The Story of Esther
Esther 2 - 8
There was a Jewish man living in Susa named Mordecai. He had a cousin
named Esther, who was an orphan, that he treated like a daughter. Now Xerxes, the king, wanted a new wife. He sent out his
officers to find beautiful young women so he could choose a queen from among them. Esther was chosen to go. Because many people
did not like Jewish people, Mordecai warned Esther not to tell anyone that she was a Jew.
The day had come for Esther to go before the king. Everyone liked Esther.
And the king liked her more than any other girl, so he put the crown on her head. He made her the new queen. She couldn't
leave the palace now, and Mordecai wasn't allowed to visit her. So Mordecai would stay near the palace gates. Haman, the chief
official, would pass by Mordecai often. When Haman passed by, everyone bowed down. Everyone but Mordecai. Mordecai would not
bow to anyone but God. This mad Haman so angry that he plotted to punish Mordecai and all the Jews.
Haman told the king that there were people in his land that would
not obey his laws and that the king should get rid of them. The king trusted Haman, so he agreed to Haman's plan. The king
even gave Haman his signet ring to seal the law, so everyone would know that the plan was authorized by the king. The letter
was sent out to all parts of the kingdom. Because the law had the king's seal on it, everyone knew the law could not be changed.
Mordecai heard this news. He tore his clothes and cried loudly, because
he was so sad. Esther's maids told her what Mordecai was doing. Esther sent a servant to find out what was wrong. The message
from Mordecai said, "All the Jews are to be killed. You must stand up for us and plead for our lives from the king." Esther
sent a message back to Mordecai saying, "I can't go see the king about this. Everyone knows that you can't choose when to
see the king. He has to ask you to come. If you go without being asked, you'll be killed."
Esther must have been very afraid of what might happen to her. But Mordecai
sent her another message, "Maybe the reason you became queen is so you can help our people now." Esther sent a message back
to Mordecai. She told him to have the people fast (go without food or water) for three days. She and her maids would do the
same thing. Then in three days, she would go to the king. Esther said, "I'll go even if he hasn't called me. Then if I die,
After three days, Esther put on her robes that she wore as queen. She
went to see the king. When the king saw her, he held out his gold rod to her. She walked up and touched the end of the gold
"What do you want, Queen Esther? Whatever you want, I'll give you. Even
half of my kingdom, if you want," said the king. Esther said, "I have made a great dinner, please come and bring Haman with
Haman felt honored to be invited to dinner with the king, but the king
knew Esther really had something important ot ask him. After the banquet, he again asked her what she wanted. Esther replied,
"If you would be kind enough to give me my wish, please come again tomorrow with Haman. Then I will tell you what I want."
Haman couldn't stop thinking about his hatred toward Mordecai. He ordered
his servants to build a gallows on which to hang this man who would not bow to him. Haman planned to ask the king that night
if he could hang Mordecai on it.
Haman and the king went again to Esther's banquet. As they ate and drank
together, the king asked, "Now tell me, Esther, what is it that you want? I will give it to you." Esther said, "If it pleases
you, O king, please give me my life-- and the life of my people." She went on to explain that all of her people were going
to be killed.
"Who dares to threaten your life?" demanded the king. "It is this evil
Haman!" Esther replied. Haman looked at the king and queen terrified. One of the servants said, "Haman just had a gallows
built at his house so he could hang Mordecai." "Hang Haman on it instead," said the king.
Esther told the king who Mordecai was. The king gladly gave him Haman's
job. But the law could not be changed that all Jews must be killed! So, the king made a new law. The new law said that on
the day of the execution, that the Jewish people could get together and defend themselves. This made people much less eager
to attack them. So the Jewish people were saved. To this day, Purim is still observed. It is a holiday decreed by Queen Esther
and Mordecai to remember how God used Esther's courage to save the Jewish people.