AUTHOR: Uncertain
DATE: 465 B.C.

We do not know who wrote the book of Esther, but it is believed that the author was a Jew (Jewish nationalism is clear in the book).  The author recorded details of the reign of Ahasuerus and the palace in Susa. The book was written after the close of Ahasuerus’s reign (written of in the past tense, Est 10:2-3).

The events of this book cover 10-years (483-473 BC) of the reign of Xerxes I (486-465 BC). Ahasuerus is the Hebrew form of his name, equivalent to the Persian Khshayarsha and the Greek Xerxes. The events recorded in Esther occurred between those recorded in the sixth and seventh chapters of Ezra.

Interestingly, the name of God is not mentioned in this book.  However, His sovereignty and providence are clearly on display in the book:  From Vashti’s dismissal, Esther’s rise to royalty, Ahasuerus’s indebtedness to Mordecai, to the miraculous deliverance of the Jews, God’s control, care, and comfort for His people is demonstrated (Ps. 121:4). The Jews celebrate the events of this book with the feast of Purim on the fourteenth day of Adar (Feb.-Mar.). During this feast they celebrate the nation’s deliverance from evil Haman, an Agagite who was determined to annihilate the nation.

Esther 4:14 is the best-known verse in the book. It emphasizes the theme of God’s control of all events and His purpose and plans in all things.

 

OUTLINE OF ESTHER

I. The Danger to God’s People, 1:1-3:15
A. The Divorce of Vashti, 1:1-22
B. The Discovery of Esther, 2:1-20
C. The Devotion of Mordecai, 2:21-23
D. The Decree of Haman, 3:1-15
II. The Decision of God’s Servant, 4:1-5:14
A. Mordecai’s Appeal to Esther, 4:1-14
B. Esther’s Answer to Mordecai, 4:15-17
C. Esther’s Audience with King Ahasuerus (Xerxes), 5:1-8
D. Haman’s Arrogance over Mordecai, 5:9-14
III. The Deliverance of God’s People, 6:1-10:3
A. The Defeat of Haman, 6:1-7:10
1. Haman humbled, 6:1-14
2. Haman hanged, 7:1-10
B. The Decree of King Ahasuerus (Xerxes) and Mordecai, 8:1-17
C. The Defeat of Israel’s Enemies, 9:1-19
D. The Days of Purim, 9:20-32
E. The Description of Mordecai’s Fame, 10:1-3

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A Hidden Message in Psalm 23

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Do not be anxious about anything.  (Phil 4:6)

In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, we must rightly remember who is in control.  Our God is sovereign over all things, including COVID-19.  As Charles Spurgeon (1834-1892) said, “The sovereignty of God is a soft pillow on which weary people lay their heads.” 

Remember also God’s gracious promise, and that it is true and He is faithful to keep it:  Hebrews 13:5 …”I will never leave you, nor forsake you.”  The next verse remind us of the power that comes in trusting God and how we can live:  Hebrews 13:6 So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man [or COVID-19] shall do to me.

God loves us, and in Christ we find confidence and calm in times of uncertainty and trouble.  When we trust in God, fear is replaced with faith, stress is replaced with strength, anxiety is gone and hope abounds, problems become opportunities, and we are able to receive the blessings God has for us in the midst of difficult circumstances. Turn to Jesus. He will lead you to the still waters and give rest for your troubled soul.  

This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast…Hebrews 6:19

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