How would you define a godly woman? One that lives her life as God would want her to do so.
How is this accomplished? As revealed by God through the Bible.
Yesterday we looked at Ruth. Her faithfulness, obedience and love of The Lord.
Today we are going to look at another godly woman, Esther.
Overview of Esther
Chapter 1: King Ahasuerus (Xerxes) of Persia gave a seven-day banquet in his enclosed garden for all his nobles and officials. Gold and silver couches, grand linens, marble, etc. surrounded the guests, displaying his great wealth. At the same time, his wife, Queen Vashti, had a banquet for the women in the palace. After drinking much wine, Xerxes called for his wife to come to his feast dressed in her royal gown. Vashti refused to come to him and be on display. Furious, the king turned to his wise men seeking counsel on how to handle her disobedience and his embarrassment. They advised him to replace her and banish her from his presence.
Chapter 2: After Xerxes’ anger subsided, he was lonely…thus a search for new queen began. There was a Jew named Mordecai, who lived in the palace complex. Esther, the orphaned cousin he had raised, was taken into the king’s harem. Seven personal maids cared for her for about a year while she received beauty treatments in preparation to meet the king. At Mordecai’s request, she didn’t share her Jewish background with anyone in the palace. When Xerxes finally met her, he fell in love and she was chosen as queen. One day, while Mordecai was sitting at the King’s Gate, he overheard palace guards plot against the king. Esther told the king what Mordecai heard. When this was investigated and confirmed as true, the two men were hanged. This was all written in the king’s journal.
Esther was obedient…followed Mordecai’s request to not share her religious background…for it was the right thing to do at that time.
Chapter 3: Xerxes promotes Haman to the highest government position. Mordecai would not bow to him. Knowing he was a Jew, Haman asked the king permission to destroy all of the Jews. Bulletins were sent out across the provinces to kill all Jews on a specific date.
Chapter 4: Mordecai learned of the plot and asked Esther to plead with Xerxes to stop this massacre. Initially she refused as she feared the king would kill her for coming into his presence uninvited. Mordecai said, ‘Don’t think that just because you live in the king’s house you’re the one Jew who will get out of this alive…Maybe you were made queen for just such a time as this.’ Esther said, ‘Hold a three day fast. I will go to the king against the law, and if I die, I die.’
Esther was initially fearful…did not want to approach the king uninvited.
Esther was brave…willing to put her fears aside and approach Xerxes
Chapter 5:Esther won favor with the king and was welcomed into his presence. She said, ‘Let the King and Haman come to a feast tonight.’ After dinner Xerxes asked her what she wanted from him. ‘Come to dinner tomorrow and bring Haman and then I will tell you.’ Haman left the palace beaming, as he was thrilled to be invited to this banquet. Then he passed by Mordecai at the gates and his anger returned. At his wife’s encouragement, Haman built gallows to hang Mordecai.
Chapter 6: That night the king could not sleep and asked for his day-by-day journal to be read to him. They came across the entry about Mordecai exposing the assassination plot against King Xerxes. Realizing Mordecai was never honored, he called for Haman for advice. ‘What would be appropriate for the man the king especially wants to honor?’ Xerxes asked. Being prideful, Haman thought he was the subject to be honored. ‘Bring a royal robe that the king has worn and a horse…’ When the king told him to take the robe to Mordecai the Jew, Haman was so angry he robbed him and threw him out of the palace.
Chapter 7: At the feast, the king asked Esther, ‘What is your request?’ She said, ‘My people and myself have been sold by Haman to be destroyed.’ Enraged the king had Haman swing from the gallows.
Esther’s plan was well thought out.
Chapter 8: Queen Esther was given the estate of Haman. The king instructed Mordecai to send out letters to the provinces allowing the Jews to defend themselves. The Jews rejoiced when they saw Mordecai walk out of the palace wearing a royal robe of violet and white, a huge gold crown, and a purple cape of fine linen.
Esther was blessed.
Chapter 9: Mordecai established the Feast of Purim to celebrate their survival. The word “Purim” means “lots” and refers to the lottery that Haman used to choose the date for the massacre.
Chapter 10: Mordecai, the Jew, was promoted to second only to King Xerxes.
During the Feast of Purim the Book of Esther is read aloud.
It is customary to boo, hiss, stamp feet and rattle gragers (noisemakers) whenever the name of Haman is mentioned in the service. The purpose of this custom is to “blot out the name of Haman.”
Did you know the Purim holiday is preceded by a minor fast, the Fast of Esther? This fast commemorates Esther’s three days of fasting in preparation for her meeting with the king.
What did you learn from the Book of Esther?
I know this is not my normal posting…did you like the lesson? Do you want to see more posts like this?
Susan Werthem is a Bible study leader, speaker and author.
She takes the Word of God and shares His truth in a humorous, unique and insightful way.
To contact Susan to plan a retreat or seminar Click here.