Esther, whose name was Hadassah, was a beautiful Jewish maiden who was an orphan and raised by his cousin Mordecai. She had been taken captivity from Jerusalem. Esther father and mother were dead and Mordecai took for his own daughter. Esther was the daughter of Abihail the uncle of Mordecai. The story of Esther begins the origin of the major Jewish feast day the feast of Purim. Esther 1-10
King Ahasuerus, which reigned, from India even unto Ethiopia, over an hundred and seven and twenty provinces. King Ahasuerus sat on the throne of his kingdom, which was in the palace Shushan. King Ahasuerus made a feast unto all his princes and his servants; the power of Persia and Media, the nobles and princes of the provinces, in the third year of his reign. The feast the king held was a one hundred and eighty-day feast in Susa to display the enormous wealth of his kingdom and the splendor and glory of his majesty. Vashti, the wife of the King, made a feast for the women in the royal house which belonged to king Ahasuerus. (Esther 1: 1-12).
The king wanted to show off his wife’s beauty to people at his feast. Queen Vashti refused to come at the command of the king and this refusal made the king extremely angry. This behavior was horrifying and could hold disastrous consequences. A royal commandment from the king was written that Vashti come no more before king Ahasuerus; and let the king give her royal estate unto another that is better than she. All the wives shall give to their husband’s honor, both to great and small. (Esther 1: 13-22).
Once the anger of the king had been appeased his servants decided it was time to find a maiden for the king. The maiden which pleased the king would be queen instead of Vashti. The king agreed with this suggestion from his servants. (Esther 2: 1-4).
The palace in Shushan there was a certain Jew, whose name was Mordecai, the son of Jair, the son of Shimei, the son of Kish, a Benjamite. Mordecai had been carried away from Jerusalem with the captivity which had been carried away with Jeconiah king of Judah, whom Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon had carried away. He brought up Hadassah, that is, Esther, his uncle’s daughter: for she had neither father nor mother, and the maid was fair and beautiful; whom Mordecai, when her father and mother were dead, took for his own daughter. (Esther 2: 5-7).
All the young maidens were gathered together unto Shushan the palace, to the custody of Hegai that Esther was brought also unto the king’s house, to the custody of Hegai, keeper of the women. The maiden pleased him, and she obtained kindness of him; and he speedily gave her things for purification, with such things as belonged to her, and seven maidens, which were given out of the king’s house: and he changed her and her maids unto the best place of the house of the women. (Esther 2: 8-9).
Mordecai has warned Esther not to show that she was Jewish. Mordecai walked every day before the court of the women’s house, to know how Esther did, and what should become of her. The maidens were prepared for twelve months, according to the manner of women. Six months with oil of myrrh, six months with sweet odors, and other things for the purifying of women. This is how every maiden came into the king’s house of the women. (Esther 2: 10-14).
Esther gained favor and acceptance from everyone who looked upon her. Esther was taken unto king Ahasuerus into his house royal in the tenth month, which is the month Tebeth, in the seventh year of his reign. The king loved Esther above all the women, and she obtained grace and favor in his sight more than all the virgins; so that he set the royal crown upon her head, and made her queen instead of Vashti. The king made a great feast unto all his princes and his servants, even Esther’s feast; and he made a release to the provinces, and gave gifts, according to the state of the king. Still Esther had not divulged to anyone she was a Jewess. (Esther 2: 14-20).
King Ahasuerus promote Haman the son of Hammedatha the Agagite, and advanced him, and set his seat above all the princes that were with him. Haman was ambitious and arrogant and required all to bow down to him in reverence. Mordecai refused to show Haman reverence because he was a Jew and bowed down to no one except the LORD. This angered Haman and he sought to destroy all the Jews.
The first month, that is, the month Nisan, in the twelfth year of king Ahasuerus, they cast Pur, that is, the lot, before Haman from day to day, and from month to month, to the twelfth month, that is, the month Adar. Haman told king Ahasuerus there was a certain people scattered abroad and dispersed among the people in all the provinces of the kingdom; and their laws are different from all people; they do not keep the king’s laws: therefore it is not for the best for the king to have them remain. Haman ask the king that they may be destroyed. Haman had promised to pay to the king’s treasuries for the Jews, to destroy them. for ten thousand talents of silver to the hands of those that have the charge of the business, to bring it into the king’s treasuries. King Ahasuerus gave his approval. (Esther 3: 1-15).
And in every province, whithersoever the king’s commandment and his decree came, there was great mourning among the Jews, and fasting, and weeping, and wailing; and many lay in sackcloth and ashes. Esther instructed Mordecai to gather together all the Jews that are present in Shushan, and fast neither eat nor drink three days, night or day. Esther and her maidens would do the same then after the three days and nights she would go to the king. (Esther 4:3-17).
When the third day of fasting was over Esther put on her royal apparel, and stood in the inner court of the king’s house, over against the king’s house: and the king sat upon his royal throne in the royal house, over against the gate of the house. When the king saw Esther the queen standing in the court, that she obtained favor in his sight: and the king held out to Esther the golden scepter that was in his hand. So Esther drew near, and touched the top of the scepter. The king told Esther whatever she requested it shall be given to her even to half of the kingdom. Esther told the king she requested him and Haman to come to a banquet she had prepared for him. The king and Haman came to the banquet that Esther had prepared. King Ahasuerus ask Esther what her request was. Esther again requested the king and Haman come to the banquet she shall prepare for them the next day. (Esther 5:1-8).
Haman was over joyed until he saw Mordecai in the king’s gate that he still would not stand up to acknowledge the importance of Haman. Haman was full of indignation against Mordecai. Haman refrained himself: and when he came home, he sent and called for his friends, and Zeresh his wife and told them of his great promotion and that he had been advanced above the princes and servants of the king. He was excited that he had been invited with the king to attend the queen’s banquet. Haman believed that as long as he saw Mordecai the Jew sitting at the king’s gate. His wife, Zeresh and all his friends suggested a gallows be made of fifty cubits high, and the next day he should speak unto the king that Mordecai may be hanged thereon. Then Haman could go into the banquet and be merry. Haman had the gallows to be made. (Esther 5:9-14).
The night before the queen’s banquet the king could not sleep and the book of records of the chronicles; and they were read before the king. It was found written, that Mordecai had told of Bigthana and Teresh, two of the king’s chamberlains, the keepers of the door, who sought to lay hand on the king Ahasuerus. The king wanted to know what honor and dignity had been done for Mordecai for his warning. The king found out there was nothing done for him. (Esther 6:1-4).
The king asked who was in the court. Haman was come into the outward court of the king’s house, to speak unto the king to hang Mordecai on the gallows that he had prepared for him. The king asked Haman what should be done unto the man whom the king delighted to honor. Haman thought in his heart the king wanted to delight to honor him. Haman answered the king to let the royal apparel be brought which the king used to wear, and the horse that the king rides upon, and the crown royal which is set upon his head: then the man who the king delights to honor and bring him on horseback through the street of the city, and proclaim before him. Then the king said to Haman, Make haste, and take the apparel and the horse, as Haman had said, and do even so to Mordecai the Jew, that sits at the king’s gate: let nothing fail of all that had been spoken. Then took Haman the apparel and the horse, and arrayed Mordecai, and brought him on horseback through the street of the city, and proclaimed before him, Thus shall it be done unto the man whom the king delighted to honor. (Esther 6:4-11).
The king and Haman came to banquet with Esther the queen. Once again the king ask Esther on the second day at the banquet of wine what her request was. Then Esther the queen answered and said, if she had found favor in the sight of king, and if it please the king, let my life be given me at my petition, and my people at my request. Esther told the king they
were sold, her and her people, to be destroyed, to be slain, and to perish. But if they had been sold for bondmen and bondwomen, she had held her tongue, although the enemy could not countervail the king’s damage. King Ahasuerus answered and said unto Esther the queen, asking who is he, and where is he, that does presume in his heart to do so? Esther said, the adversary and enemy is this wicked Haman. Then Haman was afraid before the king and the queen. (Esther 7:1-6).
The king arising from the banquet of wine in his wrath went into the palace garden: and Haman stood up to make request for his life to Esther the queen; for he saw that there was evil determined against him by the king. When the king returned out of the palace garden into the place of the banquet of wine; and Haman was fallen upon the bed whereon Esther was. Then said the king, Will he force the queen also before me in the house? As the word went out of the king’s mouth, they covered Haman’s face. Harbonah, one of the chamberlains, reminded the king, the gallows fifty cubits high, which Haman had made for Mordecai, who had spoken well for the king, stood in the house of Haman. Then the king said, Hang him thereon. So they hanged Haman on the gallows that he had prepared for Mordecai. Then was the king’s wrath pacified. (Esther 7:1-10).
On that day king Ahasuerus gave the house of Haman the Jews’ enemy unto Esther the queen. And Mordecai came before the king; for Esther had told what he was unto her. The king took off his ring, which he had taken from Haman, and gave it unto Mordecai. And Esther set Mordecai over the house of Haman. Esther spoke yet again before the king, and fell down at his feet, and besought him with tears to put away the mischief of Haman the Agagite, and his device that he had devised against the Jews. The king held out the golden scepter toward Esther. So Esther arose, and stood before the king, and said, if it please the king, and if she had found favor in his sight, and the thing seem right before the king, and she was pleasing in his eyes, let it be written to reverse the letters devised by Haman the son of Hammedatha the Agagite, which he wrote to destroy the Jews which are in all the king’s provinces: The king Ahasuerus said unto Esther the queen and to Mordecai the Jew, Behold, I have given Esther the house of Haman, and him they have hanged upon the gallows, because he laid his hand upon the Jews. Esther ask the king to write the reverse letter in the king’s name, seal it with the king’s ring so no man may reverse. Then were the king’s scribes called at that time in the third month, that is, the month Sivan, on the twenty third day thereof; and it was written according to all that Mordecai commanded unto the Jews, and to the lieutenants, and the deputies and rulers of the provinces which are from India unto Ethiopia, an hundred twenty and seven provinces, unto every province according to the writing thereof, and unto every people after their language, and to the Jews according to their writing, and according to their language. The king granted the Jews which were in every city to gather themselves together, and to stand for their life, to destroy, to slay, and to cause to perish, all the power of the people and province that would assault them, both little ones and women, and to take the spoil of them for a prey, upon one day in all the provinces of king Ahasuerus, namely, upon the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, which is the month Adar. (Esther 8:1-14).
Mordecai went out from the presence of the king in royal apparel of blue and white, and with a great crown of gold, and with a garment of fine linen and purple: and the city of Shushan rejoiced and was glad. The Jews had light, and gladness, and joy, and honor. And in every province, and in every city, whithersoever the king’s commandment and his decree came, the Jews had joy and gladness, a feast and a good day. And many of the people of the land became Jews; for the fear of the Jews fell upon them. (Esther 8:15-17).
The twelfth month, that is, the month Adar, on the thirteenth day, when the king’s commandment and his decree drew near to be put in execution, in the day that the enemies of the Jews hoped to have power over them, (though it was turned to the contrary, that the Jews had rule over them that hated them). The Jews gathered themselves together in their cities throughout all the provinces of the king Ahasuerus, to lay hand on such as sought their hurt: and no man could withstand them; for the fear of them fell upon all people. All the rulers of the provinces, and the lieutenants, and the deputies, and officers of the king, helped the Jews; because the fear of Mordecai fell upon them. Mordecai was great in the king’s house, and his fame went out throughout all the provinces: for this man Mordecai waxed greater and greater. The Jews smote all their enemies with the stroke of the sword, and slaughter, and destruction, and did what they would unto those that hated them. Esther requested the king to decree the ten sons of Haman be hung upon the gallows. It was on the thirteenth day of the month Adar; and on the fourteenth day of the same rested they, and made it a day of feasting and gladness. (Esther 9:1-19).
Mordecai wrote these things, and sent letters unto all the Jews that were in all the provinces of the king Ahasuerus, both nigh and far, to establish they should keep the fourteenth day of the month Adar, and the fifteenth day of the same, yearly. Haman the son of Hammedatha, the Agagite, the enemy of all the Jews, had devised against the Jews to destroy them, and had cast Pur, that is, the lot, to consume them, and to destroy them. When Esther came before the king, he commanded by letters that his wicked device, which he devised against the Jews, should return upon his own head, and that he and his sons should be hanged on the gallows. Wherefore they called these days Purim after the name of Pur. Therefore for all the words of this letter, and of that which they had seen concerning this matter, and which had come unto them. The Jews ordained, and took upon them, and upon their seed, and upon all such as joined themselves unto them, so as it should not fail, that they would keep these two days according to their writing, and according to their appointed time every year. And that these days should be remembered and kept throughout every generation, every family, every province, and every city; and that these days of Purim should not fail from among the Jews, nor the memorial of them perish from their seed. Then Esther the queen, the daughter of Abihail, and Mordecai the Jew, wrote with all authority, to confirm this second letter of Purim. Mordecai sent the letters unto all the Jews, to the hundred twenty and seven provinces of the kingdom of Ahasuerus, with words of peace and truth, to confirm these days of Purim in their times appointed, according as Mordecai the Jew and Esther the queen had enjoined them, and as they had decreed for themselves and for their seed, the matters of the fasting and their cry. And the decree of Esther confirmed these matters of Purim; and it was written in the book. (Esther 9:20-32).
King Ahasuerus laid a tribute upon the land, and upon the isles of the sea. And all the acts of his power and of his might, and the declaration of the greatness of Mordecai, whereunto the king advanced him, they are written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Media and Persia. Mordecai the Jew was next unto king Ahasuerus, and great among the Jews, and accepted of the multitude of his brethren, seeking the wealth of his people, and speaking peace to all his seed. (Esther 10:1-3).
I love the courage, integrity, obedience, and wisdom she displayed to the king, as well as to her guardian, Mordecai. Her bravery to get involved in the world of politics is an asset to the example she has left for us. Esther at no time when facing danger did she worry instead she put her trust in the LORD God and kept a cool head and did not panic nor did she run away.
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MLA Style Citation:
Holstein, Joanne “Queen Esther:.” Becker Bible Studies Library Oct 2014.< https://guidedbiblestudies.com/?p=1691,>.
APA Style Citation:
Holstein, Joanne (2014, October) “Queen Esther: .” Becker Bible Studies Library. Retrieved from https://guidedbiblestudies.com/?p=1691,.
Chicago Style Citation:
Holstein, Joanne (2014) “Queen Esther:.” Becker Bible Studies Library (October), https://guidedbiblestudies.com/?p=1691, (accessed).