A Heroic Queen. Brave, Wise and Beautiful
Where in the Bible?
Book of Esther
Did You Know
Esther was a young Jewish girl in exile—almost everything was against her—and yet she used what she had—her beauty, wits and courage—to save her people and bring about the downfall of their enemy. Every year, in the festival of Purim, Jews celebrate the bravery of Esther and Mordecai, and the saving of the Jewish people.
Bio – Esther
492 BCE–c. 460 BCE
The winner of what was possibly the world’s first beauty contest, Esther is one of the Old Testament’s true heroines. In the period of the exile of the Jews from Jerusalem, Esther was a Hebrew living in Persia with her older cousin Mordecai, who brought her up after she was orphaned. Her Hebrew name was Hadassah—in those times it was common to have two names.
When King Ahaseurus’ wife, Queen Vashti, had the temerity to refuse to parade herself before his drunken guests, the king was counselled by his advisors to cast her off and choose himself a new queen. Lovely maidens from throughout the kingdom were brought to the palace to be coached and beautified before being presented before the king. Beautiful Esther was among them, and of all the girls, it was she who caught the king’s eye and who became the new queen. Neither Ahaseurus nor his advisors knew that Esther was a Hebrew, for Mordecai had warned her to keep it a secret.
Mordecai fell foul of the king’s proud new prime minister, Haman, who—wanting revenge—tricked the king into authorizing an unchangeable royal decree which allowed the annihilation of all Hebrews throughout the kingdom on a specific day. Mordecai sent word to his cousin urging her to plead for the life of their people. Esther was reluctant to go before the king uninvited—to do so was to risk death. Mordecai pointed out that maybe it was for this moment that she had become queen, and she plucked up the courage to go before the king.
Ahaseurus welcomed her, stretching out the royal sceptre, and offered her anything she wanted “up to half of the kingdom”, but it took two banquets before she dared to reveal her true identity and speak of the plot against her people. When she told Ahaseurus that it was Haman who instigated it, the angry king ordered his hanging—on gallows that the prime minister had himself been building to hang Mordecai for his insolence.
While the royal decree could not be repealed, Ahaseurus allowed Mordecai to issue another order allowing the Jewish people to defend themselves, which they successfully did.
Esther was a young Jewish girl in exile—almost everything was against her—and yet she used what she had—her beauty, wits and courage—to save her people and bring about the downfall of their enemy. Every year, in the festival of Purim, Jews celebrate the bravery of Esther and Mordecai, and the saving of the Jewish people. Her story is testimony to God’s plan—she was in the right place at the right time, and that was entirely down to God. And when her moment came, she put her faith in God and humbly served his purpose, no matter what it might cost.
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Bible Verses About Esther
Esther obtained favor in the sight of all who saw her.
The king loved Esther more than all the other women, and she obtained grace and favor in his sight more than all the virgins; so he set the royal crown upon her head and made her queen.
“Do not think in your heart that you will escape in the king’s palace any more than all the other Jews. For if you remain completely silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish.”
“Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?”
“Go, gather all the Jews who are present in Shushan, and fast for me; neither eat nor drink for three days, night or day. My maids and I will fast likewise. And so I will go to the king, which is against the law; and if I perish, I perish!”
Related Hero Bios
The Man Behind the Wall & Protector of Jerusalem
Like Daniel, Nehemiah was another Hebrew who managed to thrive in exile, rising to the position of cupbearer to the Persian king, Artaxerxes I—a role of significant importance.