National Association of Christian Ministers Summary Series

Esther is a courageous and influential figure in the Bible whose story is recorded in the Book of Esther in the Old Testament. She played a pivotal role in preserving the Jewish people from destruction during the Persian Empire. Here is a biography of Esther with scriptural citations:


1. Introduction to Esther (Esther 1:1-9):

Esther, also known as Hadassah, was a young Jewish woman living in the Persian capital of Susa. She was an orphan and was raised by her cousin Mordecai.


2. Esther Becomes Queen (Esther 2:1-18):

King Ahasuerus, also known as King Xerxes, held a beauty pageant to choose a new queen after deposing Queen Vashti. Esther’s beauty and charm captivated the king, and she was chosen as the new queen, although her Jewish identity was kept secret.


3. Mordecai’s Discovery and the Plot against the Jews (Esther 2:19-23):

While serving at the king’s gate, Mordecai discovered a plot to assassinate King Ahasuerus. He reported it to Esther, who informed the king, giving credit to Mordecai. The plot was thwarted, but the event was recorded in the king’s chronicles.


4. Haman’s Plot against the Jews (Esther 3:1-15):

Haman, an official in the Persian court, became angry with Mordecai for refusing to bow down to him. Seeking revenge, Haman devised a plan to annihilate all the Jews throughout the Persian Empire. Through the casting of lots (purim), Haman determined the day for the mass execution.


5. Esther’s Courageous Intervention (Esther 4:1-17):

Mordecai learned about Haman’s plot and sent a message to Esther, urging her to intercede with the king on behalf of her people. Initially hesitant due to the risk involved, Esther was persuaded by Mordecai’s words: “Who knows if perhaps you were made queen for just such a time as this?” (Esther 4:14b, NLT). Esther requested a three-day fast among the Jews before she approached the king.


6. Esther’s Audience with the King (Esther 5:1-8):

Esther bravely approached the king, uninvited, risking her life according to the Persian law. The king, pleased to see her, offered to grant her any request. Instead of making her request immediately, she invited the king and Haman to a private banquet.


7. Haman’s Downfall and Mordecai’s Honor (Esther 6:1-14):

That night, the king could not sleep and decided to read the chronicles of his reign. He discovered that Mordecai had never been rewarded for exposing the assassination plot. Just as the king was considering how to honor Mordecai, Haman arrived at the palace to request permission to hang Mordecai. Instead, the king ordered Haman to honor Mordecai publicly.


8. Esther’s Petition and the Salvation of the Jews (Esther 7:1-10):

At the second banquet, Esther finally revealed Haman’s wicked plot and pleaded for the king’s intervention. King Ahasuerus was furious and ordered Haman’s execution. He also gave permission for the Jews to defend themselves against their enemies on the appointed day of the planned massacre.


9. The Celebration of Purim (Esther 9:20-32):

The Jewish people were saved from destruction, and they established an annual celebration called Purim to commemorate their deliverance. Purim is observed to this day as a time of rejoicing, feasting, and sending gifts to one another.

Esther’s story highlights her bravery, faithfulness, and strategic actions in the face of great danger. Through her intervention, the Jewish people were saved from destruction, demonstrating God’s providence and protection. The Book of Esther serves as a reminder of God’s faithfulness and the importance of standing up for what is right, even in challenging circumstances.