Hebrew name “Hadassah” meaning “bride”.

Persian name “Esther” meaning unknown. This may be a play-on-words with the Hebrew “astir” meaning “I will hide”. God is verbally hidden/absent from the whole story of Esther recorded in the Bible.

Esther was of the tribe of Benjamin among the exiles of Judah who had been spread among the Persian Empire. She was raised as a daughter by Mordecai, who was probably her cousin. Esther lived during exile under the Persian King Ahasuerus (or Xerxes.).

As a replacement for his banished queen, King Ahasuerus chose Esther as queen from among all the beautiful virgins summoned from his vast empire. Esther did not reveal her heritage to the king, until with sacrificial courage and at risk of her own execution, she intervened on behalf of the Jews to thwart the genocidal decree of Ahasuerus orchestrated by an evil court official named Haman.

Queen Esther called on the Jews living in the capital city to fast three days for her as she prepared to approach the king, saying “ I will go to the king, which is against the law; and if I perish, I perish!” King Ahasuerus eventually granted Queen Esther’s requests culminating in the hanging of Haman, the promotion of Mordecai to second position in the kingdom, and a proclamation permitting Jews across the Medo-Persian empire to annihilate all the forces of any people or province that would assault them. Queen Esther’s faithfulness and God’s deliverance of the Jews began the annual Purim celebration.

Key verses: Esther 2:16,17,20; 4:13-16; 7:3,4; 8:7-12; 9:20-23

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