Brave Hearts Ministry


Esther

Memory Verse - Esther 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 father’s family will perish.  And who knows but that you have come to royal position for such a time as this?”  

Purpose: To demonstrate God’s sovereignty and his loving care for his people.
Written to: The people of Israel.
Date written:  Approximately 470 B.C.  Esther became queen in 479 B.C..

Lesson 1:  Esther becomes Queen  2: 7,10, 17

1st  conspiracy 2:19-23

One of the key people in this story was Mordecai.  

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 and Mordecai had taken her as his own daughter when her father and mother died.”  2:10   “Esther had not revealed her nationality and family background, because Mordecai had forbidden her to do so.”  

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 others.  So he set a royal crown an her head and made her queen.”

2:19-23  “When the girls were assembled a second time, Mordecai was sitting at the king’s gate.  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.  During the time Mordecai was sitting at the king’s gate, Bigthaba and Teresh, two of the king’s officers who guarded the doorway, became angry and conspired to assassinate King Xerxes.  But Mordecai found out about the plot and told Queen Esther, who in turn reported it to the king, giving credit to Mordecai.  When the report was investigated and found to be true, the two officials were hanged on a gallows.  All this was recorded in the book of the annals in the presence of the king.”

Questions:
 
1.  Who was Esther raised by?  Mordecai      
2.  Why did he raise her?  Her parents had died.
3.  What did Mordecai forbid her to tell anyone? Her background and nationality.
4.  Why do you think she was told this?  Answers will vary.
5.  Who sat outside the gate?  Mordecai
6.  Why do you  think he was outside the gate?  Answers will vary.
7.  What was the conspiracy Esther heard?  Assassination of King Xerxes.
8.  Who did she tell and who did she give credit to for the information?  The king credit to Mordecai

Summary

Esther was selected from many girls to become queen.  We do not know her background yet as we haven’t been told.  There was a conspiracy to kill  King Xerxes.  Mordecai was given credit for turning in the conspirators.  There were circumstances that were essential to the survival of God’s people  in Persia.  These circumstances were not the result of chance but of God’s grand design. God is sovereign over every area of life.

Lesson 2:  The Jews are threatened

Haman’s Plot to Destroy the Jews

3: 1,2 “After these events, King Xerxes honored Haman elevating him and giving him a seat of honor higher than that of all the other nobles.  All the royal officials at the kings gate knelt down and paid honor to Haman, for the king had commanded this concerning him.  But Mordecai would not kneel down or pay him honor.”
3: 5,6  “When Haman saw that Mordecai would not kneel down or pay him honor, he was enraged.  Yet having learned who Mordecai’s people were, he scorned the idea of killing only Mordecai.  Instead Haman looked for a way to destroy all Mordecai’s people, the Jews, throughout the whole kingdom of Xerxes.”   
3: 13,14  “Dispatches were sent by couriers to all the king’s provinces with the order to destroy, kill and annihilate all the Jews young and old, women and little children on a single day, the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, the month of Adar, and to plunder their goods.”

A copy of the text of the edict was to be issued as law in every province and made known to the people of every nationality so they would be ready for that day.
   
Questions:

1.  How did King Xerxes honor Haman?  Gave him a seat higher that all other nobles.
2.  What were these royal officials to do when Haman came by?  Kneel and pay honor
3.  Who didn’t obey  this command?  Mordecai.
4.  Why do you think he wouldn’t obey?  Being a Jew he worshiped only one God and knelt before only one God.
5.  What nationality is Esther?  Jewish
6.  Do you think this puts her life in jeopardy?  Let them think this one through.
7.  Do you think the king will listen to Esther  if she has the chance to plead for the Jewish peoples lives?  Discuss.


Summary:

Haman was elevated to a position of  honor.  The royal officers were to kneel down to him. However Mordecai would not kneel down or pay him honor.  Haman knew Mordecai was a Jew and he figured out a way to not only get rid to Mordecai but the Jewish population at the same time.

Lesson 3:  Mordecai Persuades Esther to Help

4:1  “When Mordecai learned of all that had  been done, he tore his clothes, put on sackcloth and ashes, and went out into the city, wailing loudly and bitterly.”

4:5-8 “Esther summoned Hathach, one of the king’s eunuchs assigned to attend her, and ordered him to find out what was troubling Mordecai and why.  So Hathach went out to Mordecai in the open square of the city in front of the king’s gate.  Mordecai told him everything that had happened to him including the exact amount of money Haman had promised to pay into the royal treasury for the destruction of the Jews.  He also gave him a copy of the text of the edict for their annihilation, which had been published in Susa, to show to Esther and explain it to her, and he told him to urge her to go into the king’s presence to beg for mercy and plead with him for her people.”

4:11-14  “All the Kings officials and the people of the royal provinces know that for any man or woman who approaches the king in the inner court without being summoned, the king has but one law, that he be put to death.  The only exception to this is for the king to extend the gold scepter to him and spare his life.  When Esther’s words were reported to Mordecai he sent back this answer, ‘Do not think that because you are in the king’s house you alone of all the Jews will escape.. For it you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish.  And who knows but that you have come to royal position for such a time as this?’”

4:16  “Esther’s response to Mordecai, ‘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.’”

Questions:

1.  What did Mordecai do when he learned of all that had been done?  He tore his cloths, put on sackcloth and ashes, went into the city wailing loudly and bitterly.
2.  How did Esther learn about the trouble with the Jews?  Hathach told her.  
3.  How did Hathach find out what the problem was?  Mordecai told him.
4.  What was the problem for the Jewish people?  Haman had promised to pay into the royal treasury for the destruction of the Jews. They were to be annihilated.
5.  What was Esther’s response to Hathach?  Anyone  approaching the king without being called would be put to death.
6.  What was Mordecai answer to this?  “Do not think that because you are in the king’s house you alone of all the Jews will escape.”
7.  What were Esther’s  instructions back to Mordecai?  Gather the Jews together and fast for me for three days , night or day.  I and my maids will do the same.  I will go to he king, if  I perish I perish.

Summary:  

The book of Esther tells of the circumstances that were essential to the survival of God’s people in Persia.  These circumstances were not the result of chance but of God’s grand design.  God is sovereign over ever area of life.     

Lesson 4:  Esther Intercedes for the Jews

5:1-7  “On the third day Esther put on her royal robes and stood in the inner court of  the palace, in front of the king’s hall.  The king was sitting on his royal throne in the hall, facing the entrance.  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.  The king asked ‘What is it, Queen Esther?  What is your request?  Even up to half the kingdom, it will be given you.’
‘If it pleases the king’ replied Esther, ‘Let the king together with Haman, come today to a banquet I have prepared for him.’
‘Bring Haman at once‘,  the king said, ‘So we may do what Esther asks.’
So the king and Haman went to the banquet Esther had prepared.  As they were drinking wine, the king again asked Esther, ‘Now what is your petition?  It will be given you.  And what is your request?  Even up to half the kingdom, it will be granted.’
‘My petition and my request is this:  If the king regards me with favor and if it pleases the king to grant my petition and fulfill my request, let the king and Haman come tomorrow to the banquet I will prepare for them.  Then I will answer the king’s question.’”

7:1-6   “So the king and Haman went to dine with Queen Esther, and as they were drinking wine on that second day, the king again asked, ‘Queen Esther, what is your petition?  It will be given you.  What is your request?  Even up to half the kingdom, it will be granted.’  Then Queen Esther answered , ‘If  I have found favor with you, O king, and if it pleases your majesty, grant me my life - this petition.  And spare my people - this is my request.  For I and my people have been sold for destruction and slaughter and annihilation.   If we had merely been sold as male and female slaves, I would have kept quiet, because no such distress would justify disturbing the king.’ 

King Xerxes asked Queen Esther, ‘Who is he?  Where is the man who has dared to do such a thing?’  
Esther said,” The adversary and enemy is the vile Haman.’”
 
7:10  “The king was in a rage.  Haman was hung on the gallows he had prepared for Mordecai.  Then the king’s fury subsided.”

Questions:

1.  How do you think Queen Esther felt when she went to the court of palace?  Answers will vary.  Remember she doesn’t know if she will be accepted or  put to death.
2.  What is the king’s response  to seeing Esther?  What is your request?  Even up to half the kingdom will be given to you.
3.  Why do you think Esther asks both the king and Haman to come to her banquet?  Remember Esther knows Haman is the evil one and she wants the king to find out for himself.
4.  The banquet takes place.  Does Esther reveal her request?  No, she asks them to come back the next day.
5.  What happens at the banquet today?  King Xerxes learns of the true nature of Haman.
6.  What happened to Haman?  He was hanged.

Lesson 5:  The Jews are delivered

9:1-10  “On the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, the month of Adar,  the edict commanded by the king was to be carried out.  On this day the enemies of the Jew had hoped to overpower them, but now the tables were turned and the Jews got the upper hand over those who hated them.  The Jews assembled in their cities in all the provinces of King Xerxes to attack those seeking their destruction.  No one could stand against them, because the people of all the other nationalities were afraid of them.  And all the nobles of the provinces, the satraps, the governors and the king’s administrators helped the Jews, because fear of Mordecai had seized them.  Mordec was prominent in the palace; his reputations spread throughout the provinces, and he became more and more powerful.
    The Jews struck down all their enemies with the sword, killing and destroying them, and they did what the pleased to those who hated them  in the citadel of Susa, the Jews killed and destroyed five hundred men.  They also killed the ten sons of Haman the enemy of the Jews.”   



God’s Will      What God wants done  he works through:

                                       Natural Order               Miracles                  Providence

God’s Action              God set into action            God breaks into                  God overrules
                                     through creation a             the natural order                the natural order
                                     normal working of              to respond to the               to accomplish an
                                     His universe.  He               expressed needs              act that people may         
                                     also revealed his               of people.                            or may not have expectations                                                       
                                     people through his                                                          or requested.
                                     Word and people’s
                                     consciences.

Examples               God gave Esther               God allowed                      God allowed                 
                                     natural beauty.                  Esther to speak                 Mordecai to over-
                                     to the king.                                                                      hear a plot

                                     Esther planned               The people prayed             Mordecai trusted
                                     a way to save                   and fasted.                          God to accomplish
                                     her people                                                                       what was impossible
                                     in human terms.
 
 Questions:

1.  The tables were turned on the Jews enemies.  What happened?
     The Jews conquered the men who were going to kill them.

2.  Who do you think made it possible for this to happened?
     Discuss.  Look at the chart and talk about Natural Order vs. Miracles vs. Providence.

Summary:

The book of Esther is an example of God’s divine guidance and care over our lives.  God’s sovereignty and power are seen throughout this book.  Although we may question certain circumstances in our lives, we must have faith that God is in control, working through both the pleasant and difficult times so that we can serve him effectively.


This study was taken from the Life Application Study Bible, NIV Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. Wheaton, Illinois and Zondervan Publishing House Grand Rapids, Michigan 2005

Posted 1.12.09