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The Book of Esther
Lesson Two


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Bible Study
The Book of Esther
Lesson Two


Chapter Two

Overview
A new wife is sought for the king among the virgins of his kingdom. Esther is chosen to be queen. Mordecai saves the king's life.

Detailed Summary
Verses 1-11
Fair young virgins were chosen to be placed in the custody of Hege for a time of purification. They were then to be brought before the king and one would be chosen to be queen in the place of Vashti. Esther was one of the women who was chosen and brought to the palace.

Verse 12
The time of purification took one year to accomplish. The things used for purifying included:
  • six months with oil of myrrh,
  • six months with sweet odors and other things.

Verses 13-15
After the time of purification ended, all the virgins, one by one, appeared before the king. When it was Esther's turn, she obtained favor in the sight of all them that looked upon her. It seemed like God's blessing was upon Esther's life to find favor with man.

Verses 16,17
The king loved Esther above all the women. She obtained grace and favor in his sight more than all the virgins, so he set the crown upon her head and she became queen instead of Vashti.

Vashti refused to appear before her husband in the third year of his reign, and now, four years later, she is replaced by Esther!

Verses 18-20
The king made a great feast for Esther. She had not yet let it be known that she was a Jew, because Mordecai had told her not to. She obeyed him now just as she had when he raised her as a child.

Verses 21-23
At the end of this chapter, we find where Mordecai saved the king's life. Two of the king's chamberlains (officers in the household of the king) were angry and sought to lay hands on the king. Mordecai knew about it and told Esther, who then related it to the king.

Evidently, these men had something against the king. Something had upset them to where they plotted to kill him. But Mordecai learned of their plot and made it known to the king through Esther. The story was checked out and found to be true, and the two men were hung. Thus did Mordecai save the king's life! This was then written in the book of the king's chronicles.

Showing Respect
In Esther 2:19,20 we find Esther was obedient to her cousin Mordecai, who had raised her as his own daughter.

It is a blessing when children will respect their parents (or the ones who raise them if they have no parents). Even when they get older they should show respect, doing what they are told to do.

How many children will pay attention to their parents' counsel after they have grown up? They don't want to hear it! "It's my life! Leave me alone!!"

No matter how old we may be, our parents still deserve our respect. The command to honor our mother and our father isn't limited to just our childhood days.

Favored above all
When God has His hand on someone, He gives them favor with others!

Esther 2:9, 15, 17
And the maiden pleased him, and she obtained kindness of him . . . And Esther obtained favour in the sight of all them that looked upon her . . . And the king loved Esther above all the women, and she obtained grace and favour in his sight more than all the virgins

Esther pleased Hege and she obtained kindness of him. He gave her seven maidens and all the things she needed for her purification, preferring her and her maids unto the best of the others in the house of the women.

Chapter Three

Overview
Haman's conspiracy to get rid of Mordecai unfolds, and the extremes to which his wrath brought him.

Detailed Summary
Verses 1,2
The king promoted Haman above all the other princes, commanding all the servants that were in the king's gate to bow to and reverence him — but Mordecai didn't bow or do him reverence.

Verses 3,4
The servants asked Mordecai why he didn't obey the king's command and kept asking him daily about it. He let them know he was a Jew. They told Haman of Mordecai's refusal to obey.

Verse 5
Now, when Haman saw that Mordecai refused to bow to him or to do him reverence, he was filled with wrath.

Verse 6
Rather than deal just with Mordecai, Haman sought to destroy all the Jews, because they were Mordecai's people.

Verse 7
In the 12th year of the king, they cast the lot before Haman daily for twelve months, then Haman went into action.

Verses 8-11
Haman told the king he was willing to pay 10,000 talents of silver if the king would write a law to destroy the Jews, and the king walked right into Haman's plot, telling Haman to do whatever seemed good to him!

Verse 13
Letters were sent out, sealed with the king's ring, which meant they could not be revoked. They informed the Jews that they would all be killed in one day, twelve months after the letters were sent out.

In one day, all these Jews were to be killed, and all they possessed was going to be taken!

Yet, as we will see further on, God didn't permit Haman's plans to be carried out.

Verse 14-15
After the letters went out, the king and Haman sat down to drink — but the entire city was perplexed.

Yes, the entire city was perplexed over this decree, yet the king and Haman sat down to relax and enjoy themselves!

Thou shalt not bow down!
Esther 3:1,2 records that Mordecai wouldn't obey the commandment of King Ahasuerus because he obeyed the commandment of THE King of kings. He was a Jew and was well aware that God had commanded not to bow down before anything.

Exodus 20:4, 5
Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them . . .

Acts 10:25, 26
And as Peter was coming in, Cornelius met him, and fell down at his feet, and worshipped him. But Peter took him up, saying, Stand up; I myself also am a man.

God is a jealous God and He doesn't want to give His glory to another.

If we're going to bow down to anyone, we must bow down to God Almighty alone. Yet there are those who will fall down to some man, even kissing his feet or his ring.

Extremes of revenge
In Esther 3:8-11 we see Haman was willing to pay 10,000 talents of silver just to get even with Mordecai.

Just because Mordecai wouldn't bow before him, he wanted ALL the Jews destroyed! That's a lot of people to destroy just to get revenge on one man!

Look at all the Jews Hitler annihilated: 6 million! He went on a rampage, trying to eliminate the Jews.

But God has a people whom He said will not be destroyed: There will always be a remnant left of the seed of Israel.

The law could not be changed
In those days, when a king issued a law in his name and sealed it with his ring, it could not be changed.

Esther 3:12, 13
Then were the king's scribes called . . . and there was written according to all that Haman had commanded . . .; in the name of king Ahasuerus was it written, and sealed with the king's ring. And the letters were sent by posts into all the king's provinces, to destroy, to kill, and to cause to perish, all Jews, both young and old, little children and women, in one day, even upon the thirteenth day of the twelfth month . . .

In Daniel 6:1-15 we see King Darius had signed a law which would cause Daniel to be cast into the lion's den. Once his signature was on that law, it could not be changed. When he found out Daniel's life was in danger, he labored all day to deliver him, but the men reminded him that no decree nor statute which the king established could be changed.

Even the king could not change the law!

Daniel was cast into the lion's den, but God was in control and delivered Daniel in the midst of the lions.

And we'll see, as we keep reading in The Book of Esther, how God once again proved Himself to be faithful. Though it looked like evil people were in control, determined to do away with the Jews, God delivered His people. God was in control, no matter what it looked like in the natural.

Chapter Four

Overview
The Jews find out their days are numbered so they all fasted. Mordecai told Esther to go to the king and make supplication for her people.

Detailed Summary
Verses 1-3
In all the provinces of the kingdom, when the Jews learned of the plot against them, they mourned greatly with weeping and wailing; and they fasted, Mordecai being among them.

Verses 4,5
Hearing that Mordecai sat in the gate with sackcloth, Esther sent him a change of clothes and sent a messenger to find out why he was mourning.

Verses 6-8
Mordecai told the messenger about Haman's letter and his plan to destroy all the Jews. He sent a copy of the decree to Esther, urging her to go in to the king and make request before him for her people. Esther hadn't known about this decree, for she hadn't made her nationality known.

Mordecai knew he had to do something to seek out deliverance from God for himself and for his people.

As we have already noted, the name of God is not mentioned in The Book of Esther, nor is any spiritual service (other than fasting), but it is obvious the Jews were seeking God. Why else would they fast and sit in sackcloth?

Verses 10,11
She sent word to Mordecai that she couldn't go to the king without first being called.

Even though she was the queen, Esther didn't have the right to see Ahasuerus unless he sent for her.

She could take a chance, and go uninvited, but unless he held out his scepter, she would die for doing so.

Verses 13,14
Mordecai reminded Esther that she was also a Jew. Although she lived in the king's house, she also would be killed. And he added, "Who knows whether you came into the kingdom for such a time as this?"

Verses 15-17
Esther sent Mordecai word that she would do as he asked: "And if I perish, I perish."

But first, she wanted all the Jews in Shushan to fast three days for her, and she and her maidens would also fast.

"Women for emergency"
One thing we want to see about Esther is her courage: She was a woman for emergency.

In the book of Judges, chapter 4, we find another "woman for emergency," Deborah. She was in leadership, judging the people, sitting as judge of the children of Israel at that time. She was also a prophetess. She had told Barak to go and destroy the enemy. But he told her he wouldn't go unless she went with him . . . and he was a warrior!!!

Why wouldn't Barak go and do what God asked him to do? He was a warrior, and Deborah was a judge — and a mere woman!

Well, she did go with him, and God brought great deliverance.

Now, isn't it strange for a man to say that to a woman? "I will not go to battle unless you come with me!" What a sissy! Maybe he didn't believe the Lord had spoken to her! So if he was going to die out there, she would die too.

He wasn't her husband. I can see a husband and wife venturing out together — and if one needed encouragement the other would be right there to encourage. But Barak was a warrior in the army of Israel! You'd think he'd have gone right out there and fought a good fight, but he wouldn't go unless Deborah came with him!

Both Esther and Deborah were women who were used to bring deliverance to the Jews during a time of emergency.

Another woman God used in bringing deliverance was Mary, the mother of Jesus. God used her to bring His only begotten Son into the world — see Matthew 1:20,21.

And His Son brought us deliverance from sin and the power of Satan.

I believe a woman's place is in the home, doing her duties as a wife and mother, yet God can raise her up and use her as well as the man.

A woman is equal to man when she's saved, in that they are both children of God. God regards them both equal in that sense. But, at the same time, we find that God does set man above the woman in the home, with Christ as head over the man — see Ephesians 5:23.

Being a man or woman doesn't determine whether or not your prayers will be heard and answered. God answers a woman's prayers as much as He does a man's.

Chapter Five

Overview
Esther courageously goes before the king. Haman plots to have Mordecai killed for not bowing to him.

Detailed Summary
Verses 1,2
On the third day, Esther put on her royal apparel and went to see the king. She obtained favor in his sight, and he held out his golden scepter for her to approach him.

Verses 3-5
When he asked her what request she had of him, she said she wanted to have a banquet for him and Haman.

We see Esther using tact here. Just because she had found favor with the king to present herself to him, she didn't go right away and begin to run Haman down.

Verses 7,8
At the banquet, the king asked her again what she requested, saying he would give her even to the half of his kingdom.

She invited the king and Haman to come to another banquet, and there she would give her request.

Verse 9-13
Haman was joyful because of all this special attention, but when he saw Mordecai still refusing to move for him, he was full of indignation against Mordecai.

He didn't say anything, but went home and called for his friends and his wife. He told them of his promotion and of the glory of his riches, how he had been advanced above all the princes.

He went on to tell how he was the only one Esther invited to the banquets, other than the king.

"Yet all this availeth me nothing, so long as I see Mordecai the Jew sitting at the king's gate."

Verse 14
Then his wife and friends suggested he make a gallows and ask the king to hang Mordecai.

And the thing pleased Haman, and he caused the gallows to be made.

Tactfulness
We have already noted how courageous Esther was. And we find in chapter 5 that Esther was also very tactful. Sometimes in our dealings with people we aren't always tactful, but Esther was. She dealt with this issue carefully. She wasn't going to go in there full force. She wasn't going to just come right out and accuse Haman.

No, she knew the wisest thing to do would be to walk softly, waiting for the right timing.

In verse 4, she invited Haman and the king to a banquet. And when the king asked her request, in verse 8, she invited them to another banquet, at which time she would let him know her desire.

Chapter Six

Overview
Haman is compelled to exalt Mordecai!

Detailed Summary
Verses 1-3
The night before the second banquet, the king couldn't sleep, so he had the records of the chronicles read to him. He learned how Mordecai had saved his life by reporting the plot of the chamberlains, and he asked what had been done to reward Mordecai for this.

Verses 4-6
Just then, Haman came into the court to request the gallows be made for Mordecai. So King Ahasuerus asked him what should be done to the man whom the king delighted to honor.

Now Haman thought in his heart, "To whom would the king delight to do honor more than to myself?"

Verses 7-9
Haman told the king to put his own apparel on the man, set him on the king's horse, and bring him on horseback through the street of the city, having someone proclaim before him, "This is done to the man whom the king delights to honor!"

Verses 10,11
So the king told Haman to hurry and do this for Mordecai!

Haman himself had to lead Mordecai through the street, proclaiming, "This is done to the man whom the king delights to honor!"

Verses 12-14
After this, Mordecai returned to the gate, but Haman rushed home mourning, with his head covered.

He told his wife and friends all that had happened. And his wife warned him, "If Mordecai is of the seed of the Jews, before whom you have begun to fall, you won't prevail against him, but shall surely fall before him."

And while they were yet talking, Haman was sent for to come unto the banquet.

Chapter Seven

Overview
The end of Haman, preceded by another banquet for the king and himself.

Detailed Summary
Verses 1-4
At the banquet, the king asked Esther again what her request was. She told of the plot to kill her people, asking that he give her and her people their lives.

Verses 5,6
Then the king asked who it was that dared presume in his heart to do such a thing. She told him it was this wicked Haman. Then Haman was afraid before the king and queen.

Verse 7
The king in his wrath went into the garden. Seeing that the king was determined to deal with him, Haman pleaded with Esther.

Verse 8
When the king returned, Haman had fallen on Esther's bed to plead with her! The king accused Haman of attacking Esther. As he said this, they covered Haman's face.

Verses 9-10
The king was told of the gallows that had been made for Mordecai, and he ordered Haman to be hung on them. When this was done, the king's wrath was pacified.

You reap what you sow!
Know that the thing you intend to hurt someone else with will often turn around to hurt you instead.

Galatians 6:7, 8
Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.

If you sow to the flesh, to do someone in, you will reap that very thing you sowed.

If you're out there sowing wickedness, trying to put someone down, it will boomerang and come back upon you! God won't wink at it. So you might as well leave well enough alone.

If you're upset with someone, pray about it and let God take care of it. If you feel someone is an enemy, the Bible tells you to pray for them, love them, bless them — not to do them in — see Matthew 5:44.

Yes, the Bible warns us that we can expect to have enemies. There are those who will love us, and those who will hate us. And many times they hate us for no real reason at all on our part: It's the devil coming against us through them.

Sometimes people will envy us, despising and resenting our very presence. We may not have done a thing to cause such feelings, yet the devil will come against us through them.

Proverbs 26:27
Whoso diggeth a pit shall fall therein: and he that rolleth a stone, it will return upon him.

So, we can see the danger of trying to lay a snare for another to fall into. If we do, we'll just eventually fall into it ourselves. It's our obligation to pray and leave the matter in God's hands, not to try to take things in our own hands to get even.

Hard decisions
There had to be a decision made here: The king had to choose between Esther and Haman. I believe he loved Haman, and I'm sure he loved Esther.

What was he going to do? It's hard to make such a decision. He was angry and went to the garden to think this thing through.

Sometimes we may come to the place where we have a hard decision to make between two people. And when family is involved, we may make a wrong decision in favor of them, even though the other party may be in the right.

We need to seek God to find out what to do, to find out who is right, and not come to a conclusion from our own hearts.

If our child is wrong, they are wrong. If our mate is wrong, they are wrong. They need to admit it and correct the situation.

Causing us to believe they are right when they are wrong, because our hearts are blinded, doesn't help them.

Chapter Eight

Overview
The commandment to destroy the Jews was reversed. The Jews were given authority to kill those who were going to destroy them.

Detailed Summary
Verse 1
The whole house of Haman was given to the queen. Mordecai appears before the king.

Verses 2-8
The king gives his royal ring to Mordecai. However, the king couldn't reverse Haman's judgment against the Jews. Once that writing was signed and sealed by the king, there was no way to stop it from coming to pass — no way, yet we will see there was another way around it! He gives Esther and Mordecai authority to write a letter to reverse the commandment, writing it in the king's name and sealing it with the king's ring.

Verses 9-14
The letter was written and sent throughout all the provinces of the kingdom. The Jews were given authority to kill all those who had determined to do away with them.

Verses 15,16
Mordecai went out from the presence of the king, dressed in royal apparel, and the city of Shushan rejoiced and was glad.

God was there to bless Mordecai for his faithful stand on behalf of the Jews and for refusing to bow to Haman.

Verse 17
Many became Jews as a result, for the fear of the Jews fell upon them.

God works all things together for good!
In verses 9-17, we see how the Lord reversed this thing.

The name of God isn't mentioned in The Book of Esther, but He is clearly acknowledged. And we see here He kept the Jews, providing a way of escape for them. God will work in behalf of any of His children when the devil tries to do them in.

John 10:29
My Father, which gave them Me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of My Father's hand.

God looks over His own, protects His own, cares for His own, and nothing will happen to us but what it will work for the good — see Romans 8:28.

Sometimes we can't see the good that comes out of a situation, but tend to just look at the bad. Nevertheless, the good is there. Sooner or later, we will be able to look back and acknowledge God was truly in control.

Chapter Nine

Overview
The enemies of the Jews were destroyed. The feast of Purim was instituted.

Detailed Summary
Verses 1-11
In the very month the Jews were to be wiped out of existence, they smote all their enemies!

The Jews had been under such pressure of the adversary. Now when victory had come, they were filled with joy and gladness.

You know how it is when the enemy puts the pressures on. You feel it, and when it's lifted, you feel a release: a joy.

If you knew you were to die on a set date and God reversed that thing, wouldn't you rejoice?

Verses 13-14
Then the king asked Esther what else she wanted done, and she requested that Haman's ten sons be hung.

Verses 17-19
The Jews then rested, making it a day of feasting and gladness.

Verses 20-32
The feast of Purim instituted, to be kept the 14th and 15th days of the month Adar.

PURIM
PUR
casting of lots

The feast of Purim was instituted in verse 17. Earlier we read that they cast Pur — that is, lots — to see when the Jews should be annihilated.

The present day festival of Purim that the Jews celebrate is in March. It is kept as a fast day because of the fast that the Jews had back in Esther's day.

It begins on the evening of the 12th and continues through the evening of the 15th. If the 15th is on the Sabbath, then they celebrate a few days ahead of time.

There are certain Scriptures that they read, such as Exodus 32:11-14 and 34:1-11; Isaiah 55:6 and 56:8.

As soon as the stars appear, early on the eve of the 12th, the feast begins. They light candles and go to the synagogue. After the benediction is announced, a reader reads The Book of Esther.

As often as Haman's name is mentioned, the congregation stomps on the floor, saying, "The name of the wicked shall rot." At the mention of Haman's name, the children call out, "Cursed be Haman! Blessed be Mordecai!" And they shake rattles.

After this, the benediction is said, and they all go home to partake of milk and eggs.

Then, on the morning of the 14th, they return to the synagogue. They read Exodus 17:8-16, and reread The Book of Esther. The rest of the time is given to rejoicing.

These are days of feasting, rejoicing, sharing presents, and sending gifts to the poor.

Everything is concluded on the 15th.

All of this is done to celebrate the deliverance of the Jews back in the days of Esther.

Chapter Ten

Overview
Conclusion to the book.

Detailed Summary
Verses 1-3
Mordecai is promoted as prime minister and seeks the wealth of his people, speaking peace to all his seed.

The purpose that God had in mind in writing The Book of Esther is that we might see how He does take care of His own.

God Cares for His People

Psalm 27:5
For in the time of trouble He shall hide me in His pavilion: in the secret of His tabernacle shall He hide me; He shall set me up upon a rock.

Psalm 18:2
The Lord is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower.

When His people are going through great trials and afflictions, God is right there to strengthen and to help. Yes, God looks out for His own. His eye is ever upon us. He knows right where we are at all times.

These Psalms are a beautiful reminder of the Lord's concern for His people. He covers us with His presence and keeps us from the storm that may be raging all around.

Psalm 91:1
He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.

His own are not going to feel deserted or forsaken, for He is a loving Father who is faithful to His children and really cares. Earthly fathers will sometimes desert their families — never giving any support, never interested to see that they are clothed or fed — but God will never desert us.

The Book of Esther will certainly verify this fact. God saw them through this trial of affliction that they faced. They were all to be slain, but He moved on their behalf and put their adversary down.

Even though God's name isn't specifically mentioned, we clearly see how He was looking down upon His people and making a way for them.

Definitions
Pur

Memory Verses
Galatians 6:7, 8
Psalm 18:2
Psalm 91:1

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