THE BOOK OF ESTHER
a.This BOOK shows Gods presence was with those who stayed in Persia, as well as with those who returned to Judah.
b.The people were protected and preserved from the threat of extermination by the Persians.
c.The Book of EZRA deals with Restoration; NEHEMIAH deals with Reconstruction; ESTHER deals with Preservation.
d.This is the important story of an orphan Jewish girl who became Queen of Persia; It took place in Susa, the Capital of Persia.
e.Esther became Queen in 478 BC, about forty years after the temple in Jerusalem was rebuilt, and about thirty years before Nehemiah rebuilt the walls of Jerusalem.
4.TITLE: Hebrew: HADASSAH - myrtle; Persian: ESTHER - a star.
5.AUTHOR: Unknown; Perhaps an unidentified Persian Jew.
6.DATE: ESTHER probably was written about 460 BC; The Book covers about ten years from 483 to 473 BC.
7.The word GOD is not in the Book of ESTHER, but in the Book we can see Gods Hand in human history in a dramatic way.
a.It was not just good luck which prevented destruction of the Jews in Esthers time, but it was the grace of God.
b.The Book of ESTHER is considered by all Bible believers to be one of the best examples of the PROVIDENCE OF GOD (Latin PRO-VIDEO: I see before -- Foresight, seeing ahead and acting on the basis of foreknowledge: Sovereign manipulation of ordinary human affairs; Arranging matters so His children are taken care of; Not miraculous intervening, but providential overruling).
c.So, although God is not mentioned in this BOOK, His Providential care is seen throughout the BOOK, and perhaps it is emphasized by the non-mention of His Name.
crisis anticipated: grave danger to the Jews -- CH 1-5.
Ch 1, IN THE KINGS PALACE; QUEEN VASHTI DEPOSED.
Ahasuerus has been identified as Xerxes (his Greek name), who ruled Persia twenty years (485-465 BC), vv1-2.
The king made a lavish banquet and displayed his royal glory for the people, vv3-4.
The drunken king ordered Vashti (her name means beautiful woman) to parade her beauty before the men, vv10-11.
She refused and was deposed as queen lest her example should encourage other women to look down on their husbands, and disobey them, vv12,15-17,19-20.
If the king had been a good man, he would have given her protection instead of punishment.
We admire Vashtis purity and courage, and observe that her action paved the way for Esther to become queen just at the right time in history -- Providence!
Ch 2, ESTHER BECAME QUEEN.
There was a search for a new queen: Esther was among the candidates, vv2,4,5-8.
It had now been about four years since Vashti was deposed, cf 1:3 with 2:16.
Esther won the royal beauty pageant; The king married the beautiful and charming (cf vv7,9,15) Jewish maiden without knowing her nationality, v20; cf v10 and 3:4.
Mordecai warned the king of assassination; His faithful service was recorded (vv21-23); later rewarded, 7:9-10.
Ch 3, HAMANS PLAN TO EXTERMINATE THE JEWS.
Haman became captain of the princes; Mordecai refused to reverence him, vv1-2. True spirituality does not do away with good manners, or patriotism; But it does not allow undue respect, nor respect at all for the person of a high officer.
Haman hated Mordecai and all Jews, and planned for a year to kill all the Jews in all the provinces, vv4-6.
Another five years had passed since 2:16; Haman was superstitious; He cast the lot (Assyrian, PUR) to determine the best time for the massacre, vv7-8.
Through bribery and lies he convinced Ahasuerus to issue an edict that all Jews in the empire would be slain on a single day, vv9,13. Such savagery seems inconceivable.
Ch 4, MORDECAI PLED TO THE KING FOR HELP.
The kings decree caused great sorrow to the Jews, vv1-3.
Mordecai asked Esther to appeal to the king to spare the Jews, vv4-8.
He convinced her she was called to her high position for this purpose, v14. We should consider why God has put us in our time and place, and try to fulfill His purpose before opportunity is gone.
Esther made the courageous decision to risk her life by entering unbidden into the kings court (see the penalty, v11), and to reveal her nationality to the king in a desperate effort to get him to spare the Jews, vv15-16.
Ch 5, ESTHER WENT BEFORE THE KING.
After fasting, Esther appeared before the king and invited him and Haman to a banquet, vv1-4.
We can admire her courage for risking her life by venturing into the kings presence without an invitation, to intercede for her people, 4:11.
At the first banquet, Esther invited the king and Haman to attend a second banquet, waiting for the right moment to make her request, v8.
Haman was flattered, but later became enraged when Mordecai did not reverence him, v9.
Haman had a 75-foot gallows built for Mordecai, vv10-14.
NOTE: In all the events up to now we can see the marvelous pre-arranging of affairs in anticipation of the events to come.
great deliverance of THE Jews -- CHAPTERS 6-10.
Ch 6, MORDECAI WAS HONORED.
After the banquet, Ahasuerus decided to treat his sleeplessness by reading the palace records, v1.
He read about Mordecai, and wanted him honored, 2-3,4-6a.
Thinking the honor was for himself, Haman suggested extravagance in the ceremony, 6b-9.
Hamans wife warned him of trouble to come, 10-14,13.
Ch 7, ESTHER HAD A BANQUET; HAMAN WAS EXECUTED.
At second banquet, Esther interceded for her people, 1-4.
She then told the king of Hamans guilty intentions, 5-6.
In this most unusual turn of events, Haman was hanged (on the grounds of his own house!) on the 75-foot gallows he had built for Mordecai, 9-10.
THE JEWS CONQUEST AND COMMEMORATION.
Ch 8, ESTHERS THIRD PETITION; THE JEWS WERE AVENGED.
Mordecai was made known as Esthers kinsman (cf 2:7), and was promoted over the house of Haman, vv1-2.
Persian law did not allow the earlier decree to be revoked, but permission was given the Jews to defend themselves when they were attacked, v11.
This decree altered the first one; And it also brought great joy, vv15-17.
Ch 9, ENEMIES DESTROYED; FEAST OF PURIM WAS INSTITUTED.
When the day came, the Jews defeated their enemies, 5.
These days were made a celebration for the Jews (PURIM came from PUR, referring to the lots cast by Haman to determine the day), vv26-28.
Ch 10, MORDECAIS GREATNESS AS HE WAS MADE PREMIER.
The Fairy Tale closes with the promotion of Mordecai to be Premier, vv1-3.
Xerxes, the mighty monarch of the Persian Empire, had a Jew for his prime minister and a Jewess for his queen; They were the brains and heart of his palace!
This paved the way for the work of Ezra and Nehemiah.
**ESTHER IN TEN WORDS:
**ESTHER IN FOUR WORDS:
Exaltation - Persecution - Preservation - Commemoration.
**CONTRIBUTION OF THE BOOK OF ESTHER TO THE BIBLE:
The Book stresses Gods Providence, but also mans responsibility to be aware of every opportunity and take advantage of the same while it is present.
The clear message emerges that God uses ordinary men and women to overcome impossible circumstances in order to accomplish His gracious purposes.
QUOTE FROM KENNETH BOA: The God of Israel is the sovereign controller of history, and His providential care can be seen all throughout this book: He raised a Jewish girl out of obscurity to become the queen of the most powerful empire in the world; He ensured that Mordecais loyal deed was recorded in the palace records; He guided Esthers intrusion into the kings court; He superintended the timing of Esthers two feasts; He was involved in Ahasuerus insomnia and the cure he used for it; He saw that Hamans gallows would be utilized in an unexpected way; He gave Esther great favor in the sight of the king; and He brought about the new decree and the eventual victory of the Jews. No miracles were involved, but the events meshed together with obvious purpose -- a slight change would have affected the whole outcome. Even in Persia the words of Genesis 12:3 rang true: And I will bless those who bless you, and the one who curses you I will curse.
QUOTE FROM J. SIDLOW BAXTER: ...amid the shadows God stands, keeping watch upon His own. He sees and knows and cares for His own. He may be out of their sight: but THEY are never out of HIS sight. He that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep. He may be invisible, but He is infallible. He may seem strangely silent, but He remains actively sovereign. . . . Evil may be temporarily permitted, but ultimately it is frustrated. Behind a frowning Providence God hides a smiling face.
**CHRIST IN THE BOOK OF ESTHER:
See Christ in the Book of ESTHER because of Satans effort to destroy the Jews (and thus the Messianic line), but he could not and did not succeed - cf Mt 16:18.
Mordecai overcame the enemies and all the Jews overcame through Mordecai just as Christ overcomes our enemies and we overcome through Christ - cf Heb 2:9; Rom 8:37.
The spiritually preserved Jews brought forth the Messiah; He is the One Who can preserve us - Rom 6:4; 2:4.
God has provided; The lost must respond - Ac 2:38.
The time of writing
During the captivity
Babylon then Persia held power
Ahasuerus, the Persian monarch, probably the same as Xerxes
May be divided into three sections
The feast of Ahasuerus
The feast of Esther
The feast of Purim
The message: "Whoso diggeth a pit shall fall therein" (Prov 26:27).
Three Feasts (1:1 to 9:32)
The feast of Ahasuerus (1:1 to 1:22)
Persian empire under Ashauerus (1:1-2)
Ruled from India to Ethiopia (1:1)
Events took place in the kings palace at Shushan (1:2)
Ahasuerus great feast (1:3-22)
Riches and glory of his kingdom (1:4)
Followed by a feast that lasted seven days (1:5-8)
The queen, Vashti, gave a feast for the women (1:9)
Ahasuerus sent for Vashti to show the people her beauty (1:10-11)
Vashti refused to come to the king (1:12-22)
This challenged the authority of all husbands (1:12-18)
Ahasuerus advised to divorce Vashti and marry another (1:19-21)
Letters sent throughout the empire (1:22)
New queen selected (2:1-20)
Ahasuerus had second thoughts about Vashti (2:1)
Virgins gathered to the palace to select new queen (2:2-4)
Mordecai and his cousin Esther (2:5-7)
The maidens came in turn to Ahasuerus (2:8-14)
Esther chosen to be queen (2:15-20)
Mordecai tells Esther of a conspiracy against Ahasuerus (2:21-23)
Haman promoted, but Modecai refused to bow before him (3:1-6)
Haman promoted over all the princes (3:1)
Ahasuerus commanded Haman to be reverenced (3:2)
Mordecai would not bow down to Haman (3:2-3)
Haman told that Mordecai was a Jew (3:4)
Haman decided to destroy all the Jews (3:5-6)
The casting of lots (Pur) to determine the day of execution (3:7)
Haman receives authority to put all Jews to death (3:8-15)
Haman complains against the Jews (3:8)
Haman offers to pay large sum to Ahasuerus (3:9)
Haman given permission to kill all the Jews (3:10)
Haman given the spoil (3:11)
Written order that all Jews to be killed on a certain day
Esther informed of the plight of the Jews (4:1-17)
The grief and lamentation of Mordecai (4:1-3)
Word brought to Esther about the coming destruction (4:4-9)
Esther reluctant to approach Ahasuerus (4:10-12)
Mordecai persuaded Esther to act (4:13-14)
Esther requests a three day fast (4:15-17)
The feast of Esther (5:1 to 9:11)
Ahasuerus and Haman invited to the feast (5:1-5)
A second banquet proposed the following day (5:6-8)
Hamans reaction (5:9-14)
Haman filled with joy (5:9)
Indignant toward Mordecai (5:9)
Haman complained to his wife about Mordecai (5:10-13)
A seventy-five foot high gallows built to hang Mordecai (5:14)
Ahasuerus reminded of Mordecais good service (6:1-14)
Ahasuerus sleepless night and reading of the chronicles (6:1-3)
Haman was in the court to propose hanging Mordecai (6:4)
Ahasurerus asked Haman how to reward a faithful servant (6:5-9)
Haman told to extend this honor to Mordecai, the Jew (6:10-11)
Haman retires in a rage but is called to Esthers feast (6:12-14)
Ahasuerus and Haman at the banquet given by Esther (7:1-10)
Ahasuerus pomises to give Esther whatever she wanted (7:1-4)
Esther reveals the plot of Haman against the Jews (7:5-6)
Ahasuerus goes out to the garden to think about it (7:7)
Haman begins to plead with Esther for his life (7:7)
The King returns and finds Haman fallen on Esther couch (7:8)
Ahasuerus orders the death of Haman (7:9-10)
Mordecai promoted and given the estate of Haman (8:1-2)
Deliverance of the Jews (8:3 to 9:31)
Esther again intercedes for the Jews (8:3-6)
Ahasuerus permits Jews to defend themselves (8:7-14)
Mordecai highly honored and praised (8:15-17)
Jews kill their enemies, including the 10 sons of Haman (9:1-11)
The feast of Purim (9:12 to 10:3)
Hanging of Hamans ten sons (9:12-14)
Seventy-five thousand Jewish enemies killed (9:15-16)
A day of feasting and gladness (9:17-18)
General proclamation establishing the annual feast of Purim
Ahasuerus greatness and Mordecais promotion (10:1-3)
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