Esther is the Jewish maiden who became queen of Persia and rescued her people from a
murderous plot to annihilate them. Her story is recorded in the Old Testament book bearing
her name. The Jewish Feast of Purim celebrates this particular deliverance of the Jews.
Esther was living in Persia under the reign of King Xerxes (Heb: Ahasuerus). When his
consort, Queen Vashti refused to do his bidding, she was banned from his court. Ahasuerus
chose to find a new queen by building a harem. He did this by asking those deemed
beautiful enough to present themselves as potential wives. Among all the young women in
the vast land, Esther was chosen.
Esther is perhaps the most famous of the queen wives. Queen Esther, the only queen to
have a book of the Bible named after her, became the replacement queen for King Xerxes
after Queen Vashti refused the king’s command to appear before him.
(Esther 2:17) Now the king was attracted to Esther more than to any of the other women,
and she won his favor and approval more than any of the other virgins. So he set a royal
crown on her head and made her queen instead of Vashti.
Esther was an orphan who was being raised by her cousin, Mordecai. King Ahaseurus, the
king of Persia at the time, reigned over 120 provinces from India to Ethiopia and he, along
with Esther and Mordecai, lived in the capital city of Shushan.
She is known for saving her people, the Jews, from all being killed.
She is also known for being ‘born for such a time as this’
She is known for loving God in a way that has served as an example for thousands and thousands of years
Characteristics of Esther in the Bible
Esther Submitted to God
Submission is a concept that has been sadly misused and abused in and outside the faith
community. It has been twisted to mean that a woman has no choice or voice and must just
silently obey her husband and even accept abuse. This isn’t what submission was ever
meant to be.
Submission is voluntary and the person being submitted to has an obligation to lead in the
likeness of Christ who never abused or exercised authority in the way we sometimes see it.
Here, Esther demonstrates submission to Mordecai and he then operates in the kind of
leadership that models Jesus.
Because Esther had submitted to someone who led by love, she was able to easily submit
to God’s plan for her and to the King of Persia, who God had put into place.
Esther Had Wisdom
Esther showed great wisdom in how she conducted herself and the plan she made to
expose Haman’s true motives and evil heart. Haman’s pride was his downfall, but Esther
said very little about him except for a few sentences revealing his plan.
Wisdom does not need many words to express itself.
Esther Never Abused Her Authority
Esther was the Queen of Persia, but she didn’t ‘lord it over’ her people. We see her giving a
command to Mordecai, but it is a command to fast and pray. It is an unselfish command.
She obviously knows the power of prayer combined with fasting, and she knows that the
end result could be her own death. Still, she chooses to use her authority only for fasting
Esther Loved God
Esther’s love for God, Mordecai, and her own people is so strong that she is willing to die
with them rather live without them. Wealth, power, and position were nothing compared to
the lives of her own people. She was willing to sacrifice everything for their sakes even
though she had the power to do just the opposite.
Esther's Faith Was Strong
Notice that she never questioned what Mordecai asked of her. They had developed a
relationship based on love and trust – which, combined, generate faith. She knew Mordecai
to be a man of wisdom and so she was willing to listen to and do what he asked. What he
asked was never for selfish gain.
Mordecai did not abuse his authority over Esther. Instead, like Jesus, he loved and cared for
her, risking his own life to save her. The King did not abuse his authority either. In fact, as
the story continues, she was able to do things that others had not because she honored
God, her people, and King Ahasuerus.
Esther Displayed courage
Esther clearly knew she could be killed for what she was going to do. She had the wisdom
to go about it very carefully but, as she had seen with Queen Vashti, she knew that King
Ahasuerus could change his mind about her at any moment. Knowing all of this, she still
Courage is not the absence of fear. Courage is the ability to act in spite of the fear. Esther
was courageous because of her commitment and love for God and His people.
Esther Showed humility
We see her humility with Mordecai and with the King. She never confronted Haman. She
used her position for only one thing – to save her people and to defeat the enemy.
“Trust in Adonai with all your heart; do not rely on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him; then he will level your paths. Don’t be conceited about your own wisdom; but fear Adonai, and turn from evil.” Proverbs 3:5-7 CJB
“For I am telling every single one of you, through the grace that has been given to me, not to have exaggerated ideas about your own importance. Instead, develop a sober estimate of yourself based on the standard which God has given to each of you, namely, trust.” Romans 12:3 CJB
Wisdom is humble and these two verses show exactly how Esther lived in humility. She
relied on prayer and fasting instead of her own wisdom. She feared God, not man. Her
opinion of herself lay in her trust.
Esther Had Patience
Another quality of Esther was patience. She took her time and carefully and prayerfully
proceeded. A life lesson we need to be reminded of often is the need to exercise patience
even when something seems to pressure us into instantaneous action.
Esther waited for a year, then for 3 days, and then for 3 more days in the midst of a highly
dangerous situation. Her patience was combined with wisdom and the enemy was defeated.
Esther Was a Team Player
Esther and Mordecai worked together. Their teamwork was based on mutual trust and faith.
Both were Jews who served the same God with the same faith.
Both trusted. Mordecai made a request of Esther and she trusted him. She gave a
command to Mordecai and he trusted her. They both trusted their God as evidenced by the
prayer and fasting that preceded the actions.
Esther Understood Unity
Esther and Mordecai had unity, exactly what Jesus prayed for His disciples to have in John
17:11, 21-23. We are to live in unity through Christ and the indwelling Holy Spirit.