Jerry C. Brewer
In a chronological study of the Jews’ restoration to their land, it is at the end of Ezra, chapter 6, that the story of Esther takes place. When Queen Vashti refused to obey her husband’s command to expose herself to his nobles at a drunken feast, he removed her as queen (Esther 1:19-21). Thus begins the book of Esther in which the name of God is not found, but which has His hand on every page.
Esther is probably the greatest example in all the Bible of the providence of God at work. One may think a thing is a result of God’s providence, but that can never be known for certain until and unless God reveals it to him. When Esther became Queen of Persia, following Vashti’s removal (Esther 2:17), her guardian and cousin, Mordecai, pleaded with her to use her influence with the king to save the Jews from the extermination that Haman the Agagite had planned for them. When she hesitated in answering his request, he asked, “Who knoweth whether thou art come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” (Esther 4:14). He did not confidently assert that God placed her on the throne for that purpose, but merely inquired whether this could be the working of providence—something no man knows unless God reveals it.
One example from the New Testament indicates the providence of God can be known for certain, only if God reveals it to man. That was the storm which carried Paul and the others across the Mediterranean Sea on the way to Rome. That was providential and Paul so stated because God told him it was (Acts 27:18-25).
So it is with the book of Esther. The providence of God was working to save his people through natural and political means, though He never explicitly revealed that to man. That He still rules in the kingdoms of men through His providence could not be made any clearer than in the book of Esther, the story of the Persian queen, who was a Jew and saved her people.