Esther: The True Meaning


Esther: Courage, Faith, Deliverance, Victory, Celebration, Providence, Loyalty

The Book of Esther is believed to have been written sometime in the 4th or 5th century BCE, during the reign of the Persian Empire over the Israelites. The story is set primarily in the bustling city of Susa, located in the province of Elam, which is now part of modern-day Iran.

Susa was a thriving, cosmopolitan metropolis, serving as one of the four major capitals of the vast Persian Empire. The city was home to a diverse population, including Persians, Babylonians, and Israelites, known for its grand architecture, particularly the impressive royal palace that features prominently in the narrative.

At the time, the Persian King Ahasuerus, also known as Xerxes I, ruled the empire from 486 to 465 BCE. The Persian Empire was at the height of its power, having conquered the Babylonian and Median empires and extending its reach from Egypt to India. However, the empire faced internal tensions and challenges as different ethnic and religious groups vied for influence and power.

The people of Susa, including the Jewish community, were caught in the midst of these political and social currents. The story of Esther provides a glimpse into the lives of the Jewish inhabitants, who faced the threat of persecution and annihilation at the hands of their adversaries. The narrative highlights the resilience, ingenuity, and determination of the Jewish people as they navigate the complex web of court politics and power struggles.

The significance of the Book of Esther lies in its role as a pivotal text within the canon of Jewish and Christian scriptures. The story of Esther’s rise to power and her subsequent actions to save her people from destruction have inspired generations of readers, serving as a testament to the enduring strength and faith of the Jewish community. Additionally, the book’s themes of divine providence, courage, and the struggle for justice continue to resonate with readers today, making it a enduring classic of biblical literature.

The Author of Esther

The book of Esther is traditionally believed to have been written by the author Mordecai, who was a Jewish man of the tribe of Benjamin. Mordecai was a descendant of the exiles who had been taken from Jerusalem to Babylon by King Nebuchadnezzar. He was a respected member of the Jewish community living in Persia during the reign of King Xerxes.

Mordecai’s motivation for writing the book of Esther was likely to record and memorialize the miraculous events that led to the deliverance of the Jewish people from the threat of genocide. His personal circumstances were closely tied to the central events of the book, as he was the guardian and cousin of Queen Esther, who played a pivotal role in saving her people. Mordecai’s faith in God and his courage in advising Esther to risk her life for the sake of their people demonstrate his deep commitment to the welfare of the Jewish community. Through the book of Esther, Mordecai aimed to highlight the providence of God and the importance of standing up for righteousness in the face of adversity.

Overview of Esther

The Book of Esther is a captivating story that follows a young Jewish woman named Esther who becomes the queen of Persia and saves her people from destruction. Set during the reign of King Xerxes I, the narrative provides a unique perspective on the Jewish diaspora in the ancient world.

The book begins with King Xerxes hosting a lavish banquet, where his queen, Vashti, refuses to obey his command, leading to her removal. This sets the stage for Esther, an orphan raised by her cousin Mordecai, to be chosen as the new queen. The plot thickens when Mordecai uncovers a plan to assassinate the king, which he foils and reports to Esther.

The central conflict arises when the king’s advisor, Haman, devises a plot to exterminate all the Jews in the kingdom. Mordecai urges Esther to intervene with the king, even though it could cost her life. Esther bravely approaches the king and reveals her Jewish heritage, leading to the exposure of Haman’s evil intentions. Through a series of events orchestrated by God, Haman is ultimately executed, and the Jews are granted the right to defend themselves against their enemies.

While the book does not explicitly mention God, His providential hand is evident throughout the story. The deliverance of the Jewish people is celebrated annually during the feast of Purim, a reminder of God’s faithfulness and protection. The Book of Esther highlights themes of courage, faith, and divine intervention, showcasing how God works behind the scenes to fulfill His purposes. The book serves as a powerful reminder of God’s sovereignty and faithfulness to His people in the Christian context. It encourages believers to trust in God’s timing and providence, even when faced with seemingly insurmountable challenges. The courage and faith displayed by Esther and Mordecai inspire Christians to stand firm in their beliefs and rely on God’s strength in times of adversity. The Book of Esther ultimately points to the overarching theme of redemption and deliverance that is central to the Christian faith.

Key themes of Esther

Esther is about Courage

Esther is a book in the Bible that highlights the theme of courage. The story of Esther showcases how she bravely risked her life to save her people, the Jews, from destruction. In Esther 4:14, Mordecai reminds Esther that she was placed in her position for such a time as this, encouraging her to summon the courage to approach the king and plead for her people. Esther displays immense courage by going before the king uninvited, knowing that she could be put to death for doing so. Her bravery ultimately leads to the salvation of the Jewish people, as seen in Esther 8:17. The book of Esther serves as a powerful reminder of the importance of courage in the face of adversity and the impact it can have on the lives of others.

Esther is about Obedience

The theme of obedience is prominent in the book of Esther. Esther’s obedience to her cousin Mordecai’s instructions to keep her Jewish identity a secret (Esther 2:10) ultimately leads to her becoming queen and later risking her life to save her people from destruction (Esther 4:16). Mordecai’s obedience to God’s command to not bow down to Haman (Esther 3:2) showcases his faithfulness and trust in God’s protection. Through their obedience, Esther and Mordecai demonstrate that following God’s will and commands can lead to unexpected blessings and deliverance for His people.

Esther is about Providence

A key theme in the book of Esther is the concept of providence, which is the idea that God is actively working behind the scenes to bring about His purposes. In the story of Esther, we see how God’s providence is evident in the way He orchestrates events to save His people from destruction. Even though God is not explicitly mentioned in the book of Esther, His hand is clearly seen in the protection of Esther and the deliverance of the Jewish people from the evil plot of Haman. The famous verse from Esther 4:14 reminds us of this providential work, “And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?” This theme of providence serves as a powerful reminder that God is always at work in our lives, even when we may not see it or understand it at the time.

Esther is about Redemption

For in the book of Esther, we see a powerful theme of redemption woven throughout the story. Esther, a Jewish orphan raised by her cousin Mordecai, finds herself in a position to save her people from destruction when she becomes queen of Persia. Through her bravery and courage, Esther risks her life to approach King Xerxes and plead for the salvation of the Jewish people. This act of redemption not only saves her people from annihilation but also brings about justice and retribution for their enemies. The story of Esther serves as a reminder of how God works behind the scenes to redeem His people, even in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds. Just as Esther’s actions led to the redemption of the Jews in Persia, so too does God’s plan for redemption unfold throughout the Bible, ultimately culminating in the ultimate redemption through Jesus Christ (Ephesians 1:7).

Important Verses in Esther:

Esther 2:17: 17 And the king loved Esther above all the women, and she obtained grace and favour in his sight more than all the virgins; so that he set the royal crown upon her head, and made her queen instead of Vashti.

Esther 3:2: 2 And all the king’s servants, that were in the king’s gate, bowed, and reverenced Haman: for the king had so commanded concerning him. But Mordecai bowed not, nor did him reverence.

Esther 4:14: 14 For if thou altogether holdest thy peace at this time, then shall there enlargement and deliverance arise to the Jews from another place; but thou and thy father’s house shall be destroyed: and who knoweth whether thou art come to the kingdom for such a time as this?

Esther 4:16: 16 Go, gather together all the Jews that are present in Shushan, and fast ye for me, and neither eat nor drink three days, night or day: I also and my maidens will fast likewise; and so will I go in unto the king, which is not according to the law: and if I perish, I perish.

Esther 7:3: 3 Then Esther the queen answered and said, If I have found favour in thy sight, O king, and if it please the king, let my life be given me at my petition, and my people at my request:

Esther 8:17: 17 And in every province, and in every city, whithersoever the king’s commandment and his decree came, the Jews had joy and gladness, a feast and a good day. And many of the people of the land became Jews; for the fear of the Jews fell upon them.

Esther 9:22: 22 As the days wherein the Jews rested from their enemies, and the month which was turned unto them from sorrow to joy, and from mourning into a good day: that they should make them days of feasting and joy, and of sending portions one to another, and gifts to the poor.