THE BOOK OF ESTHER 2

By Reverend Christopher Cooke

Week 2

2:5-3:15

2:5-11: Esther is Caught in the Royal Dragnet.

We are introduced to Mordecai and Esther.

Esther and Mordecai” by Aert de Gelder, 1674

Can you think of other exiles living in foreign countries today?

What do you think Esther felt?

Why didn’t Esther admit she was a Jewess?

Does it bother you that Esther seemed to be trying to gain the king’s favour, even during the forced conscription of young women by the king?

2:12-18: Esther is Chosen as Queen.

Esther Is Introduced to Ahasuerus c1615
Rembrandt Harmensz. van Rijn

Twelve months is a long time to be in a beauty parlour!

What is the importance of this banquet?

2:19-23: Mordecai Discovers the Eunuchs’ Plot.

Was Mordecai in the right place at the right time?

Should he have been rewarded?

3:1-6: Haman’s Rise to Power.

Another foreigner is promoted.

Why did Mordecai refuse to bow down to Haman?

What about Haman’s reaction?

Mordecai faced the consequences. Can you name others who have done this? How were their circumstances similar or different from Mordecai’s?

3:7-15: Haman’s Plot to Destroy the Jews.

Why did Haman cast lots?

Which God responds to the lots?

What do you make of Haman’s argument before Ahasuerus?

What do you make of the edict drafted by Haman?

Esther with the Decree of Destruction
Rembrandt Harmensz. van Rijn 1637

Throughout history there is a long record of persecution of the Jewish people, from ancient times to the Holocaust of the 1940s. Is anti-Semitism still around today? Do we find it in our community and/or church?

Note the last verse: “The king and Haman sat down to drink; but the city of Susa was thrown into confusion”.

Is Haman right to think that everyone hates the Jews as he does?

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