17: Esther: The Book of Favor

Esther is a Jewish orphan living in Persia, whose family had earlier been in captivity in Babylon. The story fits chronologically between Ezra chapters six and seven, for it is in 536 and 458 B.C. that the first two groups of exiles return to the Promised Land. The entire story of Esther takes place in Persia while the Jews are resettling Palestine.

Winning a beauty pageant, Esther becomes a queen in the mighty empire of Persia. She is a woman of humility, faith, wisdom, courage, patriotism, and compassion. Her cousin, Mordecai, is the father figure who protects and counsels her. The antagonist, Haman, manipulates the king into ordering the extermination of the Jews. Esther uses her royal favor to intervene and expose Haman’s murderous plot. In the end, Mordecai is honored, Haman is executed, the Jews are granted vengeance upon their enemies, and the Feast of Purim is instituted.

It is a dramatic short story that illustrates how God protects his people in a hostile world. It encourages Believers today to trust God to intervene in seemingly hopeless situations. 

Essay Questions

1. What circumstances lead to Queen Vashti being deposed?

2. Describe the character of King Ahasuerus.

3. List all the statements Esther makes throughout the book. Based on these, what can be surmised about her character?

4. What circumstances lead to Haman’s hatred of Mordecai?

5. Describe how Mordecai is finally rewarded for exposing the assassination plot against the king.

6. Describe the character of Haman by answering the following questions:
What is his attitude toward Mordecai and why?
How does he get the king to agree to his plan to kill the Jews?
In what way is he publicly humiliated?
How is Haman exposed as the perpetrator?
How does he die?

7. Why is the preservation of the Jewish race so important? Read Romans 10:12-13 and Romans 11:25-27. Summarize what Paul says about this. Read Revelation 7:4-12 and explain why tribes of Israel are listed there. What is the significance of this?

8. What events transpire that lead to many Persians to convert to Judaism (8:15-17)?

9. What does the book of Esther teach concerning God’s protection of Believers in the 21st century?


Maxim of the Moment

God will bless the man who blesses his wife.