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Adopted by Jewish exiles, Esther used her relationship with King Xerxes to save the Jews of Persia.
What Did Esther Do In The Bible
National Geographic explores famous Bible figures in the ongoing “Bible People” series as part of its exploration of Bible history and scriptures.
Esther: The Jews Persevere
King Darius died in 486 BC. He was succeeded by the Persian king Xerxes I (486-465 BC), who invaded Greece and sacked Athens, but the Greek fleet was defeated at the Battle of Salamis in 480 BC. The results were inconclusive, however, and for the next two centuries Persia and Greece would remain implacable enemies as they engaged in a series of proxy wars. The reason for this was primarily economic: both Greece and Persia vied for control of the lucrative trade in the Mediterranean, especially the emerging Hellenic areas of Asia Minor.
Then the king said to her, Queen Esther, what do you want? and what is your request? Even half the kingdom will be given to you. Esther 5:3
Many scholars believe that King Xerxes is the same as “King Ahasuerus” in the Book of Esther. This book is unique in the Jewish canon for several reasons, not least because it features the heroine of a story as well written as a modern novel. Amidst the intrigue of the Persian court, it tells the story of Esther, the adopted daughter of a Jewish exile living in Susan (Susa), who meets the king of Persia because of her extraordinary beauty. King Ahasuerus decided to leave his first wife, Queen Vashti. Esther “found his favor and was worthy of his devotion” and the king “put a royal crown on his head” (Esther 2:17).
This animated film takes you back in time through Bible stories. Made from clay, thread and recycled paper, the characters come to life with frame-by-frame animation.
Esther: Kids Bible Study Journal [english]
His prodigious growth caused jealousy in the Persian court. The newly appointed high vizier, an Ammonite named Haman (Ammon was Israel’s ancient enemy), began planning to “exterminate all the Jews . . . throughout the kingdom of Ahasuerus” (Esther 3:6). The wizards were ordered to draw lots, and the provincial forces were set aside to choose the right day for the planned slaughter. Queen Esther, learning of her foster father Mordecai’s plot, informs the king and identifies Haman as the instigator. In a rage, Ahasuerus said to Haman, Will he attack the queen in front of me, in my house? (Esther 7:8). (See how women rule the world from ancient Egypt to today.)
Haman and his sons were dragged to be hanged, but nothing could be done about the plan to kill Haman, as the king ordered. Moved by Esther’s tearful plea, the king issued a new decree allowing all Jews in his kingdom to bear arms for self-defense. The Jews had many weapons when the soldiers came to kill them, and “they slew all their enemies with the sword, and slew them, and destroyed them” (Esther 9:5). Since then, that joyful deliverance has been celebrated in the Jewish festival of Purim, “a day of rejoicing on the fourteenth day of the month of Adar” (Esther 9:19).
This article is adapted from Who’s Who in the Bible: Memorable People and Chronological Stories from Genesis to Revelation, published by National Geographic Books.
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The Book Of Esther
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As the weather changes, the East Coast will see nine days of thunderstorms; Other eastern states could see up to two more weeks. Did you know that almost every book in the Old Testament is quoted in the New Testament, but the Book of Esther is not?
Did you know that the Dead Sea Scrolls contain all the books of the Old Testament except the book of Esther? (For more information on the Dead Sea Scrolls, see: Why the Dead Sea Scrolls Are Important to Christians)
The Esther Anointing
The Book of Esther tells the story of a Jewish woman who became queen in Persia and used her position to save the Jews from an attempted genocide. This story is the basis of the Jewish holiday of Purim, which is not mentioned in the Mosaic law.
These facts, along with the lack of historical evidence for the events described in the book, have led many to question whether Esther was a historical person, but whether it was biblical.
For example, Martin Luther criticized the Book of Esther for being too aggressively nationalistic and lacking in the gospel.
It’s not just Christians who are divided over the book of Esther; Jewish congregations also disagree about whether Esther is a true story or fable, and whether it belongs in the canon of Scripture (eg, the Orthodox Union considers it historical and canonical, while True Israel Assembly considers it historical and canonical). canonical).
The Illumination Of Esther In The Saint John’s Bible
The Book of Esther chronicles the decade of the Persian Empire (483-473 BC) during the reign of Ahasuerus, also known as Xerxes.
The book contains several historical, chronological and cultural details that lead one to believe that it was intended to be read as a true story rather than a parable. As in the case of Jonah (see Is Jonah historical or allegorical?), specific historical and geographical details characterize historical accounts, not mythological ones (for example, the Good Samaritan or the Prodigal Son).
In Esther 1:1 we read an accurate description of the extent of Xerxes’ empire, in 1:2 the location of the Persian seat of government, and in 1:3-4 the third year. During his reign, Xerxes held banquets for all his officers and servants, including the Persian and Median armies. The reason it is important is because it coincides with the story of Herodotus, the historian who recounts Xerxes’ second invasion of Greece, meaning this great gathering is mentioned in Esther 1:3-4. Verse 4 probably describes the preparations for the military invasion of Greece, which lasted 180 days.
According to Herodotus, Xerxes returned in late 480 BC. returned to Persia after being defeated by the Greek fleet at Salamis. The banishment of Queen Vastti in Esther chapter 1 fits this timeline, just before Xerxes left for Greece, and his meeting with Esther is said to have occurred shortly after his return. Herodotus says that Xerxes “sought comfort in his harem after his defeat at Salamis”, which agrees with what is written in the book of Esther and when Esther would become queen.
Profiles Of Faith: Queen Esther
Despite the clear historical context, we have no external sources that tell us that Esther became queen or that 75,000 Persians were killed. However, the author’s intention seems to convey historical events, and so do other historical accounts, including Herodotus, although there are no sources to prove them.
Thus, Esther is not a historical record, and there appears to be no evidence that where historical records of this period exist, they are consistent with the historical, cultural, or geographical details provided by Esther.
Esther was accepted as scripture by the Jews before the time of Christ. Jewish historian Josephus states that the Hebrew Scriptures were written from the time of Moses to “Artaxerxes”, whom Josephus identified as “Ahasuerus” in the book of Esther (Apion vs. 1.40-41 & Jewish Antiquities 11.184). So Joseph understood that Esther was the last book written in the book of the Jews.
In the Christian church, Esther was included in the list of Old Testament books at the Council of Carthage in AD 397, but because it was included in the Jewish Old Testament canon, Christians then recognized it as canonical.
Queen Esther In The Bible: Sing A Song That Tells The Whole Story
Although the name of God is not mentioned in the book, there is no God in the story. Like the story of Joseph, Esther is a story that emphasizes the “invisible hand of God” on earth, orchestrating and organizing events according to His divine plan.
Many scholars believe that the absence of the word “God” in Esther is not a mistake, but a deliberate literary way of emphasizing its importance.