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by Frederick Brotherton Meyer
Outline of Esther
Deliverance from National Disaster
I. The Plot to Destroy the Jewish Nation, Esther 1-3
1. The Deposition of Vashti , Esther 1:1-22
2. The Advancement of Esther , Esther 2:1-18
3. Mordecai’s Service to the King , Esther 2:19-23
4. The Promotion of Haman , Esther 3:1-6
5. Haman’s Plot against the Jews , Esther 3:7-15
II. The Plot Exposed, Esther 4-7
1. Mordecai’s Appeal to Esther , Esther 4:1-17
2. Esther’s Appearance before the King , Esther 5:1-8
3. Haman Anticipates Mordecai’s Death , Esther 5:9-14
4. Haman Obliged to Honor Mordecai , Esther 6:1-14
5. Haman’s Fall and Execution , Esther 7:1-10
III. The Plot Frustrated, Esther 8-10
1. Esther’s Plea for Her People , Esther 8:1-9
2. The King’s Decree for Their Self-Defense , Esther 8:9-17
3. The Jews Slay Their Enemies , Esther 9:1-16
4. Feast of Purim Established , Esther 9:17-32
5. The Advancement of Mordecai , Esther 10:1-3
Introduction to Esther
This book is a striking record of the divine providence. In the foregoing books we learn how God watched over the Jews who returned from captivity. This tells us how those who remained still in exile, scattered through the great heathen world, were marvelously preserved. Though the name of God does not occur in this book, yet His hand is everywhere manifest. His name does not often occur in the daily press, which records the history of our times; yet we may ask whether the workings of God are not also clearly recorded there. Verily our God hides Himself.
The time occupied by this story falls between the going-up of Zerubbabel from Babylon to Jerusalem, and that of Ezra. The Persian empire was at the height of its glory, extending from the Indus to the Mediterranean. It is supposed that the Ahasuerus here mentioned was Xerxes, the invader of Greece. The feast in Esther 1:1-22 corresponds in point of time to the great council he summoned to decide on that invasion. His winter palace was at Shushan, and his court given up to revelry and excess. It is held by some that the book is an extract from the imperial records of the time, and was perhaps drawn up by some pious Jew, Mordecai or another, who was annalist at that time; and if this were the case, it would account for many parentheses and explanations which are inserted, which would not have been required by ordinary Jewish readers.
e-Sword Note: The following material was presented at the end of Esther in the printed edition
Review Questions on Esther
( a ) What is the theme of this book?
( b ) Who are the chief characters in the story?
( c ) What is the probable period of this story of Esther?
( d ) What is known regarding its authorship?
( e ) For what omission is the book remarkable?
Each question applies to the paragraph of corresponding number in the Comments .
1. Why was Queen Vashti divorced?
2. Who was chosen as her successor?
3. Who was Haman, and what caused his hatred of the Jews?
4. What patriotic duty did Mordecai urge upon Esther?
5. What personal risk lay in its performance?
6. In what manner, and for what reason was Mordecai honored by the king?
7. How did the craft and hatred of Haman react against himself?
8. Why could not the order against the Jews be revoked?
9. How was Haman’s plot nevertheless frustrated?
10. What feast was instituted by the Jews in commemoration of their deliverance?
the Fifth Week after Epiphany