Who is Queen Esther in the Bible
Queen Esther is a Jewish queen from the Old Testament. She is the central character in the Book of Esther which was thought to be written by Mordecai, her cousin. She was the queen of King Ahasuerus who is thought to be either King Xerxes I or Darius I of ancient Persia. Esther became the queen after Ahasuerus exiled Vashti, the first queen, for refusing to show her beauty to his guests. After Vashti was exiled he requested that women from all over the kingdom be brought before him. Out of all of those maidens he chose Esther to be his queen.
Mordecai learned of a plot by two servants to kill Ahasuerus. He reported the plot and it was foiled by the authorites. Shortly after the assassination plot was reported Haman, a high ranking official, asked Mordecai to prostrate himself before him. Modecai refused and Haman, filled with rage, ordered that the Jews are to be exterminated. He was willing to pay a large sum of money for their destruction. Mordecai filled with distraught went to see Queen Esther, his cousin, to speak with the king regarding their fate. Normally one was not be allowed to see the king unless summoned. It would be a sign of great disrespect and one could be put to death for this infraction. Despite this risk, Esther invited the king and Haman to a banquet. They both accepted. Towards the end of the night Esther invited them both to another event the following evening which they accepted. Shortly after the banquet, Haman ordered the construction of gallows to hang Mordecai for his insolence.
The next day Queen Esther revealed to both Haman and King Ahasuerus that she was a Jew. When the king hears of this he orders Haman’s execution for giving the order to murder the Jews in the kingdom. King Ahasuerus also announces that the opposite of the original order will be given. The Jews were given the authority to kill any of their enemies, so 75,000 Persians were killed over the next two days. Mordecai was also appointed as a high ranking government official.
In Judaism there is an annual feast day for the celebration of Esther saving all the Jews from Haman‘s orders. This celebration is called the Purim and is celebrated on Adar 14 (for Jerusalem) and Adar 15 for other cities. Adar is a winter month on the Hebrew calendar. This date is based off Adar 13, the date set by Haman to commence the campaign against the Jews. Christians do not celebrate the Purim, but they do recognize the Book of Esther as a holy book, and it is in all denominations’s Bibles.