Introduction to the Book of Esther
There are only two books in the Bible named after a woman. But, oh what great truths God teaches us from these two women. In Esther, we see the mighty hand of God, even though we do not hear His name. He is protecting His people. One man’s wicked plot is stopped by the courage of a woman named Esther. Esther was a submissive woman. Even though she was a grown woman and had become queen, she listened to her uncle who raised her, and obeyed him. She was placed there by the mighty hand of God. What looked like tragedy, (her parents had died and she was raised by her uncle, Mordecai) turned out to bring deliverance for the Jews. Her Persian name Esther comes from the word Star. And she allowed God to use her in a dark season to bring deliverance to God’s people. Esther’s Hebrew name means “Myrtle” (Esther 2:7); sweet smelling in bad times. All of this teaches us that when a person submits to authority, especially God’s authority they can be used of God to shine forth in darkness and deliver people from darkness.
Two great statements are made in the book of Esther:
First, “Who knoweth whether thou art come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” (4:14). You do have a purpose in life no matter what you are facing.
Second, “And if I perish, I perish.” (4:16) I will do what I must for the kingdom of God. And if I die, I die. (In His will, doing His work and worshiping Him.)
Read this book slowly with your eyes open to the unseen hand of God. For “Somewhere in the shadows” you will find Jesus. He was there all the time, even though no one said His precious name.
Esther – “the providence of god”
KEY VERSE: Esther 4:14, “For if thou altogether holdest thy peace at this time, then shall there enlargement and deliverance arise to the Jews from another place; but thou and thy father’s house shall be destroyed: and who knoweth whether thou art come to the kingdom for such a time as this?”
THEME: The Deliverance of the Jews from annihilation in the days following the Babylonian Captivity.
DATE: (478-464 B.C.) Esther became Queen in 478 B.C. She saved her people in 473 B.C.
Book probably written about 450 B.C.
WRITER: Some Think Mordecai, Others think Ezra, And still others think Nehemiah wrote the Book of Esther.
WRITTEN: Very simple in style like Ezra and Nehemiah. Written in Hebrew with some Persian Words. Covers a twelve year period of Jewish History of those who remained in Persia after they were free to go back to the Holy Land.
THE BOOK: Number in Bible – 17th of 66 Books
Number of Chapters – 10 Number of Verses – 166 Number in Order of Writing – 12th
Book of History
PURPOSE: Recorded as a memoir to all the Jews scattered throughout the one hundred twenty-seven countries of the
Persian Empire to relate the providence of God in preventing extinction of the Jewish race and to establish the Feast of “Purim” (meaning “lots”). Named so, because lots were cast to determine in which month the Jews were to be destroyed.
I. The Rise of Esther (Chapters 1-2)
1. The Rejection of Vashti (1:2-21)
2. The Selection of Esther (2:1-19)
3. The Detection of Mordecai (2:20-23)
II. The Lies of Haman (Chapters 3-5)
1. The infernal servitude – Haman
2. The Intestinal fortitude – Mordecai
III. The Prize of Faith
1. The Execution of Haman (Chapters 6-8) 2. The Institution of a Feast (Chapters 9-10)
2. The Convictions of Mordecai (4:4-14) 3. The Courage of Esther (4:15-5:8)
4. The Confidence of Haman (5:9-14)
III. How The Plot Was Foiled (Chapters 6-10) 1. The Death of Haman
a. He was publicly humiliated (6)
b. He was publicly hanged (7) 2. The Decree of Ahaseurus (8)
3. The Deliverance of Israel (9:1-18) 4. The Day of Purim (9:19-32)
5. The Dignity of Mordecai (10)
MISCELLANEOUS: Esther Is Centered Around Three Feasts:
1. The Feast of Ahasuerus (1-2) 2. The Feast of Esther (3-7) 3. The Feast of Purim (8-10)
• Esther was a Jewish orphan.
• Esther’s Jewish name “Hadassah” means “A Myrtle”
• Esther won the “Miss Persia Pageant” and beat out all the other “Finalists”
• Esther’s influence upon her step-son, Artaxerxes, is seen later. He was so kind to Ezra and Nehemiah.
The Jews Are God’s Indestructible People:
CONCLUSION: Hitler and Stalin also learned that the Gas Chambers and Firing Squads would not do away with the Jews.