The story of Queen Esther is one of courage, faith, and destiny. As a young Jewish woman living in exile, Esther was an unlikely heroine. Yet her actions saved her people from destruction. She risked her life by approaching the king unsummoned to plead for her people.
Her faith in God gave her the confidence to advocate for justice against evil plots. Esther’s quick thinking and bravery established her as a celebrated woman in biblical history.
If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer to your question: Esther was a brave, faithful, and decisive woman who put the welfare of her people above her own safety. Her wise actions saved the Jews from annihilation, cementing her legacy as a champion for her people.
Esther’s Background and Upbringing
Esther’s Family and Early Life
Esther was a Jewish woman who was raised by her cousin Mordecai after the death of her parents. According to the Book of Esther, she was born with the Hebrew name Hadassah and was brought up in Susa, the capital of Persia.
Not much is known about Esther’s family background except that both her parents died when she was young. Mordecai took her in and treated her as his own daughter from then on.
Growing up as an orphan, Esther likely had a humble upbringing under Mordecai’s care and guidance. He helped shape her into a woman of strong faith, courage, and wisdom. Though orphaned at a young age, she found love and belonging through her adopted family.
Esther’s Selection as Queen
When King Ahasuerus of Persia banished his queen Vashti from the kingdom, he ordered a search for a new queen. Beautiful young women from every province were brought to Susa and put under the care of Hegai, the king’s eunuch in charge of the harem. Esther was among these women.
Hegai took an immediate liking to Esther and provided her with beauty treatments, special food, and seven attendants from the king’s palace. Esther did not reveal her Jewish heritage as instructed by Mordecai. Her natural grace and beauty were noticed by all who saw her.
When it was Esther’s turn to go before King Ahasuerus, he was so pleased with her that he chose her alone to be the new Queen of Persia.
Though merely an orphaned Jewish girl raised in exile, Esther’s courage, faith, and favor resulted in her being elevated to the throne as queen. This unexpected turn of events set the stage for Esther to play a pivotal role in saving her people from destruction.
Esther’s Personality and Character
Esther’s Obedience and Tact
Esther demonstrated exemplary obedience and tact in how she conducted herself. Though she was in a position of influence as the queen of Persia, Esther continued to follow Mordecai’s instructions and guidance. She kept her Jewish heritage hidden until the right time to reveal it.
Esther also showed discretion and care in how she approached King Xerxes about Haman’s disturbing decree against the Jews. Rather than being rash, Esther thoughtfully invited the king and Haman to banquets to set the stage before making her bold request to revoke the decree.
Her tactful approach succeeded in saving her people.
Esther’s Courage and Conviction
When Mordecai challenged Esther that perhaps she had been made queen for “such a time as this” (Esther 4:14), Esther rose to the occasion with tremendous courage. Despite the risk to her own life, she resolved to go before King Xerxes unsummoned to intercede for her people.
Esther convinced the king to reverse Haman’s genocidal decree with remarkable conviction. Her boldness delivered the Jews from certain doom. While Esther naturally felt afraid in standing up to the king’s highest official, her conviction that it was the right thing to do empowered her to overcome those fears.
Her courage remains an inspiration centuries later.
Esther’s Faith in God
Fundamentally, Esther’s admirable character stemmed from her faith in God. When all seemed lost for the Jews, Mordecai urged Esther to approach the king and reminded her that deliverance would come from another quarter if she failed to seize the opportunity.
Esther responded by asking Mordecai to gather all the Jews in Susa to fast and pray with her for three days before she went to the king. This demonstrates Esther’s faith in seeking God’s favor and relying on Him rather than her own prowess.
In the book’s most famous verse, Mordecai also affirmed that divine providence had placed Esther in the palace “for such a time as this” (Esther 4:14). Her bold and faithful stand continues to inspire people today.
The Testing of Esther’s Resolve
Haman’s Plot to Annihilate the Jews
As the book of Esther opens, we meet Haman, a pompous noble in the court of King Ahasuerus. Haman was promoted to a position of power, and all the king’s servants were ordered to bow down to him. However, Mordecai, Esther’s cousin who had raised her, refused to bow down to Haman.
Furious, Haman plotted to destroy not just Mordecai, but all the Jews in the kingdom. He cast lots (purim) to determine the day they would all be massacred.
Haman then approached King Ahasuerus with his diabolical plan. He told the king about a certain people who lived in his kingdom but did not follow his laws. Painting the Jews as rebellious lawbreakers, Haman convinced the king that these people should be destroyed.
Not knowing Esther was one of the people Haman wanted to eliminate, King Ahasuerus gave Haman his signet ring and permission to carry out his genocidal scheme. The king even offered to pay Haman money to compensate for any financial loss to the royal treasury from destroying the Jews.
With the king’s signet ring, Haman sent out a decree across the kingdom that all Jews – men, women and children – were to be killed on the 13th day of the month of Adar.
Mordecai Appeals to Esther
When Mordecai learned of Haman’s plot, he tore his clothes and put on sackcloth and ashes in mourning. He went and stood at the King’s Gate, crying out loudly about the impending doom. Throughout Shushan, the Jews fasted, wept, mourned, and lamented their fate.
A copy of the decree reached Esther, and she too tore her clothes in grief. She sent appropriate clothes for Mordecai to replace his sackcloth, but he refused them. Mordecai sent word back to Esther, challenging her that she must go to the king and appeal for the lives of her people.
Esther replied that according to Persian law, anyone who approached the king without being summoned could be put to death – unless the king extended his golden scepter. Mordecai told Esther that if she kept silent, deliverance would come for the Jews from another place, and she and her father’s house would perish.
He urged her, “Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?”
Esther’s Plan to Save Her People
Upon hearing Mordecai’s plea, Esther asked him to gather all the Jews in Shushan to fast and pray for her for three days, while she and her maids would also fast. Then she promised, “I will go to the king, which is against the law; and if I perish, I perish!”
This courageous resolve shows Esther’s willingness to sacrifice her life in an attempt to save her people.
After three days of fasting, Esther dressed in her royal robes and approached the king, capturing his favor. King Ahasuerus offered to grant her any request, up to half his kingdom. Esther invited Haman and the king to a banquet she had prepared that day.
At the banquet, the king again told Esther to ask for whatever she desired. But instead of revealing her request then, Esther asked the king and Haman to join her for another banquet the next day, promising to make her petition at that time.
Haman left the first banquet overjoyed, except for his indignation over Mordecai’s refusal to bow to him.
That night, perhaps still troubled by her dangerous decision, Esther sent clothes to Mordecai so he could replace his sackcloth and join her for the next day’s banquet. Just in time, Haman’s genocidal plot against the Jews would soon be overturned by Esther’s brave resolve and faith in God.
Esther Saves Her People
Esther Hosts Two Banquets
Esther, a young Jewish woman living in exile in Persia, was selected to be the new queen of King Ahasuerus. When Esther’s cousin Mordecai discovered a plot to massacre all the Jews in Persia, Esther had to find a way to save her people.
Risking her life, Esther approached the king unsummoned and invited him and his advisor Haman to two private banquets. This fateful act of courage set the stage for Esther to expose Haman’s evil plot against the Jews.
Haman is Ordered Killed
During Esther’s tense banquets with King Ahasuerus and Haman, she revealed that she herself was a Jew and that Haman had devised a treacherous scheme to exterminate all the Jews in the kingdom. The king was enraged by this news and ordered Haman to be hanged on the very gallows Haman had built for Mordecai.
Esther’s bold courage and faith in divine providence saved her people from certain doom. Her intervention with the king led to a royal decree allowing the Jews to defend themselves against any attacks.
Esther’s Legacy as Savior
Esther’s brave actions to save the Jews established her as a venerated heroine. The Jewish festival of Purim commemorates the remarkable reversal of fate for the Jews and Esther’s steadfast commitment to her people. Her story has inspired courage in the face of injustice throughout history.
According to authoritative sites like Britannica, Esther is timeless reminder that even unlikely leaders placed in difficult circumstances can change the course of history through faith and bravery.
Throughout history, Esther has been revered for her bravery and resolve. As a woman living in difficult times for her people, she played a pivotal role in securing their survival against formidable odds.
Her quick thinking, tactful advocacy, and unwavering faith transformed her into a champion for justice. Despite the risks, Esther remained true to her convictions. She answered her calling with courage and wisdom, cementing a legacy that has inspired women leaders and humanitarians for generations.