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Series Theme: Why Read the Bible: Esther





Why Read Esther: Apart from the fact that it is part of the canon of scripture, the book of Esther records events that occur in the Persian kingdom involving the Jews who still lived there. As noted in the historical background below, when many returned to the Promised land after the exile, many others stayed on in Babylon, which became the Persian empire after Babylon fell.

The events are largely around the king, Xerxes, who is clearly powerful, proud and highly egotistical and hasty in decision making. The king banishes his queen and a Jewish girl, Esther becomes queen. Sounding rather like a Shakespeare play, there is a ‘goodie' in the background – Mordecai, guardian of Esther, and a ‘badie', Haman, who plots to kill Mordecai and all the other Jews in the land. This potential genocide is stopped by Esther's intervention in difficult circumstances as the unfolding plot reveals. The salvation of the Jews is subsequently celebrated annually by the feast of Purim. Although God is not mentioned throughout there are strong indications that His hidden hand was at work in the background helping bring about the salvation of the Jews.


Historical Background : Xerxes (otherwise known as Ahasuerus) reigned 486-465/64 over the powerful kingdom of the Medes & Persians. We are told this story starts in the third year of his reign, i.e. 483BC (103 years after Nebuchadnezzar had taken the Jews into captivity and 54 years after Zerubbabel had returned but 25 years before Ezra returned.) We must assume that Esther's family and the other Jews mentioned in this book, must have chosen to stay in Babylon, which had now fallen in 539.



1: Queen Vashti Deposed

2: Esther Made Queen & a Plot is Revealed

3: Haman's Plot to Destroy the Jews

4: Mordecai Persuades Esther to Help

5: Esther's Requests to the King

6: Mordecai is Honored

7: Esther Pleads & Haman Dies

8: Edicts on Behalf of the Jews

9: Jewish Triumph & instigating Purim

10: The Greatness of Mordecai