An Unexpected Coronation
Esther 2:17
And the king loved Esther above all the women, and she obtained grace and favor in his sight more than all the virgins…

He set the royal crown on her head. This crown was a crowning- event. It was the signal event of a long and hitherto obscurely-connected series; it was the one effect of a series of causes and effects. Up to this point there was no one of all the foregoing to compare with it for significance. It will be well to pause awhile in the presence of this coronation scene. There have indeed been occasions of coronation which have attracted little notice or interest. There have been some supremely sad, although perhaps they have not seemed so to the eye, and at the time. But this coronation scene may be found able to yield much more for thought and profit than most. For undoubtedly it has aspects, some unhappy in their surroundings, others most happy in their substance, which strikingly difference it from very many others.

1. It was not a crown won by effort, either noble or ignoble. It was not one of those crowns which had been lifted to the brow, amid the enthusiastic plaudits of multitudes, as the result of athlete's training, poet's inspiration, or the force of genius. The statesman's anxious toil, the philanthropist's oft self-sacrificing ministry of mercy, the warrior's sword - these had not carved the way to a throne. It was not an occasion of coronation of this sort. In fact, nothing that had been specially done, and nothing that had been specially suffered, showed the way to it - no keen strain of effort, no severe tension of patience. Neither these things, nor anything failing more within feminine range, and answering to them, heralded the gift of this crown.

2. It was not a crown conferred amid surroundings of the most august kind, or associations at all elevating.

3. It was not a crown given by hands pure, honest, or merciful.

4. It certainly was not a crown of imperishable material, of ancestral renown, or that could be reckoned upon to sit easy, or remain long on the head that now was to wear it. But amid much to detract from it, there are some things to be remembered highly to the advantage of this crown.

1. The crown was one that was not sought with ambitious self-seeking.

2. It was one that did not come of mere hereditary succession.

3. It was one - very rare indeed in this respect - to the attainment of which moral qualities did undoubtedly largely contribute. It was the more remarkable because those moral qualities had to make their way, and assert their influence, in the most unfavourable atmosphere, and the most unlikely circumstances. Had Esther ingratiated herself? But it was not the result of wiliness. Had she ingratiated herself? But it was not among the like-minded and the pure of heart. Had she ingratiated herself? It was actually, considering her distinguishing qualities, with the worst kind of character of all for her to go near - the official character. Yet bribery had not done it, meretricious ways had not done it, insincerity had not done it, immorality had not done it. The force of simplicity, of contentment, of modesty, of refusal of superfluous ornament - positively these things had done it l It is evident that she was a pattern of goodness, after a sort not so commonly recognisable, with those who surrounded her, and with such as they, but which, streaming gently forth, made its radiance seen, felt, admired by some of the most unlikely. Esther's docile obedience to her guardian while she lived under his roof, her continued obedience to him after she had left it, her fidelity to the faith and hope of her people, her uncomplaining acceptance of a position decidedly humiliating to one of her race, in consideration of the captive adversity of her people, and still more of those objects which her cousin apparently, but which God really, would work for them by her - these things all bear witness to the deep heart of goodness that dwelt in her. Yet, granting all this, was it not a strange thing that she should so make her way, and "walk the queen," that they were all ready to designate her such, and that he, with whom the choice and decision lay, at once did so? Many a desirable crown has been won by methods most undesirable. This was an undesirable crown, won by methods full of real honour and grace.

4. It was a crown which God designed for the head which it now reached. This is the best thing of all to be said about it. But for this, it would have nothing really to favour it; with this, it may claim all the rest as well. The providence of God raised the crown, after first raising the head of the humble and meek to receive it. His providence had other ends in view, great and good and kind, for his people. And by the vicarious humiliation of this maiden he wrought great miracles and wonders. For her the outer ornament of such a crown, in alliance with such circumstances, could have had small attractions indeed. But viewed in this other aspect, the crown had in the highest sense the qualities of the "unfading," the "imperishable." And for the patient head that now wore it, it was the earnest of another of immortal "honour and glory." - B.

Parallel Verses
KJV: And the king loved Esther above all the women, and she obtained grace and favour in his sight more than all the virgins; so that he set the royal crown upon her head, and made her queen instead of Vashti.

WEB: The king loved Esther more than all the women, and she obtained favor and kindness in his sight more than all the virgins; so that he set the royal crown on her head, and made her queen instead of Vashti.

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