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   O.T. Survey  -  Summary of the Book of Esther – C.B.I. of B.B.C.          Dan Eberly

Time span of events - The events in the book of Esther cover a period of 12 years during Israel’s dispersion in Persia under king Ahasurus.

Date written - Not quite sure but approximately 450bc.

Authorship - The author is not easily known but Mordecai and Nehemiah are possible writers.

Note: There were a small group of Jews that returned to Jerusalem under Nehemiah and Ezra but most Jews stayed under this Persian king’s rule. God’s name never occurs in the book of Esther but the Lord’s watch care over His people is very evident. The book of Esther opens with king Ahasuerus at his palace in Shushan entertaining (which was not unusual) all the princes and servants from a 127 provinces in his kingdom.

 Chp. 1   Ahasurus king of the Medo-Persian Empire, made a feast to show off all his riches for 180 days. Vashti the Queen was called for by the king but she refused his command. So, because of her disobedience a royal commandment was written into Persian law that women will give their husbands honor. Vashti was removed and her office and estate was to be given to another.

Chp.2 All the young virgins of the land were gathered to Shushan the palace and given all that was necessary for their purification and preparation to present themselves before the king. One girl in particular was named Esther (Hadassah) who was being looked after by her cousin Mordecai a Jew of the tribe of Benjamin. When Esther came before the king, he loved her above all the others and made her queen. This chapter closes with two important facts. 1. Esther does not reveal her Jewish roots. 2. Mordecai reveals a plot to kill the king to two of the king’s chamberlains.

Chp. 3  Ahasurus promotes a man named Haman to a seat above all the princes of the land and he loves the honor and preeminence. Mordecai refuses to bow at the gate when Ham’s procession goes by, because (as Haman learns later) he is a Jew. Haman is incensed at the lack of obeisance from Mordecai and seeks revenge on all Jews. Haman proceeds to tell the king of a profitless, and disobedient people in the empire who don’t keep the kings laws and should so be destroyed. A decree is written and sealed by the king’s ring and Haman is happy. He feels he will be vindicated of Mordecai.

Chp. 4  Mordecai and all the Jews in the provinces are grieved at the news. Esther is made aware and sends to Mordecai to know the details. Esther receives the news and is encouraged by Mordecai to go to the king and do something. Esther tells Mordecai that she must be invited and not just barge into the king’s inner court. Mordecai hears of Esther’s reluctance and warns her she also is not safe and that who knows if “…thou art come to the kingdom for such a time as this.” They fast and I believe prayed.

Chp. 5  Esther does go into the king and is received favorably. Esther invites the king and Haman to a banquet that day and the following day as the king is obliged to give Esther any request up to half the kingdom. Haman again is angry at Mordecai for not honoring him and goes home to sulk. Haman is counseled by his wife (Zeresh) and his friends to have gallows built and to have the king hang Mordecai.

Chp.6  That night (just so happens) the king can’t sleep and wants to read the chronicles (latest events). The king learns of a foiled plot to kill him by the information of one Mordecai. The king wishes to honor Mordecai and decides to call Haman (who just happens to be nearby waiting to talk to the king about hanging Mordecai). The king says “ What shall be done unto the man the king wishes to honor?”Haman thought the king was referring to him and calls for an elaborate and honoring series of gifts and procession to take place. Then the king says “…and do even so to Mordecai the Jew.” Haman does it and runs home to mama and soon after makes haste to the banquet.

Chp.7  So all are present at Esther’s banquet and the king says “ What is thy petition Queen Esther?” Esther tells him of Esther tell him of the decree to kill the Jews of whom she is and that the perpetrator is Haman. The king rises in anger from his wine and goes into the garden. Haman throws himself on Esther’s lounge (bed) to cry mercy when the king returns to a scene he is not happy with. The king is informed of gallows Haman had made for Mordecai and the king says “Hang him (speaking of Haman) thereon.” Needless to say – end of Haman.

Chp.8  Ahasurus (with the new knowledge of Mordecai’s and Esther’s relationship) gives the house of Haman to Esther and Mordecai manages it. The king also reverses the decree against the Jews and even allows them to defend themselves. Mordecai went out in great honor and the city of Shushan was glad.

Chp.9  The day comes when the execution of the first decree against the Jews was to happen. Now, the Jews have rule in all the cities and Mordecai is great in the king’s house. The Jews smote all their enemies and 500 in Shushan. Also the 10 sons of Haman are slain. Some 75,000 foes of the Jews were slain and a feast was held on the 14th and 15th day of Adar. The Jews had rest, as sorrow was turned to joy. The day is called Purim (casting of lots) a yearly feast kept by all the Jews.

Chp.10  The book closes with Mordecai the Jew next to the king in power; and peace for all the Jews.

                                                God in the Book of Esther

            There are too many “coincidences” to chalk up the events to chance. As Christians who believe in God and His Word we know that God was sovereign over the events in this recorded history and intimately involved in the lives of the people in the book of Esther. I will list a few places where we see God’s hand in the events of this book. 1. God puts Ahasurus in as king, Vashti removed to provide spot for Esther. 2. A Jewish girl made queen of Persia (no accident) 3. God works through a sleepless king. 4. God reminds Esther of His providence through the mouth of Mordecai. 5. God reveals Haman’s heart. 6. God protects His people. The book of Esther has God fingerprints all over it. These are only a few but the book could just have easily been called “ The Acts of God during the Captivity”

Application of truths for our lives:

                                                                     Pride

Esther 3:5 “And Haman saw that Mordecai bowed not…” The bible tells us there are six things the Lord hates yea seven are an abomination. That is the proud look of Haman. When we look at Haman it is obvious what a destroyer pride is. The king commanded people to bow before Haman and Haman was full of anger when Mordecai didn’t. How satisfying can it be for men to HAVE to bow before you. We all need to take heed lest we fall. Just thinking ourselves better than Haman is sin. What do you think of yourself? Gal.6:3 says “For if a man think himself to be something, when he is nothing he deceiveth himself.” We should humble ourselves and let God do the lifting up. Haman was deceived in his pride thinking he was something when he was nothing. Pride also blinds Haman in that he cared not who he hurt as long as he makes Mordecai pay. Haman’s pride winds up costing him his own life. Ironic isn’t it he was hung on gallows prepared for Mordecai. His whole family destroyed because of pride. The people Haman wanted annihilated eventually prosper in peace.

            Remember (men especially) the eyegate is a powerful entrance into our souls. Satan uses the eyegate to influence the flesh to prompt us to sin. It is through the eyes we see and ultimately covet. It was what Haman saw that prompted his responses. He would have stood by while thousands were murdered because one man didn’t bow to him.  Be careful of the “…the pride of life…” because this prompted the fall of man. What we have seen in Haman we often see in ourselves. Haman saw Mordecai not bowing or reverencing him and the pride in his heart cost him his life.

                                                God’s work in and through us

            Esther 4:14b “…and who knoweth whether thou art come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” Those words coming ringing in my ears as we never know what God may do with us and through us. Our responsibility is to be led of the Spirit and submitted to His will. Who could have possibly wove all the events but the Lord to accomplish what happened in the lives of Esther, Mordecai, and the Jewish people. God wants to do the same in ours. He has a sovereign will and He will accomplish that will. It is simply for us to trust and obey. How often has the Lord shown us the way only to have us choose our way above His? Our will, our life, our ideas, our ambitions, and our hearts are the reason we find ourselves so far away from the Lord. We should listen and take heed to His word, the Holy Spirit’s promptings, God ordained authorities in our lives, and the counsel of godly people in our lives. The wants to be glorified in our lives and this is only accomplished by submission to His perfect will.

Mark 16:15 "And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature."

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