14th October 2016

A Threat of Courtiers 

“Then the king’s courtiers said to Mordecai, ‘Mordecai, why do you disobey the king’s command?’ Day after day they spoke to him, but he would not listen to them.”
(Greek)
Esther 3:3-4 (NRSVA)

Part of the rich fabric of the English language is our use of collective nouns. For, example, we talk about an ambush of tigers, a tabernacle of bakers, and a shuffle of bureaucrats. Do you know what you call a gathering of royal advisers? The answer is, a threat of courtiers! It brings to mind the intrigues and betrayals that often have surrounded the stories of kings and queens.

The story of Mordecai in the book of Esther illustrates this point. Ahasuerus, the king of Persia and Media, was so excited by his marriage to the beautiful Esther that he cancelled a payment of land taxes. Also, the king advanced Mordecai, the older cousin and foster-father of Esther, but this angered the king’s bodyguards so much that they hatched a plot to assassinate the king. This conspiracy came to the attention of Mordecai who told Esther, who in turn warned the king, who consequently had the conspirators hanged. Ahasuerus proceeded to arrange for a record of Mordecai’s assistance to be written up and placed in the royal library.

But the matter did not end there because, afterwards, a man called Haman became chief adviser to the king and he also resented the influence of Mordecai at court. Not only did Haman dislike Mordecai but so did the other courtiers. As we can see in the scripture above, these courtiers banded together and became a threat to Mordecai. Their plan involved entrapment. Not to obey a command to pay homage to the second-in-charge after the king, was tantamount to insulting the king himself. The courtiers knew that, for religious reasons, Mordecai would be unlikely to bow the knee to Haman. Therefore, get Mordecai to disregard Haman, and there would be grounds to have Mordecai imprisoned or executed. If you want to know what happened next, read the rest of the book of Esther.

We may not be royal courtiers but we all have a sphere of influence. How do we advise others? Do we get involved in conspiracies like a threat of courtiers does? Or is it, as the book of Proverbs counsels us, that, when we speak any word of advice, ours is like “the tongue of the wise” which “brings healing” (Proverbs 12:18)?

Prayer
Loving Father, help us please, not to conspire and to become a threat to others. Guide us in how to give counsel by bringing your healing presence into every situation. In Jesus’ name.
Amen
 

Study by James Henderson

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bible1About the Author:
James Henderson is the National Ministry Leader for Grace Communion International in the UK and Ireland.

Local Congregation:
You are welcome to attend any of our local congregations in the UK and Ireland. For details of your nearest local congregation, check on our website, www.gracecom.org.uk under the ‘Churches’ tab, or ring +44 (0)1858 437099.

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