Esther was a Jewish girl who lived in the Persian city of Shushan. Many years before, her family had been taken from Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar. She was raised by her cousin Mordecai, a servant of King Ahasuerus of Persia.
King Ahasuerus wanted a new queen. His servants brought him the most beautiful women in the land, including Esther. Out of all the women, the king chose Esther to be queen. Mordecai told Esther not to reveal that she was Jewish.
A proud man named Haman was head of all the princes. He wanted everyone to bow down to him. Mordecai refused to do so, and Haman was so angry that he wanted to kill him. When Haman found out that Mordecai was a Jew, he formed a plan to kill all the Jews in the land. He told the king: ‘The Jews are dangerous; you need to get rid of them.’ Ahasuerus said: ‘Do whatever you need to do,’ and gave him the power to make a law. Haman made a law that told the people to kill all the Jews on the 13th day of the month of Adar. Jehovah was watching.
Esther didn’t know about the law. So Mordecai sent her a copy of it and told her: ‘Go and talk to the king.’ Esther said: ‘Anyone who goes to the king without being invited will be killed. The king has not invited me for 30 days! But I will go. If he holds out his scepter, I will live. If he doesn’t, I will die.’
Esther went to the king’s courtyard. When the king saw her, he held out his scepter. She went to him, and he asked: ‘What can I do for you, Esther?’ She said: ‘I want to invite you and Haman to a feast.’ At the feast, Esther invited them to a second feast. During the second feast, the king again asked: ‘What can I do for you?’ She said: ‘Someone is going to kill me and my people. Please save us.’ The king asked: ‘Who wants to kill you?’ She said: ‘This bad man Haman.’ Ahasuerus was so angry that he had Haman killed right away.
But nobody could cancel Haman’s law, not even the king. So the king made Mordecai head of the princes and gave him the power to make a new law. Mordecai made a law that allowed the Jews to defend themselves when they were attacked. On the 13th day of Adar, the Jews defeated their enemies. From then on, they celebrated this victory every year.
“You will be brought before governors and kings for my sake, for a witness to them and the nations.”—Matthew 10:18