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November 27    Scripture

Bible History Online Picture Study Bible  Picture Study Bible with Maps and Background Information

 

Esther 2

1 - After these things, when the wrath of King Ahasuerus was pacified, he remembered Vashti, and what she had done, and what was decreed against her.

2 - Then the king's servants who served him said, "Let beautiful young virgins be sought for the king.

3 - Let the king appoint officers in all the provinces of his kingdom, that they may gather together all the beautiful young virgins to the citadel of Susa, to the women's house, to the custody of Hegai the king's eunuch, keeper of the women. Let cosmetics be given them;

4 - and let the maiden who pleases the king be queen instead of Vashti." The thing pleased the king, and he did so.

5 - There was a certain Jew in the citadel of Susa, whose name was Mordecai, the son of Jair, the son of Shimei, the son of Kish, a Benjamite,

6 - who had been carried away from Jerusalem with the captives who had been carried away with Jeconiah king of Judah, whom Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon had carried away.

7 - He brought up Hadassah, that is, Esther, his uncle's daughter; for she had neither father nor mother. The maiden was fair and beautiful; and when her father and mother were dead, Mordecai took her for his own daughter.

8 - So, when the king's commandment and his decree was heard, and when many maidens were gathered together to the citadel of Susa, to the custody of Hegai, Esther was taken into the king's house, to the custody of Hegai, keeper of the women.

9 - The maiden pleased him, and she obtained kindness from him. He quickly gave her cosmetics and her portions of food, and the seven choice maidens who were to be given her out of the king's house. He moved her and her maidens to the best place in the women's house.

10 - Esther had not made known her people nor her relatives, because Mordecai had instructed her that she should not make it known.

11 - Mordecai walked every day in front of the court of the women's house, to find out how Esther was doing, and what would become of her.

12 - Each young woman's turn came to go in to King Ahasuerus after her purification for twelve months (for so were the days of their purification accomplished, six months with oil of myrrh, and six months with sweet fragrances and with preparations for beautifying women).

13 - The young woman then came to the king like this: whatever she desired was given her to go with her out of the women's house to the king's house.

14 - In the evening she went, and on the next day she returned into the second women's house, to the custody of Shaashgaz, the king's eunuch, who kept the concubines. She came in to the king no more, unless the king delighted in her, and she was called by name.

15 - Now when the turn of Esther, the daughter of Abihail the uncle of Mordecai, who had taken her for his daughter, came to go in to the king, she required nothing but what Hegai the king's eunuch, the keeper of the women, advised. Esther obtained favor in the sight of all those who looked at her.

16 - So Esther was taken to King Ahasuerus into his royal house in the tenth month, which is the month Tebeth, in the seventh year of his reign.

17 - The king loved Esther more than all the women, and she obtained favor and kindness in his sight more than all the virgins; so that he set the royal crown on her head, and made her queen instead of Vashti.

18 - Then the king made a great feast for all his princes and his servants, even Esther's feast; and he proclaimed a holiday in the provinces, and gave gifts according to the king's bounty.

19 - When the virgins were gathered together the second time, Mordecai was sitting in the king's gate.

20 - Esther had not yet made known her relatives nor her people, as Mordecai had commanded her; for Esther obeyed Mordecai, like she did when she was brought up by him.

21 - In those days, while Mordecai was sitting in the king's gate, two of the king's eunuchs, Bigthan and Teresh, who were doorkeepers, were angry, and sought to lay hands on the King Ahasuerus.

22 - This thing became known to Mordecai, who informed Esther the queen; and Esther informed the king in Mordecai's name.

23 - When this matter was investigated, and it was found to be so, they were both hanged on a tree; and it was written in the book of the chronicles in the king's presence.


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Esther 1 Esther 2 Esther 3 Esther 4 Esther 5
Esther 6 Esther 7 Esther 8 Esther 9 Esther 10


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Esther Images and Notes

The Book of Esther

Esther 1:16-18 - And Memucan answered before the king and the princes, Vashti the queen hath not done wrong to the king only, but also to all the princes, and to all the people that [are] in all the provinces of the king Ahasuerus. For [this] deed of the queen shall come abroad unto all women, so that they shall despise their husbands in their eyes, when it shall be reported, The king Ahasuerus commanded Vashti the queen to be brought in before him, but she came not. [Likewise] shall the ladies of Persia and Media say this day unto all the king's princes, which have heard of the deed of the queen. Thus [shall there arise] too much contempt and wrath.

Esther 6:12-14 - And Mordecai came again to the king's gate. But Haman hasted to his house mourning, and having his head covered. And Haman told Zeresh his wife and all his friends every [thing] that had befallen him. Then said his wise men and Zeresh his wife unto him, If Mordecai [be] of the seed of the Jews, before whom thou hast begun to fall, thou shalt not prevail against him, but shalt surely fall before him. And while they [were] yet talking with him, came the king's chamberlains, and hasted to bring Haman unto the banquet that Esther had prepared.

The Old Testament - A Brief Overview

Bible Survey - Esther
Hebrew Name - Ester "concealed"
Greek Name - Aster (after the Persian word for star)
Author - Mordecai (According to Jewish tradition)
Date - From 521-495 BC Approximately
Theme of Esther - The Jews in Captivity were saved from annihilation by a Jewish queen
Types and Shadows - In Esther Jesus is the savior of his people

ARCHAEOLOGY

Persian Attendants from the Hall of Xerxes

Ancient Persian Attendants from the Hall of Xerxes
Esther 1:2-4 "In the third year of his reign, he made a feast unto all his princes and his servants; the power of Persia and Media, the nobles and princes of the provinces, being before him: When he shewed the riches of his glorious kingdom and the honour of his excellent majesty many days, even an hundred and fourscore days."

These two royal Persian attendants are depicted in a relief scene at the great hall of Xerxes from the Harem of Xerxes at Persepolis. This discovery of ancient Persian servants of Xerxes from the 5th century BC is important in the study of Biblical Archaeology and the Persian Period.

Summary of The Book of Esther

The book of Esther was written during a time when the Persian Empire ruled the world and Ahasuerus (probably Xerxes I) was the king of Persia. The events in the book of Esther probably took place around 521-495 BC. This was during a time just before the wall of Jerusalem was rebuilt. The book of Esther clearly demonstrates God's love for his people even when they are in a foreign land far away from the land of their inheritance. One interesting point is that the name of God is never mentioned in the book of Esther, nor is there any mention of any kind of worship. The reason for this is uncertain but most likely it would have been forbidden to mention the name of the God of Israel. For whatever reason this is, there are clear intimations of God especially when you hear the words of Mordecai "who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this" (Esther 4:14). In the book of Esther we discover the origin of the Jewish feast of Purim, as well as some very important historical information concerning the Jews while they were in captivity, as well as their deliverance from total annihilation while in the land of Persia. The Septuagint version of the Hebrew text contains 107 extra verses (see The Rest of Esther) that nearly all scholars agree were written later than the Hebrew canon based on internal and external evidence.

Quick Reference Map
Map of the Persian Empire During the Time of Esther
Map of the Persian Empire During the Time of Esther (Click to Enlarge)

The contents of the book of Esther may be summarized as follows:

Outline of the Book of Esther

1 ) The deposition of Queen Vashti, the wife of the Persian ruler Ahasuerus, for her refusal to appear before the guests of the king (Esther 1). It has often been suggested that the Queen refused on grounds of modesty, but the tradition which has arisen around her suggests that her refusal is just as likely to have been the result of simple spitefulness. In order to keep such an attitude from becoming general, thus upsetting the domestic balance, Ahasuerus removed her from the throne and from his presence.
2 ) The choice of Esther as Queen, after an involved process of elimination (Esther 2:1-20).
3 ) Mordecai discovers a plot against the life of the king (Esther 2:21-23).
4) Haman's plot to destroy the Jews (Esther 3-4). Because of the refusal of Mordecai to pay homage to Haman, a man "above all the princes" in the Persian government, the latter influenced the King to issue a decree calling for the extermination of the Jews. Mordecai persuaded Esther to intervene, at the risk of her life, on the Jews' behalf.
5 ) Esther's successful petition (Esther 5-8:2 ) . Finding favor with Ahasuerus, Esther revealed the heinous plot of Haman. The result was that Haman was hanged and Mordecai received his long-deserved honor for having saved the king's life.
6 ) The deliverance of the Jews (Esther 8:3-9:16). Although the decree of the King concerning the Jews could not be rescinded, it was counteracted by the issuing of another decree which allowed the Jews to defend themselves.
7 ) The Feast of Purim (Esther 9:17-32). To celebrate their deliverance, the Jews instituted the feast of Purim. This feast is still observed and is a time of great joy among Jews.
8 ) A description of Mordecai's greatness (Esther 10).

Quick Reference Maps - Esther

The Persian Empire at the Time of Esther - According to Esther 1:1 King Ahasuerus (Xerxes) ruled over 127 provinces from India to Ethiopia. The Book of Esther began in the third year of the reign of Ahasuerus which was around 484 BC during a great feast in Shushan (Susa). Xerxes had just put down rebellions in Egypt and Babylon, and was preparing to invade Greece.

Nehemiah Maps

Jerusalem Rebuilt by Nehemiah - The book of Nehemiah records in the third chapter a description of the course of the walls, beginning on the northeast side of Jerusalem and moving counterclockwise. His intention was not to be too exhaustive in the details.

Ezra Maps

Zerubbabel and Ezra's Journey to Restore Jerusalem - Zerubbabel, of the house of David heeded the decree of Cyrus to allow the Jews to return and restore Jerusalem and later more Jews including Ezra and Nehemiah returned to Jerusalem.

The Persian Empire in the 6th Century BC - The great rulers of the Persian Empire during the 6th century BC were Cyrus the Great, Cambyses, and Darius I the Great.

The Persian Empire in the 5th Century BC - During the 5th centuries BC the Persian Empire expanded under various rulers: Darius I, Xerxes I (Ahasuerus), and Artaxerxes I.

The First Day. Light.

Esther Resources

The Return From Babylon

More About the Book of Esther
Esther in the Picture Study Bible
Timeline of the Ancient World
Back to the Old Testament
Back to Bible History Online
 

 

Bibliography Information
Bible History Online - Picture Study Bible, King James Version. New York: American Bible Society: www.bible-history.com, 1995-2013. Bible History Picture Study Bible. Nov 27, 2014.

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