THE BOOK OF ESTHER
1. In discussing the Book of Esther, we can see God in the shadows.
2. We see His providence at work throughout the book.
3. We have reference made to this in 4:14 where Mordecai said, "...and who knoweth whether thou art not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?"
4. The author of this book is probably Mordecai.
5. The time referred to in the book is during the reign of King Ahasuerus 484 to 464 B.C.
6. The place was the Persian Empire, especially Shushan the palace.
7. Persia was a world-empire at that time ruling over 127 provinces from India to Ethiopia.
8. The word "God" is not used in the book at all, but His influence is greatly manifested
9. The principle characters of the book are; Esther, Mordecai, King Ahasuerus, and Haman (not mentioned elsewhere in the Bible).
10. Esther, who's Hebrew name was Hadassah, meaning myrtle, was the orphaned daughter of Abihail a Benjamite.
11. She was reared by her cousin Mordecai.
12. Mordecai was the son of Jair, and great grandson to Kish the Benjamite who was carried away into Babylonian captivity along with Jeconiah King of Judah, over 100 years before this time. This was done by Nebuchadnezzar.
13. King Ahasuerus was the same as Xerxes I, Persian king from 484 to 464 B.C. Son of Darius I, 521 to 484 B.C.
14. Haman was the son of Hammedatha the Agagite, he was a high prince in the king's court. Remember King Agag of the Amelekites?
A. A great feast is given in Shushan the palace for the Lords of the provinces of Persia.
B. The feast lasted 180 days, 6 months, and then there were 7 days feast for all the people.
C. The trimmings and decorations were very elaborate.
D. The king became drunken and called for the queen Vashti to come before him and the other men present.
E. She refused to come.
F. She was banished from being queen.
II. CHAPTER TWO:
A. Virgins, fair and beautiful, were brought from all the provinces so that the king could choose another queen.
B. Esther was among these virgins.
C. She did not let it be known that she was a Jew and that her forefathers had been brought into that land as captives.
1. The reason for her refusal to let it be known is mentioned in 2:20, "Esther had not yet made known her kindred nor her people; as Mordecai had charged her: for Esther did the commandment of Mordecai, like as when she was brought up with him."
D. Esther was chosen, from all the others, to be queen.
E. Mordecai warns Esther of a plot against the king's life.
1. The plotters were caught and hanged.
III. CHAPTER THREE:
A. Haman the Agagite was promoted to great authority. Exo. 17:8-16; 1 Sam. 15:1-9
B. He received the homage of the people, they bowed down to him.
1. But Mordecai refused to bow down to him.
C. Haman was highly perturbed and made plans to destroy Mordecai along with all the other Jews.
D. He had lots cast to determine the best day to carry out his scheme.
1. The lot fell upon the 13th day of the 12th month.
E. Then he drew up a decree and got the king to sign it.
1. he sent the decree to all the provinces.
F. He promised the king 10,000 talents of silver for the privilege of destroying the Jews.
G. The general massacre was to take place on the 13th day of the 12th month, 472 B.C.
1. Esther had become queen about 478 B.C.
IV. CHAPTER FOUR:
A. Mordecai found out about the massacre and rent his clothes and put on sackcloth with ashes.
B. Esther's maids told her of Mordecai's mourning, she sent to him to find out the reason.
C. Mordecai made the reply as found in 4:13,14.
D. Esther's answer is found in 4:16.
V. CHAPTER FIVE:
A. Esther stood before the king and was accepted of him.
B. She invited the king and Haman to a banquet.
C. When at the banquet the king asked her wishes, even to the half of the kingdom, Esther invited them to another banquet for the next day at which time she would make known her request.
D. This really boosted Haman's ego. He actually thought a lot of himself anyway.
E. But, when he came out of the banquet hall and saw Mordecai, that despised Jew who refused to bow down before him, it took away all the joy of his honored position and anticipation of the banquet on the morrow.
F. He went home pouting about Mordecai's seeming insolence before him. His wife and friends told him to build a gallows and hang Mordecai on it.
1. He thought that a good idea and built a gallows 75 feet high.
VI. CHAPTER SIX:
A. But God was in the shadows.
B. That night the king could not sleep, and so he called for his record of chronicles.
C. He read of the saving of his life by Mordecai.
D. He asked his officials what honor had been bestowed upon Mordecai for this?
1. The reply was, None.
E. At this time Haman entered the court seeking permission to hang Mordecai.
F. The king asked Haman what should be done unto the man whom the king delighted to honor?
G. Haman, thinking that the king meant him, called for many great honors to be bestowed upon such a man.
H. So the king told Haman to do so to Mordecai.
1. Undoubtedly the honoring of this despised Jew Mordecai was mortifying to Haman.
I. Haman hastened to his house in mourning and covered his head.
VII. CHAPTER SEVEN:
A. The king and Haman were attending Esther's second feast.
B. Esther told the king of the plot against her people and requested they be saved.
C. The king asked who had done this thing?
D. Esther said, "An adversary and an enemy, even this wicked Haman."
E. The king was wroth and arose and left the room.
F. Haman pled with Esther for his life even to falling upon the couch where she was.
G. The king came back into the room, and misunderstanding the action of Haman, ordered Haman arrested and hanged upon the gallows that were prepared for Mordecai.
VIII. CHAPTER EIGHT:
A. The king gave Esther Haman's house and Esther put Mordecai over it.
B. Esther asked the king to reverse the decree for destroying her people.
C. But the king said that a sealed decree could not be reversed.
D. But he told Mordecai to draw up a decree to counteract the first one and he would seal it.
E. In the decree, Mordecai instructed the Jews in all of the 127 provinces to defend themselves against all that might do them harm.
F. This decree brought light, gladness, joy and honor into the life of the Jews.
IX. CHAPTER NINE:
A. The 13th day of the 12th month finally arrived.
B. The fear of the Jews was upon all the people.
C. The fame of Mordecai had gone out into all the provinces and he waxed greater and greater.
D. The Jews slew 800 men in Shushan the palace. Including all of Haman's family.
E. They slew 75,000 in the other provinces.
F. They were victorious over those that hated them.
G. They rejoiced on the 14th and 15th days of the month and Mordecai declared these days to be celebrated annualy.
H. These days were called days of Purim.
I. The days of Purim were to be celebrated throughout every generation.
X. CHAPTER TEN:
A. Mordecai became next to the king in power.
B. He was accepted of all his brethren.
C. He sought the good of his people.
1. Truly God was in the shadows and raised up Esther "for such a time as this."
2. Are you willing to let God be in the shadows and direct your life through His Word?
3. He is the Potter, won't you be pliable clay in the Master's hands?
By Jim Sasser
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