Bible Insights

Esther’s Petition

Psalm 177 from Beyond Psalm 150

In addition to Mordecai’s psalm-like prayer, the expanded version of the book of Esther also records Esther’s psalm of petition.

In it she humbles herself, confesses the sins of her people, and respectfully pleads for God’s deliverance.

O my Lord, you alone are our king. Help me. I am destitute, and have no helper but you, for my danger is near at hand. I have heard from my birth in the tribe of my kindred that you, Lord, took Israel out of all the nations, and our fathers out of all their kindred for a perpetual inheritance, and have done for them all that you have said.

And now we have sinned before you, and you have delivered us into the hands of our enemies, because we honored their gods. You are righteous, O Lord.

But now they have not been content with the bitterness of our slavery, but have laid their hands on the hands of their idols to abolish the decree of your mouth, and utterly to destroy your inheritance, and to stop the mouth of those who praise you, and to extinguish the glory of your house and your altar, and to open the mouth of the Gentiles to speak the praises of vanities, and that a mortal king should be admired forever.

O Lord, don’t surrender your sceptre to those who don’t exist, and don’t let them laugh at our fall, but turn their counsel against themselves, and make an example of him who has begun to injure us.

Remember us, O Lord! Manifest yourself in the time of our affliction. Encourage me, O King of gods, and ruler of all dominion!

Put harmonious speech into my mouth before the lion, and turn his heart to hate him who fights against us, to the utter destruction of those who agree with him.

But deliver us by your hand, and help me who am alone and have no one but you, O Lord.

You know all things, and know that I hate the glory of transgressors, and that I abhor the bed of the uncircumcised and of every stranger.

You know my necessity, for I abhor the symbol of my proud station, which is upon my head in the days of my splendor. I abhor it as a menstruous cloth, and I don’t wear it in the days of my tranquility.

Your handmaid has not eaten at Haman’s table, and I have not honored the banquet of the king, neither have I drunk wine of libations.

Neither has your handmaid rejoiced since the day of my promotion until now, except in you, O Lord God of Abraham.

O god, who has power over all, listen to the voice of the desperate, and deliver us from the hand of those who devise mischief. Deliver me from my fear.

Esther 4:31–47 (GNTA)

Reflections on Esther’s Petition

Again, we see the example to pray first and then act. This is what Esther did, and Yahweh answered her request. Still, Esther had to do her part too.

Reading the rest of the book of Esther confirms that she did not merely pray and then sit back to wait for God to act. She prayed and then took bold action, even at the risk of execution.

Does our understanding of God expect him to do all the work?

Are we willing to do what we can and trust God with what we can’t?

May we place our trust in God for our future and our fate.

Explore the other psalms—sacred songs of praise, petition, and lament—scattered throughout the Bible in Peter’s book Beyond Psalm 150.

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices.

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