Analysis Essay Example on the Book of Esther

Published: 2022-12-11
Analysis Essay Example on the Book of Esther
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  Religion Christianity Bible
Pages: 5
Wordcount: 1194 words
10 min read

The book of Esther is one of the Christian books in the Old Testament and has a unique characteristic of not mentioning God explicitly. In Hebrew, it is also referred to as Megillah which means 'the scroll,' since it forms the part of the five scrolls (megillot) of the Hebrew Bible (Jewish Tanakh). The story contained in this book forms the main part of the Jewish festival of Purim where Christians remember the saving of the Jewish people from the plot of murder by Haman. It is, therefore, read in the morning and the evening during such days of the festival.

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Ideally, the setting of the story can be said to be Persian capital of Susa, otherwise known as Shushan. Biblical Historians say that the duration of occurrence must have been during the third year of the reign of King Ahasuerus (modern for Xerxes 1) of Persia who reigned between the years 486 and 465 BC. Occurrences during these times have been seen to be the most befitting to the times of Esther. Therefore, going by a similar school of thoughts, the events in Esther can be categorized to have taken place between around the years 483-82 BC and 473 BC, which is somewhere during the fourth or late fifth century BC.

Structurally, the book is in three major sections. These include the introduction or exposition which covers chapters 1 and 2, the compilation and resolution or the main action in chapters 3 to 9:19 and finally the conclusion from 9:20 to 10:3. The story speaks about the word banquets (mishteh) almost as many times as it is in the other parts of the Hebrew Bible. At this point, a close connection can be obtained between the book and the origin of the feast of Purim that it attempts to explain.

Back to the main figure, we meet the Persian Queen called Esther, who is said to have lived between the years 492 BC to 460 BC. She was born to Abihail of the tribe of Benjamin as a Jewish in exile and named Hadassah but later named Esther when she entered the Persian Court as a young girl. Her former name is a Jewish name meaning myrtle, which was a tree native for Babylonia but later served as the symbol of the nation of Israel to the exiled Jewish who had returned to Jerusalem. On the other hand, Esther means star and happiness. Of concern to the character, Esther is the controversy among the scholars whether she existed or is just a historical fiction used in the Bible. They argue that the story has no basis in facts and is just intended to pass some teachings on essential truths to the generations. Arguments can be given for or against this thought openly. The story in itself is entirely about Esther who is said to have been from a humble background, drawing from the fact that she was a Jewish exile. After her parents passed on, she was adopted by her uncle called Mordecai, who later served as the Persian King Ahasuerus' courtier in the town of Susa which was one of the capitals of Persia. Their descendants who included the Jewish tribes of Judah and Benjamin were conquered and ruled by the Babylonians under King Nebuchadnezzar. Cyrus the Great later led the Persians in conquering the Babylonian empire. Esther's descendants among other groups decided to remain behind in the land of exile despite the exiled tribes being allowed to go back to Jerusalem.

After being a member of the harem the Persian King Xerxes, Esther became the queen of Persia in 478 BC. This was brought about by the fallout between King Xerxes and the former queen Vashti due to her refusal to appear before the king's male guests at a great banquet, wearing her royal crown. History has it that the King ruled with little wisdom and engaged heavy drinking and debauchery and wanted to expose Vashti to degrading acts after he was intoxicated at the banquet. She rejected this, and the King banished her and gave a command that made all male subjects across the kingdom total power over their wives in all issues. While King Xerxes sought for a replacement, he ordered all the beautiful and young virgins to be brought before him. At the time, Esther was only fourteen years old, and her beauty was remarkable and noticeable to attract the king. While Esther took up the new role as the queen, her uncle Mordecai remained close to the palace as a gatekeeper and used the position to communicate continuously with Esther on various issues. As a gatekeeper, Mordecai overheard the plot to kill King Xerxes by two of his eunuchs. He passed the information to Esther who later informed the King hence culminating into the execution of the two after an investigation. Mordecai's loyalty to the king paved the way for closer ties between their families.

Shortly afterward, Haman the Agagite who was the prime minister of Persia at the moment and a favorite of the king, through deceptive means, obtained a decree to slaughter all the Jewish people living within Persia and the confiscation of their property. This was just an act of revenge by Haman to Mordecai whom he considered as disrespectful to him. As the word spread all over Persia, the people were distressed, and Mordecai turned to Esther for help. After taking three days to fast and pray, Esther made a plot to make an appeal to her husband which would require her to disclose her identity too as a Jewish. The king accepted her invitation to a banquet at Esther's quarters, and all went on as planned on the first night. Surprisingly, the king asked the guests to join him for a second banquet the following night, while allowing Esther to ask whatever her heart desired. The second day of the banquet saw Esther taking the chance to reveal about her Jewish roots, the petition for her people and Haman's deceit to obtain the decree. The king got angry, but on seeing Haman at Esther's feet, he interpreted it for seduction and ordered for Haman's execution. Since the royal proclamation could not be reversed, the decree remained in place, but instead, Esther obtained an order from the king to arm Jews to fight for their lives. They proved equal to the task, and the massacre was averted thanks to Esther's gesture of courage.


In conclusion, Esther is portrayed as a woman with deep faith, mercy, resolve, and courage with reasonable caution. She always remained of great service to her uncle Mordecai and the Jews at large. I learn to emulate her and always be selfless and of service to others, however, the risk attached. I also learn that when we are faithful, God can fulfill our heart desires merely through coincidences. The story proves that God's Sovereignty can be at work, where the non-believers think it is fate!


Anifowose, Bose Grace. "Integration of Spirituality into Chronic Low Back Pain Management in Adult Patients." Ph.D. diss., Grand Canyon University (GCU) Library, 2017.

Anne, Wetter, Mareike. In Unexpected Places: Rituals and Religious Belonging in the Book of Esther. Journal for Study in the Old Testament. 2012.

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