The Journal of Biblical Accuracy
Subscribe

God: the source of favor (PDF) PDF version

God: the source of favor

Several times in the book of Esther we are told that Esther found favour. Starting from the first of these times, when Esther went to the competition, we read:

Esther 2:8-9
"So it was, when the king's command and decree were heard, and when many young women were gathered at Shushan the citadel, under the custody of Hegai, that 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, with 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."

The reason that Esther readily received beauty preparations, seven servants from the king's palace and "the BEST place in the house of the women" was because she obtained the FAVOR of the person that was responsible i.e. the favour of Hegai the custodian.

But Esther did not obtain the favour of Hegai only. Esther 2:15-17 tells us:

Esther 2:15-17
"Now when the turn came for Esther the daughter of Abihail the uncle of Mordecai, who had taken her as his daughter, to go in to the king, she requested nothing but what Hagai the king's eunuch, the custodian of the women, advised. AND ESTHER OBTAINED FAVOR IN THE SIGHT OF ALL WHO SAW HER. So Esther was taken to the 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 OBTAINED GRACE AND FAVOR IN HIS SIGHT MORE THAN ALL THE VIRGINS; so he set the royal crown upon her head and made her queen instead of Vashti."

The reason that Esther became the queen was because she "obtained FAVOR in the sight of ALL who saw her" and, most importantly, she obtained the FAVOR of the king himself.

Sometime later, Esther risked and went to the king uninvited which was "against the law" (Esther 4:16). However she was not put to death for:

Esther 5:2
"when the king saw queen Esther standing in the court, SHE FOUND FAVOR IN HIS SIGHT, and the king held out to Esther the golden sceptre that was in his hand."

The reason that Esther was not put to death was because she found FAVOR in the sight of the king.

Apart from the above passages, the reader may also check for himself Esther 5:8, 7:3, 8:5. He will see that it was because Esther found favour in the king's sight i) that he permitted her to organise the second critical banquet (Esther 5:8), ii) that he answered her petition regarding Haman's threat (Esther 7:3) and iii) that he cancelled the decree of Haman (Esther 8:5).

As it is evident from all the above, Esther was an especially favoured person. In fact she was so much favoured that she became the queen because of the favour that she found. Since most of us I believe we do need favour in our lives, it would be very interesting to search for the source of Esther's favour. Obviously, if we managed to find this source, then we could go one step farther and exploit it receiving the favour that we may need.

Who is the source of favour?

To find the source of favour, we should not start guessing or following the world's opinions. It is only the Word of God that can reveal us this source and how we can utilise it. Thus, to find the true answer regarding the source of favour we will go to Psalms 84:11. There we read:

Psalm 84:11
"For the Lord God is a sun and a shield; THE LORD WILL GIVE FAVOR and glory; No good thing will He withhold from those who walk uprightly"

According to the above passage the source of favour is not the beauty, the good studies, the big human mediator but THE LORD. It is He who gives favour. The previously given passages of Esther tell us that Esther indeed obtained favour. The present passage of Psalms tells us the one that supplied it to her. This one was no other than THE LORD, the source of favour.

Some others that obtained favour

Apart from Esther, there are also some other people who the Scripture says that obtained favour. One of the them was Joseph the son of Jacob who was initially imprisoned in Egypt. However, see where he ended up because of the favour that the Lord gave him:

Genesis 39:21-23
"THE LORD was with Joseph and showed him mercy, and HE GAVE HIM FAVOR in the sight of the keeper of the prison. And the keeper of the prison committed to Joseph's hand all the prisoners who were in the prison; whatever they did there, it was his doing. The keeper of the prison did not look into anything that was under Joseph's authority, because the Lord was with him; and whatever he did, the Lord made it prosper"

Joseph found so much favour in the sight of the keeper of the prison, that he made him the head of the prison!! But HOW did he find this favour? He found it because the supplier of favour, THE LORD, gave it to him.

Another record regarding the same subject is in the book of Exodus. There we learn that when the Israelites were departing from Egypt, the Egyptians gave them "articles of silver and articles of gold and clothing" (Exodus 11:2, 3:21) i.e. very valuable gifts. Why? Exodus 3:21 tells us:

Exodus 3:21-22
"And I [THE LORD] will GIVE this people FAVOR in the sight of the Egyptians; and it shall be when you go, that you shall not go empty-handed. But every woman shall ask of her neighbor, namely of her who dwells near her house, articles of silver, articles of gold and clothing; and you shall put them on your sons and on your daughters. So you shall plunder the Egyptians."

The reason that the Egyptians gave to the Israelites those valuable gifts was because the latter found favor in their sight. How did they find it? It is simple: THE LORD, THE SOURCE OF FAVOR, GAVE IT TO THEM.

Finally, when in Daniel 1 we learn that Daniel decided not to defile himself with the food that the king ate and the wine that he drank, "GOD brought Daniel into the FAVOR and goodwill of the chief of the eunuchs (Daniel 1:9)" and the latter violated the king's commandment giving to Daniel and two of his friends food that conformed with the standards of the law of Moses.

Conclusion

Having seen all the above, it should be evident that favour does have a source which supply it, and that this source is no other than God. Thus, it was God, the source of favour, who made Esther to obtain readily her beauty preparations with her allowance, who gave her the best place in the house of the women, who brought her to the favour of all that saw her, who made her wife of the king i.e. queen, who saved her from death when she came to the king's court uninvited and who brought that great deliverance to her, Mordecai and all the Jews.

To conclude therefore, to find favour we have to go to God who supplies it. As Hebrews 4:14-16 says:

Hebrews 4:14-16
"LET US THEREFORE COME BOLDLY TO THE THRONE OF GRACE [i.e. to the throne of God], THAT WE MAY OBTAIN MERCY AND FIND GRACE [Greek: "charis"), meaning grace, favour1] TO HELP IN TIME OF NEED"

In other words let's go boldly to God and we will certainly find the favour that we need.

 

Anastasios Kioulachoglou

 

 



Footnotes

1. "Charis" is the Greek word that the LXX uses to translate the Hebrew words translated as "favor" in all the above Old Testament passages, and it is the only word translated as "favor" in the English New Testament.