What Is the Book of Esther About?

Time: 3 Minutes

Hey Friend!

Our editorial team wrote this book introduction for you. We hope it helps you find your bearings in the Bible story, and inspires you to open this book of the Bible!

If you heard someone say that Esther is in the Bible to explain why the Jews celebrated a feast called Purim, you may be tempted to start yawning. But quick—clap your hand over your mouth! Esther has got to be one of the most intriguing books of the Bible. You’ll likely gasp, laugh, and make plenty of befuddled faces.

Though not a mystery, it arouses question after question, as the author artfully avoids details of the story to leave us wondering.

We don’t know who wrote it, we never hear anything about God in the entire book, and we are never told whether the decisions of the characters are right or wrong. We’re left guessing—or maybe searching.

The timing of the events in Esther seem coincidentally precise. Everything happens to happen at just the right time. If you read the book of Esther thoughtfully, you’ll be holding your breath in suspense.

Though many of her people had left the Persian empire to return to their homeland with Ezra and Nehemiah (other Bible characters), the Jewish girl Esther had stayed in Persia, along with her cousin, Mordecai, who served as a political official. They lived in Persia’s capital, prey to all its political drama.

Esther is a story of how God never, ever forgets. Nor does anything foil his plans—not the kingdoms of the world, nor his own people’s compromise.

Somehow this Jewish girl becomes queen of the Persian empire, which at this time was the world power, stretching from Athens to India. She’s married to a ridiculously immature king, who’s a near alcoholic. Esther became queen right about the time a racist narcissistic enemy of the Jews planned genocide against them—leaving her to make life-threatening decisions that impact her entire nation.

But why is this story in the Bible? Well, if the genocide against the Jews had succeeded, God’s promise to Abraham way back in the first book of the Bible would have failed, and we would have no Messiah, no Jesus (the main character in the Bible). In short, God’s previous promises to the Jewish people would have failed.

Esther is a story of how God never, ever forgets. Nor does anything foil his plans—not the kingdoms of the world, nor his own people’s compromise.

Esther as a story will entertain you, but it will also challenge you. Do you ever feel like God is absent from your circumstances? Do you ever wonder at his timing? Let this book teach you to trust God. He is all-wise, holding all of time in his hands, and no matter what plans wicked people come up with, they can never trump God’s control. Even the most powerful kingdoms of the earth cannot sever the promises of God, and are no threat to his kingdom.

Open this book, and your imagination, and let this Persian princess story lead you into a deeper trust in God.