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Esther Becomes the Queen of Persia

Scripture Passage: 
Esther 2:1-23
Attached audio files: 

INTRODUCTION: As in the previous chapter, we see here a plain telling of events without any explanation of good or evil. However, these first two chapters are setting up the circumstances for a powerful story. The real conflict begins in chapter three. As in chapter one, this lesson shows us the ways of the world. It is up to the student and the teacher to contrast the ways of the world (as seen here) with the ways of God (as clearly established in other parts of the Bible). As you study this passage, be on the lookout for what is missing in the ways of the world; for how God is left out; for how God’s ways differ from those of the world.

  1. THE SEARCH FOR A QUEEN (Esther 2:1-4)
    1. When the King’s Wrath Diminished (Esther 2:1)
      1. He remembered Vashti (Esther 1:11).
      2. He remembered his decree (Esther 1:19; Esther 8:8; Daniel 6:11-15; compare Deuteronomy 17:6).
      3. Note: It is very likely that Ahasuerus is remembering these things as the alcohol wears off.
      4. Note: He could not go back and change the past, so he had to figure out where to go from here (see Philippians 3:13-14). He could not reestablish Queen Vashti. He must find a new queen.
    2. When a Plan Could Be Established (Esther 2:2-4)
      1. Young maidens sought (Esther 2:2)
        1. The king’s servants devised a plan.
        2. Fair young virgins would be sought for the king.
          1. Fair: they had to be pretty (Genesis 12:11; Genesis 24:16).
          2. Young: no older women for the king
          3. Virgins: the king wanted a pure young lady.
        3. Note: This is the method of an unsaved but powerful king. He went shopping for a wife much as one goes shopping for any important purchase. He gathered the best and checked them out one at a time. But remember, this is the world’s plan for seeking a wife.
      2. Young maidens purified (Esther 2:3)
        1. Officers were appointed for the task.
        2. Young virgins were gathered to Shushan.
          1. To the house of the women
          2. Into the custody of Hege or Hegai the king’s chamberlain
        3. Items for purification (beauty treatments) were given to the young women (see Esther 2:12).
      3. Young maidens considered (Esther 2:4)
        1. The maid to please the king would be queen.
        2. The king was pleased with this plan.
  2. THE PURIFICATION OF ESTHER (Esther 2:5-11)
    1. Her Background (Esther 2:5-7)
      1. The identity of Mordecai (Esther 2:5-6)
        1. He lived in the palace in Shushan; this indicates an important position in the kingdom (Esther 2:5).
        2. He was a Jew of the tribe of Benjamin (Esther 2:5).
          1. King Saul was of the tribe of Benjamin (1 Samuel 9:1-2).
          2. The Apostle Paul was of the tribe of Benjamin (Romans 11:1).
        3. Part of the Babylonian captivity (Esther 2:6)
      2. Mordecai’s care for Esther (Esther 2:7)
        1. Also called Hadassah (meaning myrtle )
          1. The myrtle is a common evergreen shrub in Israel. It has white flowers and berries that are initially white before turning bluish black. Its branches give a sweet scent especially when crushed. It withstands drought and remains green even after being cut. (See article on “Myrtle” in The Encyclopedia of Jewish Symbols .)
          2. Myrtle was one of the kinds of branches used for the making of booths at the feast of the tabernacles (Nehemiah 8:15).
          3. The myrtle tree or bush was considered a blessing (Isaiah 41:19; Isaiah 55:13). It is a sign (Isaiah 55:12-13) that the blessing of the Lord shall never be cut off.
          4. In ancient times, Jewish families would welcome the Sabbath with two bouquets of myrtle.
        2. A cousin to Mordecai – “his uncle’s daughter”
        3. An orphan – “neither father nor mother”
        4. Beautiful (Proverbs 11:22; Proverbs 31:30)
        5. Taken by Mordecai as his own daughter
    2. Her Preparation (Esther 2:8-11)
      1. The taking of Esther (Esther 2:8)
        1. Many maidens were gathered.
        2. Esther was also brought to the palace.
      2. The favour given to Esther (Esther 2:9; Genesis 39:2-4, 21-23; Proverbs 16:7)
        1. Her favour with the keeper of the women
        2. His special care of Esther
          1. He showed her kindness.
          2. He speedily gave her things for purification.
        3. Seven maidens given to minister to her
        4. Given the best place of the house of the women
      3. The discretion of Esther (Esther 2:10; Matthew 8:1-4; Matthew 10:16; Acts 16:22-24, 35-39)
        1. She did not reveal her people or family.
        2. She obeyed the warning of Mordecai in this matter.
      4. The caretaker of Esther (Esther 2:11)
        1. Mordecai checked on her daily.
        2. He sought to know her condition and prospects.
  3. THE CHOOSING OF ESTHER (Esther 2:12-20)
    1. The Consideration of the Maidens (Esther 2:12-14)
      1. Their purification completed (Esther 2:12)
        1. Getting their turn to go in to the king
        2. After twelve months of purification
          1. Six months with oil of myrrh
          2. Six months with sweet odors
      2. Their desires granted (Esther 2:13)
      3. Their status altered (Esther 2:14)
        1. Went to the second house of the women
        2. Remained as a concubine of the king
          1. Unless the king delighted in her
          2. Unless the king called her by name
    2. The Exaltation of Esther (Esther 2:15-17)
      1. Her favour in the king’s house (Esther 2:15)
        1. Her turn to go to the king
        2. No requirement except what was appointed her (1 Timothy 6:6-8; Matthew 23:12)
        3. Gaining favour of all who saw her
      2. Her choice as the new queen (Esther 2:16)
        1. Taken into the royal house as queen
        2. Chosen in the seventh year of his reign; four years after the rejection of Vashti (Esther 1:3)
      3. Her grace in the king’s sight (Esther 2:17)
        1. Loved by the king above all the women
        2. Obtained grace and favour more than all the virgins
        3. Received the royal crown on her head
        4. Made queen in the place of Vashti
    3. The Feast to Honour Esther (Esther 2:18-20)
      1. Esther’s place of honour (Esther 2:18; 1 Samuel 2:6-8)
        1. A feast for all the princes and servants of the king
        2. Called Esther’s feast in her honour
        3. Release made by the king to the provinces; probably a release from taxes
        4. Gifts were given according to the state of the king; that is, great gifts which were in accordance with the wealth and power of this king (Esther 1:7).
      2. Mordecai’s place of service (Esther 2:19)
        1. The virgins were gathered once more at the end of the search for the queen.
        2. Mordecai was established to sit in the gate; this would be a position of importance as a judge or other official (Genesis 19:1; Psalm 69:12).
      3. Esther’s continued discretion (Esther 2:20)
        1. She continued to hide her full identity.
        2. She continued to obey the commands of Mordecai.
  4. THE CAPTURE OF THE ASSASSINS (Esther 2:21-23)
    1. The Plan to Kill the King (Esther 2:21)
      1. The anger of the two doorkeepers: Bigthan and Teresh
      2. The plot against the life of the king
      3. Note: These things transpired while Mordecai sat in the king’s gate.
    2. The Revelation of the Plan (Esther 2:22)
      1. Mordecai’s discovery of the plot against the king
      2. Mordecai’s revelation of the plot to Esther
      3. Esther’s record in the name of Mordecai; she did not try to exalt herself and this was probably the key to her beauty and why she was favoured above so many other beautiful girls (compare Esther 2:9, 15, 20).
    3. The Record of the Good Deed (Esther 2:23; Colossians 3:23-24; 1 Timothy 5:25)
      1. The confirmation of the plot by investigation
      2. The execution of the two criminals: by hanging on a tree
      3. The record of the matter in the book of chronicles of the king

CONCLUSION: The central story of this chapter is the meek and quiet spirit of Esther (1 Peter 3:1-4). She did not push herself to the front of the crowd. She did not demand to be noticed. But God established her in a place of importance and a place where she would play a major part in the preservation of the Jews.

David Reagan and Andrew Ray

Daily Proverb

Proverbs 27:6

Faithful are the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.