The theme of last week’s column dealt with legacy; what the older generation left behind for the younger generation. A fascinating study can be made when analyzing what type of legacy King Saul left for Queen Esther.
King Saul was told by God to eliminate the Amalekites because of their unending attacks on the Hebrew people. According to I Samuel 15:32-33, King Saul failed to follow through with the command. He allowed the Amalekite King Agag to survive and apparently other Amalekites which easily fled the battle. The Prophet Samuel later killed King Agag, but no one pursued the rest of the royal family. As a result, in his final battle, King Saul was killed by an Amalekite.
The Amalekites. Brutal. Vicious. The enemy tribe of God’s people relentlessly attacked Israel’s southern border by burning crops and homes and then stealing livestock. Children, especially infants, were murdered in front of their parents. The Amalekites often engaged with other nations to wage war against Israel. During the period of the prophet Samuel and King Saul, God had had enough of that terrorizing tribe.
Six centuries later, two descendants from King Saul were forced to have a confrontation with a descendant from King Agag. Relatives Mordecai and Esther were descendants from Kish, King Saul’s father. Mordecai and Esther’s family was taken into captivity by the Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar.
Later, the Babylonian Empire was taken over by the Persian Empire, but many Jews stayed in Persia instead of migrating back into their ancestry home land, according to the Books of Ezra and Nehemiah. Mordecai had evidently become one of the leaders of the Jews and had developed a respect from the Persian governmental leaders. Haman, who was a member of the council to the Persian Emperor, was a descendant of King Agag.
According to some Biblical scholars, Haman possibly developed a hatred for the Jewish people because of the past confrontation by King Saul against his ancestors. Haman was greatly agitated by the seating of Mordecai as an advisor in the capital city of Susa and had plotted ways to remove Mordecai from a place of leadership. Because Mordecai had revealed a plot to assassinate the King, Mordecai was greatly rewarded by King Ahasuerus, at the expense of Haman.
Infuriated, Haman built gallows in order to have Mordecai hung. To carry out this malicious scheme, Haman sought the favor of King Ahasuerus to massacre the entire Jewish population in order to rid himself of Mordecai, not knowing that Queen Esther, the beloved wife of the King, was a Jew.
Six centuries after King Saul failed to defeat the Amalekites, his descendant, Queen Esther had to implore the King for the safety of her people. A descendant of King Saul was in a face-to-face confrontation with a descendant of King Agag, as in the phrase, “history repeats itself.” Queen Esther began a prayer campaign for God to intervene on behalf of His people. She and her staff fasted and prayed inside the palace while Mordecai and the Jewish people fasted and prayed in their homes. Queen Esther’s request was granted. As a result, Haman was hung on the very gallows that he had constructed for Mordecai.
After the brutal confrontation, Mordecai was highly elevated into King Ahasuerus’s court and was given the property that had belonged to Haman. Queen Esther was elevated in favor with the Persian people because of her prayers and bravery.
Imagine what could happen when family members fast and pray for one another! No one family is perfect, but imagine what could happen when the older generation fasts and prays for the younger generation for guidance, wisdom, salvation and the favor of God. Although Esther had to redo what Saul failed to do six centuries earlier, that story became a great example of how prayer can open the door for God to intervene in the lives of our family; leaving them a legacy of prayer.
The Rev. Kitty Mills teaches Sunday School at Mount View Pentecostal Holiness Church in Claudville, Virginia.