This book takes its name from Esther, the Jewish Queen of the King of Persia, who saved her subjects from annihilation.
1. King Ahasuerus holds a banquet and orders his enuchs to bring
before him Queen Vashti so he may show her off. She refuses to come and after consulting
with his wise men the king rules that the Queen must never again enter his presence.
2. A new Queen must be found and a Jewish girl from the tribe of Benjamin is among those to be presented to the king for him to choose. This girl is Esther who, on the death of her parents, had been adopted by Mordecai, her parents cousin. Mordecai uncovers a plot to kill the king and tells Esther who advises the king. He is attracted to her, she is made queen, and the plotters are hanged. Esther 2:1-23.
3. The king honours one of his officials, Haman, elevating him to a seat of honour higher than any other nobles. Mordecai refuses to bow down and honour Haman. Because of this Haman looks for a way to destroy Mordecai and all the Jewish people. Esther 3:1-15.
4. Mordecai asks Esther for help. Esther enters a period of three days of fasting and asks all the Jews to do likewise. The king can only be approached at his summons. Esther knows that she will put her life in danger if she makes a direct approach to the king. Esther 4:1-17.
5. Queen Esther approaches the king without being summoned. He is pleased with her and asks what is her request. She requests that the king and Haman should attend a banquet which she has prepared. The banquet is duly attended and the king asks Esther the purpose of the banquet "What is your petition, it will be given you". Esther asks that the king and Haman should attend yet another banquet. Esther 5:1-8.
6. Haman is angered by Mordecais refusal to honour him. His friends tell him to prepare a gallows and ask the king to have Mordecai hung. Esther 5:9-14.
7. That night the king cannot sleep and orders the book of chronicles to be read to him. It was found recorded that it was Mordecai who had discovered the threat to the kings life and he had received no recognition for this service. Esther 6:1-3.
8. At that moment Haman enters to ask for Mordecais life. The king asks Haman what should be given to one who the king wishes to honour. Haman, thinking that he is the one who will be receiving the honour, decribes an elaborate celebration. The king agrees with Haman and tells him to carry out his suggestions without telling him that Mordecai is the one to be honoured. Esther 6:4-14.
9. At the second banquet the king again asks Esther for her petition. She asks that her life, and the life of her people, should be spared. The king asks who is the person who is endangering their lives. Hamans plot is exposed and he is hanged on the gallows which he had prepared for Mordecai. Esther 7:1-10.
10. The king revokes Hamans orders, puts Mordecai in charge of Hamans estate and, gives the Jews the right to defend themselves. 8:1-17. B.C.
11. The Jews strike down their enemies including Hamans ten sons. In commemoration of this deliverance the Jews, to this day, celebrate the annual Feast of Purim. (Some Biblical scholars have doubts regarding this being the cause of the Feast of Purim. There may have been some other cause for the traditional Feast of Purim.) Esther 9:1-32.
12. Mordecai was exalted second in rank to the king himself. Esther 10:1-3