If we take the position, and we should, that the introductory words of the book of Esther, namely, “Now it came to pass in the days of Ahasuerus,” are God’s word to us that the events recorded in the book are fact and not fiction, and that all the incidents in the book happened in the history of this world, we will be able to say with the psalmist in Psalm 75:1, “Unto Thee, O God, do we give thanks, unto Thee do we give thanks: for that Thy name is near Thy wondrous works declare.”
On the other hand, if we consider the interesting story that unfolds in the book as nothing more than a story with a spiritual lesson in it, we cannot say that God’s name is near in the things written in the book, and that His wondrous works declare that name, For then the book does not speak of God’s works and of a real, wonderful deliverance.
Indeed, a superb story is told in the book. Everything fits so perfectly. The right turn of events happens just at the right time. It does read like a story book. It all runs so smoothly, too smoothly it seems, and too good to be true. Yet it is a true story and one that does declare God’s name in the wonderful works of God recorded in the book.
Now God’s name, we may say, is His self-revelation. It is all that which He reveals of Himself unto us. A man may make a name for himself. It may be a good name. It may be a bad name. God makes no name for Himself but reveals what His name is. He IS His name and eternally was that name. He is Elohim, the Almighty One, and Jehovah the I AM, the Self-sufficient One, the Sovereign One, the Unchangeable One, the Ever-Faithful Covenant God. And all this, and more, He reveals of Himself in His works, and in His Word which records some of these works.
When, however, I stated last time that God’s name is to be found in this book of Esther—which many deny—I did not mean that it appears in the sense of Psalm 75:1. I meant that the name Jehovah, His personal name, can be found literally in the book. For in Esther 2:6 we read of those “which had been carried away with Jeconiah king of Judah, whom Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon had carried away.” And that name Jeconiah means Jehovah is establishing. Strikingly enough, he is sometimes called Jehoiachin, which also means Jehovah is establishing. The only difference is that the element of God’s name Jehovah appears in the first part of Jehoiachin in the Jeho, while it appears in the last part in Jeconiah, in the iah, which is a contraction of the name Jehovah. Thus also we find in Psalm 68:4 that the psalmist exhorts, “Sing unto the Lord, sing praises to His name: extol Him that rideth upon the heavens by His name JAH, and rejoice before Him.” In that context JAH can be no one but Jehovah. And in the name Jeconiah the last three letters can refer only to Jehovah. And so, in the name Jeconiah, God’s name does appear in this book as surely as it appears in other books and names as in Isaiah, which means Jehovah is helper; Jeremiah, which means Jehovah is high; Elijah which means My God is Jehovah; Elisha, which means Jehovah is Savior and many such names ending in iah. And we may be sure that the Jews in the day of shadows, including Esther and Mordecai, recognized Jehovah’s name in these names ending in iah. And so as surely as we and our children recognize the name of God literally in such names (to mention only one of a whole series) as Godskind, a name found in the Wellington, New Zealand phone book, and no doubt in many other phone books across the world, and is a translation of the German name Gotteskind—the “i” in kind being short like in “kin,” not long as in “kine”—and means God’s child; and as surely as we and our children recognize His Son’s name in such names as Christchurch, Christian, and Christmas, so surely the Jews recognized it in Jeconiah. We often give it little or no thought, but God’s Son’s name is clearly there. And God’s name Jehovah is clearly in this book of Esther in that name Jeconiah.
Now Jeconiah came from a long line of godless kings in Judah. His father was Jehoiakim, whose name also means Jehovah is establishing. His grandfather was Jehoahaz, and of both his father and grandfather it is stated in Scripture that they did that which was evil in the sight of the Lord. There was one king who served God after the reformation in Hezekiah’s day, namely, Josiah, but among Jeconiah’s forebears were also wicked Manasseh and his son Amon. And Jeconiah’s name did not need to be included in Esther 2:6 to tell us why Judah was sent into captivity. Long before his reign we read in II Kings 23:26, 27 after the good reign of Josiah, “Notwithstanding the Lord turned not from the fierceness of His great wrath, wherewith His anger was kindled against Judah, because of all the provocations that Manasseh had provoked Him withal. And the Lord said, I will remove Judah also out of My sight, as I have removed Israel.” From that point of view his name could have been left out of Esther 2:6. God—as it were—slipped it in to leave a witness of Himself, but also to tell us something which in a moment I will make plain.
What is more, the inclusion of his name that includes God’s name belongs to the matter we considered last time. All things come out of God’s counsel. In that counsel God decreed that a king with this name would reign at the time of the captivity, and that the secondary author of this book would make mention of him when reporting of the captivity. Understand that a king on the throne at that time with a name like Rehoboam, Asa, Ahaz, Manasseh, or Amon, all names without God’s name in them, and all kings of Judah, would mean that if his name were recorded here in Esther 2:6 there would be no name of God found in the whole book. God saw to it that there was a reference to Himself in the book, in a unique way for a very significant reason. We, therefore, should not say that the name of God does not appear in the book. Instead we should say, for that is true, NO ONE in the book uses the name of God to speak to Him or of Him. There were some golden opportunities to use His name. There were times that demanded the use of His name to call upon Him in prayer and supplication as well as to render praise and thanksgiving. Instead there is the silence of the cemetery. And though unbelievers will not confess God, He sees to it that His presence is made known, and that for the good of His church as well as for His own glory.
And, really, what mockery that Jews in the day of shadows gave their children names that included God’s name when they themselves refused to confess Him. Why give your children names that reminded them of the God you want to forget? Why promote and hand down to your children the name of the God Whom you will not recognize or confess?
But consider that although it seems like such a little and insignificant matter in the whole book to have God’s name mentioned in the last part of a man’s name, and thus only in passing, we have here the very message of the book: Jehovah is establishing our salvation! He, Jehovah, appears here as only a pinpoint of light in some very dark clouds. But that little pinpoint of light breaking through these dark clouds assures us that behind all that happens, as recorded in this book: is the God of our salvation. He is behind it all, and through it all is establishing our salvation and preparing the way for our everlasting glory.
The element in Jeconiah’s name that can be translated as establishing, is translated 86 times in the Old Testament, as preparing. In fact it is translated that way more often than establishing. God is preparing our salvation, and is using wicked, unbelieving persons to do so.
Consider those dark clouds. There is a godless king reigning over one hundred and twenty-seven provinces, and that includes every spot on this earth where the royal seed of David lives, and out of which the Christ must come, if there is to be any salvation for us-. There is the king’s right hand man, Haman, who has his heart set on killing all the Jews in the realm. These are perilous times!
Then there is that gross apostasy among the Jews who will not use God’s name because they do not believe in Him. It is not only dark for the church, it is dark in that which still calls itself church. And though there was a remnant of believers in Jerusalem and Judea at this time, the books of Ezra, and of Nehemiah especially, reveal apostasy and gross wickedness. And we need that pinpoint of light to assure us that all is well. God is still on the throne and is constantly establishing His church and preparing her salvation.
One thing is sure, however. Even though men will not confess God and will not be faithful witnesses of Him, He is there and remains faithful to His promise and causes to come to pass all that which He in His Son promised to His church.
No matter, also today, what calamity strikes the church, He is there using that calamity for the good of His church. The calamity, the woe, the events that hurt and cut deeply into the flesh were not accidents. They did not occur because He was looking the other way. They were not due to a loss of control for the moment. These troubles all come out of His counsel and are sent in mercy and grace. Always, as is so evident in this book, God is establishing His church. Salvation is being prepared and will be prepared through all the dark days ahead. And we had better be very careful not to take the position that we know better than He does what it takes to establish His church and to prepare a full and free and everlasting salvation.
And we ought to train ourselves to see Him in “little” things as well as in big things, and rest assured .that He decreed the minutest detail in our lives and in the events in this history of this world. His Son declares, “Behold I come quickly; and My reward is with Me to give every man according as His work shall be” (Revelation 22:12). And it is only because we do not know all the details of what He must do to appear on the clouds of heaven, we are in danger of accusing Him of slowing down. Nothing is further from the truth. One of those details is that the measure of iniquity must be full (I Thessalonians 2:16 and II Thessalonians 2:1-4). As that measure is today being filled at a record pace, remember that God has not been dethroned, and in ALL things is preparing our salvation.
Find comfort in that truth, and in the truth that this book was not only written and included in the canon of the Scriptures, but that it has been preserved for us today—in spite of a host of enemies who desire to destroy it and us—in the end of the ages. Many there are, not simply one Haman, who would destroy the church and all the true doctrines of the Scriptures. If we do not go along with them, they are out to get us. If we do not join them and give women equality in the offices in God’s church, we will be accused of discrimination and our church doors will be closed, if indeed the churches themselves are not taken away and given to those who will teach man’s philosophies. All is being prepared to silence us and all who hold to the truth of the Word of God.
But read Esther 2:6 thus for your comfort, “Who had been carried away from Jerusalem with the captivity which had been carried away because Jehovah was preparing salvation and establishing His church.” And remember that truth in the days when the Antichrist will not let you buy or sell, in order to silence you and get rid of the church.