Who Was Esther?

November 26, 2019

Quick Look at the Book of Esther

God’s hand of providence and protection on behalf of His people is evident throughout the Book of Esther, though His name does not appear once. Haman’s plot brings grave danger to the Jews and is countered by the courage of beautiful Esther and the counsel of her wise cousin Mordecai, resulting in a great deliverance. The Feast of Purim becomes an annual reminder of God’s faithfulness on behalf of His people.

Esther’s Hebrew name was Hadassah, “Myrtle” (Esther 2:7), but her Persian name Ester was derived from the Persian word for “Star” (stara). The Greek title for this book is Esther, and the Latin title is Hester.

Background of Esther’s Story in the Bible

Ahasuerus is the Hebrew name and Xerxes the Greek name of Khshayarsh, king of Persia in 486 – 464 b.c. According to Esther 1:3, the feast of Xerxes took place in his third year, or 483 b.c. The historian Herodotus refers to this banquet as the occasion of Xerxes’ planning for a military campaign against Greece. But in 479 b.c. he was defeated by the Greeks at Salamis, and Herodotus tells us that he sought consolation in his harem. This corresponds to the time when he held a “contest” and crowned Esther queen of Persia (Esther 2:16, 17). Since the events of the rest of the book took place in 473 b.c. (Esther 3:7 – 12), the chronological span is ten years (483 – 473 b.c.). The probable time of authorship was between 464 b.c. (the end of Xerxes’ reign; see Esther 10:2, 3) and about 435 b.c. (the palace at Susa was destroyed by fire during that period, and such an event would probably have been mentioned). The historical and linguistic features of Esther do not support a date later than 400 b.c., as there is no trace of Greek influence.

Xerxes was a boisterous man of emotional extremes, whose actions were often strange and contradictory. This fact sheds light on his ability to sign a decree for the annihilation of the Jews, and two months later to sign a second decree allowing them to overthrow their enemies.

Esther was addressed to the many Jews who did not return to their homeland. Not all the godly people left—some did not return for legitimate reasons. Most were disobedient in staying in Persia. Nevertheless, God continued to care for His people in voluntary exile.

Finding Christ in the Book of Esther

Esther, like Christ, puts herself in the place of death for her people but receives the approval of the king. She also portrays Christ’s work as Advocate on our behalf. This book reveals another satanic threat to destroy the Jewish people and thus, the messianic line. God continues to preserve His people in spite of opposition and danger, and nothing can prevent the coming of the Messiah.

Interested in knowing more about the writers and characters in the Bible? Check out these articles:

Who wrote the Book of Romans?
Who wrote the Book of Joshua?
Who wrote the Book of Job?
Who was Eve?
Who was Moses?


This article on Esther comes from The Open Bible. The Open Bible offers clean and easy navigation through the connectivity of Scripture with a time-tested complete reference system trusted by millions. It is available wherever Bibles are sold.

Related Articles

People in the Bible and What They Teach Us

We tend to picture Bible heroes as being perfect when really they were just ordinary people like us. The reason […] Read More

Do You Pray Like the People in the Bible?

Have you ever wondered if your prayer life looks like the prayer lives of the people in the Bible? Take time to consider the Biblical example Read More

A Deeper Dive Into Jeremiah 29:11

For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and... Read More

Sign Up for the Latest Blog Posts from Thomas Nelson

By submitting your email address, you understand that you will receive email communications from HarperCollins Christian Publishing (501 Nelson Place, Nashville, TN 37214 USA) providing information about products and services of HCCP and its affiliates. You may unsubscribe from these email communications at any time. If you have any questions, please review our Privacy Policy or email us at yourprivacy@harpercollins.com.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *