THE BOOK OF ESTHER
A. The events in the Book of Esther occurred between the 6th and 7th chapter of Ezra, a 60 year period that elapsed, separating the first and second return from Babylon.
B. Esther's Hebrew name was Hadassah (2:7). Her Persian name, Esther was derived from the Persian word for "Star".
C. Although the author is not known, it seems likely that a younger contemporary of Mordecai composed the book.
THE KEY WORD - PROVIDENCE
The Book of Esther was written to show how the Jewish people were protected and preserved by the gracious hand of God from the threat of annihilation. Although God disciplines His covenant people, He never abandons them.
Survey of Esther
This is the only book that provides us with a biblical portrait of the vast majority of Jews who chose to remain in Persia rather than return from Palestine. God's guiding and protective hand on behalf of His people is evident throughout this book, even though his name does not appear in it. The clear emerging message is that God used
ordinary men and women to overcome impossible circumstances in order to accomplish His gracious purpose.
THE THREAT TO JEWS 1-4
THE TRIUMPH OF THE JEWS 5-10
THE THREAT TO THE JEWS
In the Palace of Artaxerxes, there is a great feast lasting 180 days. His magnificence is displayed. A second great feast is made for the people of Shushan. There is revelling and drinking until the men are drunken. The King is also intoxicated. The king demands that his wife, Vashti, be brought before him and his drunken lords, so that he could display her beauty. 1:2_______________________________________
This prompts a decree that all women, throughout the Persian Empire should ever after obey their husbands.
A new Queen is sought. Esther finds favor in the eyes of Artaxeres and wins the royal "Beauty Pageant". A great feast is made unto her while it remained a secret that she was a Jew. About this time a plot is discovered by Mordecai in which two of the kings chamberlains plan to assassinate the king. Mordecai reveals the plot to Esther.
The promotion of Haman, the Agagite, to be the prime minister introduces the threat upon the Jews. Mordecai refuses to bow
before Haman. Deu. 5:7-10___________________________________________
Haman's anger and wrath is out of control to the point that the death of one Jew will not do. A decree to eliminate the whole
Jewish nation is granted.
The grief of the Jew: Mordecai commands Esther to intercede on their
behalf before the king. 4:16________________________________________
The Triumph of the Jews
Esther appears before the king, taking her life in her own hands, for it might mean death to appear before the king unbidden. She is accepted. This incident is to Esther like the experience of Nehemiah in the reign of Artaxerxes, the son of this same king. Everything seemed to depend on the whim of the childish king. Esther uses common sense and tact in trying to influence the king
by preparing a banquet. When Haman complains to his wife and friends about Mordecai, they recommend a gallows to be prepared.
Incidents leading up to the honoring of Mordecai. The state records are read. The story is told of how the kings life had been spared
by a man named Mordecai. 6:3________________________________________
Through this incident, Mordecai triumphs over Haman. Haman is humbled and infuriated by being forced to honor the man he loathes.
Esther uses two banquets to influence the king's favor before begging for her life and the life of her people. When the king understood the plot of haman and what it included, and seeing
Haman on the couch with Esther, Haman is hanged on the gallows he had prepared for Mordecai.
Mordecai is then given Haman's position as chief minister and charge over Haman's house. A counter-decree is made giving the Jews the privilege of slaying their enemies. It seemed there
was no other way out. There was great rejoicing among the Jews at this turn of events.
The day arrives. The Jews are prepared. The nobles help the Jews because a Jew is now Prime Minister. Israel triumphs over their enemies and the Jewish Holiday called the feast of Purim is
This chapter speaks of the greatness of Mordecai, as Prime Minister to the Persian King.
Now, in reference to the story in Esther, look up the following Scriptures and see if you understand more completely God's dealings:
REMEMBER: The Old Testament history closes after the accont of Ezra, Nehemiah and the events of Esther. The rest of the Old Testament
Canon of Scripture is of the main prophecy concerning Israel before, during, and after the captivity. All of this prophecy shed light on
God's message and the leading of His children Israel. When you comprehend this fact, the Old Testament becomes easier to comprehend.
1. At what point in History does the Book of Esther come in?
2. What was the purpose of the Book?
3. Who were the main character in the Book?
4. Name the two parts of Esther.
5. What have you learned from this Book?
For Next Time:
Read the Book of Job.