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by Kathy Barnes
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I lived a comfortable life with my Uncle Mordecai in the land of Persia. I dreamed of returning to Jerusalem the homeland of my people. We had been taken prisoner, but had recently been released and allow to travel back to Israel. However, my Uncle said it was not yet time. He had finally agreed to let me return, and I was making plans to go when disaster struck.

There had been a big party at the palace, given by King Ahasuerus and I thought that it did not concern me. However, I was captured the next day along with many other young virgins and invited to be in the Kingís harem. It was an invitation, I would have been glad to refuse, if I could have done so without dying. Queen Vashti was to be replaced, and we were handed over to Hegai the Kingís eunuch to be prepared as brides and possible Queen. I guess I should have been happy to be considered as one of the most beautiful ladies in the land. I was not. There are the worst fates in life than being well fed, pampered, and living in luxury, but it was still a prison.

Most of the girls had never been away from family before. They would cry themselves to sleep at night and spent the day lamenting their fates. We most likely would never see our family again. I had lost my parents years before when an Agagís raiding party attacked our village and killed them. I did my best to comfort the other girls and distract them. I remembered the pain of losing everyone and everything you knew. Maybe it was that which caught Hegaiís eye, but he showed me favor. In time, he persuaded me that there were advantages to being queen. As queen, I could find reasons for families to run across each otherís path.

Still I did not truly believe that a lowly orphan like me had a chance of becoming queen. I never expected the King to take a second look at me. Hegai found ways get me near the King. I found myself surprised to discover that I was falling in love with the King. When the day came, when he asked me to be queen I could not believe that I had found such favor in his sight. The wedding was the most beautiful one that I have ever seen. I could not have asked for more from life. I had a husband I loved, and power. I could even see my Uncle Mordecai from time to time. They say that God guides our steps, had He guided me to this place of honor for a reason.

Everything was fine until Haman came along. Haman was of Agag linage. These people have hated and been at war with the Jews for generations. Haman had the Kingís ear and blamed political uprising on the Jewish people. He convinced the King to sign into law a decree that all Jews were to be killed and their property taken for the King. I was Jewish, but because my people had been hated, I had hidden that fact. What was I to do?

I sought my Uncleís advice. I wanted to talk to the King and explain, but he had been away at war and political meetings, so I had not been called into his presence. Still I cannot keep silent, for I know that whatever happened to my people will happen also to me. So tomorrow, I must risk everything and go before the King without being called. If he does not show me favor, I will be killed for such an act. Even as his queen I have not the right to come before my husband without being called. It was considered a dishonor. Queen Vashti had dishonored him and been removed. What would happen to me?

Does everything happen for a reason? God, do you have a reason for my life? Can you use an orphan, a former slave like me? Why am I hated just because of who my people were? I have done everything I know right, and I love you Lord. Why has all this trouble come on me? I know what I must do, but what I donít know is what the outcome is to be. Will I live or will I die? Still I will trust in Your promise to Abraham, that his seeds will be as numerous as the stars, and that You will bless his children above all others.

My people and I had been praying and fasting for three days for me to have favor with him, still I came before my husband and my King trembling. Haman was there along with others, and I could not speak before so many people; so I requested that the King join me for a banquet. Afterwards I asked that if I had found favor in his sight, he would come again with Haman to a second banquet where I might talk to him. Haman thought he was to be honored, but I despised what he was planning for my people.

When the day came for the second banquet, my husband was happy and offered me up to half his kingdom. I requested, that my life be given me as my petition and that my people as my request. I told him if we were to be sold merely as slaves, I would not have asked, but we were to be totally annihilated as a people. He did not understand and was confused. I told him that I was a Jew, and that it was Haman which sought my life. He said nothing but stepped outside to think. I thought I was doomed. Haman came close and sneered that he would enjoy taking my life. It was at that time that my husband came back inside and saw him raise his hand to me. The King stopped his attack and rescued me. Later he added to the law that the Jews were allowed to defend themselves. God is both faithful and good to both my people and me.

Kathy Barnes

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