“The Role of a Nobody” by Pastor Andy Braams

Today, we are going to review a few verses about the lives of two people that very few know existed. Two weeks ago, when we began this short series, I mentioned that the Bible is filled with many names and people who are well-known and will continue to be until the end of time. But I also mentioned that we can all be extraordinary by just being a little extra than ordinary. The two individuals today are forgotten to history except for a very few verses in the Bible. But their willingness to be a little extra means they may be nobodies to many, but they are extraordinary in what they did for God and His people.

The first person is a man named Hathach. It is this man who instigated this series. As I was reading through the Bible in 2020, this man’s name jumped out at me. I had read the passage before – many times in fact. But I had not isolated his part in the story. He was a nobody. He is a nobody. But after today, I hope you realize that this man, whose name is found only four times in the Bible (all from the 4th chapter of Esther) did something that helped save the Jews from destruction due to the evil schemes of Haman, the right hand man of the king at the time.

In fact, as I was preparing this message, for some reason, God put the story into the form of a song about another unlikely hero.

{To the tune of Rudolph, with intro}

You know Abram and Moses, Samuel, and David,…the serpent, Pharoah, Goliath, and Haman. But do you recall, the eunuch who helped save the Jews all?

Hathach the eunuch servant. Carried messages to Mordecai. Then brought a reply to Esther saying all the Jews would surely die.

He told cousin the king could kill her, if the sceptor was not raised. Mordecai encouraged her anyway, saying she was made just for those days.

Esther planned a banquet and invited the king. She also said bring Haman who thought he was everything.

Her plan worked to perfection and Haman would soon be hung. Mordecai would be famous, but Hathach was forgotten.

{End lyrics}

Ok, so that may have been a strange way to tell the story of Esther, but it is brief overview of how the role of a nobody helped shape the future and preserved God’s people. Let’s take a closer look.

You may recall that Mordecai was the cousin of Esther, but took her as his own daughter because she no longer had a father or mother. (Most believe Mordecai was her uncle, but Esther 2.7 and 2.15 says that Esther, whose Jewish name was Hadassah, was the daughter of Mordecai’s uncle, Abihail. That would make her his cousin.)

Esther was beautiful and was made a wife of King Ahasuerus. Eventually, the king’s right-hand man, Haman, plotted to kill the Jews, in part because of his hatred for Mordecai, who refused to pay homage to Haman. Mordecai learned of the decree that was made and cried out in the midst of the city in dressed in sackcloth and ashes. Esther’s servants told her this and she sent Hathach to Mordecai to find out what was happening.

Mordecai told him of the decree and that began an exchange between Esther and Mordecai that was carried out largely by Hathach (see Esther 4.4-17). With that context, let’s look more closely at what we know about the nobody named Hathach.

First, he was a servant of the king (Esther 4.5). But his primary duty was to tend to the needs of Esther (v. 5), who was highly favored by the king (Esther 2.15-18). Males who served the king, and particularly those who were to be constantly in the presence of a woman, were made eunuchs. But the king obviously trusted this man because his prized wife (not politically correct today, but a reality then) was left in Hathach’s care.

Even though Hathach’s allegiance was to be to the king, he was to serve Esther. So, imagine the conflict he must have felt when he learned of this plot by the king’s right-hand man to destroy the people of the same heritage as Esther. Does he stay true to the king and share the plans that Esther is making or does he help Esther and keep her plans safe and risk harm to the king?

Now, I am not saying that Hathach’s ultimate loyalty was to the king. We cannot know for certain. However, to be put in the position he had would have required proving himself to the king over time. He may not have liked the king, but to help Esther would have put his own life on the line. And remember, the king had already cast a previous wife (Vashti) aside (Esther 1) for a seemingly lesser offense.

It would have been easy for Hathach to inform the king or Haman. It would have been easy for Hathach to change the message from Esther or from Mordecai and cross up the plans that were being made. It would have been easy for him to do either of those things, but he didn’t. And because of that the decree that was made to destroy every Jew in every city became a victory for the Jews and led to a great celebration called Purim, which is still honored by many today.

And who is remembered for carrying out this plan? Esther. Of course, she has an entire book named after her.

And who was honored by the king and elevated to the number two position in the land? Mordecai.

And who helped make it all happen, but is the person now forgotten to history except for a few verses? The nobody named Hathach.

But at least Hathach had his name mentioned four times in the Bible. He may have been an Old Testament nobody, but another nobody, who isn’t named, and is actually only referred to in a tertiary way in the New Testament, also helped prevent a killing which allowed for many people to be saved.

This nobody is found in Acts 23. If you know the book of Acts, you know that most of the last half of Acts is about Paul (actually, most of the last 2/3 of Acts is about Paul), and Chapter 23 is no exception.

If you were with us during the recent series on Romans, you might recall that Paul intended to visit Rome after he had travelled to Jerusalem to deliver the money to that had been collected from various churches (Romans 15.25-26). He made it to Jerusalem and was arrested in the temple. Ultimately, he was imprisoned, but he appealed to his status as a Roman citizen, which brought him the protection of a trial under Roman law. However, while speaking to a Jewish crowd, he angered them by talking about Jesus. Thus, the people in the crowd plotted to kill Paul. That leads us to the nobody in this story.

In Acts 23.16, we find that “the son of Paul’s sister” heard about the plans to kill Paul. Did you hear the description Luke wrote to describe this young man? He was “the son of Paul’s sister.” That is a third-hand reference. Paul’s sister is not named, but she is linked to Paul. But her son, which would be Paul’s nephew, is then linked to her. This poor guy is a nobody’s nobody. Not only is he not named, he is not even directly linked to Paul; he is only linked by another link – another unnamed link.

But like Hathach, this nobody had a role to play. We do not know how he learned of the plot, but he did hear of it. The plot is mentioned in the previous verses (Acts 23.12-15) and then we hear it from Paul’s nephew as he tells the tribune who is responsible for Paul. The result is the transfer of Paul during the night to another location (Caesarea Maritima – along the coast), under the protection of 200 soldiers and 70 men on horses (v. 23).

If this no-named nobody had not told Paul, or had been too frightened to tell the tribune (Claudius), Paul would have been killed by these forty men who vowed to kill him. (Incidentally, these men vowed not to eat or drink until they killed Paul. I wonder how long they lived before they died from malnutrition, because we know Paul lived many more years – approximately 9-13 years after this, depending upon the exact timing of this story).

Of course, Paul’s service and teachings were instrumental in helping to start many churches in his day. The Gospel message he shared about Jesus saved thousands. But were it not for his nephew’s (or as the text says, Paul’s sister’s son) role, Paul would have died before going to several of the places he went (keeping many from hearing the name of Jesus) and writing many of the letters depriving people then, and throughout history since, including us now, from having such wonderful testimony to the Church that God is seeking to build.


So, today we have briefly reviewed two nobodies. We know the name of the nobody from the Old Testament, but not much more. However, we know that his role as a messenger between two people who are far better known played a part in saving thousands, perhaps millions of Jews, known as God’s chosen people.

The New Testament nobody is not only without a name, he is referenced in a tertiary sense. But his role played a part in keeping alive the person who many call the most influential Christian ever. (Keep in mind that Jesus was not a Christian, He was Christ). So, Paul’s sister’s son had a part in saving millions, and perhaps billions of people, not just from physical death, but from eternal death, because of the message that Paul would share to the people chosen by God as well.

Two people who were both nobodies. One was deprived of being anyone by being castrated. The other was deprived of even being named in the text. But both played a role – a positive role, and a significant role – in the ongoing story that God has been writing since the dawn of time.

Some people reading this blog feel like a nobody. Maybe you are convinced you are a nobody. Do you feel like a nobody? Well, I have good news for you. God can use nobodies like you. God wants to use nobodies like you. I am a nobody like you and God is using me. Sure, I am a pastor and I write these sermons and they are posted here or recorded to be played on the website or YouTube. But I am not famous. Very few know my name. But God is using me. And God will use you.

Perhaps I am like Hathach – a few people know my name, but in the course of history, how many will remember? Perhaps you believe no one knows your name. Perhaps the only way that people know you is because someone knows someone else you know. Well, again, good news. That was how Paul’s nephew was described – the person known because of a relationship with someone else who was known.

See, God can, AND WILL, use anyone if they will allow themselves to be used by them. Sure, some people get a lot of accolades, but as I said in the first message in this series, we are not to serve to get accolades; we serve so that God can be glorified (Matthew 5.16).

So, are you a nobody? Well, you may think so. And others might call you a nobody – or even something worse. But to God, you can be a somebody…A SOMEBODY, even if no one else knows or remembers your name. Being that somebody only requires two things:

  • Make yourself available to God.
  • Be ready to respond when the opportunity arises.

If you will do those two things, God will use you. And even if no one else knows or remembers, God will never forget.