Trump as God's instrument: A fairy tale of biblical proportions
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Who knew obscure Biblical knowledge would be so handy in this election? With Evangelicals remaining, at least as far as we can tell in the rapidly changing environment, a solid block for Trump, those stories of old echo into today.

Evangelicals are a funny bunch, prone to tease points out of – to all others – irrelevant Biblical passages and apply them to current events.


To this point, an idea has been circulating in Evangelical circles that paints Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpIvanka Trump, Jared Kusher's lawyer threatens to sue Lincoln Project over Times Square billboards Facebook, Twitter CEOs to testify before Senate Judiciary Committee on Nov. 17 Sanders hits back at Trump's attack on 'socialized medicine' MORE as a modern day Cyrus — the ancient king of Persia who sent Jews home to Israel from captivity as told in the book of Ezra (among other passages). By accounts in and out of the Bible, Cyrus was a generous and just ruler, instituting (relatively) fair laws and religious freedom in his vast empire.

Cyrus was a pagan and yet God used him to restore the people of Israel, so the pro-Trump argument goes. Though Trump is not a Christian in the way Evangelicals would prefer, it continues, God is raising him up to fulfill God’s purposes.

My church, however, has been hearing a different book of the Bible, the Book of Esther, the story of the Jewish concubine of another king of Persia. While some Jews had gone home to rebuild Israel, others like Esther remained in the capital of the empire.

Esther’s husband and/or slave owner was (probably) King Xerxes grandson of Cyrus, a different sort of man altogether from his lauded and gracious grandfather. In this story, the king was cruel and self-indulgent, as tyrants more often tend to be, and his second in command was a man named Haman. After being honored by an invitation to dine with King Xerxes and Queen Esther,

Then went Haman forth that day joyful and with a glad heart: but when Haman saw Mordecai in the king's gate, that he stood not up, nor moved for him, he was full of indignation against Mordecai.

Nevertheless Haman refrained himself: and when he came home, he sent and called for his friends, and Zeresh his wife.

And Haman told them of the glory of his riches, and the multitude of his children, and all the things wherein the king had promoted him, and how he had advanced him above the princes and servants of the king.

Haman said moreover, Yea, Esther the queen did let no man come in with the king unto the banquet that she had prepared but myself; and to morrow am I invited unto her also with the king.

Yet all this availeth me nothing, so long as I see Mordecai the Jew sitting at the king's gate.

Then said Zeresh his wife and all his friends unto him, Let a gallows be made of fifty cubits high, and to morrow speak thou unto the king that Mordecai may be hanged thereon: then go thou in merrily with the king unto the banquet. And the thing pleased Haman; and he caused the gallows to be made. – Esther 5:9-14

Haman, after being exalted to the second most powerful position in the most powerful empire in the known world, craved more. He loved to boast, about his wealth, about his children, about his position in life, and about his connection to powerful and famous people.

And yet one single, solitary Jewish man refusing to bend the knee to him sent him into a murderous rage. He connived to kill not only Mordecai (Ether’s uncle who raised her as his own) but the entire Jewish race spread throughout the empire, including those descended from the people Cyrus retuned to Israel.

The rest of the book tells how Esther transcended her position as a forced sex slave. She took charge of her own destiny by risking her life to appeal to her cruel husband on behalf of her people, and won for them rescue from a planned holocaust.

When I read the description of Haman, it reminds me of Trump, a man filled with boasting and yet a man for whom enough is never enough. The recent lewd video with Billy Bush goes farther. It shows a man who uses his position to force his will on others, with no regard to the damage it does them, a man who thinks he can do what he wants because he is “a star” and no one can say no.

Furthermore, his savage revenge on those who cross him, whether taken in the courtroom, on TV, or in the political arena, sounds a lot like Haman setting out to destroy the one man who would not bow to him.

Whether one regards scripture as inspired truth or not, there is a lot of wisdom in these old stories. They paint pictures of human nature, heroes and villains who return again and again. By studying the past, both in the Bible and in other pages of history, we learn to recognize and navigate the patterns.

My fellow evangelicals, Trump is no Cyrus. He is a Haman who must not be given power lest we all find ourselves in need of an Esther.

Rebecca Cusey is a writer based in Washington DC. She writes about movies, TV, pop culture, politics and faith. Follow her on Twitter @Rebecca_Cusey.
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