And… we’re diving right in!
It’s about time for the third installment in my “Five Reasons to Love…” series! Last week in the blog survey I asked you guys to suggest Bible characters you’d like me to do.
So here’s a post requested by Madisyn and Katherine. Thank you gals! I hope you enjoy this.
Who was Queen Esther?
Queen Esther was not always Queen Esther.
At the beginning of her story, Esther is a poor peasant girl named Hadassah. She is a Jewess exile of Persia. Her older cousin Mordecai has taken her as his own daughter because both her parents are dead.
At that time, Ahasuerus is king over 127 provinces from India to Ethiopia. His queen’s name is Vashti.
In the first chapter of Esther, we see Ahasuerus hosting a huge banquet for his officials and servants. Queen Vashti is hosting a banquet for the women in the palace.
Ahasuerus feasted and drank until his heart was merry. Then he sent for his wife to come before him. He wanted everyone at his banquet to see Vashti’s great beauty. However, Vashti refused, disobeying her husband. As a result, Ahasuerus divorced her and decided to give her royal position to a better woman. So he had all the virgins of the land brought before him, including Hadassah, who was also called Esther. Esther was the most beautiful of all the young women, so she was crowned queen.
After Esther was made queen, Ahasuerus promoted an evil man named Haman. Everyone was supposed to bow before Haman, but Mordecai did not because he would only bow before God. Haman was furious. To get revenge on Mordecai, he plotted to kill all the Jews. And he prepared gallows on which to hang Mordecai.
Learning of the Jews’ impending destruction, Mordecai put on sackcloth and mourned. Esther tried to comfort him, but to no avail. So the queen led the Jews in fasting for three days before she went before the king to plead for her people.
In the end, Esther saved the Jews because of her great faith in God. Haman’s wickedness was exposed, and he was hung on the same gallows he had prepared for Mordecai.
Esther is the prime example of a truly incredible woman! So here are five reasons to love Queen Esther.
1. Her beauty was in a gentle and quiet spirit, not in looks.
The Bible tells us that Esther was physically very beautiful: “The young woman had a beautiful figure and was lovely to look at” (Esther 2:7). Before she went in to King Ahasuerus, she had to complete months of beautification with oil, spices, and ointments (2:12). Everyone admired her beauty, and the king loved her more than all the young women, so he crowned her (2:15, 17).
However, none of this beauty ever went to Esther’s head. She was a wise, good queen, very dedicated to her God. She was humble, and submissive to her husband Ahasuerus as all women should be submissive to their husbands (Ephesians 5:22-23). Unlike Vashti, she was not brazen, and through her example she guided other women in the right path (see Esther 1:16-20).
Esther truly followed this godly command:
Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear—but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious. For this is how the holy women who hoped in God used to adorn themselves, by submitting to their own husbands, as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord. And you are her children, if you do good and do not fear anything that is frightening.– 1 Peter 3:3-6
I want to be this kind of woman, just as Esther was.
2. She was not a doormat, but possessed godly courage.
There is a big difference between godly submission and being a doormat. God does not want women – or anyone – to be doormats. He doesn’t want us to let people walk all over us and abuse us. He wants us to be strong – to possess a godly courage. Something Esther certainly possessed.
Esther was not afraid to go before her husband Ahasuerus and plead for her people, although it was against the law. No one could present themselves before the king’s throne without being summoned first. And if anyone did dare to do so, the king had the right to punish severely. Even if the lawbreaker was his own wife. If the king held out his scepter to the visitor, everything was totally cool. But if he didn’t, that could mean execution.
Would you have the courage to present yourself to the king if it was illegal? If you could be executed for it?
Esther did have that courage. She stood up for her people. She was not going to let them die unjustly without fighting for them. She chose to risk her life: “For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it” (Matthew 16:25).
Esther knew all the risk involved in what she was about to do, but she was determined not to be a doormat and let her people be killed. Her calm words in the face of terrible danger are so inspiring: “If I perish, I perish” (Esther 4:16).
3. Her love and respect for Mordecai.
Throughout the book of Esther, Esther’s tender care for Mordecai is always evident. Even when she became queen, she did not look down upon the kind peasant cousin who had raised her. She always loved, respected, and obeyed Mordecai.
Esther 2:20 tells us that “Esther obeyed Mordecai just as when she was brought up by him.” This was after she was crowned queen.
When Mordecai learned of the Jews’ impending doom, he put on sackcloth and ashes, mourning and wailing. Esther, distraught and concerned, sent clothes for him to wear instead of sackcloth, but he refused to take them. She sent a eunuch to find out what was wrong, and as soon as she heard, she was determined to help. She had a very special love for Mordecai, and never stopped being grateful to him for what he had done for her. (See Esther 4, also 2:7)
She also told King Ahasuerus how much Mordecai meant to her (8:1).
4. She was not afraid of Haman, the Jews’ enemy.
When most people talk about Esther, they applaud her for her courage in appearing to King Ahasuerus. And they’re absolutely right. But what a lot of people forget is that Esther had courage not only before Ahasuerus, but before Haman.
Let’s think about this a minute. Haman was first promoted by the king (Esther 3:1). Then he plotted to kill all the Jews (3:6). Then he boasted about the honors he had been given, because they were indeed great (5:11). THEN he built a gallows on which to hang Mordecai, Esther’s own beloved caregiver (5:14).
Given all this, I’d be scared of Haman. Wouldn’t you?
But Esther was not. She was unafraid of the Jews’ enemy (8:1).
The climax of the book of Esther comes in chapter 7. And let me tell you guys something, I absolutely LOVE this chapter. It’s so dramatic and reads just like a thriller. Also, Haman gets his comeuppance…
(Who thinks I need to write a Biblical fiction novel about Esther someday? *raises hand*)
Absolutely go read chapter 7 right HERE! It’s a very short chapter and it’s so exciting. I’m gonna share a few verses that really show Esther’s bravery:
Then Queen Esther answered, “If I have found favor in your sight, O king, and if it please the king, let my life be granted me for my wish, and my people for my request. For we have been sold, I and my people, to be destroyed, to be killed, and to be annihilated. If we had been sold merely as slaves, men and women, I would have been silent, for our affliction is not to be compared with the loss to the king.”
Then King Ahasuerus said to Queen Esther, “Who is he, and where is he, who has dared to do this?”
And Esther said, “A foe and enemy! This wicked Haman!”
Then Haman was terrified before the king and the queen.– Esther 7:3-6
Oh my goodness, I LOVE those verses!
That is true bravery. *pumps fist in the air*
5. She did not ask for honor from her people.
After everything that Esther did to save the Jews, she had a perfect right to ask for an award. She had a perfect right to ask to be honored, to command her people to bow before her. King Ahasuerus would have agreed.
But that wasn’t Esther’s character. She never sought honor for herself – she only sought honor for God. She only wanted to do his will. She only pleaded for her people, up to the end (Esther 8:3-6).
As Mordecai said, she did indeed come to the kingdom at exactly the right time (4:14). She believed God had placed her there, and the only thing she ever wanted was to honor him.
How can you not admire and love a woman like this?
Hope you guys enjoyed this post!
Make sure to share your thoughts in the comments below! Also, how’s life and writing? And if you ever have any requests for Bible characters you’d like to see in this “Five Reasons to Love…” series, make sure to let me know! I will definitely get to all requests at some point. XD
You know the drill – eat, pray, write, repeat!