Graphics of Esther


 Jerusalem destroyed; exiles go to Babylon First exiles return
 to Jerusalem
 Temple completedXerxes becomes king of Persia  Esther becomes queen Haman's decree to destroy the Jews First festival of Purim
 586 B.C. 538 515 486 479 474 473





Vital statistics


 Purpose: To demonstrate God's sovereignty and his loving care for his people 
 Author: Unknown. Possibly Mordecai (9:29). Some have suggested Ezra or Nehemiah because of the similarity of the writing style. 
 Original audience: The people of Israel
 Date written: Approximately 470 B.C. (Esther became queen in 479.)
 Setting: Although Esther follows Nehemiah in the Bible, its events are about 30 year prior to those recorded in Nehemiah. The story is set in the Persian Empire, and most of the action takes places in the king's palace in Susa, the Persian capital. 
 Key verse: "If you keep quiet a time like this, deliverance and relief for the Jews will arise from some other place, but you and your relatives will die. Who knows if perhaps you were made queen for just such ta time as this?" (4:14)
 Key people:Esther, Mordecai, King Xerxes I, Haman 
 Key place:  The King's palace in Susa, Persia
 Special features: Esther is one of only two books named for women (Ruth is the other). The book is unusual in that in the original version no name, little, or pronoun for God appears. This caused some church fathers to question the book's inclusion in Scripture. But God's presence is clear throughout the book.




The Book of Esther

BANQUET (11), FEASTING (5) AND CELEBRATED (6) <NIV>

 VERSEWHO  WHY WHATNOTE 
1:3 Xerxes  Displayed kingdom:Nobles PrincesBanquet  180 days
 1:5Xerxes Displayed Kingdom: all people  Banquet7 days 
 1:9VashtiFor the women  Banquet 7 days
 2:18Xerxes  Esther: for nobles and official Banquet 1 day? 
5:4, 5 Esther I For the King and Haman Banquet 1 day? 
 5:8;  5:12; 6:14; 7:8 EstherII For the King and Haman Banquet 2 days 
 8:15, 17; 9:17, !18, 19; 9:21, 22, 23, 28 JewsRelief from their enemies / Susa / Villages Celebration Feasting 2 Days





Esther Time Line


3rd Yr. Xerxes I

TISHRI 8-NISAN 8

483/2 BC

(Sep, Oct / Mar, Apr)

Est. 1:3-4 "and in the third year of his reign he gave a banquet for all his nobles and officials. The military leaders of Persia and Media, the princes, and the nobles of the provinces were present."

3rd Yr. Xerxes I

 NISAN 9-15

483/2 BC

(Mar, Apr)

Est. 1:5  " When these days were over, the king gave a banquet, lasting seven days, in the enclosed garden of the king's palace, for all the people from the last to the greatest, who were in the citadel of Susa." 

 7th Yr. of Xerxes I

 TEBETH 1

479/8 BC

(Dec, Jan)

Est. 2:14 "In the evening she would go there and in the morning return to another part of the harem to the care of Shaashgas, the king's eunuch who was in charge of the concubines."

 12th-13thYr. of  Xerxes I

 NISAN 1-NISAN 13

475/4- 474/3 BC

(Mar, Apr)

Est. 3:7 "In the twelfth year of King Xerxes, in the first month, the month of Nisan, they cast the pur (that is, the lot) in the presence of Haman to select a day and month. And the lot fell on the twelfth month, the month of Adar."

 13th Yr. of Xerxes I

 ADAR 13

474/3 BC

(Feb, Mar) 

Est. 3:8 "Then Haman said to King Xerxes, "There is a certain people dispersed and scattered among the peoples in all the provinces of your kingdom whose customs are different from those of all other people and who do not obey the king's laws; it is not in the king's best interest to tolerate them."

 13th Yr. of Xerxes I

 NISAN 14

474/3 BC

(Mar, Apr)

Est. 4:16 ""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."

13th  Yr. of Xerxes I

NISAN 15

474/3 BC

(Mar, Apr)

 

 13th  Yr. of Xerxes

NISAN 16

474/3 BC

(Mar, Apr)

Est. 5:1 "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."

 13th Yr. of Xerxes I

NISAN 17

474/2 BC

(Mar, Apr)

Est. 6:1 "That night the king could not sleep; so he ordered the book of the chronicles, the record of his reign, to be brought in and read to him".

 13th Yr. of Xerxes I

SIVAN 23

474/3

(May, Jun)

Est. 8:3 "Esther again pleaded with the king, falling at his feet and weeping. She begged him to put an end to the evil plan of Haman the Agagite, which he had devised against the Jews."

 13,14th  Yr. of Xexes I

 ADAR 13&14

473/2 BC

(Feb, Mar)

Est. 9:1 "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 Jews had hoped to overpower them, but now the tables were turned and the Jews got the upper hand over those who hated them."

 


Persian king in Bible history




Common Name

B.C Date (?)

Activity

Name in Persian

Name in the Bible

Bible Reference

 

Cyrus

 

539-530

(9)

Þ    Permit the Jews rebuild the temple

Koorush

Cyrus

Isaiah 45, Daniel, Ezra 1-3

 

Cambysses

 

530-521

(9)

Þ    Cyrus’s son,

Þ    Expend the empire to Egypt

Cambujieh

Ahasruerus

Ezra 4-6

 Pseudo Smerdis

 

521

?

Berooyeh Doroughi

Artaxerxes

Ezra 4:7-23

 

Darius the Great

 

521-486

(35)

Þ    Relative of Cambyses,

Þ    Established Susa the new capital,

Þ    Created code of Law that resembles the Code of Hammurabi (1775),

Þ    And imposed taxes

Darryoosh

Darius

Ezra 5,6

 

Xerxes

 

486-465

(21)

Þ    Darius’s son

Þ    He made errors in military actions.

Þ    He burned Athens

Þ    Destroyed Babylon’s temples

Þ    The Book of Esther.

Þ    Murdered in his bedroom

Khashayarshah

Ahasurerus

Esther 1-10

 

Artaxerxes 1

 

464-423

(41)

Þ    Xerxer’s younger son

Þ    Took over a weakened Persian Empire

Ardeshier Deraz Dast

Artaxerxes

Nehemiah 1-13, Ezra 7-10

 

 






























God behind the scenes in Esther


Although God's name is not mentioned in the Hebrew text of Esther, he makes himself know in these ways:

 Indirect References
  • 2:17. Esther, who worshiped God, became queen.
  • 4:14. God's existence and his power over the affairs of people are assumed
  • 4:16. Fasting was a distinct spiritual activity usually connected with prayer 
Divine Incidents
The book of Esther  is filled with divine interventions 
  • 2:21,23. Mordecai overhears a death plot and saves the king's life.
  • 6:1. Xerxes can't sleep and decides to read a history book.
  • 6:2. Xerxes reads the exact page needed for the moment, reminding him of an unpaid reward to Mordecai.  
  • 7:9, 10. Haman's plan is exactly reversed-the intended victims are the victors




How God works in the world


                         God's will                                                     What God wants done - he works through 
 God's Action
  • Natural Order
  • God set into action through Creation a normal working of his universe. He also revealed his expectations of people through his Word and people's consciences. 
  • Miracles
  • God breaks into the natural order to respond to the expressed needs of people.
  • Providence
  • God overrules the natural order to accomplish an act that people may or may not have requested. 
 Examples from Esther
  • God gave Esther natural beauty.
  • Esther planned a way to save her people.
  • God allowed Esther to speak to the king.
  • The people prayed and fasted.
  • God allowed Mordecai to overhear a plot.
 People's will

 Actions we can take
 What people want done - we either..
  • Plan 
  • Can make plans based on the order and dependability of God's creation. Know and obey his words. 
 
  • Pray
  • Can ask God to intervene in certain affairs while realizing that out knowledge  and perspective are limited. 
 
  • Trust and Obey
  • Can trust that God is in control even when circumstances seem to indicate that he is not. 
 Mistakes We Can Make or...
  • Disobey
  • Can violate the natural order, disobey God's commands.
 
  • Demand
  • Can assume that we understand what is needed and expect God to agree and answer our prayers that way. 
 
  • Despair
  • Can assume God doesn't answer prayer or respond to our needs and live as though there is nothing but the natural order. 


The Blueprint



  1.  Esther becomes queen (1:1-2:23)
  2. The Jews are threatened (3:1-4:17)
  3. Esther intercedes for the Jews (5:5-8:17)
  4. The Jews are delivered (9:1-10:3)

   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 in in control, working through both the pleasant and difficult times so that we can serve him effectively.