By Kelly Wise Valdes
Throughout the Bible, there are many stories of strong and heroic women. In this new series, we will explore a story of faithful Biblical woman each month. With their strong faith, the women of the Bible continue to teach us how to live authentic, faith-filled lives. No matter what our circumstances are, we can find ourselves in their stories.
The Book of Esther is one of only two books of the Bible named after women (the other is Ruth.) This is a story of a beautiful young Jewish girl who risked her life to serve God and save her people. Esther lived in ancient Persia about 100 years after the Babylonian captivity. When Esther’s parents died, she was adopted by her father’s brother, Mordecai, who later became an employee of the Persian King.
During these times, the Persian king, Ahasuerus, threw extravagant parties. On the final day of the festivities, he called for his queen to appear before his guests, but she refused to come. She risked death with her refusal, but the king only banished her. He then sent an edict throughout his kingdom that gave male subjects the right to rule over their wives in all matters.
Ahasuerus now sought a replacement queen and he ordered the most attractive maidens in his kingdom to be brought before him, which included Esther. At the time, Esther was only 14 years old, but she possessed remarkable beauty as well as charm and intelligence. Ahasuerus was immediately impressed by Esther and made her his new queen.
While at the palace gate, Mordecai overheard a plot by two of the king’s eunuchs to kill Ahasuerus. Mordecai told Esther, who then informed the king about the deadly plot. At this same time, the king’s second in command was a wicked man named Haman. He hated the Jews and he hated Mordecai, who had refused to bow down to him. So, Haman devised a scheme to have every Jew in Persia killed. The King went along with Haman’s idea and the Jewish people were to be all killed on a specific day. Meanwhile, Mordecai learned of the plan and shared it with Esther.
Esther knew she had to save her people. “I will go to the king, even though it is against the law. And if I perish, I perish” (Esther 4:16).
Then risking her own life, brave young Esther invited Ahasuerus and Haman to a banquet where eventually she revealed her Jewish heritage to the king, as well as Haman’s plot to have her and her people killed.
Esther demonstrated Godly courage and we can be inspired by her example.