About this book
The story of Esther takes place in the city of Susa, in the winter palace of the Persian king. After King Xerxes divorced his queen, he chose a young Jewish woman named Esther as his new queen. She was an orphan but had been adopted and cared for by her cousin, Mordecai, who was given a job as a palace official. Mordecai warned her not to tell anyone that she was a Jew, and she obeyed.
The king's highest official was a man named Haman. He hated the Jews, and he tricked the king into giving permission to have them all killed. The rest of the book tells how Esther risked her own life to save the lives of her people.
Afterwards, Mordecai and Esther wrote a letter telling all Jews to celebrate the festival of Purim every year to remember how the nation was saved.
The Hebrew text of the book of Esther doesn't mention God, but the whole plot shows that God was protecting his people by making Esther queen, and as Mordecai put it:
It could be that you were made queen for a time like this!
A quick look at this book
1. Esther becomes queen (1.1—2.23)
2. Haman plans to destroy the Jews (3.1–15)
3. Mordecai asks for Esther's help (4.1–17)
4. Mordecai is honoured, not killed (5.1—6.14)
5. Haman is put to death (7.1–10)
6. The Jews defend themselves and kill their enemies (8.1—9.19)
7. The Festival of Purim (9.20–32)
8. The greatness of Xerxes and Mordecai (10.1–3)