THE BOOK OF ESTHER
The significance of the Book of Esther is that it testifies to the secret watch care of Jehovah over dispersed Israel. The name of God does not once occur, but in no other book of the Bible is His providence more conspicuous. A mere remnant returned to Jerusalem. The mass of the nation preferred the easy and lucrative life under the Persian rule. But God did not forsake them. What He here does for Judah, He is surely doing for all the covenant people. — Scofield.
Canonicity: The right of the book to a place in the Scripture Canon has been greatly disputed. The name of God does not appear in it, while a heathen king is referred to over one hundred and fifty times. There is no allusion to prayer or spiritual service of any kind, with the possible exception of fasting.
Leading Topic: The deliverance of the Jews by Queen Esther.
Key Verse: Esther 4:14, “For if thou altogether holdest thy peace at this time, then shall there enlargement and deliverance arise to the Jews from another place; but thou and thy father’s house shall be destroyed: and who knoweth whether thou art come to the kingdom for such a time as this?”
A Brief Summary of the Book: The main events of the history center around three feasts:
I. The Feast of King Ahasuerus, and events connected with it.
A. On the seventh day, when the king was merry with wine, Queen Vashti, being ordered to appear before the assembled princes, refuses, Esther 1:1-12.
B. The angry king decides to accept the advice of his wise men, and dethrones the queen, Esther 1:13-22.
C. After a kingdom-wide search for a new queen, Esther, the Jewess is chosen, Esther 2:1-17.
II. The Feast of Esther, preliminary events, and its final outcome.
A. Mordecai, the Jew, the queens’s foster father, saves the king’s life, Esther 2:7, 21-23.
B. The promotion of Haman and the failure of Mordecai to do him honor so enrages Haman that he decides to destroy all the Jews, Esther 3:1-15.
C. The mourning of the Jews on the discovery of Haman’s plot, Esther 4:1-4.
D. The heroic determination of Esther to appear before the king with a plan in her mind to foil the plot, Esther 4:5-17.
E. Esther’s gracious reception by the king, and her invitation to himself and Haman to attend her feast, Esther 5:1-8.
F. Haman erects a gallows upon which to hang Mordecai, Esther 5:9-14.
G. During a sleepless night the king examines the court records and discovers that Mordecai has received no reward for saving his life, Esther 6:1-3.
H. Haman’s selfish vanity results in his own humiliation and great honor for Mordecai, Esther 6:4-11.
I. Esther’s feast and Haman’s plot revealed. He is hanged upon the gallows he built for Mordecai, Esther 7.
III. The Feast of Purim
A. Preliminary Events.
1. The vengeance of the Jews against their enemies authorized by the king, Esther 8:1.
2. Vengeance executed, Esther 9:1.
B. The Feast Instituted, Esther 9:20-31.
C. The Exaltation of Mordecai, Esther 10.
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