A-Z: Famous stories from the Bible: The bravery of Esther


Esther by Edwin LongKing Ahasuerus of Persia’s new wife was a Jewess named Esther, although she kept her identity hidden. Soon afterwards Esther’s guardian, Mordecai, uncovered an assassination plot against Ahasuerus, which resulted in the plotters being executed. 

Unfortunately, Mordecai upset Haman, the king’s first minister, by not bowing when Haman passed. As a result, when Haman discovered that Mordecai was a Jew, he determined to kill every Jew in revenge, persuading the king that they were a menace. A day was set for the holocaust and Haman sent instructions for the extermination of all Jews in the kingdom. 

Mordecai managed to inform Esther of Haman’s decree, reminding her that she too was a Jew and would not escape their fate. She agreed to do what she could and asked Mordecai to gather the Jews to fast on her behalf, which he did. Esther risked her life by appearing in front of the king but he held out his golden sceptre to her, granting her any request. She asked that both he and Haman would attend a banquet she intended to hold the next night. Haman was delighted to be included in the invitation but furious when he again saw Mordecai showing him no respect. His wife persuaded him to build a huge gallows on which to hang Mordecai once the edict was enacted.

At the banquet the next night, Esther revealed Haman’s plot to the king. Ahasuerus was extremely angry and had Haman hanged on the very gallows prepared for Mordecai. The King gave the highest honour to both Esther and Mordecai and had another edict sent throughout his lands that the Jews might legally defend themselves against any attack. Mordecai now became the most powerful of the king’s ministers and throughout the kingdom, the Jews’ enemies were killed.

From that day on, the Jews held a two-day feast called Purim as a time of celebration, feasting and gladness for their deliverance.

The story illustrates:

  • The need to confront injustice despite personal risk
  • The importance of defending the vulnerable
  • An example of God’s protection of his people, though they may often face persecution.

Related topics

Big ideas from the Bible: Women in the Bible

Bible References

Chapters 2 - 9 of the book of Esther

Scan and go

Scan on your mobile for direct link.