Esther was a young Jewish woman who married the king of Persia and saved the Jewish people from extermination. Her Hebrew name was Hadassa and she was an orphan, raised by her cousin Mordecai.
Esther becomes queen
During a party, King Xerxes of Persia got drunk and sent for his wife Vasti to show his subjects his beauty. But Queen Vasti refused to go and the king was very angry with her, sending her away.
Some time later, the king had all the most beautiful women in the Persian empire brought to him so he could choose one to be his new queen. Esther was one of the chosen women and she received a special beauty treatment for a year. Esther made a good impression on everyone who knew her and she won the favor of the king, who made her his queen ( Esther 2: 15-17 ).
Read the story of King Xerxes here.
Haman was an important prince of the Persian empire who did not like Mordecai, because Mordecai did not bow to him. Haman then decided to take revenge and kill all the Jewish people. The king, who did not know that Esther was Jewish, let Haman do what he wanted. So Haman set a date and prepared for the day of the slaughter ( Esther 3: 12-13 ).
See Mordecai’s story here .
Mordecai told Haman’s plan to Esther and asked him to intercede for his people to the king. Esther was afraid because no one could enter the king’s presence without being called, under penalty of death. Then she asked all the Jews to fast for three days, then she went to speak to the king ( Esther 4: 15-16 ). The king had mercy on her and asked her what she wanted. Esther invited the king and Haman to a banquet and they went. During the banquet, Esther invited the king to another banquet the next day.
See also: what is Esther’s fast?
At the second banquet, Esther revealed to the king that she was Jewish and told him about Haman’s evil plan to kill all his people. The king was very angry with Haman and had him executed on the gallows that Haman had built for Mordecai. With the king’s support, the Jews came together to defend themselves and killed many of their enemies ( Esther 9: 1-2 ). So Esther saved the Jewish people.
What can we learn from Esther?
- Trust in God– Esther risked her life to obey God and He took care of her
- Have courage– Esther was safe, no one knew her identity and she would not be affected by the extermination; but she risked everything to do what was right
- Praying is important– Esther sought God’s help before she acted and He gave her success