Book of Esther

1. Book of Nehemiah 1

Summary of the Book of Esther

The genre of the book of Esther is Narrative History.  Esther became queen in 479 B.C. The key personalities are Esther, Mordecai, King Ahasuerus (or Xerxes), and Haman.

2. Book of EstherIts purpose is to demonstrate God’s love and sovereignty in all circumstances.  It is a post-exile story about Jews who stayed behind after most returned to Jerusalem after captivity. Babylon was conquered by Persia and Esther miraculously becomes the queen of the land, and saves her people.

3. Scroll of Esther Megillah
Scroll of Esther (Megillah)
Hebrew scrolls of the Megillah of Esther are notoriously difficult to date and localize, given the longstanding traditions behind their production. Written on the skin of a kosher animal, the text comprises the ten chapters of the Book of Esther, including the story of Purim.

During the Purim holiday, the Megillah must be read in the synagogue from a handwritten scroll. Following tradition, in this copy the scribe has set off the names of the ten defeated sons of Haman in enlarged letters.

Chapter 1-2 – Esther becomes the queen to Ahasuerus of Persia.  She was personally chosen by the King. 

The king loved Esther more than all the women, and she found favor and kindness with him (2:17), probably because of her beauty and intelligence.

Chapters 3-4 – Mordecai, Esther’s uncle, refused to bow down and pay homage to Haman a high official of the king.  Haman becomes infuriated and plots to destroy all the Jews in the kingdom because of his pride. Mordecai hears of the plot and reports it to his Esther. 

For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place and you and your father’s house will perish.  And who knows whether you have not attained royalty for such a time as this? (4:14).

Chapters 5-10 – Esther takes her petition to the king and pleas for the protection of her Jewish people from Haman’s wicked stratagem.  

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