I. Introduction A. History 1. Timeline
decree of March 5th, 445 B.C. granting the
Jews permission to rebuild Jerusalem.
461 The Age of PERICLES, to 428 B.C.
486 DARIUS I died and XERXES I(AHASUERUS) ruled Persia. He was the
458 The Holy Scriptures assumed a settled
form. “Psalms”, a collection of spiritual
songs and poems used in worship anddevotion, written by different authors from
485 The Prophet DANIEL wrote “Daniel” in
1500-450 B.C., were compiled. Athens sent
200 ships to help INARUS of Egypt against
revolts and deposed his Queen VASHTI.
commenced construction on the “LongWalls” of Athens.
483 BUDDHA died. Rome was at war withVeii for 9 years. ARISTEIDES was
447 The building of the Parthenon began.
under the decree of ARTAXERXES. Canuleian Law legalized the validity of
marriage between patrician and plebeian inRome. ACRAGAS was defeated by
473 ESTHER established the Purim Feasts.
murdered in Rome for impeaching twoconsulars. DUNWALL ruled Britain and
tributa”, a plebeian assembly of tribes.
put away his wife, SANBALLAT’Sdaughter. MANASSEH built a Temple on
Pentateuch. The Athenians and Corinthians
written by EZRA and covers 479-424B.C. EZRA is credited with also writing “I
and II Kings”, originally one book, and “I
Old Testament prophets, wrote “Malachi”,
and II Chronicles”, also originally one book.
I Kings covers events from 985-868 B.C.; IIKings covers 868-561 B.C. I Chronicles
covers 3975-985 B.C.; II Chronicles covers
covering 538-424 B.C. “Nehemiah” waswritten by NEHEMIAH covering
4-year gap corresponding to Xerxes off fighting the Greeks (481–479 BC)
127 satrapies vs. Herodotus’ 20 (1:1, 8:9)
Mordecai over 122 when prime minister, thus Esther older (2:5-6)
One wife of Xerxes: Amestris (Possibly Vashti)
Talmud: men of Great Synagogue (In Ezra’s day)
C. Theme/Purpose D. What the critics say
“I am so great an enemy to the second book of the Maccabees, and to Esther, that I wish they hadnot come to us at all, for they have too many heathen unnaturalities. The Jews much moreesteemed the book of Esther than any of the prophets; though they were forbidden to read it
before they had attained the age of thirty, by reason of the mystic matters itcontains.” —Martin Luther, Table Talk
“Esther also, being perfect in faith, exposed herself to no less danger, in order
to deliver the twelve tribes of Israel from impending destruction. For withfasting and humiliation she entreated the everlasting God, who seeth all things;
MILK Missing and He, perceiving the humility of her spirit, delivered the people for whose
sake she had encountered peril” —First Epistle of Clement to the Corinthians
If the name of God is not there in Esther, His finger is.” —Matthew Henry(Early 1700’s)
II. Setting A. Susa in Persia B. Between Chapters 6 & 7 of Ezra III. Main Characters B. Esther 1. Hebrew name: 2. Persian name: C. Mordecai 1. Hebrew name: 2. Persian name?: D. Ahasuerus (Xerxes/Khshayarsh)
“…A boisterous man of emotional extremes, whose actions were often strange andcontradictory.”
1. Captain of the princes F. The Jews 1. People of Judah 2. Expatriates who chose to stay IV. Literary Characteristics to watch for A. Parallels B. Sharp contrast C. Details: names, places, etc. D. Repeated refrains E. Sevens F. Poetic Justice V. The text A. Introduction: Esther and Mordecai In Persia (Esther 1–2) 1. Introduction to the Court (1:1-22)
What kind of imagery is used in this section? What does it remind you of?
What was Xerxes’ motivation for calling on Vashti?
How might you have felt if you were Vashti?
What would be the proper way for both to respond?
Can you think of any modern examples of this kind of situation?
c. The Consequences of Queen Vashti's Refusal (1:13-22)
What might you do if you were in Xerxes’ place?
2. The Rise of Esther and Mordecai (2:1-23)
What happened between Chapters 1 & 2? How does that explain the beginning of 2:1?
b. Esther and Mordecai Introduced (2:5-11)
Why did Esther hide her nationality? Was this acceptable?
Have you ever been tempted to hide something about yourself?
How did Mordecai learn of the assassination plot?
B. A Threat to the Jews (Esther 3–5) 1. Haman's Rise and Mordecai's Affront (3:1-6) 2. Haman's Plot Against the Jews (3:7-15)
How did Haman decide when to exterminate the Jews?
3. Mordecai's Counter-Measures (4:1-17)
Why did Mordecai wear sackcloth & ashes?
i. Esther Sends Garments (4:4) ii. Esther Asks for Information (4:5-9)
Why didn’t Esther talk to Mordecai herself?
iii. An Action Plan Is Formulated (4:10-17)
How is Esther’s action like that of Jesus?
4. Esther's Intervention (5:1-8) 5. The Zenith of Haman's Fortunes (5:9-14)
How did Haman deal with his frustrations?
What solution did his wife and friends offer?
C. Reversals of Fortune (Esther 6:1-9:19) 1. Mordecai's Reward (6:1-13)
Can you think of any other reversals like this in the Bible?
What is done to the one whom God chooses to honor?
2. Haman's Downfall (6:14-7:10) 3. Further Reversals (8:1-17)
What had Mordecai done to deserve his honor?
How would a law like this be viewed today?
D. Conclusion: A Jewish Festival and a Jewish "King" (Esther 9:20-10:3) 1. Purim: The Law of the Celebrations (9:20-32) 2. Mordecai's Exaltation (10:1-3)
1Wetzel, A Chronology Of Biblical Christianity
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