You may think you could never have a good friendship with authority figures, but Esther's story proves that wrong. She was an orphan, raised by her older cousin Mordecai, in a foreign land, where they were captives brought in from Israel. Hadassah, known as Esther in this story, grew up respecting and admiring her father figure, Mordecai.
It seems they had a close and loving relationship, for when Esther was swooped up in a royal raid of all the beautiful young maidens in the land to live in the king's harem, Mordecai paced back and forth just outside the royal gates, to watch for any news of Esther.
In the harem, Esther quickly won the favour of Hegai, the eunuch in charge. He saw to it that she got extra beauty treatments and special food. In fact, each girl had to go through a twelve month beauty program before she even was taken to the king for the first time. Esther obediently cooperated and did as Hegai advised.
When each girl's turn came, she was allowed to take along to the king whatever she wanted. I suppose some took the equivalent of their favourite teddy bear, or wore a perfume they were sure would WOW the king, or some good luck jewelry. Esther took only what Hegai advised.
She did please King Xerxes. A lot. After that one night stand, she was crowned queen and moved to his concubines' harem. Here she was under the care of another eunuch, Shaashgaz.
Lest we think that getting along with all these authority figures shows Esther to be weak and pliable we need to read the rest of her story in the Bible.
Sitting at the king's gate, Mordecai over-heard a plot of the guards to overthrow the king. He got word to Queen Esther who reported it to the king. The king investigated it and disposed of the guards, but forgot to give credit where due.
When the wicked Haman tricked the king into signing an edict that would allow for the slaughter of all Jews on a certain date Mordecai sat in sackcloth and ashes by the gate, so Esther sent out clothes and food to him.
Mordecai asked Esther to speak to the king. Esther insisted on three days of intensive prayer first, and requested that all the other Jews in Susa should join in this fast too. Then she went to the King with a banquet invitation for him and also Haman. She invited them to a second banquet, where she perceived the timing to be right, and told her husband, the King, of Haman's plot to destroy all her people. Esther believed in action, but only when the stage was set and the timing just right. Even in her plea she had the respect of her husband/king.
We in turn, respect Esther for her humility, grace and discernment. Yet, becoming just like her may seem impossible to us. It shouldn't be, unless we try to be all that in our own strength and nature.
Humility is gained by understanding the awesome sovereignty of God, and how small and dependent we are on His grace. Grace become part of our character when we forgive others as readily as we know God has forgiven us. Discernment grows in us as we learn to seek God's view and wisdom on every issue and with every person we meet. We just become more Christ-like - or, we have humility, grace and discernment just like Esther.
Yes, it is possible to have a unique type of friendship with the authority figures in our lives.
[Note: if you missed any articles in this series of article on Friendships in the Bible, and want to read them, you'll find them all linked from this index which is about Friendship]
My novel, Ruthe's Secret Roses, and this related site have a Friendship theme. By getting to know and follow around the heroine, Ruthe, you can learn a lot about friendships, and that there is one that is the golden key to enriching all your other friendships and making them more satisfying. The site is more like a perfumed poupouri of articles and pages on that theme, and I've started a series on the friendships we observe in the Bible and what practical insights we can gain for our own friendships by thinking about them
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Ruth Marlene Friesen
The Responsible One
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Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada