summaries and outlines
The Book of Esther can be divided into three main sections. Chapters 1:1-2:18 – Esther replaces Vashti; 2:19-7:10 – Mordecai overcomes Haman; 8:1-10:3 – Israel survives Haman’s attempt to destroy them. The noble Esther risked her own death as she realized what was at stake. She willingly did what could have been a deadly maneuver and took on the second-in-command of her husband‘s kingdom, Haman. She proved a wise and most worthy opponent, all the while remaining humble and respectful of the position of her husband-king.
“Esther” serves as the title without variation through the ages. This book and the book of Ruth are the only OT books named after women. Like Song of Solomon, Obadiah, and Nahum, the NT does not quote or allude to Esther.
“Hadassah” (2:7), meaning “myrtle,” was the Heb. name of Esther, which came either from the Persian word “star” or possibly from the name of the Babylonian love goddess, Ishtar..
[Source: John MacArthur Study Bible, Copyright © 1997, 2006, 2019 by Thomas Nelson. All rights reserved..]
Author and Date of Writing
The identity of the author of Esther is unknown. However the writer was probably Jewish and lived in Persia. A strong Jewish spirit pervades the book, particularly evident in the account of the establishment of the Jewish festival Purim.
Whoever the author was, the Book of Esther was probably written shortly after the reign of Ahasuerus, no earlier than 465 b.c.. The author writes of the rule of Ahasuerus and the deeds of Mordecai (10:2) in the past tense, indicating the book was not composed during Ahasuerus’s reign.
[Source: NKJV Study Bible, Copyright © 1997, 2007 by Thomas Nelson. All rights reserved..]
I. The rise of Esther 1:1—2:23
- The King’s Banquets, (Esther 1:1–9)
- Queen Vashti’s Refusal, (Esther 1:10–22)
- Esther Chosen Queen, (Esther 2:1–18)
- Mordecai Discovers a Plot, (Esther 2:19–23)
II. The rise and fall of Haman 3:1—7:10
- Haman Plots Against the Jews, (Esther 3:1–15)
- Esther Agrees to Help the Jews, (Esther 4:1–17)
- Esther Prepares a Banquet, (Esther 5:1–8)
- The pride of Haman, (Esther 5:9–14)
- Mordecai rewarded, (Esther 6:1–14)
- The banquet of Esther, (Esther 7:1–6)
- The death of Haman, (Esther 7:7–10)
III. The rise of Mordecai and deliverance of the Jews 8:1—10:3
- Esther Saves the Jews, The decree of Ahasuerus, (Esther 8:1–17)
- The Jews Destroy Their Enemies, (Esther 9:1–19)
- The Feast of Purim, (Esther 9:20–32)
- Mordecai promoted, (Esther 10:1–3)
References and Sources:
The Feast of Esther (Feest van Esther, 1625) by Jan Lievens, North Carolina Museum of Art.
By Jan Lievens – Google Art Project, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=41035398