There are many women mentioned within the Word, and yet, our knowledge of them is often limited. In fact, most of us, if asked, could only provide the names and/or histories of a handful of them. But God used these women for a reason. They each served a purpose during their lifetime, and continue to serve a purpose as we unravel their stories today…
Join us as we discover the life and calling of one of these women of God: Hadassah, the orphan who would become known as Queen Esther.
Kingdom Advancing Women
While it may seem as if God rarely used women to advance His Kingdom during biblical times, this was not so. Only the stories of a few may span pages, but despite their purposes first appearing small… how God used them to advance His Kingdom, what they did, was far from small.
From Rahab to Deborah. From Leah to Abigail. Every woman who chose to follow God was used mightily for His Kingdom purposes. They often faced difficult or dangerous times, and yet, they walked in paths of Godly courage, obedience, and love. They stood strong in their faith in God no matter if they were in seasons of plenty or lack. And as a result, God not only provided them as biblical examples of faith, but He blessed them and their descendants abundantly!
Esther, who grew up with the name, Hadassah, is one such woman of the Word.
“…Who knows whether you didn’t come into your royal position precisely for such a time as this.”
—Esther 4:14 (CJB)
Woman of the Word, Esther
Esther, the woman once known as Hadassah, met with a childhood that hardly looked like the adulthood she would come to know…
- She was orphaned, only spared from suffering by a cousin—Mordecai—who took her in as a daughter.
- She was a Jew, living in a foreign land and serving a God not served by the majority of those around her.
While she may not have ever known hunger, this start to her life did not scream ‘future queen.’ In fact, in the natural, it likely did not even whisper it…
After all, openings for orphans of foreign extraction to become queens were likely as rare then as they are today. Especially when they did not adhere to the characteristics and behaviors considered normal in the land they could one day rule.
But God saw something different. God did not see an orphan destined for small things. He saw a woman of uncommon faith, destined for the role of queen!
“…who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?”
Before she was born, God not only knew what her future would be, but what would be required for her to prosper in it. And from choosing her parents to give her life… from placing her in the care of her cousin, Mordecai.. to opening the position of queen for her to fill… God was preparing Hadassah for a plan far bigger than any she could ever have imagined!
Hadassah was renamed Esther, to blend in with those in the place where she was to reside—the king’s palace. But, as with all name changes found in the Word, there was a deeper purpose… a prophetic alteration of who a person had been to who they were going to be…
In other words, a creation of new character not unlike being born again into God’s Spirit and family. Because when God deposits new names—such as through covenants—He is putting prophetic destiny in place. This prophetic plan can be shown through the name change of Jacob to Israel. Jacob means to follow or to supplant, while Israel means to wrestle with God or to be triumphant with God… just as Hadassah would need a new name to complete her destiny, so did Jacob require becoming more than he had been to fulfill his…
Hadassah means Myrtle Tree. A sweet name that reminds us of who she was… because, like the beautiful flowering Myrtle Tree, Hadassah was lovely and full of life—biblically, the Myrtle Tree is often associated with recovery and the establishment of God’s promises.
For a season she needed to be Hadassah to recover from the sadness of her parent’s loss and to establish the promise God had for her… utilizing the God-given beauty in order to place her on the path only God foreknew.
Esther, alternatively, means a few things. One of these is star. Another is secret or hidden. Both of which speak to the time she entered upon leaving her cousin’s care…
As Esther, she no longer lived in a time of recovery. She no longer stood fixed to one placed like a Myrtle Tree, where only a few might see her. With her new name, she prepared for and entered into her time as queen. She was hidden, obeying her cousin as she tucked away her Jewish heritage like a precious secret. But she also, as Esther, transitioned to where she would be seen. And, through the sure faith and favor of God that rested within her, she shone. Like a star shining bright in the darkness.
“Esther had not revealed her people or family, for Mordecai had charged her not to reveal it.”
Suddenly, the once obscure Jewish girl known as Hadassah became the secretly Jewish, Queen Esther of the Persian Empire! Yet, even before the girl became the queen, God was moving behind the scenes…
God was preparing her throughout her life…
Even before she went to live with her cousin Mordecai He prepared her. He chose her parents to birth her and through those characteristics that passed to her—from appearance to behavior—she was set in place. Yet, while God used her parents to lay the groundwork, He chose Mordecai to raise her. Not only to teach her the mind knowledge her position would demand, but to hone her character and faith. But God was not done with her preparation yet. She would have to undergo her last phase of preparation away from the comforts and familiarity of home… trusting God to be with her as she underwent not only the twelve months of preparation, but on to the moment she would be brought before the king. Before her destiny would truly begin to unfurl.
“Each young woman’s turn came to go in to King Ahasuerus after she had completed twelve months’ preparation, according to the regulations for the women, for thus were the days of their preparation apportioned: six months with oil of myrrh, and six months with perfumes and preparations for beautifying women. Thus prepared, each young woman went to the king, and she was given whatever she desired to take with her from the women’s quarters to the king’s palace.”
The number of women brought to be candidates for queen is not provided in the book of Esther, however, it can be assumed that most likely it was in the hundreds or thousands of women! Yet, from the first moment of her arrival to the house of the women at the king’s palace—where she underwent her twelve months of preparation—it was obvious that God’s favor was upon Esther…
“…Esther also was taken to the king’s palace, into the care of Hegai the custodian of the women. Now the young woman pleased him, and she obtained his favor; so he readily gave beauty preparations to her, besides her allowance. Then seven choice maidservants were provided for her from the king’s palace, and he moved her and her maidservants to the best place in the house of the women.”
Yet, this favor only grew, causing the king to choose Esther over the multitude of other candidates. It was a display of God’s power, and yet, it was only the start of His plan for Esther and His people…
To learn about other women of the Word be sure to visit curtlandry.com/blog