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Book of Esther
The Book of Esther does not specifically name its author. The most popular
tradition is Mordecai (a major character in the Book of Esther). Date of Writing:
The Book of Esther was likely written between 460 and 350 B.C. Purpose of Writing:
The purpose of the Book of Esther is to display the providence of
God, especially in regard to His chosen people, Israel. The Book of Esther records the
institution of the Feast of Purim and the obligation of its perpetual observation. The Book
of Esther was read at the Feast of Purim to commemorate the great deliverance of the
Jewish nation brought about by God through Esther. Jews today still read Esther during
Purim. Key Verses- Now when the time came for Esther to go to the king, she
asked for nothing other than what Hegai, the king's eunuch who was in charge of the
- For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise from
another place, but you and your father's family will perish. And who knows but that you
have come to the royal position for such a time as this.
- Since Mordecai, before whom your downfall has begun, is of Jewish origin,
you cannot stand against him - you will surely come to ruin!
- If I have found favor with you, O king, and if it pleases your majesty, grant
me my life - this is my petition, and the life of my people - this is my request.
Brief Summary: The Book of Esther can be divided into three main sections. Chapters
1:1-2:18 – Esther replaces Vashti; 2:19-7:10 – Mordecai overcomes Haman; 8:1-10:3 –
Israel survives Haman’s attempt to destroy them. The noble Esther risked her own death
as she realized what was at stake. She willingly did what could have been a deadly
maneuver and took on the second-in-command of her husband‘s kingdom, Haman. She
proved a wise and most worthy opponent, all the while remaining humble and respectful
of the position of her husband-king.
Esther's story is much like the story of Joseph in Genesis 41. Both stories involve foreign
monarchs who control the destiny of the Jews. Both accounts show the heroism of
Israelite individuals who provide the means for the salvation of their people and nation.
The hand of God is evident, in that what appears to be a bad situation is indeed very
much under the control of the Almighty God, who ultimately has the good of the people
at heart. At the center of this story is the ongoing division between the Jews and the
Amalakites, which was recorded to have begun in the Book of Exodus. Haman’s goal is
the final effort recorded in the Old Testament period of the complete eradication of the
Jews. His plans eventually end up with his own demise, and the elevation of his enemy
Mordecai to his own position, as well as the salvation of the Jews.
Feasting is a major theme of this book: there are ten recorded banquets, and many of the
events were planned, plotted, or exposed at these banquets. Although the name of God is
never mentioned in this book, it is apparent that the Jews of Susa sought His intervention
when they fasted and prayed for three days In spite of the fact that the law
allowing their destruction was written according to the laws of the Medes and Persians,
rendering it unchangeable, the way was cleared for their prayers to be answered. Esther
risked her life by going not once uninvited before the king but twice, She was not content with the destruction of Haman; she was intent on saving her people.
The institution of the Feast of Purim is written and preserved for all to see and is still
observed today. God's chosen people, without any direct mention of His name, were
granted a stay of execution through the wisdom and humility of Esther.
Foreshadowings: In Esther, we are given a behind-the-scenes look at the ongoing
struggle of Satan against the purposes of God and especially against His promised
Messiah. The entrance of Christ into the human race was predicated upon the existence of
the Jewish race. Just as Haman plotted against the Jews in order to destroy them, so has
Satan set himself against Christ and God’s people. Just as Haman is defeated on the
gallows he built for Mordecai, so does Christ use the very weapon that his enemy devised
to destroy Him and His spiritual seed. For the cross, by which Satan planned to destroy
the Messiah, was the very means through which Christ “having canceled the written
code, with its regulations, that was against us and that stood opposed to us; he took it
away, nailing it to the cross. And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a
public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross”ust
as Haman was hanged on the gallows he built for Mordecai, so the devil was crushed by
the cross he erected to destroy Christ.
Practical Application: The Book of Esther shows the choice we make between seeing
the hand of God in our circumstances in life and seeing things as merely coincidence.
God is the sovereign Ruler of the universe and we can be assured that His plans will not
be moved by the actions of mere evil men. Although His name is not mentioned in the
book, His providential care for his people, both individuals and the nation, is evident
throughout. For instance, we cannot fail to see the Almighty exerting influence over King
Xerxes’s timely insomnia. Through the example of Mordecai and Esther, the silent love
language our Father often uses to communicate directly to our spirits is shown in this
Esther proved to have a godly and teachable spirit that also showed great strength and
willing obedience. Esther’s humility was markedly different from those around her, and
this caused her to be elevated into the position of queen. She shows us that remaining
respectful and humble, even in difficult if not humanly impossible circumstances, often
sets us up to be the vessel of untold blessing for both ourselves and others. We would do
well to emulate her godly attitudes in all areas of life, but especially in trials. Not once is
there a complaint or bad attitude exposed in the writing. Many times we read she won the
"favor" of those around her. Such favor is what ultimately saved her people. We can be
granted such favor as we accept even unfair persecution and follow Esther’s example of
maintaining a positive attitude, coupled with humility and the determination to lean on
God. Who knows but that God put us in such a position, for just such a time as this?
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