Blessed is the man who finds Wisdom,
the man who gains understanding,
for she is more profitable than silver
and yields better returns than gold.
She is more precious than rubies;
nothing you desire can compare with her.
Long life is in her right hand;
in her left hand are riches and honor.
Her ways are pleasant ways, and all her paths are Peace.
She is a Tree of Life to those who embrace her,
those who lay hold of her will be blessed.
A woman of valor, who can find? Far beyond pearls is her value.
Her husband's heart trusts in her and he shall lack no fortune.
She repays his good, but never his harm, all the days of her life.
She seeks out wool and linen, and her hands work willingly,
She is like a merchant's ships; from afar she brings her sustenance.
She rises while it is still nighttime, and gives food to her household and a ration to her maids.
She considers a field and buys it; from the fruit of her handiwork she plants a vineyard.
She girds her loins with might and strengthens her arms.
She senses that her enterprise is good, so her lamp is not extinguished at night.
She puts her hand to the distaff, and her palms support the spindle.
She spreads out her palm to the poor and extends her hands to the destitute.
She fears not snow for her household, for her entire household is clothed with scarlet wool.
Bedspreads she makes herself; linen and purple wool are her clothing.
Well-known at the gates is her husband as he sits with the elders of the land.
Garments she makes and sells, and she delivers a belt to the peddler.
Strength and splendor are her clothing, and smilingly she awaits her last day.
She opens her mouth with Wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.
She anticipates the needs of her household, and the bread of idleness, she does not eat.
Her children rise and celebrate her; and her husband, he praises her:
"Many daughters have attained valor, but you have surpassed them all."
False is grace, and vain is beauty; a God-fearing woman, she should be praised.
Give her the fruit of her hands, and she will be praised at the gates by her very own deeds.
Isn't this a beautiful hymn? This hymn is from the Old Testament but the description of this model woman, who is a devoted wife and mother, is so appropriate. Think of how many marriages would be saved if we women followed the example set by the matriarchs Sarah and Rebecca.
Drama, power, romance, intrigue--this is the stuff of which best-selling novels are made. But far from a modern piece of fiction, those words describe a true story, lived and written centuries ago. More than entertainig reading, it is a story of the profound interplay of God's sovereignty and human will. God prepared the place and the opportunity, and his people, Esther and Mordecai, chose to act.
The book of Esther begins with Queen Vashti refusing to obey an order from her husband, King Ahasuerus. She was subsequently banished and the search began for a new queen. The king sent out a decree to gather together all the beautiful women in the empire and bring them into the royal harem. Esther, a young Jewish woman, was one of those chosen to be in the royal harem. King Ahasuerus was so pleased with Esther that he made her his queen.
Meanwhile, Mordecai, Esther's older cousin, became a government official and during his tenure foiled an assissination plot. But the ambitious and self-serving Haman was appointed second-in-command in the empire. When Mordecai refused to bow in reverence to him, Haman became furious and determined to destroy Mordecai and all the Jews along with him.
To accomplish his vengeful deed, Haman deceived the king and persuaded him to issue an edict condemning the Jews to death. Mordecai told Queen Esther about this edict, and she decided to risk her life to save her people. Esther asked King Ahasuerus and Haman to be her guests at a banquet. During the feast, the king asked Esther what she really wanted, and he promised to give her anything. Esther simply invited both men to another banquet the next day.
That night, unable to sleep, the king was flipping through some records in the royal archives when he read of the assassination plot that Mordecai thwarted. Surprised to learn that Mordecai had never been rewarded for this deed, the king asked Haman what should be done to properly thank a hero. Haman thought the king must be talking about him, and so he described a lavish reward. The king agreed, but to Haman's shock and utter humiliation, he learned that Mordecai was the person to be so honored.
During the second banquet, the king again asked Esther what she desired. She replied that someone has plotted to destroy her and her people, and she named Haman as the cuprit. Immediately the king sentenced Haman to die on the gallows that he had built for Mordecai.
In the final act of this true-life drama, Mordecai was appointed to Haman's position, and the Jews were guaranteed protection throughout the land. To celebrate this historic occasion, the feast of Purim was established.
Because of Queen Esther's courageous act, a whole nation was saved. Seeing her God-given opportunity, she seized it! Her life made a diference.
LIFE APPLICATION STUDY BIBLE
New International Version
There is a celebration every year in the Jewish community - Purim - which honors the courage of Queen Esther. I attended Purim and it was a wonderful experience - when the reader spoke the name of Haman, we were to "booo", "hiss", and "grrrr." Everyone was encouraged to participate then honor the Shekinah, the bride of God, which is done every Friday night. Everyone should visit many places of worship in order to experience the different ways of honoring God. There is more commonality than difference.