This season of Purim and the book of Esther always bring us back to the story of how the God of
Israel delivered the Hebrew people from the evil plot of Haman the Agagite.
While revisiting scripture during this Purim season I noticed similarities between Esther and
Joseph. They both delivered the Hebrew people from death. When reading the book of Esther
this time, I was subconsciously using Ancient Methods of Searching Scripture to discover a
surprising and wonderful pattern in the narrative.
Repetition and similarities in the text are tools to be used when searching scripture. What caught
my attention was the word “favor,” where Esther had favor with Hegai the eunuch of the court of
Ahasuerus the King of Persia. She had favor with everyone who saw her and ultimately her favor
was with the king. This stimulated my memory of Joseph and how he had favor with Potiphar,
Pharaoh’s Egyptian officer who purchased Joseph from the Ishmaelites. Even when Potiphar
threw him into prison, Joseph had favor with the prison chief jailer. Joseph became a servant to
the jailer who then placed him in charge of the prisoners.
When purposely looking for similarities between Esther and Joseph we first see they were
orphans. Esther was orphaned through the death of her parents while Joseph was ‘discarded’ by
his jealous brothers, leaving their father Jacob distraught. Esther and Joseph were both prepared
for future roles with the king. Esther’s preparation comprised a long 12 months, including six
months of beautification with oil of myrrh and six months with spices and cosmetics for women.
Joseph’s preparation to meet Pharaoh came through many years of cooperation with the chief
jailer who committed all the prisoners of the jail into Joseph’s charge.
An interesting similarity is found where a past occurrence was remembered and brought to the
attention of the king. A past event in this story actually becomes an instrument of God, which
brings both Esther’s adoptive father, Mordecai, and Joseph straight into the presence of the king.
King Ahasuerus could not sleep one night and called for the books of the chronicles to be read.
The reading just happened to fall on Mordecai’s account of two eunuchs of the king seeking to
kill him. King Ahasuerus was determined to have Mordecai honored for his allegiance. In
Joseph’s story Pharaoh’s cupbearer remembered Joseph’s ability to interpret dreams, compelling
Pharaoh to send for him.
At the end of Esther’s story we see her adoptive father, Mordecai, elevated by the king to second-
in-command, as was Joseph when he was promoted second-in-command to Pharaoh. Both were
given the signet ring and royal clothing to wear. Joseph received a golden necklace while
Mordecai was given a golden crown.
God’s people were delivered from death through Esther when Haman’s plot to destroy them was
unraveled. Joseph delivered God’s people by death from famine, which covered the whole face
of the earth, when his interpretation of Pharaoh’s dream led him to store up food during the seven
years of bountiful crops.
A pattern emerges when we take the similarities seen in the text and write them according to the
order they appear. Similarities of the stories in the order they appear:
3. Preparation to meet the king
4. In the presence of the king
5. Elevated by the king
6. Deliverance of God’s people
Taking patterns in scripture and applying them to our daily life is a powerful tool. The pattern seen
from our story of Esther starts when we see God taking the orphan, someone traumatized in
youth by removal or death of the original parent, to raise them up for powerful things. When
God has a plan, He gives us favor with those close to the king. Even when bad things happen,
God uses them to prepare us for His plan. He will use our past to springboard us into the
presence of the king. The king can be anyone in our present or future circumstance, whom God
directs, to help us along the way. It may seem like the king is the one who elevates us, but in
reality God is the One who elevates us. Everything we experience, even the bad, is all for our
highest good and His glory. The pattern we see in the story of Esther ends with the deliverance
of God’s people. God can use every one of us to help others in need. We were all born for one
reason... to bless God and to bless and benefit others.