Mark Driscoll and Esther: Rape apologism or real exegesis?

Mark Driscoll recently posted a heads-up about a sermons series he was starting, on the book of Esther for September 16. In it he gave several reasons why he was preaching on it and the framework by which he was going to preach. Over the course of his missive, which can be read here, he has said a few things which predictably raise some eyebrows. Specifically

Esther is painfully normal.…Her behaviour is sinful and she spends around a year in the spa getting dolled up to lose her virginity with the pagan king…Today, her story would be, a beautiful young woman living in a major city allows men to cater to her needs, undergoes lots of beauty treatment to look her best, and lands a really rich guy whom she meets on The Bachelor and wows with an amazing night in bed. She’s simply a person without any character until her own neck is on the line…

and

Esther has been grossly misinterpreted…Feminists have tried to cast Esther’s life as a tragic tale of male domination and female liberation. Many evangelicals have ignored her sexual sin and godless behaviour to make her into a Daniel-like figure, which is inaccurate. Some have even tried to tie her story in with modern-day, sex-slave trafficking…

Some people have called this intro a rape apologetic, while others  have defended the view. Me? I figured I would offer a thoughtful exegesis to see which of these is correct.  I will update this post once I hear the whole sermon, but I thought what little he has posted so far worth examining.

THE CAPTURE

First of all, what are the circumstances that brought Esther to the harem? Without any action on the King, Esther would not have been in the position she was in. Rather, because she was a beautiful virgin with a beautiful figure, probably between the age of 13-16 years old, she was “sought”, “gathered” and “taken” by the Kings officers and put into the palace under the custody of Hegai, the eunuch in charge of the harem.  These men would have spread throughout the kingdom, with the intent of bringing women to the palace to have a single night with the King. It is unlikely that a Jewish girl with Jewish sensibilities would have purposefully sought out to be in the King’s harem. From a historical perspective, women did not have a choice in the matter, and there was no right of refusal. The king took what the king wanted, and there was nothing she could have done about it, and would probably have had herself and Mordecai executed if she refused.

Now, it is theoretically possible that she did seek out to be a part of the harem, but that is unlikely, and that would be a conclusion we would reach only if we were ascribing to Esther the worst possible motives and character-slighting opportunism, a woman with a whore’s heart who intended to use her sexuality to gain power and prominence. We have no reason to believe that is the case. Instead, we see the King telling his officers “Go get me beautiful virgins” and they did that, regardless of what the women thought about it.

THE HAREM

Esther is taken into the harem where she would spend the next year going through an intense beauty regiment. She did not have a choice in this matter, and would not have been able to refuse participation. Somehow though, she managed to please Hegai and win favour. “And he quickly provided her with her cosmetics and her portion of food, and with seven chosen young women from the king’s palace, and advanced her and her young women to the best place in the harem. ” What specifically did Esther do to please Hegai? It doesn’t say. It would not have been anything sexual, as he was a Eunuch and he would have been tortured and executed if any impropriety was even suspected.  More than likely, she possessed and demonstrated personality characteristics that won him over, such as kindness, gentleness, intellect, humour, compassion, or some other indefinable quality. The fact is that we don’t know what it is, and so we don’t get to craft a hermeneutic based on assumptions.

After a year of this routine, a woman leaving that Harem would bring a gift to the King and spend the night with him. Because Esther found favour with Hegai over the course of their year together, he also advised her on what gift to take. Hegai would have been in a unique position to best advise her of the Kings desires and preferences. As a result, she brought only what Hegai told her to, and its safe to assume that what she brought would have been intended to maximize her impression on the King. After a woman spends a night with the King, he would typically not call on her again. She was not free to go home, or back where she came from- to her family and loved ones, but would be relegated to a different harem, where the women who were “used” went, and would have to remain there for the rest of her life unless the king called on her again.

WHAT WENT DOWN

“Now Esther was winning favour in the eyes of all who saw her….And when Esther was taken to King Ahasuerus, into his royal palace, in the tenth month, which is the month of Tebeth, in the seventh year of his reign,  the king loved Esther more than all the women, and she won grace and favour in his sight more than all the virgins, so that he set the royal crown on her head and made her queen instead of Vashti”

Now if we were following Driscolls framework and unwarranted presuppositions, up to this point Esther had purposefully sought out to join a harem, cajoled Hegai into helping her, and then once she had her night with the King she, despite her virginity and sexual inexperience, managed to capture his attention in ways that other had not by being “amazing” in bed, presumably by being sexually adventurous, extremely eager, and using her body in a skillful way.

That doesn’t make ANY sense culturally, historically or contextually. I think a detail worth noting and which may provide some clues to how the king was pleased is the phrase “”Now Esther was winning favour in the eyes of all who saw her.” Because she was lovely and beautiful and everyone who saw her saw something special in her, that news would have invariably reached the King. I think its a safe bet to say that he probably would have known at least something about her, or heard back a good report regarding her, from Hegai or Shaashgaz or somebody else. This demonstrates a pattern that regardless of the painful, strange,  disorienting and horrific circumstances Esther is going through, something exists in her spirit and actions that other people are able to connect to, and this would be something that the King would have noticed and have experienced as well.

In the case of Esther, she went into his bedchamber, they had sex, and over the course of their time together and probably in the year leading up to these events, something happened that endeared the King’s grace and favour towards her, to the point that he loved her more than all the women,  she became the queen.

REFLECTIONS

1. Driscoll says “Her behaviour is sinful and she spends around a year in the spa getting dolled up to lose her virginity with the pagan king  

I find this assessment to be bizarre and unsettling.  To quote Dave Kludt from his excellent blog here It ignores the narrative storyline clearly showing that Esther was taken, forcibly relocated and coerced into a place of physical and sexual submission by a drunken and despotic fool of a man who used power to get whatever he wanted.” . If a man takes you against your will with the purpose of having sex with you, that’s his sin, not yours. Could she have escaped? It’s extremely doubtful. The harems were highly guarded and impenetrable, but even if she could, she would have invariably been caught and executed. And even if she wouldn’t have been caught, but felt like she would and so chose to remain in the harem, that is not a sin. Its not a sin to choose to endure rape and sexual coercion over a slim possibility of escape. Furthermore, she’s not spending a year in a spa getting dolled up,  she is made to undergo what is essentially a pre-rape regiment for a year against her will. She can’t refuse.  Every time she soaks in myrrh spices she knows its purpose is to prepare her for non-consexual sex with a rapist who would have taken hundreds of women against their will both before her and after her. Did she enjoy the treatments? It doesn’t say. Did she come to enjoy them? It doesn’t say. We don’t read things into this, and for that reason we have no right to favourably compare it to something that is universally looked upon with favour.

2. Driscoll says” her story would be, a beautiful young woman living in a major city allows men to cater to her needs, undergoes lots of beauty treatment to look her best, and lands a really rich guy whom she meets on The Bachelor and wows with an amazing night in bed.

No. That comparison is sickening and ludicrous and has so many things wrong with it. First, she wasn’t “living in a major city”. She was somewhere, in the country or city, and then was taken into a fortress that she can’t escape in that city. Second, she is not “allowing men to cater to her needs”, she is put in a position where men must serve her in this manner or be tortured, and she must consent to their orders. Third, she  “lands a rich guy,” in the same way that a woman walking alone in the park is shoved into a van and gang-raped at knifepoint can be said to have “landed a guy”- two of them in fact. In fact that can be our new euphemism for sexual violence and kidnapping. “Did you hear about that girl? It was late at night…she landed a guy.” Fourth- “meets on the Bachelor”? Why do all of Driscolls language and ideas presupposes a purposeful choice on Esther’s part to be part of the harem? Women seek out to be on the Bachelor. Esther did not seek out to be part of a harem. Fifth “wows with an amazing night in bed”. This ignores the pattern of her ability to find grace and win favour with all the people that she encounters  over the course of her imprisonment via non-sexual means, and that this more than likely would have contributed a hefty portion of why the king found favour. Also,  the king would have had thousands of concubins at his disposal to copulate with, and so Driscoll boils down her ability to find favour with him as by being better in bed than those thousands. That was the source of her salvation and worth- the fact that she could out-maneuver and outperform everyone else sexually. She out-sexed them all!  That’s how he plays it, without considering that it may have been something else.

3. Driscoll says “Feminists have tried to cast Esther’s life as a tragic tale of male domination and female liberation”

I’m no particular friend of feminists and think the hermeneutic of female liberation is a terrible lens to read the Bible through.  But don’t we see a clear pattern of male domination? The man with the power uses his  soldiers to take women against their will and has sex with them. That is a man with all the power dominating and crushing the women who have no power. Its abhorrent.

4. Driscoll says “Many evangelicals have ignored her sexual sin and godless behaviour. “

Again, she only has sexual sin if you purposefully read into this the worst possible scenario and give her the worst possible qualities and characteristics. At face value, and at a deeper level, there is no sexual sin here. There is no Godless behavior. There is only self-preservation and strength by doing what must be done to survive, and faithfully enduring these evils that were foisted upon her so that God’s people might be delivered from the hands of their enemy.

CONCLUSION

Mark Driscoll has taken a woman who is brave, courageous, intelligent, a woman of character and virtue who flourished despite her oppression,  a living hero and example to many, one who has risked her life to save her people from genocide, and created a campaign of scorn, shame and slander against her. He has recast her in the most unflattering light possible with no reason to do so. In doing so he has patently either ignored or embellished details about her life and circumstances to sit his hermeneutic framework.

Not only that, but where is the Lord in all of this? The story of Esther has always been one of God’s sovereignty over the entire situation and his protection of his people. God saving them and keeping a remnant and protecting them against their enemies is a theme that we see over and over. Its not simply a case where a woman, through her own abilities and “unique skillset” saved a people, but rather that the Lord is always in the act and process of saving and preserving his people.  The fact that he reached down to a young woman in a despairing circumstance is  beautiful and powerful. Though God is not mentioned in this book, his divine providence and mercy is on full display. Is there any doubt that the Lord’s hand was on this woman? That he was guiding this all? I know Mark affirms that, and I’ll hold off judgement in that respect until the sermon series, but that seems to be curiously absent from this.

25 thoughts on “Mark Driscoll and Esther: Rape apologism or real exegesis?

  1. Hey Dustin, Do you think that this slant that Mark has put on Ester is that he is trying to make Ester into a story that proves or helps his egalitarian view of women.

  2. Its hard to know until I listen to the sermon, but because I think this is a quite novel interpretation [I have certainly never heard of if it before] my guess is that’s where he’s going with it. It will interesting to see how things play out, and i fully intend to do a follow up post to this, but i wouldn’t be surprised if he uses this to push that complementarian view of women. [Marks not an egalitarian]

  3. Mark is definitely not an egalitarian. Not even the smallest smidge of an egalitarian.

    I think what he’s doing is pointing to our depravity as humans and that God still uses it, in his providence. Mark likes to make characters in the Bible seem more like us. In some ways I appreciate that because we do like to elevate people in the Bible. In others, like this, I think he’s reading too much into it. I think it’s probably ok to assume some sin here, no one was perfect. You also have to remember this was during the exile where Israelites had an MO of confusing holiness with pagan rituals. I’m sure Esther was not a squeaky clean character, but I also think it’s really unfair to paint her as a conniving whore who just used her sexuality to get what she wanted. If you think about it, that is sort of what she did. The only reason the King allowed her in his presence was because she found favor in his sight, and let’s be honest, it was probably in part due to her beauty and womanly wiles.

    • “Mark is definitely not an egalitarian. Not even the smallest smidge of an egalitarian.”
      You’re right, he’s a sexist who seems to think women’s primary value is in how to sexually serve their husbands. He does seem to have a rather prurient fascination with that.

  4. There’s definitely the insinuation that Mordecai and Esther intentionally withheld information about her heritage (they were Jews living in the Persian empire), so that she could be in a position of influence:

    Esther 2:10:
    “Esther had not made known her people or kindred, for Mordecai had commanded her not to make it known. And every day Mordecai walked in front of the court of the harem to learn how Esther was and what was happening to her.”

    Esther 2:19-20:
    “Now when the virgins were gathered together the second time, Mordecai was sitting at the king’s gate. Esther had not made known her kindred or her people, as Mordecai had commanded her, for Esther obeyed Mordecai just as when she was brought up by him.”

    Scholars believe that Mordecai might have written the book of Esther, if she had been forced to join the harem, don’t you think Mordecai would have said that (if he wrote the book?). Instead, he seems to be giving himself credit for getting Esther into the position she was in.

  5. Colin, It seems a bit of a stretch to say that they intended to be in a position of influence, or that Mordecai “was giving himself credit” for getting her into the harem. The verses you reference could just as easily show how concerned he was for her (as he was a father-figure to her), and that knowledge of her Jewish heritage would put her at a severe disadvantage. The attitude towards the Jews wasn’t very friendly to begin with, so this instruction very well could have been given with the intent to keep her as safe as possible.

    Further, as the author pointed out, once she was in the harem, there was literally nothing she could do to get out of it. At that point, the only way to “get out” was to become the queen. If she didn’t, she would be relegated back to the King’s harem, or another harem, and who knows what she would have had to endure.

    • I’ll admit that I’m working off conjecture. I stated what the text insinuates and I’m willing to own the fact that I may be wrong. Have you done any research to back up your claims about the nature of the Persian harem? I can guarantee that Mark did his research, and that some of it came from multiple parties separate from the church. Can you say the same?

      • Colin, that is so silly and its clear that all you’re trying to do is defend Driscols ideas at all cost. You said, “theres definitely the insinuation that Mordechai and Esther intentionally withheld info about her heritage so that she could be in a position of influence.”

        How does the text in any way say that? With all the plausible reasons why she would want to hide her heritage, not the least of which would be fear of being abused and persecuted (remember how afraid she was to reveal to the King her true heritage in the end?) why would you come to the conclusion that it was “definitely insinuated” that she was just after power and influence? I mean, who in the world would take such liberties with scripture to try to make a point that they’d already decided on beforehand? Oh, wait… Thats exactly what Driscoll was doing… I guess it makes sense then.

        Also, from what evidence do you reach this conclusion that Driscoll has done extensive research from extra-biblical sources to reach his conclusion? It sure sounds like you’re just assuming that, in an effort to support a toppling idol. Harsh words perhaps, but i would say the same thing if someone from my church, upon hearing someone question the validity of our pastors claims, had responded like you did, “im sure he’s done his research, where did you do yours?”

        To suggest that paperthin needs to show the nature of this particular persian harem is laughable. How he describes the haram is the nature of all harem, throughout history.

        The whole point here is that Driscoll is adding to this story things the bible says nothing about, and making assumptions where the bible is silent. This is something no Christian should ever do, because when the bible is silent, the only words youcan add are your own.

      • Brandon, since this is happening in an online conversation, I want to state something that should be obvious and relevant: as far as I can tell, you and I are brothers in Christ. Your response to me lacks civility and instead of using sharp words of correction, you have chosen to call me names. Put plainly, you are assuming WAY too much about me and that makes it difficult to discuss with you. I’ll engage in this with you because I’d prefer to see us unified in the Holy Spirit instead of divided by assumptions and suspicion.

        I’ll start by saying I don’t have any desire to simply defend Pastor Mark for the sake of defending him. I’d like to clear the air a little bit and show that this interpretation that you’re ripping apart has some basis, but much of it is still interpretation, plain and simple. I’ll defend Jesus and what he has purchased for you and I to enjoy (namely, unity in the Holy Spirit). Your response to me buries your argument further in assumption and suspicion. You are not speaking out of love, and I’ll continue with you simply because I know Jesus has provided for a better relationship between believers.

        I work at Mars Hill Church as the Art Director. I’m not just assuming that Mark had an outside party involved in research I know it for a fact and with a little digging, you can read about it yourself:

        http://pastormark.tv/2012/06/25/11-ways-i-get-things-done

        (point #5 about research)
        and

        http://pastormark.tv/campaigns/esther

        (sign up to download sermon materials such as a brief from the research).

        I don’t know of a single bit of this research that perfectly clears up this argument. I just know that as I read the book of Esther, and look through the research, I get the idea that Esther’s place in the harem might have been in jeopardy if the king found out that she was a Jew. Otherwise, I’m not sure I understand why it is emphasized so much that both Mordecai and Esther sought to conceal her heritage. If it was simply a matter of both of them trying to save Esther’s life, then Mordecai might not have expected her to risk her life by asking the king to save the Jews.

        Regardless, the point is simple: even if they were concealing her heritage to save her life, then the direct result of that is that she is in a position to be the queen. I agree that it may be a stretch to cast Esther as a power-hungry girl who was willing to sin against God to satisfy her hunger for power. The funny thing is, I don’t think that’s how my church has characterized her, anyway. For the sake of comparison, Pastor Mark likened Esther to many of the women who live in urban contexts where Mars Hill has churches. He said that she is painfully *normal*. I’m not sure that constitutes slander against Esther or the word of God.

        I think you have to answer some questions:

        – Was it a sin for Esther to sleep with the king?
        – Can you prove that Jewish women were a part of the king’s harem?
        – What exactly has my church added to the book of Esther?

        Above all, my interpretation of Esther is based on reading and studying the book for myself. I have admitted that some of my interpretation is based on conjecture, and I offered you an opportunity to admit the same about your own interpretation. From that place, I think you and I can see that we are on level ground.

        Get down off the box of self-assurance and join me in a place where we can both see that there’s no way for us to know for sure some of the things we assume about this story. That’s precisely why I’m asking for any of you to substantiate your interpretation. If it is no more substantiated than my interpretation, then maybe you can see where the temptation to argue and bicker comes from. If this issue is as unclear as I suspect it is, then I think we have a reason to cut the vitriol and suspicion and walk in love for one another.

      • ” I can guarantee that Mark did his research, and that some of it came from multiple parties separate from the church.”

        Yeah. He asked his 15 year old daughter.

  6. Pingback: Mark Driscoll’s Bizarre World of Queen Esther the “Bachelorette” | The Wartburg Watch 2012

  7. Brandon, I’m not simply defending Pastor Mark. I apologize for not being clear about this from the beginning: I am the art director at Mars Hill Church.

    I’m not just *assuming* that Pastor Mark has done his research for this sermon series. I’ve seen it with my own eyes, and you can too:

    http://pastormark.tv/campaigns/esther

    (You can sign up to receive the research that was done for the series)

    http://pastormark.tv/2012/06/25/11-ways-i-get-things-done

    (look at point 5, it’s no secret that Pastor Mark pays for research to be conducted when preparing for the sermon series)

    I can’t say that I saw anything in the research that *concludes* that Mordecai and Esther intended to keep her in the harem, and that’s why they concealed her heritage. Their intent seems to be, quite frankly, a mystery. So, all we have is conjecture and it’s obvious that you and I interpret this book differently. So far, I see no research from your end of the debate. If you or others have done this research, I have an open mind about the issue of Esther’s intent.

    Brandon, there’s simply no reason to assume the worst of me. Unless I’m mistaken, you and I are brothers in Christ. He has done far too much to purchase unity between you and I. We shouldn’t get at eachother’s throats with suspicion and assumption.

    I asked if anyone here has research to make conclusions about Esther’s intent, and I still believe that’s a fair request to make. I don’t assume the worst of you, and I’m willing to learn from you if you’ve found something substantial to support your interpretation.

    Pastor Mark indirectly addressed some of the concerns raised in this article here:

    http://pastormark.tv/2012/09/13/was-esther-always-a-godly-woman

    As believers in Christ, we have the freedom to disagree about whether or not Esther was always a godly woman. I think that scripture insinuates that, at the very least, Mordecai and Esther were willing for her to remain in the harem if it meant she would keep her life. Even that is self-preservation and she did have to sin in order to continue with her role in the harem (sleeping with the king, etc…). Did she do anything essentially or egregiously different than any of us have done? No. As the original article states, she is painfully normal.

    At the end of the day, the most important question I think we need to ask is,

    “Who is the main hero in the story of Esther?”

    Where we go with answering that question has massive implications on what we believe about God and the role of his people in scripture. I believe that the main hero in the story of Esther is God. Even though his name is not mentioned directly, we see his sovereign hand working through clearly imperfect people. That he utilized Esther to this end is definitely an indication of Esther being chosen by God to develop faith and strength to stand up under an awful situation.

    Brandon, can you accept that your interpretation might be just as tenuous as mine? Or, can you show us some research that clears up the matter?

    • Colin, first let me address your critique of my tone and name calling.
      I do apologize for my use of a couple of those words that inflammatory and unnecessary. I should’ve been more careful in my wording, and for that I apologize. I did not, however, call you any names. I can assure you also that I do speak out of love, love for my fellow believers and love for the truth, and I have seen an enormous number of Mark Driscoll defenders pop up any time anyone says anything against their beloved pastor. You dont see this kind of thing with pastors like John Macarthur, RC Sproul, Al Mohler, Mark Dever, and I could go on and no. None of them are constantly putting their foot in their mouth, and coming up with odd theology that seems to have materialized out of their own imaginations rather than the word of God. And certainly, none of them have ever commented that they need to be chasing off legitimate Christians because they disagreed with his vision. I could go on and on about the things Driscoll has done and said that are contrary to scripture, but as this is specifically about his interpretation of Esther, I’ll leave it at that.

      Now, I can refute virtually your entire reply by pointing out that we do not proclaim to the body someones thoughts and intentions when the bible makes no point of revealing them to us, which is exactly what I pointed out in my initial post, and a fact that you did not address in your response. I would never try to suggest that Esther was completely morally pure in all this, nor do any good Christian pastors I have heard handle this book. My entire point was that it is doing violence to scripture to preach to your congregation that Esther was either angel or demon. Saying things like, “Her behavior is sinful and she spends around a year in the spa getting dolled up to lose her virginity with the pagan king” is just plain wrong.

      You say that you “dont know of a single bit of research that clears up this argument.” well then, don’t preach as if it were clear! Imagine of we had that approach to history! “Well, we dont know exactly what method was used to build the pyramids, so we’re going to teach our students one way we think it might’ve been done, and tell them it is a confirmed fact.”

      I appreciated your posting a link to mark driscolls [research teams] research on Esther, but what I found interesting was tha every single interpretation that was posted (on this page were brief summaries of sermons other pastors had done on Esther) not one came up with anything close to what MD had concluded. Not one, not Piper, not MacDonald, not Keller, not Dever, not ONE had concluded that Esther was a wicked whore at the beginning, and then later saved. Your comment that I get off my box of self-assurance actually illuminates the difference in how we would read and try to understand the true meaning of a passage.

      There is simply no reason to assume the worst about Esther, and doing so does our sister a disservice. I wonder if you’ve ever thought of it that way? If Esther were alive and you read her story, would you ever claim what Mark Driscoll did? I hope not.

      So in conclusion, no, I don’t believe that our interpretation is equally tenuous, because a pastor should not be willing to take liberties with scripture just to preach a passage in a way that would be “shocking.”

  8. Pingback: Mark Driscoll sermon on Esther. Week 1. Jesus is a better King. A critique. «

  9. Hey guys. Just wanted to say I appreciate the dialogue, and sorry for waiting to have your comments moderated. I’m not sure why it does that, and it shouldnt happen again. As to some of the thoughts here, about harems and Driscolls research, I am doing my own and will be posting primary source material from the Talmud and various midrashes on Esther and Vashti which discusses their dynamic and how ancient commentators viewed their actions. I’ve also purchased the commentary that Pastor Mark recommended and am sifting through that.

    Anyway, keep on interacting here, and let us strive to be as charitable as we can all the while doggedly and dogmatically defending the word of God.

  10. Brandon, thanks for responding. I appreciate hearing more about your intent and that you weren’t trying to name me with anything you had already written.

    At this point, I’m going to opt out of going back and forth with you. There’s really no argument to be had here. Anything that I have gotten out of presuming Esther’s intentions is going to benefit me and not you. You don’t want to read further into Scripture what it doesn’t say explicitly and I can respect that. I don’t think it’s wrong to surmise what the text might be leaving out as long as no doctrine is developed around those assumptions. This is where we clearly differ. And that’s okay.

    Pastor Mark preached a sermon that further examines the stuff we’ve been talking about:

    http://marshill.com/media/esther/jesus-is-a-better-savior

    Paperthin, I can see you’re going to continue with this series. Hopefully the sermon content for the rest of the series allows you to see where Mark is going with all of this. I can tell you that in our church, many are getting to see Jesus for the very first time through this sermon series.

  11. Oh, and sorry for the double posts, I responded once and it looked like it got lost/deleted. Apparently, both of my responses were given the “go ahead” by the moderator.

  12. Colin, I am sorry you will not be responding to my comments, but I can respect your reasons. I would just add for your sake, and for anyone following this, one final point relating to your last comment.

    If you believe that it is ok to add whatever motives you’d like to characters in the text, as long as it doesn’t alter any Christian doctrine, are you not changing scripture by adding to it? Especially when you then preach it as biblical truth to your congregation? To preach on your own imagination, is that not the same as, for instance, writing a book claiming to explain what Paul was thinking and doing during those years after his conversion but before his ministry began?

    I wish you would respond to this, but I hope you will at least consider it.

    Peace, brother

  13. Thank you for writing this, and for taking up for one of the greatest examples of female heroism in the Bible. I’m appalled that a preacher would demean Esther’s commitment to following her God in the midst of horrific circumstances. This is a grossly inaccurate interpretation of a story that still teaches us today to trust in God’s sovereignty no matter what. Thanks again from all the ladies out there who love Esther and attempt to follow her example.

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