Hanging on nothing? Although he didn’t have all the tools of modern science, Job understood that God “hangs the earth on nothing” (26:7). His infinite power keeps every planet, moon, and star in its appointed place (Col. 1:15–17).
How is the festival of Purim related to Esther? Today, the Jewish festival of Purim celebrates the Jews’ deliverance from Haman’s plot to kill them. His plot involved casting lots (“purim”) to gain the guidance of idols.
Delivering the mail in Persia. The Persian Empire may have had the world’s first postal service. Carriers rode on horseback to various stations throughout the empire, where they would deliver messages to other waiting carriers (8:14).
The invisible God. The book of Esther does not directly mention God, but his providential hand was clearly at work, as remains the case today all around the world.
Who is King Ahasuerus? The Persian king Ahasuerus is also known as Xerxes I. It was his army that fought against the Greek Spartans in 480 b.c. at the Battle of Thermopylae.
Absolute authority. Once the king wrote a law, it could not be overturned (1:19–20). But it could be modified by an additional law (8:8–9:1).
Persian drinking vessels. The Persians were famous for making elaborate, expensive drinking cups and vessels. In fact, no two were alike. When the Greeks crushed the Persian Empire, the Persian drinking vessels were among the most highly valued spoils.
Tobiah was not a priest, so moving his household furniture into the temple desecrated the area (13:5, 7). His presence in the temple also meant that one of Nehemiah’s fierce opponents had been given a luxurious home in the temple.
Dedications were ceremonies performed to consecrate something or someone for service to the Lord.
Why did the small towns of Judah send people to live in Jerusalem? In Nehemiah’s time, Jerusalem was only one-fourth the size it had been before the exile. No one wanted to live in a city without defensive walls. Once the walls were completed, however, the community leaders wanted Jerusalem to become a thriving capital […]