The Book of Esther: A Cheat Sheet Summary
So I was watching Ellen one day, or maybe it was the Steve Harvey show (?) but anyway it was a holiday episode where instead of airing a new episode, the show’s producers or writers basically aired an episode where Ellen (or Steve) reminisced over what happened during the past season. They showed clips of past episodes, past guests, some of the funny moments and stuff like that. Well, friends, that is pretty much what this post is like so if you are just tuning in, you get the cliff notes, lucky duck. I’m going to give you a quick cheat sheet of the Book of Esther (with my unnecessary commentary, of course).
The book opens with the Queen of Persia, Queen Vashti, refusing to obey an order from King Xerxes, which led to her being exiled from the empire. The king then orders a decree to bring new young women into his harem. Esther is one of those women and the king becomes so smitten with her that he makes her the new queen.
Meanwhile, the king has appointed this guy, Haman, to be his second in command over the empire. One day, Haman notices that one of the gate keepers, Mordecai, who also happens to be Esther’s cousin and a Jew, refuses to bow down to him. Haman gets totally PO’d over this and feels super disrespected. In his anger, he vows to destroy Mordecai along with all of the Jews (whyyyy was he being so extra?!). He then goes and convinces the king to sign a decree for the killing of all Jews and Mordecai soon finds out about this decree. A fearful Mordecai then tells his cousin Esther about Haman’s plot to kill the Jews. She thinks it over, weighs the consequences of approaching a king without being summoned and decides to courageously go to the king, thereby risking her life to save her people.
So Esther goes goes to the king , who asks her what she wants and also tells her that he is willing to give her whatever she wants. She simply asks the king and his main dawg, Haman, to attend a banquet the next day, promising that she will tell him everything then.
That night the king can’t sleep and decides to read a bedtime story (ok, maybe not a bedtime story BUT he does retrieve a book -> He digs out a book of records of events that have occurred during his reign. In the book, he reads that Mordecai overheard and thwarted an assassination attempt against him. He is shocked to learn that Mordecai never received any type of reward for this act. He later (I’m guessing, the next day? The bible isn’t clear on when he goes to Haman but we know for sure it is before Esther’s party and I’m going to just go ahead and assume he didn’t wake Haman while he was up all night reading about his reign..But then again he was a king so maybe he did…ANYWAYS where was I…) The king asks Haman what rewards should be given to a person that has honored the king. Thinking that the king is talking about him, Haman responds with a description of a grand recognition and reward. Dude literally envisioned everything he could ever want and relayed this to the king because he thought the king was planning to honor him. WOMP, WOMPPPPP.
The king agrees to everything Haman suggested but to Haman’s utter dismay, he finds out that the king is talking about rewarding and honoring Mordecai (*snickers*).
At the banquet, the king asks Esther to reveal what it is that she wants. She tells the king of the plot to kill her people, the Jews, and reveals that Haman is the ringleader of the event. The king immediately sentences Haman to death on the impaling pole that Haman had intended for Mordecai’s impalement. (LOOK AT GOD!).
The king then later appoints Mordecai to Haman’s role and the Jews were given protection throughout the land. Mordecai establishes the Festival of Purim to commemorate this event.
And that ends the Book of Esther.
So let’s talk about Esther now…
Esther was a beautiful woman that caught King Xerxes’ attention. Though he made her queen, in the particular culture of the time, it was not acceptable for anyone, let alone a woman, to approach the king unless he specifically asked for that person. Knowing this, when Mordecai approached her (through a messenger) about Haman’s plot against the Jews, she hesitated a bit at first, thought about it, requested fasting and prayer and then decided that saving the Jews was more important than her fear of dying. She was willing to risk her life for the life of her people.
Esther was a careful planner. She weighed all of her options before deciding on the appropriate plan of action. She also thought through and considered exactly how she would approach the king and what she would say.
Esther stayed prayed up. She asked the Jews to pray and fast and she did the same before she approached the king.
Esther was courageous. I don’t think I need to get into the whys and hows of this one, here but just in case you missed it: it was unheard of at that time for a queen to approach the king without permission or without being summoned first. In fact, it was the law and the punishment was death. By going to the king, uninvited, Esther willingly accepted to take that risk for her peoples even if it meant sacrificing her life for it.
Esther was insightful. She was able to see the bigger picture and knew that the saving of many lives was more important.
Esther was open to advice. She respected, sought out, and was open to the advice that Mordecai gave her.
Esther was loving. It was her love for her family, relatives, and her people that she held on to when deciding to risk her life for their’s. Don’t we see this story somewhere else? Many times in the bible but perhaps the greatest is that of Jesus’ sacrifice for us.
And that folks, is the book of Esther in a nutshell. What’d you think? Were there any parts that stood out to you the most? Let me know in the comments!
Oh and before you go, here is a nifty little infographic. Talk soon! Until then, love like Jesus.
Graphics and Content by Cefion