One of the surprising features of the book of Esther is that God is never mentioned in the text. He is assumed to be the sovereign hand behind all that is happening and of the preservation of the nation of Israel.
Here is a great quote from the classic writing: Matthew Henry’s Commentary …
But though sinners are permitted to proceed to the point they aim at, an unseen but almighty Power turns them back. How vain and contemptible are the strongest assaults against Jehovah! Had Haman obtained his wish, and the Jewish nation perished, what must have become of all the promises? How could the prophecies concerning the great Redeemer of the world have been fulfilled? Thus the everlasting covenant itself must have failed, before this diabolical project could take place.
Also not mentioned in the text, but also assumed to be behind much of what happens, is Satan himself. In thinking through the career of the evil one, he has worked consistently from the time of his fall into sin to destroy mankind and to particularly thwart God’s plans. When mankind fell into sin, and when God determined even in the Garden of Eden that He would in grace establish a redemptive plan, Satan has worked consistently ever since to disrupt and overturn that design. This is especially true of the nation of Israel, since it was through Israel that the Savior of the world would come.
Let’s give some chronological examples … though far from an exhaustive list …
Cain killing Abel – Satan inspired this action, desiring from the start that the more godly line (presumably through which God’s redemptive plan would come) would be wiped out. But another son was born—Seth.
Intermarriage of angelic beings with the human race (understand that this is not a view accepted by all evangelical theologians) – In Genesis 6, it may be that Satan’s fallen angelic hosts (demons) were intermarrying with humans in an attempt to get into the human bloodline. Perhaps this accounts for the ancient stories of powerful mythological beings and creatures. But in any event, mankind was evil to the extent that a flood wiped out all but the family of Noah.
With Abraham and the family of Jacob decreed as the redemptive line, Satan turned his attention to destroying Israel. There were varied attempts of having the nation eliminated while in Egypt, and subsequently as the nation made the exodus to the Promised Land. Aaron allowed an idol to be built for the nation to worship while Moses was on the mountain receiving the Law.
Under Satan’s influence and the nation’s failure to consult God, the Israelites made a foolish treaty with the Gibeonites, thus allowing Satan to have Canaanite peoples to use to pull the nation toward apostasy.
With David and his family being identified as the royal line for the redeemer, there were varied attempts to wipe out the Davidic household. One of these was the attempt of Ahab and Jezebel’s daughter Athaliah, who married into the Davidic line. When her husband died, she declared herself the queen and sought to exterminate the royal line. But one young child, Joash, was hidden away for six years by the high priest and his wife, ultimately to be crowned king as Athaliah was slain.
The sin and rebellion of the nation caused them to be carried off into captivity by the Assyrians and Babylonians, but God in grace promised to save a remnant to re-establish the nation in Palestine and Jerusalem. And thus we come to the time of Esther, where Haman’s attempt was another Satanically-inspired effort to wipe out the Jewish nation and the redeemer.
In the land, varied attempts were made against the Jews to thwart their rebuilding of the city and temple, with a view toward their annihilation. In the Greek period, Antiochus Epiphanes sought to eliminate sacrifices in the temple and establish a common Greek religion. And after Christ was born, Herod attempted to find and kill him.
But Christ made it to the cross as the sinless sacrifice to atone for sin. But still Satan continues to use apostasy and evil people to turn men away from truth. And his desire is to also thwart the coming again of Christ in judgment and to re-establish the nation of Israel and fulfill his promises to them. So Satan has used varied attempts to also eliminate Israel, such as the Nazi efforts of the last century, and to be sure, the efforts and advances of radical Islam in the Middle East today.
But God’s purposes and plans will not be defeated, even as conflicts rage on until the final day of the Lord’s return.
The story of Esther … of Haman’s attempts that we are studying now … is a chapter of God’s bigger story and purposes. It is not merely an isolated story of its own. And it is good for us to understand this and to see how our faith relationship with God aligns us with eternal truths and protects us as God’s own people in the timeless struggles between darkness and light.