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Saturday, February 12, 2005

Hathach: Lessons from a Eunuch

"for such a time as this" was not spoken by Mordecai to Esther. Not really.

Here's the entire verse:
For if thou altogether holdest thy peace at this time, [then] shall there enlargement and deliverance arise to the Jews from another place; but thou and thy father's house shall be destroyed: and who knoweth whether thou art come to the kingdom for [such] a time as this? Esther 4:14, KJV

Most people familiar with the Bible would know that the "thou" in this verse is Esther. I doubt seriously that many would answer correctly if asked "who said it to her?" They would probably answer "Mordecai." Mordecai was her guardian. Mordecai sent this message, but it was actually delivered by Hathach, a eunuch in Esther's service. Esther was in the harem in the palace, and Mordecai wouldn't have been allowed there. Esther, even though queen, was probably confined to the palace most of the time.

Communication
Hathach communicated someone else’s message, and he did it effectively. He didn't:
listen to something, or someone, else
put off telling her
leave out anything important
add to the message: make it his message, not Mordecai’s
say, “this is over and above my job”
think, “I have something more important to do”

He must have previously showed Esther that he was trustworthy.

Mordecai had a message, but he had to rely on someone else to deliver it. So does God. I need to be sure that I am an effective communicator, because God's message is important. Lives depend on it.

Commitment
Easton's Bible Dictionary, available through the Blueletter Bible, says that eunuch meant ". . . literally bed-keeper or chamberlain, and not necessarily in all cases one who was mutilated, although the practice of employing such mutilated persons in Oriental courts was common. Moses excluded them from the congregation (Deu 23:1)."

A eunuch was someone who had given up sex, or, rather, been deprived of his sexual powers.

Jesus pointed out that there were different categories of eunuchs:
For there are some eunuchs, which were so born from [their] mother's womb: and there are some eunuchs, which were made eunuchs of men: and there be eunuchs, which have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven's sake. He that is able to receive [it], let him receive [it]. (Matthew 19:12)

Giving up sex is a serious matter. Our society isn't in tune with that idea. The U. S. is now subsidizing drugs to cure erectile dysfunction through Medicare. (There are, of course, other things that we should give up, at times, not just sex. But I could hardly leave that idea out when writing about a eunuch!)

Jesus never asks us to give up something that is, really, good for us. Giving up something for Christ does not go unrewarded.

Isaiah had this to say:
For thus saith the LORD unto the eunuchs that keep my sabbaths, and choose [the things] that please me, and take hold of my covenant; Even unto them will I give in mine house and within my walls a place and a name better than of sons and of daughters: I will give them an everlasting name, that shall not be cut off. (Isaiah 56:4-5)

Mark wrote:
And Jesus answered and said, Verily I say unto you, There is no man that hath left house, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my sake, and the gospel's, But he shall receive an hundredfold now in this time, houses, and brethren, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands, with persecutions; and in the world to come eternal life. (Mark 10:29-30)

We may have to make serious commitments, in order to communicate the message effectively. If so, we will be rewarded.

There is a message that needs to be communicated effectively, passionately. It needs trusted, committed, messengers. I hope that I am one.

* * * *

The above was posted at 4:27 AM, EDT, Feb 11, more or less. My eldest daughter pointed out that I had not spelled Hathach's name consistently, so I am changing the title to correct this. Thanks to her. Thanks for reading.

5 comments:

J. Potts said...

I had the privilege of hearing this "message" in person, and it was inspiring and thought-provoking. I've mentioned it to at least two other people, so I am thankful to have a print-out now to share with them exactly as I heard it. Thank you!

Matt said...

I'm preaching through the book of Esther right now in our Church and really appreciated your insightful comments on Hathach. Thank you.

Martin LaBar said...

Someone named Matt thanked me for the post, but I don't see his comment. You are welcome, if you see this.

WB said...

6 years later and J.Potts is still sharing this! Thank you J.Potts and thank you Martin for your blog!

Martin LaBar said...

Thanks, WB, and J.Potts!