TODAY’S READING: ESTHER 1-5
You will not find the words God or Lord in the book of Esther. If memory serves me correctly, Esther is the only book of the Bible where this true. But, this doesn’t mean that God is not present nor that the book fails to witness to Jesus. We just have to go searching.
Proverbs 25:2 says, “It is the glory of God to conceal things, but the glory of kings is to search things out.”
Esther reveals itself as a wonderful allegory that reveals Jesus. But, instead of allegory, we are going to find Jesus in Esther with the help of gematria.
Gematria is a Hebrew term that most likely derives from the Greek word geometria, which is where the English word geometry comes from. Gematria makes use of the fact that all Hebrew letters were also numbers (the same is true in Greek, where the term is isopsephy). Because of the number values for all Hebrew letters, every Hebrew word also has a number value. Studying these combinations of letter, words, and numbers in the Bible is “exceedingly abundantly” amazing.
“Now in the days of Ahasuerus, the Ahasuerus who reigned from India to Ethiopia over 127 provinces, in those days when King Ahasuerus sat on his royal throne in Susa, the citadel.” – Esther 1:1-2
“The king’s scribes were summoned at that time, in the third month, which is the month of Sivan, on the twenty-third day. And an edict was written, according to all that Mordecai commanded concerning the Jews, to the satraps and the governors and the officials of the provinces from India to Ethiopia, 127 provinces, to each province in its own script and to each people in its own language, and also the Jews in their script and their language.” – Esther 8:9
“Letters were sent to all the Jews, to the 127 provinces of the kingdom of Ahasuerus, in words of peace and truth.” – Esther 9:30
The book of Esther contains three of the four uses of the number 127. Is this by chance? Persia just happened to have 127 provinces? Or, is this saying something about God and Jesus?
AN INDIVISIBLE NUMBER
The number 127 is a prime number. That means it can only be divided by one and itself. In other words, the number 127 is indivisible.
The number 127 is the 31st prime number. This is significant because the most basic name of God is El. In Hebrew it is spelled with the letters aleph and lamed, which have values of one and 30, respectively. Therefore, God’s name El has a value of 31, which is directly related to the number 127.
So, in this story, I believe we can see Ahasuerus as a picture of God reigning over his indivisible kingdom.
At the start of the ten commandments, Deuteronomy 6:4 says, “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.” God cannot be divided. He is one.
Daniel 2:44 says, “And in the days of those kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that shall never be destroyed, nor shall the kingdom be left to another people. It shall break in pieces all these kingdoms and bring them to an end, and it shall stand forever.”
In Mark 3:24, Jesus said, “If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand.”
Therefore, we know the kingdom of God, the kingdom of Jesus Christ, is not divided against itself because it will last forever.
So, I believe we are to see the Persian kingdom of Ahasuerus, which spanned from India to Ethiopia, meaning the whole world, as God’s kingdom that covers the whole and earth and cannot be divided.
127 = 90 + 37
Outside the book of Esther, the only other mention of the number 127 is found in Genesis 23:1. That verse says, “Sarah lived 127 years; these were the years of the life of Sarah.”
The 127 years of Sarah break up into two periods though. She lived 90 years married to Abraham without children. Then, Sarah had Isaac and lived another 37 years. So, Isaac, the child of promise, a picture of Jesus, was 37 when Sarah died.
Some believe that the number 90 symbolizes the righteous sifted.
The Hebrew later tsade has the gematria value of 90. It’s picture (Hebrew letters are also pictures) looks something like a man kneeling or on his side. Therefore, sometimes this letter is given the meaning of righteous person. The letter even forms the basis of the Hebrew words for righteous and righteousness.
The first letter of the Hebrew alphabet is aleph. It is thought to represent God, and possibly even the bridegroom. Therefore, some believe that tsade represents the bride, since tsade reflects the image of aleph.
Perhaps we can think of the number 90 as the righteous bride that has been sifted or suffered.
What about 37?
Like 127, 37 is a prime number. Also, the number 37 has some amazing geometrical properties that pop out through the first verse of the Bible. (These properties are way too involved for this post, but you can check them out at The Bible Wheel – 37 and a fascinating exegesis of Genesis 1:1.)
If we use the place values of the Hebrew letters (instead of their traditional values), then the Hebrew word for wisdom has a value of 37. If we use the traditional values, then the Hebrew word for wisdom has a value of 73. Interestingly, these create a sort of palindrome. It’s also interesting that the Greek word logos has a gematria value of 373, a very similar palindrome, since Christ is the the wisdom of God (1 Corinthians 1:24).
Therefore, many believe that the number 37 represents the word.
So, when we add 90, the righteous bride that was sifted or suffered, to 37, the word, Jesus Christ, the bridegroom, we get 127, the indivisible kingdom of God.
127 = KING OF GLORY
The phrase “king of glory” has a gematria value of 127.
Psalm 24 speaks of the king of glory. Verse 1 says, “The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof, the world and those who dwell therein.”
This brings us back to to the 127 provinces of Ahasuerus that represented the Persian kingdom covering the whole earth. But, at the start of Psalm 24 we see all the earth belongs to the Lord. God’s kingdom is the whole world and all those that dwell in the earth.
Who is able to go up the hill to the mountain where the kingdom of God?
The king of glory.
Who is the king glory?
“The Lord, strong and mighty, the Lord, mighty in battle.” Jesus!
127 LANGUAGES PROCLAIMING THE KING OF GLORY
This brings us to the last two times that the number 127 is used in Esther. In one verse, we read that the commands of Mordecai, who symbolizes Jesus, were written and spoken in the languages of the people of the 127 provinces. In the other verse, we read that those words were peace and truth.
After Jesus had ascended to the throne of God with all authority in heaven and earth, his Holy Spirit fell on the 120 disciples.
When the Holy Spirit fell, what happened?
The disciples spoke in tongues, different languages, the languages of the people gathered in Jerusalem.
Acts 2:6-11 says, “And at this sound the multitude came together, and they were bewildered, because each one was hearing them speak in his own language. And they were amazed and astonished, saying, ‘Are not all these who are speaking Galileans? And how is it that we hear, each of us in his own language? Parthians and Medes and Elamites and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya belonging to Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, Cretans and Arabians [in other words, the whole world] – we hear them telling in our own tongues the mighty works of God.'”
What were the mighty works of God the disciples were telling?
Jesus brought peace and truth from heaven to earth. The kingdom of God had now invaded the earth.
The depth and richness of the symbolism of the Bible, understood by the Spirit and his teaching, is the true inspiration of the Bible. We need to let the Spirit reveal Jesus and leave behind the dead letter of a story like Esther.