10 Study Points for Bible Study of Esther
Esther’s Relationship with Xerxes
Xerxes in search of a Queen:
1- 2:3 Let the King appoint commissioners in every province of his realm to bring all these beautiful girls into the harem at the citadel of Susa.
**NIV note 2:3 Parallel to the Joseph story of Israelite commoners rising to prominence and saving their people
2- 2:8 Esther was also taken to the King’s palace and entrusted to Hegai, who had charge of the harem.
**NIV note Neither she nor Mordecai had any choice in the matter.
** Ruth & Esther Life Change note p.98 Probably not forced but to refuse the summons would have meant death**
3- 2:17 Now the king was attracted to Esther more than to any of the other women, and she won his favor and approval more than any of the other virgins. So he set a royal crown on her head and made her queen instead of Vashti.
**Ruth & Esther Life Change note p.98 Favor or hesed was a reminder to Jewish readers of the divine hesed toward Esther and her people.
Esther’s Relationship to Mordecai
Family:4- 2:7 Mordecai had a cousin named Hadassah, whom he had brought up because she had neither father nor mother. This girl, who was also known as Esther, was lovely in form and features, and Mordecai had taken her as his own daughter when her father and mother died.Obedience:5- 2:20 But Esther had kept secret her family background and nationality just as Mordecai had told her to do, for she continued to follow Mordecai’s instructions as she had done when he was bringing her up.Loyalty:6- 2:22 But Mordecai found out about the plot and told Queen Esther, who in turn reported it to the king, giving credit to Mordecai.Strong Influence:7- 4:14 For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to royal position for such a time as this.**NIV Note 4:14 Mordecai’s knowledge of God’s fulfillment of his promise to the Jews, his continued knowledge that there are consequences if one does not fulfill one’s own responsibilities and his wondering if God put Esther this influential position of queen to save their people.
Esther’s Relationship with God
Fasting:8- 4:16 Go, gather together all the Jews who are in Susa, and fast for me. Do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my maids will fast as you do. When this is done, I will go to the king, even though it is against the law. And if I perish, I perish.( Esther’s reply to Mordecai)**Note NIV 4:16 Prayer usually accompanies fasting and presumably was a part of this fast. Though God is not mentioned specifically in this whole narrative, God is who is orchestrating and directing all that occurs.**Esther states a similar comment as Israel in Ge 43:14 If I am bereaved, I am bereaved. It is in God’s hand what happens to all us.
Devine Providence or Co-incidence
9-a) 5:2 When he saw Queen Esther standing in the court, he was pleased with her and held out to her the gold scepter that was in his hand. So Esther approached and touched the tip of the scepter.Note 5:2 NIVb) 6:10 “Go at once”, the king commanded Haman. “Get the robe and the horse and do just as you have suggested for Mordecai the Jew, who sits at the king’s gate. Do not neglect anything you have recommended.”Note 6:1 NIVc) 7:8 The king exclaimed, “Will he (Haman) even molest the queen while she is with me in the house?”d) 7:10 So they hung Haman on the gallows he had prepared for Mordecai.
Esther’s Legacy / The feast of Purim
10-a) 9:31 to establish these days of Purim at their designated times, as Mordecai the Jew and Queen Esther had decreed for them, and as they had established for themselves and their descendants in regard to the times of fasting and lamentation.The 2 day celebration of Purim illustrates God’s sovereignty and fulfillment of his promise, preventing the annihilation of his people using commoners Esther and Mordecai who rose to prominence during the reign of a Persian king.Sources:1. The NIV Study Bible, Zondervan, 1995 (All scriptures, Footnotes)2. Women of the Bible, 52 Bible Studies for Individuals and Groups,Jean E. Syswerda, Zondervan 19993. Ruth & Esther Life Change SeriesNavpress, The Navigators 1987