Overview of Queen Esther (Come, Follow Me: Book of Esther)

VIDEO: Overview of Queen Esther (Come, Follow Me: Book of Esther) | Old Testament

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Overview of Queen Esther (Come, Follow Me: Book of Esther) – powered by Happy Scribe

Welcome back to Come Follow Me Book of Mormon Central’s Old Testament.

Today, Esther is going to be my topic.

I’ve been assigned just one small portion at the beginning, but I just wanted to take an overview of the whole book initially.

And I’m so grateful that even though this book does not mention the name of God, and people assume that that’s perhaps why it wasn’t included as the only book in the Bible that’s not in the Hebrew Bible, that’s not included in the Dead Sea Scrolls. Even without the name of God, esther is a type of a savior. She typifies our Lord, who is placed in the right place at the right time to become a savior for people. She is able to save many people, as our savior, of course, will save all humanity. I also see this good family working together in difficult situations in a foreign land, and as great disciples of Christ, I think they’re a great example historically.

I have the little chronology here on my chart for you to zoom in on. You can see that the Book of Esther falls right in the place between the time of Ezra and Nehemiah. But these people are not in Jerusalem. These, of course, are still in the Babylonian Empire. It’s located geographically just north of the Tigris River and west of the Persian Sea of the Persian Gulf.

The Arabian Sea in a town that is referred to in the scriptures as Sushan, but is now known in Iraq as Shuja. However you pronounce it in that nation, I don’t know. But it’s now during the time period of the king Xerxes, and he has a great party to celebrate his third year of the reign. Now, the Bible says he’s feasting for days and days and days, and I’m not exactly sure, but it sounds like his wife, Vasta, has a seven day feast just for women, while the men are all having their enormous feast. And it’s during this time, of course, that she’s asked to come, and she refuses to come and show off her beauty to these men, perhaps inebriated or something.

And so we begin my assignment in chapter two with the search for a new queen. And verses three and four read, gather all the young fair versions under shouchon the palace to the house of the women, and then skipping ahead to verse four, and let the chosen maiden become the queen. So this is a call across the whole empire. And as we know, our wonderful friend Mordecai has an ear towards this, and he encourages his little cousin that he has become the guardian for when both of her parents died, to go and join this opportunity to become one of the fair maidens of the country. Because she is a virgin and because she has not yet married, we assume she is very young, twelve or 1314 years old at the max.

Most women were married by then or at least promised to be married by 14. So this young girl is taken by her guardian and cousin Mordecai, who actually was a tribe of the Benjaminites, by the way, to King Zerkse. And they live near enough the palace that Mordecai stays close by and is constantly aware of what’s going on and is asking all the time. But what he finds out, and what we learned in the text, is that when this beautiful Esther arrives, she’s given to the care of the guardian of the harem. His name is Hege, and he’s a Enoch, which is usually how they took.

That’s why Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach and Bendigo were also made eunuchs, because they were going to live in the palace. If you’re going to be around the harem, you’re a unit to make sure that there’s nothing going on that’s inappropriate with the wives and the concubines of the king. But this wonderful man who’s in charge of these women really admires Esther, and it says, Esther won his favor. This is verse eight in chapter two. Immediately he provided her with beauty treatments and special food.

Now you can tell that I didn’t use the King James translation. I often like reading the Old Testament and other translations, and this is the New English Bible translation. But this gentleman was so enamored and touched by the kindness of Esther that he assigned her. This is verse eight, and her seven female attendants selected from the king’s palace and moved her attendance into the best place in the harem to live. So Esther is received in as one of those who have the potential of becoming the queen and is given seven people to work with her.

And she’s there for a long time. It sounds like she has a year’s purification, six months with myrrh and six months with perfume, and then it’s three more years that she’s in the harem, probably learning the customs, the language better, probably the history better, and being trained in society so that she could become a queen or a woman of stature in this culture. And during this time, if she started at age twelve, she’s now 15. If she started at 14, she’s now 17. She does not see the king at all.

It’s not until chapter two, verse 15 says, when the turn came for Esther to go to the king, she asked for nothing. This is something else that endeared her to other people. She was not greedy. She did not have her own political agenda. It continues on.

Esther won the favor of everyone who saw her, and in fact, no one knows that she is an Israelite at this point. We read in verse 1011 that Esther had not revealed her nationality and family background because Mordecai had forbidden her to do so. But every day, Mordecai walked back and forth in the courtyard of the harem to find out how Esther was and what was happening. And it’s important that we know that he’s there because the second plot that comes occurs in a few verses. But verse 17 and 18 say that the king was attracted to Esther more than any other of the woman, and so he set a royal crown on her head and made her queen.

And he has this enormous banquet. They call it the Esther’s Banquet, or Esther’s Feast, and honors her as a queen. I don’t know how old she is at this time, but she is probably still younger than 20. If historical patterns were taken in place at this time, mordecai, who’s hanging around trying to find out all the news he can about his little cousin, overhears a plot against King Zerkse, we’re told in verse 21, during the time that Mordecai was sitting in the queen’s king’s gate, two of the king’s officers who guarded the doorway became angry and conspired to assassinate King Zerksis. Mordecai told Esther, and Esther certified it’s the king.

And when an inquisition was made and the matter was found out, and we’re told that the two were killed, that we’re trying to assassinate the king. There’s a third subthought that goes on about this time that the next chapter begins. So one of my colleagues will have to start that with an enemy who is a longtime descendant, and I’ll talk more about it in my podcast, but hope that you can find examples of great discipleship of people who bloom where they’re planted, to quote an old cliche, or disciples of Christ who learn to love their neighbors and serve with the opportunities that are given to them. And as we look at our lives, we see that the Lord is in the details, that he moves people around so that we can serve Him and be in the right place at the right time when we follow Him, just as Queen Esther did. Thank you.

Bye, you.

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