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Esther - Lesson Two - Day 1

  • Thomas Klock Harvest Ministries
  • 2008 4 Feb
Esther - Lesson Two - Day 1

In spring 483 BC, Ahasuerus (or Xerxes) entered the third year of his reign.  He happened to be wintering in Susa, one of the four capitols of the Median-Persian Empire.  He decided that it was time to reveal his plans to invade and conquer Greece and regions beyond.  Ahasuerus displayed his wealth and power for six months to those he wished to impress and win to his cause, wining and dining them.  It was truly pride on display.  Ahasuerus wanted everyone to know he had what it took to lead them to victory.  For the last seven days of this feast, Ahasuerus threw one big drinking party for the men, while Queen Vashti held her own feast for the women.  In a drunken state, Ahasuerus thought he knew what would impress these men and close the deal: showing off his most beautiful possession (for so he thought of her): his own wife, naked or lewdly performing before them.  This sin produced a major problem for Ahasuerus.  Queen Vashti refused to appear and surrender her dignity for a bunch of drunks’ sensual stimulation.  This humiliated Ahasuerus publicly.  His advisers foolishly proposed that he divorce Vashti and send her away, which they hoped would keep other women from slipping out of their control.  The events in Esther 1 were a living picture of 1 John 2:15–16: the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the boastful pride of life; and pride certainly comes before a fall (Proverbs 16:18–19).


Throughout these dramatic developments, God’s sovereign hand of providence was at work.  This week we’ll meet our two protagonists (the heroes of the story) because of how these events transpired.  Let’s look now at Esther 2, examining their entrance into the story. We will also see some important truths about what true beauty is in God’s sight, compared to mankind’s twisted conceptions of it.


DAY ONE: A Pleasing Plan

Please carefully read Esther 2:1-4 and answer the following questions.


1.  The time period between Esther 1 and 2 was 481 to 479 BC when Ahasuerus carried out his failed war with Greece.  The events of Esther 2 took place from 479 to 478 BC, four years after Vashti was banished.[i]  What did Ahasuerus experience when he returned to Susa in defeat (v. 1)?


2.  Ahasuerus’ anger and alcohol abuse led to foolish actions, and now, too late, he had regrets about this.  Although he had concubines, he no longer had a wife to comfort and support him.  His servants noticed his depressed mood and surmised what was wrong.  What did they begin to propose, which obviously would catch his attention (v. 2)?


NOTE: Young as used here referred to young women around adolescence or marrying age.[ii]  The word virgin, bethula, can mean either a true virgin or a young woman, depending on the context (for example, Joel 1:8 used this word to describe a young widow; those chosen here were eventually no longer virgins, but this term is used of them again in v. 19).  Importantly, there is another Hebrew word for virgin, almah, which clearly refers to one who is a virgin sexually.  This word was used in Isaiah 7:14, prophesying the virgin birth of the Messiah, confirming that both the Old and New Testaments claim Jesus’ birth was miraculously virginal (see Matthew 1; Luke 1).[iii] 


3.  What specific plans did they recommend that Ahasuerus command (v. 3)?


NOTE: Kings would use eunuchs to oversee the women of the household, and those chosen for this job were of outstanding character.  Fittingly, the name Hegai means “venerable.”[iv]  Beauty preparations referred to precious ointments, remedies, detergents, and soaps for bathing and purification.[v]  The nasb calls these cosmetics. 


4.  What was the clincher of their suggestion, and how did Ahasuerus respond (v. 4)?

5.  Sexual purity is truly beautiful in God’s sight.  In fact, there is no more beautiful gift for young people to treasure than their virginity, but how easily people surrender that most precious of gifts that cannot be gained back again!  The nlt states that “this advice was very appealing to the king, so he put the plan into effect immediately.”  In other words, he couldn’t wait to get at these young women and take away their precious treasure of virginity just to satisfy his own lusts, hopefully finding a wife along the way!  Please read the following passages and record some of the things they exhort us about maintaining our sexual purity so we can shine God’s beautiful light to the world around us.


Romans 13:12–14


1 Corinthians 5:11; 6:13, 18-20


Galatians 5:19; Ephesians 5:3, 4, 8


Colossians 3:5–6; 1 Thessalonians 4:3-5, 7

Scripture Memory:  This week we will be memorizing Isaiah 43:1, about our being selected by our King.  Review the passage several times throughout the day each day this week, and by the end of the week, you should have it memorized completely.

But now, thus says the LORD, who created you, O Jacob, and He who formed you, O Israel: "Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; you are Mine.  Isaiah 43:1 (nkjv)

Click here for Day Two

© 2005 by Harvest Christian Fellowship. All rights reserved. Written by Thomas Klock for Men’s Bible Fellowship, 2004-2005.