Category: A group of biblical books that have a similar literary genre or main themes and have been placed together as a major section of the Bible.
Historical: The narrative books of the Old Testament that recount Israel’s rise and fall in the land of Canaan, leading to their exile in Babylon.
Literary Style: A unique style of writing that follows recognized literary conventions and language patterns.
Narrative: A story sequence in which characters are placed in a setting and involved in a developing plotline.
Epic Narrative: A narrative that is intentionally placed in an ambiguous historical setting in order to make larger claims about the nature of reality and human purpose.
God providentially uses two exiled Israelites to rescue His people from certain doom, without any explicit mention of God or His activity!
Watch our Read Scripture video on the book of Esther, which breaks down the literary design of the book and its flow of thought. There is one Read Scripture video dedicated to the book of Esther, which aims to help you see its unique contribution to the story of Jesus, but also how it works within the Bible’s overall framework.
A classic story of good versus evil, the Book of Esther is a unique account in the Bible. It gives us a glimpse of the Jews who remained outside their homeland after the Exile, particularly the Jews living in the Persian Empire. Here we see that the author chose a fascinating literary choice - never once is God mentioned in the entire Book. This behind-the-scenes take of God at work is brilliantly displayed throughout Esther's chapters through "coincidences" and "happen chances" that help to save the Jews from Haman's wicked plot to destroy them.
Even today Jewish people celebrate Purim each year by reading Esther, enjoying fun traditions, and giving gifts as described in Esther Chapter 9:20-32. Christians, too, can benefit from reading Esther as it reminds us that even though it appears God is absent, He is still at work in our lives and will not abandon His promises while we are living in a murky and ambiguous world.
Not So Common
Persian King Xerxes banishes Queen Vashti after she refuses to come to his drunken party. Xerxes looks for a new wife and Esther becomes queen.
Moredecai and Haman
Evil Haman becomes powerful but is furious when Mordecai doesn't bow. He plots to kill every Jew in a single day. The King ordains it.
Mordecai asks for Esther's help. She can only speak with Xerxes if he summons her, or she dies. Esther prays and enters for her people.
Esther invites Xerxes and Haman to two banquets. Xerxes honors Mordecai and humiliates Haman. Esther exposes Haman's plot to Xerxes, and he executes Haman – victory.
The Jews' Victory
Esther and Mordecai reverse Haman's evil plan. Xerxes' decree is irreversible, but he issues a new one allowing Jews to defend themselves. Purim is established.