Who Was Esther in the Bible?
Esther’s birth name was Hadassah. Of the tribe of Benjamin and living during the time Israel was exiled, Hadassah was tragically orphaned at an early age. After her parents died, she was adopted by her cousin, a man named Mordecai. This was quite fortunate for Hadassah because Mordecai was a God-fearing man who loved her dearly and raised her well in the face of dreadful circumstances.
Trouble ensued. A man named Haman brought about an impending holocaust. To Haman’s plan to annihilate all the Jews, Esther responded by putting her hope in God and sending word to Mordecai for everyone to fast and pray for three days. Afterwards, she courageously put on her royal robes and stood in front of the king while risking her life. But instead of death, the king granted her favor, asking her what she wanted.
Historical Background “Following the conquest of Babylon, King Xerxes of Persia gave a banquet for his people. But his wife, Queen Vashti, refused to attend. Xerxes disowned Vashti and searched for her replacement. In his harem, he met a young Jewish girl, Esther, with whom he fell in love. She then revealed to the king that she was Jewish, asking him to be merciful to her people as a result of an upcoming genocide of the Jews, which was planned and orchestrated by the king’s right-hand man, Haman. She successfully saved the lives of numerous innocent people.”
• Enjoy this 2000 classic video (full movie, 1.5 hrs.): It adheres substantially to the true historical account.
God’s Deliverance Through Esther After three days of fasting and praying, Esther courageously put on her royal robes and stood in front of the king’s thrown, a place where she might have died. But instead of death, the king granted her favor asking her what she wanted. With her first request, she began a masterful plan that only God could have given her. Due to God’s deliverance, Haman was executed, Mordecai was honored, and the Jews were empowered to defend themselves. A yearly celebration called Purim was instituted because of Esther, which reminds us that nothing is impossible with God.
In “Esther,” God providentially used two exiled Israelites to rescue His people from certain doom, without any explicit mention of God or His activity.
Watch this animated video (9 minutes) by The Bible Project, which provides a biblical overview of “Esther.”