Esther was a Jewish woman who was selected by the Persian King Ahasuerus to be his wife. He had banished his former wife and chose Esther through a contest. However, the king did not know she was a Jew. (Esther 1-2)

Esther’s uncle was Mordecai. Mordecai learned of a plot to kill the king and made it known to Esther who passed the news to the king. The two men involved in the plot were hanged. In the book of Esther this information is casually presented as unimportant, but comes up later in the story. (Esther 2)

One of the princes in the kingdom was Haman. Mordecai and Haman had a mutual disdain for one another. Haman devised a plan to eliminate Mordecai. He told the king that there was a people group in the kingdom that had their own laws and customs. If they were allowed to continue they might overthrow the power of the king. Therefore Haman convinced the king that this group should be killed. While Haman and the king did not know it at the time, he was asking the king for permission to kill the new Queen Esther. (Esther 3)

The law was created that allowed the Jews to be murdered. When Mordecai learned of the new law he spoke with Esther about asking the king to reconsider. She was loved by the king, but she did not have the authority to enter into the king’s chambers and talk with him at any time she pleased. Mordecai told her that God had allowed her to become the queen to help protect her people. Though conflicted with the thought of perishing by the hand of the king or by the new law in place, she determined to let the king know she was a Jew and that his new law would require that she be killed. (Esther 4)

Without an invitation into his presence Esther approached the king and invited him and Haman to a meal at her house. When asked what the occasion was, she said that she wanted to ask the king and Haman to return to her house the next day for another meal. The king agreed and Haman was pleased to be so favored by the king and his bride. (Esther 5)

However, Haman saw Mordecai that day and was enraged. He determined that he would kill Mordecai the next day by hanging. He requested a gallows be made to hang Mordecai in the morning. (Esther 5)

That night the king could not sleep. He asked that someone read to him about the recent events in the kingdom. He was reminded that Mordecai stopped a plot to kill the king. King Ahasuerus never publicly thanked Mordecai for his efforts, but determined to honor Mordecai the following morning. (Esther 6)

About this time Haman came to the palace to talk to the king and tell him that he would like to hang Mordecai the next day. The king was glad to see Haman because he had a question for him. Before Haman could give his request the king asked, “What should be done to the man I wish to honor publicly?” Haman thought that the king must be wanting to honor Haman for being such a good servant so he came up with the most elaborate plan to be honored by the king. He said the man should be paraded through the streets wearing the king’s robe and crown while riding on the king’s horse. (Esther 6)

Haman did not get a chance to tell the king that he wanted to kill Mordecai before the king told Haman, “You have come up with a great way to honor a man who saved my life. Gather everything you need and do just as you’ve said for Mordecai!” (Esther 6)

Haman was disgusted to have to honor Mordecai this way. After the parade he went home in a rage. But he was not able to vent very long because it was time to go to Queen Esther’s house for her banquet. When Haman and the king arrived at Esther’s house the king wanted to know what her request was. He was willing to give her up to 1/2 the kingdom. (Esther 6-7)

She told the king that there was a plot to destroy her and her people. The king was angry and asked who was behind the wickedness. When she pointed to Haman the king was furious. He went outside to think. Haman was arguing with Esther, supposedly not knowing she was a Jew. He was begging for his life because the king had already said the person behind the plot would be hanged. Haman got animated and excited. He fell onto Esther’s bed. When King Ahasuerus came back from the garden he saw Haman on his wife’s bed and grew even more angered at the thought that Haman was trying now to persuade his wife sexually. (Esther 7)

Haman was hanged that day on the gallows he intended for Mordacai. (Esther 7)

Esther made one more request to the king. That was that the law be reversed which would have destroyed the Jews. The law was rewritten to save the Jews and destroy the family of Haman. He was an Agagite, or an Amalekite. (Esther 8)

The celebration of the Jews that ensued after the new law was carried out was the beginning of the celebration called Purim. Today, Purim is celebrated by a public reading of the book of Esther. Each time wicked Haman’s name is mentioned the crowd will stomp their feet, hiss and yell to show their disdain for the villain of the story. (Esther 8-10)

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