Exposit The Word Esther Biblical Teaching Expository Teaching Verse by Verse Geoff Thomas

Esther Overview

“Esther” serves as the title without variation through the ages. This book and the book of Ruth are the only OT books named after women. Like Song of Solomon, Obadiah, and Nahum, the NT does not quote or allude to Esther. “Hadassah” (2:7), meaning “myrtle,” was the Hebrew name of Esther, which came either from the Persian word “star” or possibly from the name of the Babylonian love goddess, Ishtar. As the orphaned daughter of her father Abihail, Esther grew up in Persia with her older cousin, Mordecai, who raised her as if she were his own daughter (2:7, 15).

Esther occurred during the Persian period of world history, ca. 539 B.C. (Dan. 5:30, 31) to ca. 331 B.C. (Dan. 8:1–27). Ahasuerus ruled from ca. 486 to 465 B.C.; Esther covers the 483–473 B.C. portion of his reign. The name Ahasuerus represents the Heb. transliteration of the Persian name “Khshayarsha,” while “Xerxes” represents his Greek name.

The events of Esther occurred during the wider time span between the first return of the Jews after the 70 year captivity in Babylon (Dan. 9:1–19) under Zerubbabel ca. 538 B.C. (Ezra 1–6) and the second return led by Ezra ca. 458 B.C. (Ezra 7–10). Nehemiah’s journey (the third return) from Susa to Jerusalem (Neh. 1–2) occurred later (ca. 445 B.C.).

Esther and Exodus both chronicle how vigorously foreign powers tried to eliminate the Jewish race and how God sovereignly preserved His people in accordance with His covenant promise to Abraham ca. 2100–2075 B.C. (Gen. 12:1–3; 17:1–8). As a result of God’s prevailing, Esther 9, 10 records the beginning of Purim—a new annual festival in the 12th month (Feb.- Mar.) to celebrate the nation’s survival. Purim became one of two festivals given outside of the Mosaic legislation to still be celebrated in Israel (Hanukkah, or the Festival of Lights, is the other, cf. John 10:22).

Text used with permission from GTY.org

“All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness”  2 Timothy 3:16

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