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David Bailey

Esther 4:12-14

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12 When Esther’s words were reported to Mordecai, 13 he sent back this answer: “Do not think that because you are in the king’s house you alone of all the Jews will escape. 14 For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?”

 was Mordecai just telling her what to do or was he threatening her. Because to me it sounds like a threat to her and her family.

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It might be helpful to see what Esther first told Mordecai...

Then Esther spoke to Hathach and commanded him to go to Mordecai and say, "All the king's servants and the people of the king's provinces know that if any man or woman goes to the king inside the inner court without being called, there is but one law—to be put to death, except the one to whom the king holds out the golden scepter so that he may live. But as for me, I have not been called to come in to the king these thirty days."
(Est 4:10-11)
 

So it seemed out of fear of the king that Ester was hesitant but Mordecai was reminding her that for the sake of God's people there was a greater King to be feared. Sounds like a bit of a rebuke to me.

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Not a threat. Just a Truth that if she didn't do something, someone else would and that because of her inaction, GOD would not protect her. It is a lesson that with GOD's Will, the person that carries it out is not as important as HIS Will being done. It has to do with free will. GOD will never force someone to do or say something, but someone will voluntarily do so, with or without their specific knowledge, to carry out GOD's will. For example, Judas Iscariot did not have to be the specific person who fulfilled the Prophecy, but there were have been someone else if not him. Since GOD knows the future, HE knows what will take place when. And by whom, but that person must make the choice to do what they do. Free will.

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I did not ever read this as a rebuke or anything but concern from two differing standpoints. Mordecai gave great advice to Esther as to how to allow God to work on the heart of the ruler.
Esther gave the basic facts that they both needed to be very clear about from her position and perspective. Mordecai voiced the necessary facts of the matter that ALL would be at risk, no matter their standing, and that perhaps the Lord had orchestrated the whole thing.

Esther gracefully complied, and the Lord God worked His Miracle.

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He may have just been trying to build resolve in her. We know historically that when she went into the king and he didn't call her first, she was risking the king not raising the scepter, and she could be punished or killed if he did not. Mordecai might have been saying "at least if you go to him you'll have a chance, if you don't you and your family will probably eventually wind up killed anyway."

You could look deeper though, perhaps. Israel is God's chosen people and so He would not allow them to be wiped out; the line leading to Jesus had to be preserved (the story of Joseph in Egypt is really about that; placing Joseph in a place of power so he could preserve the lives of his family, and specifically Judah, who was the one of the 12 that would eventually lead to King David and on to Jesus). Mordecai may have been saying something deeper; essentially "God will raise up a deliverer one way or another; if He's raising you up and you refuse, it will be bad for you."

I can't say I know for sure, though.

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