On the third day, Esther put on her royal apparel and positioned herself in the king’s palace courtyard so that she would be directly in line with the part of the king’s throne room where the king sat facing the entrance of the room on his royal throne in the royal hall. When the king saw Queen Esther standing quietly out in the courtyard, she gained favor in his sight, so the king held out the golden scepter in his hand to Esther. Esther approached and touched the top of the scepter.Esther 5:1–2 — Modern English Version (Thinline Edition.; Lake Mary, FL: Passio, 2014)
I love the types and shadows that are present in the Scriptures. I think there is one here that, like all, is profound.
For those not familiar with Esther, she is the queen of Persia and Media. The entire account is a fascinating read. In defeating the evil Haman by exposing his plot to destroy her cousin Mordecai. The king had Haman hung on his own gallows.
There was also a law written in the books created by this Haman, that on a certain day the citizens were permitted and expected to kill all the Jewish folk in the nation. The culture in that nation didn’t allow for the voiding of laws.
How was Esther going to save her people?
The laws didn’t permit anyone to approach the king, even his bride, without an invitation. The penalty was death.
To the types and shadows…
It’s that golden scepter… The extension of it toward Esther granting her favor to enter the presence of the king. It is the extension of favor wherein she may now let the king know her petition without fear in his very presence.
The underlying word in Hebrew makes connections that are astounding. Our English translations also make the connection.
But first I want to point out that scholars think this scepter was a small version of a shepherd’s crook. You are probably familiar with an Egyptian version. It is represented in ancient carvings. Even Disney has an accurate depiction at Epcot in Spaceship Earth.
This scepter as a representative shepherd’s crook is a good reminder to us all, that the leaders of a nation are appointed by God to be good stewards of the people, just as a shepherd cares for sheep. In that way, they are to be like Jesus. This brings this digression back to the point. In Numbers, there was a prophecy of Jesus given.
“I will see him, but not now; I will behold him, but not near; a star will come out of Jacob, and a scepter will rise out of Israel, and will crush the borderlands of Moab, and destroy all the children of Sheth. Edom will be a possession, and Seir, a possession of its enemies, while Israel does valiantly. One out of Jacob shall have dominion, and destroy the survivors of the city.”Numbers 24:17–19 — Modern English Version (Thinline Edition.; Lake Mary, FL: Passio, 2014)
Here, Jesus is referred to as “a scepter.” The underlying Hebrew words are related. This one Numbers is the Hebrew shêbeṭ. Whereas in Esther, it is the derivative sharbı̂yṭ. It is only used four times in the Old Testament and all of them are in Esther. Our reference word for scepter is specific and exclusive, yet is derived from the same word in the Numbers prophecy.
Furthermore, the phrase “the golden scepter” is used three times in Esther. The Hebrew phrase is ’eṯ sharbı̂yṭ hǎ zāhāḇ. Each time it is used it is a demonstration of grace and acceptance extended by the king.
That is Jesus.
He is the Sceptre, the extension of grace and acceptance from God. Jesus told us…
For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life.John 3:16 — Modern English Version (Thinline Edition.; Lake Mary, FL: Passio, 2014)
In Hebrews, it is explained this way.
Since then we have a great High Priest who has passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to our confession. For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who was in every sense tempted like we are, yet without sin. Let us then come with confidence to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.Hebrews 4:14–16 — Modern English Version (Thinline Edition.; Lake Mary, FL: Passio, 2014)
Saved or unsaved… pagan or Christian… Jew or Gentile… There is only one Way to enter the presence of the King. And that’s via the Sceptre extended to us in favor… Jesus Christ.
Not convinced? There’s more.
That little two-letter word et may easily be passed over. In my opinion, it is one of those things in Hebrew that point directly to Jesus.
The Hebrew letters that make up the word et are the aleph and the tav. The aleph is the first letter of the Hebrew alphabet, and the tav is the last.
Look at the screenshot included. You can see the Hebrew aleph and tav depicted in the callout box. (In the “Lemma” line next to the number 1.)
These two letters appear (sometimes untranslated) occasionally in the Hebrew Bible. An important one for me to discover was some years back. It is in the first line of the Bible. Genesis 1, in the beginning, God. Right next to the word elohim is these two Hebrew letters. In the beginning God aleph-tav (think Alpha Omega.)
People say that Esther doesn’t mention God. It certainly doesn’t mention Jesus. But, a little digging into the underlying text reveals that He is indeed there. Don’t be afraid to use the vast tools available to you. There are many to allow such digging. If I can find it, you can.
I think I understand why this has been knocking around in my head for some weeks now. God had something important to show. I am also very cognizant of Michael Heiser and his adage. “If it’s weird. It’s important.” I always keep that in mind. Along with those little ideas that arise as God causes them to be stuck in your mind.