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Figures Friday

God bless you in the name of Jesus Christ who blessed those who believed in him although they never saw him (John 20:29).

Aetiologia or Cause Shown is the figure of speech when a reason is rendered for what is thought, said or done. It can happen either directly or indirectly, and is one of the easiest figures to identify. When a “therefore” shows a cause or “for” or ‘because” points out a reason we have this figure. There are numerous examples, and we should be alert to garner their significance.

“For” and “because occurrence 66 times in the KJV of the Book of Esther. That is more than six per chapter. Paying attention to them allows us to follow the plot and understand what is going on. The beginning of Esther gives us two examples of the use of “for.” The first shows a reason for the king’s action, but the second does not give a reason for the Queen’s action.

Esther 1:8-9:
And the drinking was according to the law; none did compel: for so the king had appointed to all the officers of his house, that they should do according to every man’s pleasure. 9 Also Vashti the queen made a feast for the women in the royal house which belonged to king Ahasuerus.

The handling of the situation with Vashti is clarified as we note “for” in verses 11, 12, 13; “therefore” in verse 12, and “because” in verse 15.

Esther 1:10-15:
On the seventh day, when the heart of the king was merry with wine, he commanded Mehuman, Biztha, Harbona, Bigtha, and Abagtha, Zethar, and Carcas, the seven chamberlains that served in the presence of Ahasuerus the king, To bring Vashti the queen before the king with the crown royal, to shew the people and the princes her beauty: for she was fair to look on. 12 But the queen Vashti refused to come at the king’s commandment by his chamberlains: therefore was the king very wroth, and his anger burned in him. 13 Then the king said to the wise men, which knew the times, (for so was the king’s manner toward all that knew law and judgment: 14 And the next unto him was Carshena, Shethar, Admatha, Tarshish, Meres, Marsena, and Memucan, the seven princes of Persia and Media, which saw the king’s face, and which sat the first in the kingdom;) 15 What shall we do unto the queen Vashti according to law, because she hath not performed the commandment of the king Ahasuerus by the chamberlains

The king’s servants question Mordecai he wouldn’t bow to Haman. They could not imagine why he would do something like this. It is amazing they never turned him in to the king. He must have been well liked and respected. They will tell Haman though after they find out the real reason Mordecai would not bow, but it is going to take some persistent action on their part to pry it out of Mordecai.

Esther 3:4-6:
And all the king’s servants, that were in the king’s gate, bowed, and reverenced Haman: for the king had so commanded concerning him. But Mordecai bowed not, nor did him reverence. 3Then the king’s servants, which were in the king’s gate, said unto Mordecai, Why transgressest thou the king’s commandment? 4 Now it came to pass, when they spake daily unto him, and he hearkened not unto them, that they told Haman, to see whether Mordecai’s matters would stand: for he had told them that he was a Jew. 5 And when Haman saw that Mordecai bowed not, nor did him reverence, then was Haman full of wrath. 6 And he thought scorn to lay hands on Mordecai alone; for they had shewed him the people of Mordecai: wherefore Haman sought to destroy all the Jews that were throughout the whole kingdom of Ahasuerus, even the people of Mordecai.

Now the plot really begins to thicken as the spiritual adversaries begin to square off. Of course, this happened only after being told Mordecai was a Jew. “For” begins the figure aetiologia, cause shown; it emphasizes the cause or reason for the action Haman takes. God gives us the reason Haman sought to destroy all the Jews. The word for “thought” (verse 6) is translated “eye” or “sight” 7 out of 8 times. It used of mental and spiritual faculties. Haman pictured what he wanted to do to Mordecai. His mind picture fomented his scorn. However, he was not satisfied with only destroying Mordecai; he wanted to eliminate all the Jews. This was another attempt to destroy the Christ-line.

Sometimes the reasons get doubled, giving a reason for the reason. We should pay particular care to notice those occasions.

Romans 1:15-16
So, as much as in me is, I am ready to preach the gospel to you that are at Rome also. 16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.

I find it particularly interesting when God gives a reason for what He does. Afterall He is God and can do whatever He pleases (Psalms 115:3).

Ephesians 2:4:
But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us,

Now as we read through the scriptures, we can look at whether the “fors,” “becauses,” and “therefores” signal a cause or reason for what was said. It should help our understanding of what God wants to communicate.