Esther – Part 3

Final Notes, Practical Lessons and Conclusion


The writer is unknown. He was possibly a Persian Jew who had access to ‘the book of the chronicles of the kings of Media and Persia’, Esther 10. 2. Others suggest it was written by Mordecai.

Dates and Time Span

There are three specific date markers:

  • Chapter 1 verse 3 - ‘the third year of his (Ahasuerus) reign’ - circa 483 BC
  • Chapter 2 verse 16 - ‘the seventh year of his reign’ - circa 479 BC
  • Chapter 3 verse 7 - ‘in the twelfth year of king Ahasuerus’ - 474 BC

The book spans about twelve years, focusing on the period commencing in Ahasuerus’s twelfth year with the decree to destroy the Jews.

Casting Pur

In chapter 3 verse 7, we read about ‘casting Pur before Haman’. This refers to Haman seeking guidance from diviners and astrologers, which possibly involved the casting of lots. This is how he arrived at the date for the destruction of the Jews.

There is a practical lesson here. Trying to understand the future through astrology and horoscopes is wrong. Christians must not be involved in such practices. Esther shows that the Lord is in control, so we need not worry about the future. It is completely safe in His hands.

The Law of the Medes and Persians

Once a law was written in the king’s name and sealed with his seal, it could not be altered or reversed, Esther 8. 8. So it was not possible to cancel the decree ordering the destruction of the Jews, 3. 8-14; instead, a further decree had to be issued, 8. 9-14, which permitted the Jews to defend themselves on the day the earlier decree was to be carried out - note the wording of chapter 8 verse 13.


Effective, speedy communication is essential to government and this is evident in Esther in the form of letters, sealed with the king’s seal, distributed by runners, and mounted couriers. Note how comprehensive the descriptions are - every language was covered, and every part of the kingdom reached. The full machinery of state was used to trigger the genocide, but subsequently used to counter that.

  • Chapter 3 verses 9 to 14 - This is the irreversible decree of 13th Nisan ordering ‘to destroy, to kill, and to cause to perish all Jews’ on 13th Adar.
  • Chapter 8 verses 9 to 14 - The counteracting decree, composed by Mordecai, dated 23 Sivan, empowering the Jews in all the provinces to prepare for and to defend themselves on 13th Adar.
  • Chapter 9 verses 20 to 22 - The letter to the Jews throughout the kingdom, written by Mordecai, to establish a two-day celebration of the victorious events, to be held yearly on 14 and 15th Adar. It is referred to as Purim and is celebrated up to the present day.
  • Chapter 9 verse 29 - A ‘second letter of Purim’ from Esther confirming, by command, the instructions given by Mordecai regarding Purim.

Another lesson is that we are called upon to be subject to government, Rom. 13. 1, but that there may be laws contrary to the word of God that we cannot obey, which was Daniel’s experience, Dan. 6.

Celebrations, Banquets and Feasts

There are feasts and banquets throughout the book.

  • Chapter 1 verses 1 to 4 - The book begins with a great 180-day celebration of the wealth and power of the kingdom in Shushan the palace; a gathering to win the cooperation of the military leaders of Persia and Media to support Ahasuerus with his ongoing military campaign against Greece.
  • Chapter 1 verse 5 to 8 - A subsequent seven-day banquet, in tents and marquees in ‘the court of the garden of the king’s palace’. It was notable for the fact that no limitation was placed on the behaviour of the guests; ‘each man was allowed to drink with no restriction’, Esther 1. 8 NIV.
  • Chapter 1 verse 9 - A simultaneous banquet held by Vashti.
  • Chapter 2 verse 18 - A banquet termed ‘Esther’s feast’ to celebrate her coronation.
  • Chapter 5 verse 6 and chapter 7 verse 1 - Esther’s two-part banquet with Ahasuerus and Haman when she revealed her nationality and exposed Haman’s wickedness.
  • Chapter 9 verses 17 and 18 - The Jews celebrated ‘rest from their enemies’ with ‘a day of feasting and gladness’ on 14 and 15th Adar.

Some of these banquets ended with debauched behaviour because of the levels of alcohol consumed - a practical lesson for us as Christians is to avoid such events and, because of the dangers involved, to abstain from alcohol altogether!


Esther teaches us that despite outward appearances, world events, and even our own spiritual condition, the Lord is in control, moving faithfully and unfalteringly to protect His people and bring about His own purposes.