping, and praying to ask God for help. Mordecai, Esther's adopted father, was also very sad and worry. He tore his clothes and put on sackcloth and ashes, and fasted. The queen saw her adopted father didn't wear clothes but put on sackcloth and ashes, she sent garments to cloth him but he would not accept them. Esther sent a eunuch to learn what and why this was. And the adopted father let Esther know the decree to destroy the Jews which was written by Haman .

Queen Esther loved her people and wanted to save them but she did not know how. She could not go into the inner court king whenever she wanted, because of the royal rules at that time, only when was allowed by the king or when the king commanded, then people could come to the inner court of the king. If anyone self-willed came to see the king, he/she could be put to death, no matters who he/she was, except when the king hold out the golden scepter; that meant a person was given special gift to be alive.

Yet queen Esther had not been called to go into the king over a month, but she needed to see the king now to ask him to save the Jews. She told her adopted father about the strict rules in the palace; therefore, she did not know what to do. The father asked the eunuch to answer Esther: "Do not think in your heart that you will escape from the Persians in the king's palace. For if you remain completely silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father's house will perish." Heard what her father said, queen Esther asked him to gather all the Jews who were present in Shushan to pray and fast for her. She and her maids also prayed and fasted for three days, night or day. After that, she would be self-willed and go to the king, which was against the law of Persia. She said: "If I had to die, I am willing to do it"

Now it happened on the third day, Esther put on her royal robes and stood in the inner court of the king's palace, across from the king's house. While the king sat on his royal throne in the royal house; when the king saw queen Esther standing in the court, the king held out to Esther the golden scepter that was in his hand. And the king said to her, "What do you wish, Queen Esther? What is your request? It shall be given to you--up to half the kingdom!" The king asked many times like that. So finally queen Esther saw that the king truly paid attention to her request, so she answered to the king and told him everything. She talked about the Jews were killed. She also told the king that she was an Jewish, she asked him to save the Jews.

When the king of Persia heard so, he asked: "who dared to command so cruel like that? Where is he?" Queen Esther pointed to Haman. And then the king punished Haman. In that day, he commanded to destroy the decree that Haman wrote to kill the Jews.

Queen Esther was ready to sacrifice her own life, her honor and the queen throne to save her people. For that reason, God helped her to save all the Jews but she did not have to sacrifice anything. From that day on, the thirteenth day of December, that day that all the Jews were supposed to be destroyed, had become a happy celebration. This holiday was called the Purim, and the Jews still honor it yearly to today.

QUESTIONS:

  1. What was the name of the girl who was chosen to be queen of Persia?
  2. What country was she used to be a citizen of?
  3. How did Haman planned to harm the Jews?
  4. What would queen Esther have to do to save the Jews?
  5. Did she save them? In what way?

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Written by Minh Nguyen
Translated by Ngo Ngoc Di



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