The Book of Esther

General Information

The name of God is not found in the book, neither is there any indirect reference made to Him. But nowhere in the Scripture is God’s care for His people more evident

The books of Ezra, Nehemiah, and Esther were written about the same time and record events around the same period of history.

The Jews had been taken captive by Nebuchadnezzar. Then his kingdom was conquered by the Medes and the Persians. They were good to the Jews.

In Ezra 1 we find that Cyrus issued a proclamation calling together those who had the desire to return to Jerusalem to build the house of the Lord. There were those who responded, a feeble remnant, but the majority chose to remain in Babylon. The books of Ezra and Nehemiah tell of the experiences of this faithful remnant as they struggled against great difficulties to build the Temple, the wall and the city.

The book of Esther tells of the experience of those who chose to stay in Babylon. As a point of interest those who stayed in Babylon became so involved in the affairs of the world that they were swallowed up in the nations and lost their identity. They are known today as the “lost ten tribes of Israel.” That is, lost so far as man is concerned, but not lost to God.

Let me make on comment here about the problems which the Jews encountered at this time. They were brought upon tem because they had chosen a path which was in their own self-interest rather than God’s. So that much of the trouble they encountered was of their own making.

Chapter 1

Read verses 1-4 and note the extent of the Persian kingdom. This is the “silver kingdom which succeeded the “load of gold.” See Daniel 2. This first put on by Ahasureus was a lavish affair, but was very orderly.

v. 9—At the same time as the men were feasting, Vashti the queen was having a feast for the women.

v. 10-12—The king sent for the queen, but the queen refused to come to him.

The rest of the chapter tells of the wrath of the king, the advice of the wise men, the banishment of Vashti from the king’s house, and the decree sent into all the empire that the man was to be the head of his house.

Let me try and apply this. These Jews were happy in their worldly surroundings. They had what the NT calls a “form of godliness.” But despite the declension there were a few faithful ones. This would approximate to the conditions laid down in Revelation 3:1-6, which of course would apply to us today.

v. 1—The church lives in name only, it is really dead.

v. 2—The faithful remnant is instructed to strengthen the things that remain, lest they also die.

v. 3—We should be vigilant in the things of the Lord, because He may come at any moment.

v. 4—There were a few who had not become contaminated with the world.

v. 5—For our faithfulness our Lord will confess our name before His Father and before His angels.

Chapter 2

In the early part of the chapter a search for a successor to Vashti is commenced. In verses 5-7 we are introduced to two more of the principals of the story: Mordecai and Esther.

v. 9—Esther is brought to the king’s house and is prepared for a year before she is presented to the king as a possible successor to Vashti.

v. 10—Esther was a Jew, but she told no one.

v. 15—She is presented to the king and to her credit she added nothing to her natural charm. She obtained favor in his sight.

v. 17—The king loved Esther, and put the crown on her head and made her queen.

v. 19—Mordecai sat in the king’s gate. He had been promoted to a petty judge.

v. 21-23—Mordecai saves the king’s life.

God can work for His servants under any circumstances.