Summary of the Book of
Esther – C.B.I. of B.B.C.
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.
- Not quite sure but approximately 450bc.
The author is not
easily known but Mordecai and Nehemiah are possible writers.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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
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.