Here’s an interesting article from http://bookofesther.blog.com
Queen Esther has rightly been recognised as a type of the Woman of Genesis who was to come (Genesis 3:15). But firstly in the Book of Esther we are told about the fate of another woman, Queen Vashti, the wife of the Persian king Ahasuerus and sharer of his throne. The king had provided, for all the people present in Susa his capital, a banquet lasting for a week, on the last day of which he summoned Queen Vashti to come before him “crowned with her royal diadem, in order to show the peoples and the princes her beauty; for she was fair to behold” (Esther 1:11)
The queen however, who was holding her own banquet in the king’s palace, blatantly ignore his command.
When we remind ourselves that the Holy Spirit is the true Author of the sacred Scriptures, we can hardly refrain here from turning our thoughts to Eve, the first woman whom God created. Truly regal were her endowments and destiny; for God wished Eve to be “mother of all the living”, as indicated by the meaning of her name (Genesis 3:20), and to serve as an exemplar to those of her own sex who would come after her. But as it was to be written of Vashti, so also was it tragically true of Eve: “But she refused …” (Esther 1:12).
In the decree of punishment subsequently issued against Vashti by Ahasuerus, it was laid down irrevocably that she would never again appear before the king, and that he instead “would confer her royal dignity on a worthier woman” (Esther 1:19).
Accordingly, the king arranged for beautiful young virgins to be selected throughout the one hundred and twenty-seven provinces of his kingdom, and to be brought to Susa where they would undergo twelve months of preparation. Outstanding amongst all of these young women was the Jewish maiden Hadassah – the future Queen Esther – who, because “she had found favour in the eyes of all who saw her”, was quickly advanced with her maids to the best place in the king’s harem (2:9,15).
“And when Esther was taken to King Ahasuerus … the king loved Esther more than all the other women, and she found grace and favour in his sight”” (2,16,17).
Thus king Ahasuerus chose Esther to replace Vashti as queen, and he placed the royal crown on her head. Of Esther, too, it was written that “the maiden was exceedingly fair and beautiful” (2:7).
Already in this ancient narrative centring on the obedient response of the Jewish maiden, Hadassah, the Holy Spirit has provided for His chosen people a glimpse of the Annunciation. Hadassah exemplifies the ever-faithful Virgin Mary, whom the Blessed Trinity would select – in place of the first, disobedient woman – to be the “Second Eve”. The Blessed Virgin Mary however, to a degree far greater than Hadassah, would find “more than all the other women, grace and favour” in the sight of the King of Heaven.
This superiority of Hers is even reflected in the new name given to Her at the Annunciation; a name which far surpasses in meaning the new name conferred upon Hadassah (that is ‘Esther’). For, as John Paul II explained, when the archangel Gabriel “greets Mary as ‘full of grace’; he calls Her thus as if it were Her real name. He does not call Her by Her proper earthly name: Miryam (= Mary), but by this new name: ‘full of grace’” (“Redemptoris Mater”, #8).
Her election by the King of Heaven is also of a far superior order. For if, as John Paul II went on to say, Her election as Mother of the Son of God “is fundamental for the accomplishment of God’s salvific designs for humanity … then the election of Mary is wholly exceptional and unique …: Mary is ‘full of grace’, because it is precisely in Her that the Incarnation of the Word, the hypostatic union of the Son of God with human nature, is accomplished and fulfilled” (Ibid., #9).
John Paul II marvelously links this New Testament beginning with the ‘Proto-Gospel’, or ‘First Gospel’ beginning of Genesis, when he explains that
“In the salvific design of the Most Holy Trinity, the mystery of the Incarnation constitutes the superabundant fulfilment of the promise made by God to man after original sin, after that first sin whose effects oppress the whole history of man (cf. Genesis 3:15). And so, there comes into the world a Son, ‘the seed of the Woman’ who will crush the evil of sin in its very origins: ‘He will crush the head of the serpent” (Ibid., #11).
Before ever Haman, the arch villain and “enemy of all the Jews” in the story of Esther, had “set his throne above all the princes” of Persia (cf. Esther 3:1 & 9:24), Lucifer his master, the enemy of all humankind, had said in his heart:
“I shall ascend to Heaven; above the stars of God, I shall set my throne on high” (Isaiah 14:12).
This was the beginning of the great prototypal enmity of which the Book of Genesis speaks. The Most holy Trinity has established this one enmity and none other; which means that all other enmities between the forces of good and evil – including the one to be found in the Book of Esther – must be part of that one, irreconcilable enmity between the race of the Woman of Genesis, on the one hand, and Satan and his seed on the other. The prototypal enmity thus rages unremittingly, but with ever increasing intensity, down through the ages. Is it not fitting, then, that the traitorous Haman – whom the king comes to regard with contempt, only finally, as “a Macedonian (really an alien to the Persian blood, and quite devoid of our kindliness) …” (Esther 16:10), should be identified firstly in the Book of Esther as a member “of the race of Agag” (3:1)? Israel’s most implacable enemy from time immemorial was the Amalekite race, whose kings were traditionally called Agag (cf. Numbers 24:7 & 1 Samuel 15:9,33). At the time of the Exodus the Amalekites, though fully cognizant of the miracles worked by God through His Prophet Moses, to deliver the Israelites from bondage in Egypt, had callously and recklessly attacked the children of Israel whilst they were languishing from thirst in the desert (Exodus 17:8). Because of this heinous crime, God promised Moses that he would
“utterly blot out the remembrance of Amalek from under heaven” (Exodus 17:14).
It was some four centuries after God had spoken these words to Moses that He provided Saul, king of Israel, with a golden opportunity to fulfil this stern prophecy, thus commanding him:
“Now go and smite Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have; do not spare them” (1 Samuel 15:33).
Saul, as we know, did not fully obey God in this unequivocal matter, with the consequence that God tore the kingdom away from him and gave it instead to His obedient servant, David. The latter was so unrelenting in his pursuit of the Amalekites that their race soon disappears from the pages of history.
Amalek though, figuratively speaking, has continued to survive down through the ages, bobbing up again and again in each successive wave of assault against the upholders of righteousness. Thus, in the Book of Esther, we discover that the dread and age-long enmity prophesied by Moses, that
“The Lord will have war with Amalek from generation to generation” (Exodus 17:16).
reaches a new crescendo of intensity with the rise to power of Haman the Agagite (Esther 3:1). John Paul II alludes to both the intensity, and the durability, of the conflict, when saying that
“the victory of the Woman’s Son will not take place without a hard struggle that is to extend throughout the whole of human history” (op. cit, ibid. ).
It finds its extension in human history, for instance, in the “hard struggle” between Queen Esther and Haman, which resolves itself only at the eleventh hour, in the shattering victory of the righteous seed (Queen Esther’s nation) over the forces of wickedness (Haman’s allies).
Even more especially, however, it is the “hard struggle” in the history of salvation itself, in the midst of which stands “the Woman” of Sacred Scripture. Compared to this bitter contest in which She, as the ‘new Esther’, is engaged – for quite obviously that is the guise in which “the Woman” has chosen to act today as Our Lady of the Rosary at Fatima – even the dramatic saga of Queen Esther seems to fade to a mere ripple.
John Paul II himself made at least implicit reference to Our Lady of Fatima’s apocalyptic role in the ever-nearing, final solution of the great enmity, when he noted that:
“The ‘enmity’, foretold at the beginning, is confirmed in the Apocalypse (the book of the final events of the Church and the world), in which there recurs the sign of the ‘Woman’, this time ‘clothed with the sun’ (Revelation 12:1). Mary, Mother of the Incarnate Word, is placed at the very centre of that enmity, that struggle which accompanies the history of humanity on earth and the history of salvation itself. In this central place, She who belongs to the ‘weak and poor of the Lord’ bears in Herself, like no other member of the human race, that ‘glory of grace’ which the Father ‘has bestowed on us in His beloved Son’, and this grace determines the extraordinary greatness and beauty of Her whole being” (Ibid.).
“Mary”, as the Holy Father added, “thus remains before God, and also before the whole of humanity, as the unchangeable and inviolable sign of God’s election, spoken of in St. Paul’s Letter: ‘in Christ … He chose us … before the foundation of the world, … He destined us … to be His sons’ (Ephesians 1:4, 5)” (Ibid.).
It is because of the “unchangeable and inviolable” nature of Her unique election in God, that the Blessed Virgin Mary forever brings light and hope to our troubled world. The message of Our Lady of the Rosary at Fatima, the Lady of Light, has always been about hope, “a ray of hope” (Our Lady’s words during the July 13th apparition) in the midst of a world filled with gloom and often bordering on despair. This is because of the special blessing that God has bestowed upon Her by reason of Her unique election. For, as John Paul II concluded:
“This election is more powerful than any experience of evil and sin, than all that ‘enmity’ which marks the history of man. In this history Mary remains a sign of sure hope” (Ibid.).