“Thou Art Come … for Such a Time as This”
The account of Queen Esther in the Old Testament is an extraordinary account of how God is involved in the details in our lives and how “Through small and simple things are great things brought to pass”(Alma 37:6).
One of the greatest stories of a singular woman in the Bible, Esther is an example of faith, humility, and loyalty to her faith, family, and nation.
The message of the book of Esther can easily be summarized:
No matter how hopeless things may seem, God has a plan for you and for me.
(Coloring Page at the end of the article)
Come Follow Me-Esther
In the Come Follow Me lesson, we are encouraged to think about:
- How the Lord can make us instruments in blessing the lives of others.
- The effects of pride and anger.
- The power of fasting.
- Courage in doing the right thing.
There are many instances found in this account that show the power of God when we face trials and situations that we know we can’t handle alone.
Esther Chapter 1
Esther chapter 1 beings with the story of Ahasuerus of Persia and Media whose empire reached from India all of the way to Ethiopia which included over 127 providences.
He lived in Shushan, which is located in modern day Iran.
In the third year of his reign, he decided to throw a huge feast to show of the power of Persia along with his riches.
The feast lasted 180 days, and when that part of the feast was over he decided to have one more at his private garden at the palace while queen Vashti had her own just for women.
During the feast, the king had a bit much to drink and commanded that Vashti be brought before all of his people and princes so he could show her off.
The queen refused, which should be a credit to her.
Instead of being shown off like a treasure or piece of property, she realized her self-worth as a person and not as a trinket or conversation piece.
Because of her unwillingness to obey her husband, the advisors to the king were afraid that women throughout the kingdom would follow her example and refuse to obey their husbands.
In counsel, they recommended to the king to strip away Vashti’s estate and give it to another “that is better than she” , which the king agreed to.
Esther Chapter 2
In Chapter 2 of Esther King Ahauserus is looking for his new queen.
The king appoints officers in all of his provinces to gather up all of the ‘fair young virgins’ in his kingdom and bring them to the place in Shushan to see which one would make the best queen.
However, he didn’t need to look too far since Mordecai, a Benjamite who had been carried away from Jerusalem at the same time when Jeconiah was living in Shushan with his uncle’s daughter Hadassah, better known as Esther, whom he had raised as his own daughter.
Esther’s mother and father had passed away and she is described as being “fair and beautiful”, which were the two main qualifications the king was looking for.
Esther obeyed the decree of the king, and with the other women of her province gathered and entered into the house of woman under the custodianship of Hegai.
Hegai really liked her and made sure she was well provided for and even gave her seven maidens to serve her, and was his favorite out of all of his charges.
At some point, Mordecai had advised Esther not to disclose her nationality and heritage, and every day discreetly walked by where she was staying to make sure she was okay.
After a year she was summoned to the kings house and found favor with everyone there, and became the king’s choice to replace Vashti.
Meanwhile, Mordecai was keeper of the gate who overheard the plan of two chamberlains to kill Ahasuerus, who relayed it to Esther who informed the king and saved his life.
Esther Chapter 3
Esther Chapter 3 begins with the promotion of Haman who was seated above all the other princes.
All were required to bow and reverence Haman, but Mordecai refused to do so, which made the other servants at the king’s gate inform Haman of the disrespect and wondered if Mordecai could get away with it because he was a Jew.
Haman didn’t like that, so he decided to find a way to destroy all of the Jews throughout the entire kingdom.
He told the king, without disclosing the exact identity of who he was trying to destroy, that there were a certain people throughout the kingdom who had their own laws and refused to keep the king’s commandments.
He then goes as far as to say that he would pay the king ten thousand talents of sliver to destroy this certain group of people.
The king thinks this a win win situation for himself, and gives Haman the authority to go through with his plan.
Haman, under the authority of the king, sends out a letter instructing the provinces to destroy, kill, and cause to perish all Jews on a certain day and to take their victims property for themselves.
Esther Chapter 4
Mordecai found out what happened and went into mourning, along with all of the Jews throughout the kingdom.
When Esther’s maids told her that Mordecai was outside the king’s gate in sackcloth, Esther sent him some clothes, but he refused to accept them.
She the sent a chamberlain to see what was wrong, and the chamberlain spoke with Mordecai and got a copy of the decree to show Esther.
Mordecai then asked Esther to go see the king and beg for her people’s lives.
Esther was worried, because she knew the infamous law that no one can approach the king without being summoned, and she hadn’t seen the king for about a month and didn’t know when she would see him again.
Mordecai told Esther of how this would destroy her people, and that she herself could be destroyed and that:
“Who knoweth whether thou art come to the kingdom for such a time as this?”(Esther 4:6)
At that point, Esther asks her people to pray and fast for her as she prepared to see the king.
Esther Chapter 5
After three days of fasting, Esther dresses up in her position of queen and goes into the king’s court.
Esther obtains the kings favor of his uplifted golden scepter, and when she approaches him the king asks what she would like, and offers her up to half of the kingdom.
Instead of stating her request for the lives of her people and herself, she decides to address the king in a different way.
She invites the king and Haman to a banquet where she would make her request.
The king and Haman are more than happy to oblige.
Later that day, when Haman was in a good mood, he ran into Mordecai and when Mordecai again refused to bow to him, Haman got really angry.
However, he refrained himself and went to vent to his family and friends, saying despite everything he had achieved it meant nothing if Mordecai was there at the king’s gate.
Haman’s wife and friends then told him if Mordecai made Haman so upset, that Haman should just ask the king the next day to hang Mordecai.
Esther Chapter 6
While Haman was complaining to his family, the king was unable to sleep so he had one of his servants read out of the book of records of the chronicles.
The king was reminded how Mordecai had alerted him the the assassination attempt on his life.
The king asked what reward Mordecai had received for his service and found out that no reward was given.
Haman was lurking about outside and was brought in for advice on how to reward Mordecai.
When the king was talking about the person that he wished to honor, Haman thought that the king was talking about him and suggested the honored individual should be dressed up in the king’s own apparel and have a crown placed on his head while he got to ride around on the king’s horse while the king’s most noble princes proclaimed all of the wonderful things this person had done.
Imagine the shock on Haman’s face when he found out that Mordecai was the one to be honored, and that he, Haman had to serve him and proclaim to the people everything Mordecai had done.
Afterwards, Haman ran home crying until he was summoned to the feast prepared by Esther.
Esther Chapter 7
Feasts in Persian times usually lasted more than one meal.
During the second day, the king asks Esther what she wanted, where she begs for her life and that of her people.
The king demands who would dare want to kill her, and she informs him that Haman was the one wishing to destroy her and her people.
After this revelation, Haman begs for his life, but the king is set on hanging him, especially when he learns that Haman had made gallows to hang Mordecai.
Esther Chapter 8
In Chapter 8, the king gives everything that Haman had owned to Esther, and promoted Mordecai to Haman’s position.
Esther begs the king to revoke Haman’s degree, which he promptly does, and throughout the kingdom:
“The Jew’s had light, and gladness, and joy, and honour…and many of the people of the land became Jews”.(Esther 8:16-17)