Introduction to Esther
There are only two books of the Bible named after women – Ruth and Esther. Both women were very significant in Jewish history.
Ruth was the great grandmother of David, the shepherd boy who became Israel’s second king, and led Israel to its pinnacle of fame, strength and prosperity. Although she was a foreigner to Israel, Ruth was in the human lineage of Jesus Christ.
Sadly about a century after David’s reign, Israel’s glory faded, due to sin and idolatry, and the nation was split into a northern and southern kingdom. Sin led to conquests by foreign empires and in the book of Esther, we find that the Jews who had been taken into captivity in Medo-Persia were on the verge of extinction.
Esther, the great niece of King David, was used by God to save the Jews in Persia from extinction in 473 B.C. Every year since then, Jews worldwide have celebrated Purim, a Jewish holiday that commemorates the salvation of the Jewish people through Esther’s courageous intervention.
God is not mentioned directly in the book of Esther, but His wisdom is on display, Old Testament prophecies are fulfilled, and God is clearly at work throughout the story. Queen Esther is similar to Jesus in several ways. She lived in submission, dependence and obedience to her God-given authorities just as Jesus lived in submission, dependence and obedience to His Father God. Also Esther risked her life in order to save the Jews from certain death, and was therefore exalted by the King. In the same way, Jesus gave up His life that a world of sinners might be saved, and was therefore highly exalted by God.
It is my hope and prayer that you see God’s hand at work in your life, and His providence on display, as you study Esther’s fascinating story.
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