Book of Esther Study
Did you ever study about Queen Esther and her bravery? Did you ever hear a sermon expound about her book? Were you ever told how Jews in captivity would have been wiped off the face of the earth if it were not for the courage of the young Jewess and her uncle?
Chances are you were taught very little or almost nothing about Esther, the woman who is one of only two (the other is Ruth) females who have a book of the Bible named after them. The purpose of this short study is to offer information regarding this fascinating part of Scripture.
Who are the primary characters?
Hadassah, a Jewess, is the main character of the book (Esther 2:7). Her name means 'a myrtle.' After her parents died when she was young, her cousin Mordecai adopted and raised her (2:7, 15). Her name changed to Esther, which means 'a star,' when she entered the Persian royal harem. It is likely she was around 14 years old when the events involving her begin to unfold.
Mordecai is a Jewish official in the royal court of Persia at Shushan (2:5 - 6). Although no meaning is attached to his name in Strong's Concordance due to its non-Hebrew origin, Willmington's Complete Guide to Bible Knowledge states it means 'dedicated to Mars.' Mordecai, from the tribe of Benjamin (2:5-6), was taken captive from Jerusalem by King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon. He came under the control of Persia when the Persian Empire defeated the Babylonians in 539 B.C.
Mordecai gained the favor of the king when he discovered a plot to murder him by two royal officers. He told his discovery to Esther, who relayed it to Ahasuerus. The two people conspiring to kill the ruler received death (2:21 - 23).
Ahasuerus, translated into the Greek language, is Xerxes. Many Bible commentaries agree that the Ahasuerus in the book is King Xerxes I (Xerxes I the Great), who ruled the Persian Empire while it was still powerful (485 to 465 B.C.).
Haman, an Amalekite, became the prime minister of Persia under the king (Esther 3:1).