1-3. (A) Why was Esther afraid to go to her husband? (B) What questions will we consider regarding Esther?
Esther slowly approaches the inner courtyard of Shushan’s palace. Her heartbeat is increasing along with her footsteps. She is trying to control herself. But what can you do, in such a big palace! There are scenes of grandeur everywhere. Everywhere you look, there are colorful artefacts of winged bulls and archers. The lions’ shapes made of shiny bricks also look very attractive. The carved pillars of the palace and the huge statues are also very attractive. The palace is perched on a snow-covered ground near Mount Jagros, and gazes out at the gushing river Coaspis. The magnificence of this place is indescribable. Yes, Esther is going to meet the highest-ranking official in this magnificent place, who calls himself “the king.” That person is also her husband.
2 Husbands! How can this be? A man with a different faith like Ahasuerus, the husband of a believing Jewish woman? * Hard to imagine! Listening to his beloved wife Sarah is not like Abraham – Ahasuerus. ( Gen. 21:12 ) Moreover, he did not know much about Esther’s God, Jehovah, and his laws. Ahasuerus knows the ins and outs of Persian law. In front of her eyes, Esther is about to break a law. What was Esther going to do? According to Persian law, anyone who appeared before the king without a nod was sentenced to death. Esther was not summoned by the king yet she was going to the king. When he reached the inner courtyard, which was clearly visible from the king’s throne, he felt as if he were walking on a stream of khukuri. — Esther 4:11; Read 5: 1 .
3 Why did he take such a risk? What lessons can we learn from the faith shown by this extraordinary woman? The answer to these questions Before we get to that, let’s consider how Esther became the queen of Persia.
4. What was Esther’s background like? How did she get to live with Mordecai?
4 Esther lost her parents’ warm embrace as a child; She was an orphan. The Bible does not say much about his parents. In any case, his parents named him Hadassa. In Hebrew, it is the name of a plant in which white flowers bloom brightly. The orphan, who lost his parents’ umbrella at an early age, is cared for by his kind relative Mordecai. Mordecai is the brother of Esther, but he is the eldest. He brings Esther home and raises her as his own daughter . Esther. 2: 5-7, 15 .
5, 6. (A) How did Mordecai raise Esther? (B) What kind of life did Mordecai and Esther live in Shushan?
5 Mordecai and Esther moved to the capital of Persia because the Jews were in exile. While living there, they must be determined to practice their religion and obey the laws of the law. Nevertheless, Mordecai does not give up and teaches Esther about Jehovah which strengthens the bond between them. Jehovah, the merciful God, had saved his people many times before and was about to do the same. ( Leviticus 26:44, 45 ) With the passage of time, the bond of love and affection between Mordecai and Esther grew stronger.
6 Mordecai seems to have served as an officer in the court of Shushan. He sat at the front door every day with the other servants of the king. ( Esther 2:19, 21; 3: 3 ) We can only imagine how Esther spent her childhood. Still, he seems to have taken good care of his brother and his family. They seem to live in a simple house across from the palace. Imagine Esther rejoicing and walking toward the marketplace of Shushan. Traders are busy selling gold, silver, and many other things. But Esther never dreamed that such an expensive commodity would become a nightmare for her. Esther did not know what life would be like.
7. Why was Vashti removed from the post of Maharani and what was the result?
7 One day, there is a commotion in the palace of Shushan. King Ahasuerus gave a grand banquet to his princes. He gave people eighty-four dishes and expensive wine. While the feast was going on, the king invited his beautiful queen Vashti to appear before the people. Queen Vashti was also having a feast with her friends in a separate room. When the king called, Vashti flatly refused. It seemed to the king that his dignity was on the ground. Angered, he asks his advisers what punishment should be meted out to Vashti. What is the result? Vashti is removed from the post of queen. Then the king’s courtiers began to search for beautiful virgins throughout the kingdom. The king would choose a queen from among them . — Esther. 1: 1-2–4 .
8. (A) Why did Mordecai worry about Esther growing up? (B) How can we apply what the Bible teaches about not putting too much emphasis on external beauty? ( See also Proverbs 31:30 .)
8 Imagine this scene: Mordecai is lovingly looking at his daughter Esther. His daughter has grown up now! Nice to meet you! On the one hand, Mordecai is happy, and on the other hand, he is worried. The Bible account of Esther states: “She was very beautiful.” ( Esther 2: 7 ) The Bible teaches us not to overemphasize external beauty. Beauty is a good thing in itself, but it also requires wisdom and humility. Otherwise, pride, arrogance and other vices may arise in man. ( Read Proverbs 11:22 . ) You may have noticed that this is true. But what about Esther? Did she become arrogant because she was beautiful too? Only time will tell.
9. (A) What did the king’s officials do when they saw Esther? Why should Mordecai and Esther find it difficult to separate? (B) Why did Mordecai allow Esther to marry a non-Israelite? ( See box on page 138 )
9 The king’s princes see Esther. They even take Esther to the palace across the river. Esther is forced to break up with Mordecai. ( Esther 2: 8 ) How heartbroken Mordecai and Esther must have been! After all, they were like father and daughter. Mordecai did not want his beloved daughter to marry a non-Israelite. Even if that person is not a king. * But it doesn’t happen just by wishing! What else could he do but stare helplessly? She must have listened carefully to what Mordecai had taught her before Esther went to the palace. As Shushan walks into the magnificent palace, many questions come to mind. What would his life be like now?
“Esther was fascinated by everyone who saw her.”
10, 11. (A) What effect could the new location have on Esther? (B) How did Mordecai seem to care about Esther?
10 Esther feels that she has reached another world. Everywhere you look today, the tide of protectionist sentiment is flowing. She finds herself in the midst of “many girls.” They were also sought after and brought from as far away as the Persian Empire. What a difference in their way of life, language, and manners! All the girls are assigned to Officer Hague. Now they have to follow a special procedure to enhance their beauty. They would also be massaged with various aromatic oils for a year. ( Esther 2: 8, 12 ) At that time, the girls must have been focused on making themselves as beautiful as possible. How much they must have competed with each other! What effect did such an atmosphere have on Esther?
11 Mordecai was very worried about Esther. Perhaps no one else was as concerned about Esther as she was. The Bible says that Mordecai used to go to the courtyard of the house where the women lived every day to find out what was happening to Esther. ( Esther 2:11 ) He probably got some information from fellow servants. Mordecai’s heart leaped when they told him about Esther. But why
12, 13. (A) What impression did Esther make on those around her? (B) Why was Mordecai happy that Esther did not tell anyone that she was Jewish?
12 Esther had succeeded in winning the heart of Officer Hague. So Hague also lovingly arranged for Esther to have seven maids and give her the best place in the women’s quarters. The account also states: “Esther was captivated by all who saw her.” ( Esther 2: 9, 15 ) Was Esther’s beauty the only reason people were impressed? No, there was another secret.
13 The Bible says: “Since Mordecai forbade her to do so, Esther did not reveal her lineage or family.” ( Esther 2:10 ) Mordecai taught Esther not to tell anyone that she was Jewish. Because Mordecai knew that there was a great deal of prejudice against the Jews in the Persian court. How delighted Mordecai must have been to learn that Esther was obedient, not only in front of his eyes but also at other times!
14. How can young people today imitate Esther’s example?
14 Young people today can make their parents or caregivers happy in the same way. They can avoid bad influences and do what is right समेत even when their parents are unaware of it, and when they are surrounded by naughty, immoral, or bad people. Then, like Esther, they can make Jehovah’s heavenly Father happy . — Read Proverbs 27:11 .
15, 16. (A) How did Esther win the king’s favor? (B) Why did Esther find it difficult to adapt to the new lifestyle?
15 When the time came to go before the king, Esther was allowed to pick up various decorative items and whatever else she needed. But he humbly took nothing but what Hegge had given him. ( Esther 2:15 ) Esther must have thought that the king’s heart could be conquered by modesty and humility, not by outward beauty. So did she succeed?
16 The Bible answers: “Esther is more important to the king than any other woman. . . I liked it. And the king showed her more affection and kindness than any other girl. He put a royal crown on his head. He made her his queen instead of Vashti. ” ( Esther 2:17 ) How difficult it must have been for this humble Jewish girl to adapt to this new way of life! Queen, she was also the wife of the most powerful king of that time! Did it make him proud? No, not made!
17. (A) How did Esther remain obedient to her parents? (B) Why is it so important to follow Esther’s example now?
17 Esther continued to be obedient to her godfather. She kept it a secret that she was Jewish. When Mordecai informed them that a plot was being hatched to assassinate King Ahasuerus, Esther obeyed and conveyed the message to the king. As a result, the plots of the conspirators were thwarted. ( Esther 2: 20-23 ) Yes, by showing a humble and obedient spirit, she showed that she trusted in her God, Jehovah. It is important to follow Esther’s example. Because there are a lot of disobedient and rebellious people everywhere you look now, as if they have trampled on obedience. But true Those who cultivate faith consider obedience a precious treasure जस्तै like Esther!
Testing Esther’s Faith
18. (A) Why did Mordecai not bow down to Haman? (See also footnote.) (B) How do faithful men and women today imitate the example of Mordecai?
18 King Ahasuerus appoints a man named Haman to his court. The king appoints him prime minister. He also makes his personal advisor and second-rate person in the empire. He also issued an edict saying that everyone who sees him should bow down. ( Esther 3: 1-4 ) But Mordecai found it difficult to obey. He had no problem obeying the king, but because of that he could not think of disrespecting God. You know that Haman was Agagi, meaning he was a descendant of Agag king of Amalek. And Jehovah’s prophet Samuel killed King Agag in pieces. ( 1 Sam. 15:33 ) The Amalekites were so wicked that they became enemies of Jehovah God and of Israel. God also promised to punish them. * ( Deut. 25:19 ) How could such a man be worshiped by a faithful Jew? Yes, Mordecai could not bow down to Haman. So he firmly refused. Even at the risk of their own lives, all faithful men and women today follow a precious Bible principle: “We must obey God more than men.” – Acts 20:35. 5:29 .
19. What did Haman want to do? What did he do to win the king over?
19 Haman is furious when Mordecai does not bow down. So he plans to kill Mordecai. They want to destroy not only Mordecai but all his people – Haman! So they go to the king and tell him what happened to the Jews. “There is a nation spread over a large number of people throughout the province. Haman tries to pretend that the Jews are not working people. Not only that, they do not obey the king’s orders, they are very dangerous, they even say! They also offer to pay for the cost of uprooting Jews from all over the empire. * Ahasuerus opens his seal and gives it to him and he has the right to issue whatever decree he wishes . — Esther 2: 1. 3: 5-10 .
20, 21. (A) How did Haman’s decree affect the Jews and Mordecai throughout the Persian Empire? (B) What message did Mordecai send to Esther?
20 Shortly thereafter, the angels marched throughout the province announcing that the Jews would be wiped out. Announcing that they would reach Jerusalem. When you hear that message, think of the situation of the rest of the Jews in Jerusalem. Returning from Babylonian exile, they had just begun rebuilding the city, without even a protective wall! How worried Mordecai must have been when he heard that message from the Jews in Jerusalem and from his friends and relatives in Shushan! Distraught, he tore his clothes, put on bhangra, rubbed ashes, and went to the middle of the city to mourn loudly. Haman does not care what happens to the Jews or to Mordecai’s friends in Shushan. He is sitting with the king, and he is drinking wine. — Esther 3: 12–4: 1. Read on.
21 Mordecai thinks that we should not keep quiet. But what could he do? Esther learns that Mordecai is sad. She sends some clothes for Mordecai but Mordecai refuses to take them. Why Jehovah allowed his flower-like daughter to separate from him and become the queen of a pagan nation Mordecai must have been thinking. But now the answer is slowly emerging. Mordecai sends a message to Esther to speak to the king “for the sake of her people .” – Esther 2: 1. 4: 4-8 .
22. Why was Esther afraid to go to the king? (See also footnote)
22 Upon receiving the message, Esther is overwhelmed with anxiety. His faith is greatly tested. Esther is afraid to do what Mordecai tells her to do, and she tells Mordecai the truth. Esther also reminds Mordecai of the king’s law. Going to him without the king’s consent was a crime worthy of death. The king could have survived if he had waved his scepter somehow. Vashti was punished for refusing to appear before the king. Was Esther, then, the real reason for the king’s favor? Esther tells Mordecai that the king has not called her for 30 days. So Esther was terrified that the king would not look at her. * – Est. 4: 9-11 .
23. (A) What did Mordecai say to strengthen Esther’s faith? (B) Why is Mordecai’s example worth imitating?
23 To strengthen Esther’s faith, Mordecai answers firmly. If Esther is unable to do this, she tells Esther that the salvation of the Jews will come from someone else. But what could Esther do when all her power was against the Jews? At this point, Mordecai showed strong faith in his God, Jehovah. He is convinced that he will never allow his people to perish and that his promise will never fail. ( Josh. 23:14 ) He asks Esther: “Who knows if you have come to the throne for such a long time?” ( Est. 4: 12-14 ) Should we not follow Mordecai’s example? He trusted in his God, Jehovah. What about us ? 3: 5, 6 .
Belief in overcoming death
24. How did Esther show faith and courage?
24 Esther’s time to act decisively. She tells Mordecai to tell all the Jews in Shushan to fast and not to eat or drink for three days and three nights. He then goes on to say, “Even if I am destroyed.” ( Esther 4: 15-17 ) His simple answer shows extraordinary faith and courage. How fervently she prayed that day! Now comes that terrible moment. She is dressed in royal attire; She does everything she can to win the king’s heart. Then she slowly moves forward.
25. Briefly describe Esther’s visit to the king.
25 As discussed at the outset, Esther is approaching the king’s court. We can only imagine how much of a storm she must have felt, how much she prayed. She arrives at the king’s chamber, where Ahasuerus is seated on his magnificent throne. She tries to read the expression on the king’s face. If he had to wait for some time, he would feel as if he had to cut the yoke. But soon her husband sees her. The king is shocked to see Esther, but there is no displeasure on her face. He stretches out his scepter toward Esther. — Est. 5: 1, 2 .
26. Why do true Christians need the same courage as Esther? Why did he stand before the king?
26 Amazing! The king is ready to listen to Esther. Esther became a believer in God and risked her life to save her people. How precious his faith is to God’s servants today, isn’t it? True Christians value such an example. Jesus said that his disciples would show self-sacrificing love. ( Read John 13:34, 35. ) It takes courage like Esther to show such love. Standing before the king that day for the sake of his people was just the beginning. How can it be said that the king’s beloved advisers are evil conspirators? And how will he save the lives of his people? We will find the answers to these questions in the following article.