Bible Book Summary
by Jay Smith
The genre of the book of Esther is Narrative History. Its author is anonymous however; some believe Mordecai, (Esther’s cousin and guardian), wrote it. It was written approximately 470 B.C. in Persia. Esther became queen in 479 B.C. The key personalities are Esther, Mordecai, King Ahasuerus (or Xerxes), and Haman.
Its purpose is to demonstrate God’s love and sovereignty in all circumstances. It is a post-exile story about Jews who stayed behind after most returned to Jerusalem after captivity. Babylon was conquered by Persia and Esther miraculously becomes the queen of the land, and saves her people.
• In chapter 1-2, Esther becomes the queen to Ahasuerus of Persia. She was personally chosen by the King. “The king loved Esther more than all the women, and she found favor and kindness with him” (2:17), probably because of her beauty and intelligence.
• Chapters 3-4, Mordecai (Esther’s guardian) refused to bow down and pay homage to Haman a high official of the king. Haman becomes infuriated and plots to destroy all the Jews in the kingdom because of his pride. Mordecai hears of the plot and reports it to his Esther. “For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place and you and your father’s house will perish. And who knows whether you have not attained royalty for such a time as this?” (4:14).
• From chapters 5-10, Esther outwits Haman and takes her petition to the king and pleas for the protection of her Jewish people from Haman’s wicked stratagem. The king out of anger, has Haman hung on the gallows, which he had built to destroy all the Jews. Esther’s faith and courage saves her people.