- Read this chapter in the light of 2 Cor. 4:18 and 1 John 2:16, 17. What choice do such considerations force upon us?
- What can we learn of the characters of Ahasuerus, Vashti and Memucan as seen in this chapter? Cf. Prov. 20:2; Jas. 1:19, 20; Eph. 4:26, 27.
- Verse 11. Persian women were usually present at feasts, so this would not be taken as a personal affront to Vashti.
- Verse 14. ‘Who had special access to the king …’: i.e., belonging to the inner circle of the king’s counsellors.
- By what steps did Esther become queen? Consider the events and the timing in terms of God’s overruling care for his people. See Note on verse 16; cf. Rom. 8:28; Is. 65:24.
- How far should a Christian conform to the laws and customs of his country? Cf. Dan. 1:8; 1 Pet. 2:13, 14.
- Verses 5, 6. ‘Who had been carried into exile…’: this refers not to Mordecai, but to Kish his grandfather.
- Verse 16. Cf. 1:3. Four years had elapsed since Vashti was deposed.
- Mordecai made no secret of his Jewish faith, yet advised Esther to remain silent. What does this teach us for our own witness? Why did Mordecai not obey the king’s command? Cf. Eccles. 3:1, 7b; Dan. 3:8-12, 16-18; Acts 5:28, 29.
- What do we learn of Haman’s character in chapter 3? See particularly verses 5-9 and 15. To what was he blind in the schemes that he made?
- 2:19. ‘Sitting at the king’s gate’: the phrase may imply that he was in king’s service in some way.
- 2:21. ‘Who guarded the doorway …’: i.e., of the king’s sleeping apartments.
- The Jews mourn Haman’s decree, but for Esther the situation requires personal action. Consider: (a) What factors influenced the decision she reached (see particularly verses 4, 8, 13, 14, 16), and (b) whether verse 14 is relevant to your own immediate situation.
- Esther made carful preparations to enter the king’s presence. In our own approach to the King of kings, what parallels and contrasts can you find? See also 5:1, 2; cf. Ps. 33:8; Heb. 10:19-22.
Esther 5 & 6
- Mordecai could reasonably have expected a substantial reward for saving the king; s life (2:21-23). However, his service was acknowledged only after a long delay and by an apparent coincidence. In what ways does this help us to understand delays and disappointments in our own life? Ps. 37:7; Is. 55:8, 9.
- Consider the developments in the story of Haman as illustrations of verses such as Ps. 34:15, 16; Prov. 16:18. What ought we to learn from such a record?