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Highlights From the Book of: Esther | Bible Reading: Esther

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Highlights From Bible Reading: Esther | texts explained and practical lessons

HIGHLIGHTS OF ESTHER

A vivid account of how Esther, with guidance from her older cousin Mordecai, was used by God to deliver the Jews from extermination
Written evidently by Mordecai, and apparently covering 493–c. 475 B.C.E.
Esther becomes queen in Shushan
When King Ahasuerus (evidently Xerxes I) calls for Queen Vashti during a royal banquet, so he can show off her loveliness, she persistently refuses to come; the king removes her as queen (1:1-22)
Esther is chosen above all the other beautiful virgins in the realm and is made queen; at Mordecai’s direction, she does not reveal that she is a Jewess (2:1-20)
Haman conspires to have the Jews exterminated, but the tables are turned
Haman the Agagite is exalted by the king above all the other princes, but Mordecai refuses to bow to him (3:1-4)
Enraged over Mordecai’s refusal, Haman schemes to annihilate all the Jews in the empire; the king is induced to agree, the date is set, and the decree is issued (3:5-15)
Mordecai instructs Esther to appeal personally to the king, though her life may be endangered by appearing before him uninvited (4:1-17)
Esther is received favorably by the king; she invites the king and Haman to a banquet; then she requests that they return for another banquet the next day (5:1-8)
Haman’s joy is marred, however, because Mordecai again refuses to bow to him, so Haman puts up a very tall stake and plans to urge the king to hang Mordecai on it before the banquet the next day (5:9-14)
That night, when the king is sleepless, he has records read to him, and he learns that Mordecai has not been rewarded for reporting a scheme to assassinate the king; when Haman arrives in the morning, the king asks him what should be done to honor a man in whom the king takes delight; thinking he is the man, Haman offers lavish suggestions; then Haman himself is commanded to confer that honor publicly on Mordecai (6:1-13; 2:21-23)
At the banquet that day, Esther makes known to the king that Haman has sold her and her people to be destroyed; furious, the king orders Haman to be hung on the stake he put up for Mordecai (6:14–7:10)
Mordecai is promoted, and the Jews are delivered
Mordecai is given the king’s signet ring that was taken from Haman (8:1, 2)
With the king’s approval, a decree is issued permitting the Jews to defend themselves and to annihilate their enemies on the day that had been set for their own destruction; many thousands of the Jews’ enemies are slaughtered (8:3–9:19)
It is decreed that this deliverance be commemorated each year (9:20-32)
Mordecai comes to be second to the king and works for the good of his people (10:1-3)

February 29–March 6, 2016
Esther 1-5

(ESTHER 1:1)

“Now in the days of A•has•u•eʹrus, that is, the A•has•u•eʹrus who ruled over 127 provinces from Inʹdi•a to E•thi•oʹpi•a,”

*** nwt p. 1698 Glossary ***
Ethiopia. An ancient nation south of Egypt. It included the southernmost part of modern-day Egypt and the northern half of modern-day Sudan. The expression is sometimes used for the Hebrew “Cush.”—Es 1:1.

*** w88 3/15 p. 28 Part 4—Medo-Persia—The Fourth Great World Power in Bible History ***
Darius was succeeded by his son Xerxes, who apparently was the “Ahasuerus” of the Bible book of Esther. It says that Ahasuerus “was ruling as king from India to Ethiopia, over a hundred and twenty-seven jurisdictional districts” as he sat upon “his royal throne, which was in Shushan the castle.”

*** w88 3/15 p. 28 Part 4—Medo-Persia—The Fourth Great World Power in Bible History ***
Esther 1:1,

*** it-1 p. 61 Ahasuerus ***
3. The Ahasuerus of the book of Esther is believed to be Xerxes I, the son of the Persian king Darius the Great (Darius Hystaspis). Ahasuerus (Xerxes I) is shown as ruling over 127 jurisdictional districts, from India to Ethiopia. The city of Shushan was his capital during major portions of his rule.—Es 1:1, 2.

*** it-1 p. 560 Cushan ***
CUSHAN
(Cuʹshan).
Cushan appears at Habakkuk 3:7 as paralleling “the land of Midian” and hence evidently is another name for Midian or relates to a neighboring country. As shown in the article CUSH (No. 2), some descendants of Cush appear to have settled on the Arabian Peninsula;

*** it-1 pp. 762-763 Esther, Book of ***
Historical Circumstances. The account sets the time for its events during the reign of the Ahasuerus who ruled while the Persian Empire extended from India to Ethiopia and included 127 provinces or jurisdictional districts. (Es 1:1) These facts and its inclusion in the canon by Ezra confine its coverage to the period of the reign of one of the following three kings known to secular history: Darius I the Persian, Xerxes I, and Artaxerxes Longimanus. However, both Darius I and Artaxerxes Longimanus are known to have favored the Jews before the 12th year of their respective reigns, which does not fit the Ahasuerus of the book, as he apparently was not well acquainted with the Jews and their religion, nor was he inclined to favor them. Therefore, the Ahasuerus of the book of Esther is believed to be Xerxes I, son of the Persian king Darius the Great. Some translations (AT, Mo) even substitute “Xerxes” for “Ahasuerus” in the text.

*** it-1 p. 1198 India ***
INDIA
(Inʹdi•a).
The exact area designated by the Bible name “India” is uncertain. (Es 8:9) Scholars generally suggest that it denotes the area drained by the Indus River and its tributaries, that is, the Punjab region and perhaps also Sind. The testimony of the historian Herodotus (III, 88, 94; IV, 44) indicates that “India” first became a part of the Persian Empire during the rule of Darius Hystaspis (521-486 B.C.E.). In the time of Ahasuerus (considered to be Xerxes I, son of Darius Hystaspis), India was the eastern limit of the empire.—Es 1:1.

*** it-2 p. 870 Satrap ***
In the days of Esther and Mordecai, the satraps supervised 127 jurisdictional districts under the Persian king Ahasuerus. (Es 1:1) Being the king’s official representatives, they were responsible to him and had quite free access to his presence. Consequently, they wielded considerable influence and power as civil and political chiefs. They collected taxes and remitted to the royal court the stipulated tribute.

(ESTHER 1:2)

“in those days when King A•has•u•eʹrus was sitting on his royal throne in Shuʹshan the citadel,”

*** w88 3/15 p. 28 Part 4—Medo-Persia—The Fourth Great World Power in Bible History ***
Darius was succeeded by his son Xerxes, who apparently was the “Ahasuerus” of the Bible book of Esther. It says that Ahasuerus “was ruling as king from India to Ethiopia, over a hundred and twenty-seven jurisdictional districts” as he sat upon “his royal throne, which was in Shushan the castle.” It was there that Ahasuerus made the beautiful young Esther his queen. (Esther 1:1, 2;

*** it-1 p. 61 Ahasuerus ***
3. The Ahasuerus of the book of Esther is believed to be Xerxes I, the son of the Persian king Darius the Great (Darius Hystaspis). Ahasuerus (Xerxes I) is shown as ruling over 127 jurisdictional districts, from India to Ethiopia. The city of Shushan was his capital during major portions of his rule.—Es 1:1, 2.

*** it-1 pp. 148-149 Archaeology ***
Shushan, the scene of the events recorded in the book of Esther, was excavated by French archaeologists between 1880 and 1890. (Es 1:2) The royal palace of Xerxes, covering about 1 ha (2.5 acres), was uncovered, revealing the splendor and magnificence of the Persian kings. The finds confirmed the exactitude of details set down by the writer of Esther as relating to the administration of the Persian kingdom and the construction of the palace. The book The Monuments and the Old Testament, by I. M. Price (1946, p. 408), comments: “There is no event described in the Old Testament whose structural surroundings can be so vividly and accurately restored from actual excavations as ‘Shushan the Palace.’”—See SHUSHAN.

*** it-1 p. 422 Castle ***
“Shushan the castle,” some 360 km (225 mi) E of Babylon, was a part-time residence of the Persian king. Here Nehemiah worked as a royal cupbearer before leaving for Jerusalem. (Ne 1:1) Here also was the setting of one of Daniel’s visions. (Da 8:2) But “Shushan the castle” is best known as the background for the book of Esther. (Es 1:2, 5; 3:15; 8:14) “Shushan the castle,” it seems, was not one particular building but was a complex of royal edifices within a fortified area. This is supported by certain details given in the account. “The house of the women,” where the virgins were prepared for presentation to Ahasuerus, was located there. (Es 2:3, 8) Before his elevation in the government, Mordecai was daily stationed “in the king’s gate” located “in Shushan the castle.”—Es 2:5, 21; 3:2-4; see SHUSHAN.

(ESTHER 1:3)

“in the third year of his reign, he held a banquet for all his princes and his servants. The army of Persia and Meʹdi•a, the nobles, and the princes of the provinces were before him,”

*** w06 3/1 p. 8 par. 5 Highlights From the Book of Esther ***
1:3-5—Did the banquet last for 180 days? The text does not state that the banquet lasted that long but that the king showed the officials the riches and the beauty of his glorious kingdom for 180 days. Perhaps the king used this lengthy event to show off the glory of his kingdom in order to impress the nobles and convince them of his ability to carry out his plans. In that case, verses 3 and 5 could refer to the 7-day banquet that took place at the end of the 180-day gathering.

*** it-1 p. 763 Esther, Book of ***
The book of Esther is accused of exaggeration in its mention of a banquet lasting 180 days in the third year of the reign of Ahasuerus. (Es 1:3, 4) However, it has been expressed that such a long feast may have been held to accommodate the numerous officials from the many provinces who could not, because of their duties, have been there for all of it and all at the same time. Actually, the text does not say the banquet lasted that long, but that the king showed them the riches and glory of his kingdom for 180 days. A banquet is mentioned at 1:3 and 1:5. It may be that two banquets are not meant, but that the seven-day banquet for all in the castle at the end of the great assembly is the one referred to in verse 3.—Commentary on the Old Testament, by C. Keil and F. Delitzsch, 1973, Vol. III, Esther, pp. 322-324.

*** w86 3/15 p. 24 Divine Deliverance From Genocide ***
1:3-5—Why were these festivities held?
According to historian Herodotus, Xerxes once called an assembly to plan a military campaign against Greece. Perhaps this is the same gathering. Likely, Xerxes showed off the glory and riches of his kingdom to convince the nobles of his ability to carry out the Grecian campaign.

*** w86 3/15 p. 24 Divine Deliverance From Genocide ***
Please read Esther 1:1–2:23. About 484 B.C.E., the Persian king Ahasuerus (Xerxes I) convenes a huge banquet.

(ESTHER 1:4)

“and he showed them the wealth of his glorious kingdom and the grandeur and the splendor of his magnificence for many days, 180 days.”

*** w06 3/1 p. 8 par. 5 Highlights From the Book of Esther ***
1:3-5—Did the banquet last for 180 days? The text does not state that the banquet lasted that long but that the king showed the officials the riches and the beauty of his glorious kingdom for 180 days. Perhaps the king used this lengthy event to show off the glory of his kingdom in order to impress the nobles and convince them of his ability to carry out his plans. In that case, verses 3 and 5 could refer to the 7-day banquet that took place at the end of the 180-day gathering.

*** it-1 p. 763 Esther, Book of ***
The book of Esther is accused of exaggeration in its mention of a banquet lasting 180 days in the third year of the reign of Ahasuerus. (Es 1:3, 4) However, it has been expressed that such a long feast may have been held to accommodate the numerous officials from the many provinces who could not, because of their duties, have been there for all of it and all at the same time. Actually, the text does not say the banquet lasted that long, but that the king showed them the riches and glory of his kingdom for 180 days. A banquet is mentioned at 1:3 and 1:5. It may be that two banquets are not meant, but that the seven-day banquet for all in the castle at the end of the great assembly is the one referred to in verse 3.—Commentary on the Old Testament, by C. Keil and F. Delitzsch, 1973, Vol. III, Esther, pp. 322-324.

*** w86 3/15 p. 24 Divine Deliverance From Genocide ***
1:3-5—Why were these festivities held?
According to historian Herodotus, Xerxes once called an assembly to plan a military campaign against Greece. Perhaps this is the same gathering. Likely, Xerxes showed off the glory and riches of his kingdom to convince the nobles of his ability to carry out the Grecian campaign.

*** w86 3/15 p. 24 Divine Deliverance From Genocide ***
Please read Esther 1:1–2:23. About 484 B.C.E., the Persian king Ahasuerus (Xerxes I) convenes a huge banquet.

(ESTHER 1:5)

“And when these days were completed, the king held a banquet for seven days for all the people present in Shuʹshan the citadel, from the greatest to the least, in the courtyard of the garden of the king’s palace.”

*** w06 3/1 p. 8 par. 5 Highlights From the Book of Esther ***
1:3-5—Did the banquet last for 180 days? The text does not state that the banquet lasted that long but that the king showed the officials the riches and the beauty of his glorious kingdom for 180 days. Perhaps the king used this lengthy event to show off the glory of his kingdom in order to impress the nobles and convince them of his ability to carry out his plans. In that case, verses 3 and 5 could refer to the 7-day banquet that took place at the end of the 180-day gathering.

*** it-1 p. 763 Esther, Book of ***
A banquet is mentioned at 1:3 and 1:5. It may be that two banquets are not meant, but that the seven-day banquet for all in the castle at the end of the great assembly is the one referred to in verse 3.—Commentary on the Old Testament, by C. Keil and F. Delitzsch, 1973, Vol. III, Esther, pp. 322-324.

(ESTHER 1:6)

“There were linen, fine cotton, and blue material held fast in ropes of fine fabric, purple wool in silver rings, pillars of marble, and couches of gold and silver on a pavement of porphyry, marble, pearl, and black marble.”

*** it-1 p. 482 Cloth ***
It is not known whether the Hebrews used cotton. Cotton is mentioned at Esther 1:6 as being used in the Persian palace at Shushan. Cotton was known in India, probably at least as early as 800 B.C.E., and the historian Pliny says that it was used in Egypt. It is grown today in Israel. However, certain materials not native to Israel could be obtained by the Hebrews from traveling merchants from both East and West passing through Israel.

*** it-1 p. 515 Cotton ***
COTTON
A white seed fiber produced by certain plants and used to make fabric. The Hebrew word kar•pasʹ, which may refer to either fine cotton or fine linen, is similar to the Sanskrit word karpasa and the Greek karʹpa•sos. Many modern translations favor the rendering “cotton” at Esther 1:6. It is there mentioned as among the materials used for decorating the palace courtyard during King Ahasuerus’ seven-day banquet at Shushan. The growing of cotton in Persia and in India extends far back into ancient times. While linen seems to have been more widely used in Egypt and Palestine, evidence for the use of cotton there also exists from the first millennium B.C.E. on.
The cotton plant of the Bible account is thought to have been the type classified as Gossypium herbaceum. The bush grows to a height of about 1.5 m (5 ft), blossoms with yellow or sometimes pink flowers, and following the drying up of the flowers, produces the cotton bolls or seed capsules. When ripe, the bolls split open, allowing the fluffy cotton to push out. After the cotton has been collected, the seeds must be picked out, or combed out, by passing the cotton through a gin. The cotton fibers are then ready for final processing and for weaving. Some scholars suggest that the “white fabrics” of the loom workers of Egypt mentioned at Isaiah 19:9 were probably of cotton.—See CLOTH.

*** it-2 p. 655 Porphyry ***
PORPHYRY
(porʹphy•ry).
A kind of stone, usually dark red, purple, or sometimes green, containing feldspar crystals. Together with marble and pearl, it was used as pavement in the Persian palace at Shushan in the days of King Ahasuerus.—Es 1:6.

(ESTHER 1:8)

“The drinking was according to the rule that no one was under compulsion, for the king had arranged with the officials of his palace that each should do as he pleased.”

*** w06 3/1 p. 9 par. 1 Highlights From the Book of Esther ***
1:8—In what way was there ‘no one compelling as regards the time of drinking according to the law’? On this occasion, King Ahasuerus made an exception to what appears to have been a Persian custom of urging one another to drink a certain amount at such gatherings. “They could drink as much or as little as they desired,” says one reference work.

*** w86 3/15 p. 24 Divine Deliverance From Genocide ***
1:8—What was the law on drinking?
It seems that the Persians had the custom of urging one another to drink a set amount at such gatherings. The king, however, made an exception on this occasion. Whether this resulted in more moderate or in unrestrained drinking, the Bible does not say.

(ESTHER 1:10)

“On the seventh day, when the king’s heart was in a cheerful mood because of the wine, he told Me•huʹman, Bizʹtha, Har•boʹna, Bigʹtha, A•bagʹtha, Zeʹthar, and Carʹkas, the seven court officials who were personal attendants to King A•has•u•eʹrus,”

*** it-1 p. 12 Abagtha ***
ABAGTHA
(A•bagʹtha).
The name of one of seven court officials who ministered to the Persian king Ahasuerus, the husband of the Jewess Esther, in his palace in Shushan, then capital of Persia.—Es 1:10.
In the King James Version, Abagtha is said to be one of seven “chamberlains,” and the marginal reading says “eunuchs.” While eunuchs were frequently used as trusted servants within royal households in Middle Eastern countries, the original Hebrew word sa•risʹ primarily has the meaning of “court official” and only secondarily has reference to a castrated person. Since these seven court officials were attendants of the king and apparently not assigned as guardians of the women (as was Hegai, the king’s eunuch mentioned at Esther 2:3), they may not have been eunuchs in the physical sense.

(ESTHER 1:11)

“to bring before the king Queen Vashʹti, wearing the royal headdress, to show the peoples and the princes her beauty, for she was very beautiful.”

*** it-2 p. 1148 Vashti ***
On the seventh day, Ahasuerus ordered his court officials to bring in Vashti in royal headdress, that all might see her loveliness. (It seems that the queen would ordinarily eat meals at the king’s table, but history does not give proof of this as being the case at great banquets. Besides, at the time, Vashti was holding a banquet with the women.) For some unstated reason, Vashti persistently refused. Ahasuerus turned to his wise men who knew the law, and he was advised by Memucan, a prince, that it was not the king alone that Vashti had wronged but also all the princes and people in the jurisdictional districts. He said that when the princesses should hear what the queen had done (which news would quickly be spread in the castle), they would follow Vashti’s action as a precedent for contemptuous action on their own part. (Es 1:1-22)

(ESTHER 1:12)

“But Queen Vashʹti kept refusing to come at the king’s order that was conveyed through the court officials. At this the king became very angry, and his rage flared up within him.”

*** w06 3/1 p. 9 par. 2 Highlights From the Book of Esther ***
1:10-12—Why did Queen Vashti keep refusing to come to the king? Some scholars suggest that the queen refused to obey because she chose not to degrade herself before the king’s drunken guests. Or perhaps this outwardly beautiful queen really was not submissive. While the Bible does not state her motive, the wise men of the day thought that obedience to the husband was definitely an issue and that Vashti’s bad example would influence all the wives in the provinces of Persia.

(ESTHER 1:14)

“and those closest to him were Car•sheʹna, Sheʹthar, Ad•maʹtha, Tarʹshish, Meʹres, Mar•seʹna, and Me•muʹcan, seven princes of Persia and Meʹdi•a, who had access to the king and who occupied the highest positions in the kingdom).”

*** it-1 p. 48 Admatha ***
ADMATHA
(Ad•maʹtha) [from Persian, meaning “Unconquered”].
One of the seven princes in the kingdom of Persia and Media who had access to King Ahasuerus. These princes concurred in the judgment against Queen Vashti, and apparently such a committee of seven regularly served the Persian kings as counselors.—Es 1:14; Ezr 7:14.

(ESTHER 2:3)

“And let the king appoint commissioners in all the provinces of his realm to bring together all the beautiful young virgins to Shuʹshan the citadel, to the house of the women. Let them be put in the care of Hegʹa•i the king’s eunuch and guardian of the women, and let them be given beauty treatments.”

*** it-1 p. 12 Abagtha ***
Since these seven court officials were attendants of the king and apparently not assigned as guardians of the women (as was Hegai, the king’s eunuch mentioned at Esther 2:3), they may not have been eunuchs in the physical sense.

*** it-1 p. 422 Castle ***
“Shushan the castle,” some 360 km (225 mi) E of Babylon, was a part-time residence of the Persian king. Here Nehemiah worked as a royal cupbearer before leaving for Jerusalem. (Ne 1:1) Here also was the setting of one of Daniel’s visions. (Da 8:2) But “Shushan the castle” is best known as the background for the book of Esther. (Es 1:2, 5; 3:15; 8:14) “Shushan the castle,” it seems, was not one particular building but was a complex of royal edifices within a fortified area. This is supported by certain details given in the account. “The house of the women,” where the virgins were prepared for presentation to Ahasuerus, was located there. (Es 2:3, 8) Before his elevation in the government, Mordecai was daily stationed “in the king’s gate” located “in Shushan the castle.”—Es 2:5, 21; 3:2-4; see SHUSHAN.

*** it-1 p. 767 Eunuch ***
EUNUCH
The Hebrew word sa•risʹ and the Greek word eu•nouʹkhos apply, when used in a literal sense, to a human male who has been castrated. Such were appointed in royal courts as attendants, or caretakers, of the queen, the harem, and the women. (Es 2:3, 12-15; 4:4-6, 9) Because of their closeness to the king’s household, eunuchs of ability often rose to high rank.

(ESTHER 2:5)

“There was a certain Jewish man in Shuʹshan the citadel whose name was Morʹde•cai son of Jaʹir son of Shimʹe•i son of Kish, a Benʹja•min•ite,”

*** it-2 p. 431 Mordecai ***
2. “The son of Jair the son of Shimei the son of Kish a Benjaminite” (Es 2:5), an older cousin and guardian of Esther. (Es 2:7) Mordecai is portrayed solely in the Bible book of Esther. The book recounts his prominent part in the affairs of the Persian Empire early in the fifth century B.C.E. Evidence points to him as the writer of the book of Esther.
Some doubt the authenticity of the book or that Mordecai was a real person. Their objection, that he would have had to have been at least 120 years old with a beautiful cousin 100 years younger, is based on the erroneous assumption that Esther 2:5, 6 denotes that Mordecai went into Babylonian exile along with King Jeconiah. However, the Bible’s purpose in this text is, not to recount Mordecai’s history, but to give his lineage. Kish may have been Mordecai’s great-grandfather, or even an earlier ancestor who was “taken into exile.” Another view, harmonious with Biblical expression, is that Mordecai, though born in exile, was considered to have been taken into exile in 617 B.C.E., since he was in the loins of his ancestors, as yet unborn.—Compare Heb 7:9, 10.

(ESTHER 2:6)

“who had been taken into exile from Jerusalem with the people who were deported with King Jec•o•niʹah of Judah, whom King Neb•u•chad•nezʹzar of Babylon took into exile.”

*** it-2 p. 431 Mordecai ***
2. “The son of Jair the son of Shimei the son of Kish a Benjaminite” (Es 2:5), an older cousin and guardian of Esther. (Es 2:7) Mordecai is portrayed solely in the Bible book of Esther. The book recounts his prominent part in the affairs of the Persian Empire early in the fifth century B.C.E. Evidence points to him as the writer of the book of Esther.
Some doubt the authenticity of the book or that Mordecai was a real person. Their objection, that he would have had to have been at least 120 years old with a beautiful cousin 100 years younger, is based on the erroneous assumption that Esther 2:5, 6 denotes that Mordecai went into Babylonian exile along with King Jeconiah. However, the Bible’s purpose in this text is, not to recount Mordecai’s history, but to give his lineage. Kish may have been Mordecai’s great-grandfather, or even an earlier ancestor who was “taken into exile.” Another view, harmonious with Biblical expression, is that Mordecai, though born in exile, was considered to have been taken into exile in 617 B.C.E., since he was in the loins of his ancestors, as yet unborn.—Compare Heb 7:9, 10.

(ESTHER 2:7)

“He was the guardian of Ha•dasʹsah, that is, Esther, the daughter of his father’s brother, for she had neither father nor mother. The young woman was beautifully formed and attractive in appearance, and at the death of her father and her mother, Morʹde•cai took her as his daughter.”

*** ia chap. 15 p. 127 par. 8 She Stood Up for God’s People ***
8 We may imagine Mordecai gazing fondly at Esther from time to time and noting with a mixture of pride and concern that his little cousin was grown-up—and had turned out to be a remarkable beauty. “The young woman was pretty in form and beautiful in appearance,” we read. (Esther 2:7) The Bible presents a balanced view of physical beauty—it is delightful, but it needs to be coupled with wisdom and humility. Otherwise, it may breed vanity, pride, and other ugly traits of the heart. (Read Proverbs 11:22.) Have you ever seen that to be true? In Esther’s case, what would beauty turn out to be—an asset or a liability? Time would tell.

*** w11 10/1 p. 19 She Stood Up for God’s People ***
We may imagine Mordecai gazing fondly at Esther from time to time and noting with a mixture of pride and concern that his little cousin was grown-up—and had turned out to be a remarkable beauty. “The young woman was pretty in form and beautiful in appearance,” we read. (Esther 2:7) Physical beauty is delightful, but it needs to be coupled with wisdom and humility. Otherwise, it may breed vanity, pride, and other ugly traits of the heart. (Proverbs 11:22) Have you ever seen that to be true? In Esther’s case, what would beauty turn out to be—an asset or a liability? Time would tell.

*** it-1 p. 22 Abihail ***
5. The father of Queen Esther and a descendant of Benjamin. He was the uncle of Esther’s cousin, Mordecai. (Es 2:5, 15; 9:29) Esther 2:7 indicates that he and his wife died when their daughter Esther was quite young and thus sometime before her marriage to King Ahasuerus.

(ESTHER 2:10)

“Esther did not say anything about her people or her relatives, for Morʹde•cai had instructed her not to tell anyone.”

*** ia chap. 15 pp. 129-130 par. 13 She Stood Up for God’s People ***
13 For instance, we read: “Esther had not told about her people or about her relatives, for Mordecai himself had laid the command upon her that she should not tell.” (Esther 2:10) Mordecai had instructed the girl to be discreet about her Jewish heritage; he no doubt saw that among Persian royalty, there was much prejudice against his people. What a pleasure it was for him to learn that now, even though Esther was out of his sight, she still showed the same wise and obedient spirit!

*** w11 10/1 p. 20 She Stood Up for God’s People ***
For instance, we read: “Esther had not told about her people or about her relatives, for Mordecai himself had laid the command upon her that she should not tell.” (Esther 2:10) Mordecai had instructed the girl to be discreet about her Jewish heritage; he no doubt saw that among Persian royalty, there was much prejudice against his people. What a pleasure it was for him to learn that now, even though Esther was out of his sight, she still showed the same wise and obedient spirit!

(ESTHER 2:14)

“In the evening she would go in, and in the morning she would return to the second house of the women, under the care of Sha•ashʹgaz the king’s eunuch, the guardian of the concubines. She would not go to the king again unless the king had been especially pleased with her and she was requested by name.”

*** w06 3/1 p. 9 par. 3 Highlights From the Book of Esther ***
2:14-17—Did Esther have immoral sexual relations with the king? The answer is no. The account says that in the morning the other women brought to the king were returned to the second house under the charge of the king’s eunuch, “the guardian of the concubines.” The women who spent the night with the king thus became his concubines, or secondary wives. However, Esther was not taken to the house of concubines after seeing the king. When Esther was brought before Ahasuerus, “the king came to love Esther more than all the other women, so that she gained more favor and loving-kindness before him than all the other virgins.” (Esther 2:17) How did she gain Ahasuerus’ “favor and loving-kindness”? The same way she had won the favor of others. “The young woman was pleasing in [Hegai’s] eyes, so that she gained loving-kindness before him.” (Esther 2:8, 9) Hegai favored her strictly on the basis of what he observed—her appearance and good qualities. In fact, “Esther was continually gaining favor in the eyes of everyone seeing her.” (Esther 2:15) Similarly, the king was impressed with what he saw in Esther and therefore came to love her.

*** w91 1/1 p. 31 Questions From Readers ***
After describing the beauty treatments, the Bible says: “Then on these conditions [each] young woman herself came in to the king. . . . In the evening she herself came in, and in the morning she herself returned to the second house of the women in charge of Shaashgaz the king’s eunuch, the guardian of the concubines. She would not come in anymore to the king unless the king had taken delight in her and she had been called by name.”—Esther 2:13, 14.
The Scriptures say that Esther “was taken” to “the house of the women” for the lengthy, prescribed beauty regimen: “Then Esther was taken to King Ahasuerus . . . And the king came to love Esther more than all the other women, so that she gained more favor and loving-kindness before him than all the other virgins. And he proceeded to put the royal headdress upon her head and make her queen instead of Vashti.”—Esther 2:8, 9, 16, 17.
Did you note from the Bible account where the women were taken after they had spent the night with the king? ‘To the second house of the women, under the guardian of the concubines.’ So they had become concubines. Mordecai, the writer of the Bible book of Esther, was a Hebrew, and among his people back then, a concubine had the social status of a secondary wife. The divine law provided that an Israelite man could take a foreign girl who was captured during war, and she would become his concubine, or secondary wife, with rights and legal protection. (Deuteronomy 21:10-17; compare Exodus 21:7-11.) Children born to such a legal concubine were legitimate and could gain inheritance. Jacob’s 12 sons, forefathers of the 12 tribes of Israel, were the offspring of his wives and legal concubines.—Genesis 30:3-13.
The procedure was that after the virgins were with the Persian king, they went to the house of concubines. This indicates that they became his secondary wives.
What about Esther? The Bible does not say that she slept with the king and thus gained his favor. It does not tell of her being taken to the house of concubines, but simply says: “Then Esther was taken to King Ahasuerus at his royal house . . . And the king came to love Esther more than all the other women.” Recall that earlier, without any sexual compromise of her virtuous and virgin state, she won the “loving-kindness” of “Hegai the guardian of the women.” Further: “All the while Esther was continually gaining favor in the eyes of everyone seeing her.” (Esther 2:8, 9, 15-17) So Esther clearly impressed the king and won his respect, even as she had won the respect of others.
How thankful we can be to have the facts and insight that the Bible provides for us! Though we are thousands of years removed from the events, we thus have reason for confidence that Esther acted with true virtue and in accord with godly principles.

(ESTHER 2:15)

“And when the turn came for Esther the daughter of Abʹi•ha•il the uncle of Morʹde•cai, who had taken her as his daughter, to go in to the king, she did not request anything except what Hegʹa•i the king’s eunuch, the guardian of the women, recommended. (All the while Esther was winning the favor of everyone who saw her.)”

*** w06 3/1 p. 9 par. 7 Highlights From the Book of Esther ***
2:15. Esther showed modesty and self-control by not requesting additional jewelry or finer clothing than what was provided by Hegai. It was “the secret person of the heart in the incorruptible apparel of the quiet and mild spirit” that won Esther the king’s favor.—1 Peter 3:4.

(ESTHER 2:16)

“Esther was taken to King A•has•u•eʹrus at his royal house in the tenth month, that is, the month of Teʹbeth, in the seventh year of his reign.”

*** nwt p. 1714 Glossary ***
Tebeth. After the Babylonian exile, the name of the tenth month of the Jewish sacred calendar and the fourth month of the secular calendar. It ran from mid-December to mid-January. It is generally referred to simply as “the tenth month.” (Es 2:16)—See App. B15.

*** nwt p. 1796 B15 Hebrew Calendar ***
TEBETH December—January

Maximum cold, rainy, mountain snows
Vegetation developing

*** w91 1/1 p. 31 Questions From Readers ***
After describing the beauty treatments, the Bible says: “Then on these conditions [each] young woman herself came in to the king. . . . In the evening she herself came in, and in the morning she herself returned to the second house of the women in charge of Shaashgaz the king’s eunuch, the guardian of the concubines. She would not come in anymore to the king unless the king had taken delight in her and she had been called by name.”—Esther 2:13, 14.
The Scriptures say that Esther “was taken” to “the house of the women” for the lengthy, prescribed beauty regimen: “Then Esther was taken to King Ahasuerus . . . And the king came to love Esther more than all the other women, so that she gained more favor and loving-kindness before him than all the other virgins. And he proceeded to put the royal headdress upon her head and make her queen instead of Vashti.”—Esther 2:8, 9, 16, 17.
Did you note from the Bible account where the women were taken after they had spent the night with the king? ‘To the second house of the women, under the guardian of the concubines.’ So they had become concubines. Mordecai, the writer of the Bible book of Esther, was a Hebrew, and among his people back then, a concubine had the social status of a secondary wife. The divine law provided that an Israelite man could take a foreign girl who was captured during war, and she would become his concubine, or secondary wife, with rights and legal protection. (Deuteronomy 21:10-17; compare Exodus 21:7-11.) Children born to such a legal concubine were legitimate and could gain inheritance. Jacob’s 12 sons, forefathers of the 12 tribes of Israel, were the offspring of his wives and legal concubines.—Genesis 30:3-13.
The procedure was that after the virgins were with the Persian king, they went to the house of concubines. This indicates that they became his secondary wives.
What about Esther? The Bible does not say that she slept with the king and thus gained his favor. It does not tell of her being taken to the house of concubines, but simply says: “Then Esther was taken to King Ahasuerus at his royal house . . . And the king came to love Esther more than all the other women.” Recall that earlier, without any sexual compromise of her virtuous and virgin state, she won the “loving-kindness” of “Hegai the guardian of the women.” Further: “All the while Esther was continually gaining favor in the eyes of everyone seeing her.” (Esther 2:8, 9, 15-17) So Esther clearly impressed the king and won his respect, even as she had won the respect of others.
How thankful we can be to have the facts and insight that the Bible provides for us! Though we are thousands of years removed from the events, we thus have reason for confidence that Esther acted with true virtue and in accord with godly principles.

(ESTHER 2:17)

“And the king came to love Esther more than all the other women, and she won his favor and approval more than any of the other virgins. So he put the royal headdress on her head and made her queen instead of Vashʹti.”

*** w91 1/1 p. 31 Questions From Readers ***
After describing the beauty treatments, the Bible says: “Then on these conditions [each] young woman herself came in to the king. . . . In the evening she herself came in, and in the morning she herself returned to the second house of the women in charge of Shaashgaz the king’s eunuch, the guardian of the concubines. She would not come in anymore to the king unless the king had taken delight in her and she had been called by name.”—Esther 2:13, 14.
The Scriptures say that Esther “was taken” to “the house of the women” for the lengthy, prescribed beauty regimen: “Then Esther was taken to King Ahasuerus . . . And the king came to love Esther more than all the other women, so that she gained more favor and loving-kindness before him than all the other virgins. And he proceeded to put the royal headdress upon her head and make her queen instead of Vashti.”—Esther 2:8, 9, 16, 17.
Did you note from the Bible account where the women were taken after they had spent the night with the king? ‘To the second house of the women, under the guardian of the concubines.’ So they had become concubines. Mordecai, the writer of the Bible book of Esther, was a Hebrew, and among his people back then, a concubine had the social status of a secondary wife. The divine law provided that an Israelite man could take a foreign girl who was captured during war, and she would become his concubine, or secondary wife, with rights and legal protection. (Deuteronomy 21:10-17; compare Exodus 21:7-11.) Children born to such a legal concubine were legitimate and could gain inheritance. Jacob’s 12 sons, forefathers of the 12 tribes of Israel, were the offspring of his wives and legal concubines.—Genesis 30:3-13.
The procedure was that after the virgins were with the Persian king, they went to the house of concubines. This indicates that they became his secondary wives.
What about Esther? The Bible does not say that she slept with the king and thus gained his favor. It does not tell of her being taken to the house of concubines, but simply says: “Then Esther was taken to King Ahasuerus at his royal house . . . And the king came to love Esther more than all the other women.” Recall that earlier, without any sexual compromise of her virtuous and virgin state, she won the “loving-kindness” of “Hegai the guardian of the women.” Further: “All the while Esther was continually gaining favor in the eyes of everyone seeing her.” (Esther 2:8, 9, 15-17) So Esther clearly impressed the king and won his respect, even as she had won the respect of others.
How thankful we can be to have the facts and insight that the Bible provides for us! Though we are thousands of years removed from the events, we thus have reason for confidence that Esther acted with true virtue and in accord with godly principles.

(ESTHER 2:18)

“And the king held a great banquet for all his princes and his servants, the banquet of Esther. He then proclaimed an amnesty for the provinces, and he kept giving gifts according to the means of the king.”

*** it-1 pp. 95-96 Amnesty ***
AMNESTY
At Esther 2:18 it is related that the Persian monarch Ahasuerus, after making Esther his queen, held a great banquet in her honor and granted “an amnesty for the jurisdictional districts” of his domain. The Hebrew word hana•chahʹ here used occurs but once in the Scriptures. It is variously rendered as “release” (LXX, KJ), “remission of taxes” (one Targum and RS), “rest” (Vg), “holiday” (AT); and commentators suggest that the release, or amnesty, may have involved a remission of tribute, a remission of military service, release from prison, or a combination of these. A different Hebrew word (shemit•tahʹ) is used elsewhere in the Scriptures to describe a releasing from debt or suspension of labor.—De 15:1, 2, 9; 31:10; see SABBATH YEAR.
As to a release of prisoners, it may be noted that during the reign of Xerxes I, believed to be the Ahasuerus of the book of Esther, a number of revolts occurred. An inscription from Persepolis attributed to Xerxes states: “After I became king, there were (some) among these countries . . . which revolted (but) I crushed (lit.: killed) these countries, . . . and I put them (again) into their (former political) status.” (Ancient Near Eastern Texts, edited by J. B. Pritchard, 1974, p. 317) Political prisoners doubtless resulted from such suppression of uprisings, and the festive time of Esther’s being made queen may have been the occasion for Ahasuerus to efface the charges against such ones and grant them amnesty, or release. (Compare Mt 27:15.) The precise nature of the amnesty, however, remains undetermined.

(ESTHER 2:19)

“Now when virgins were brought together a second time, Morʹde•cai was sitting in the king’s gate.”

*** w86 3/15 p. 24 Divine Deliverance From Genocide ***
2:19, 20—Why did Mordecai ‘sit in the king’s gate’?
Mordecai apparently was one of the officers of King Ahasuerus. Such men of authority generally sat at the gate, waiting to respond to a royal request. Mordecai’s position must have been quite a responsible one. Otherwise, Haman could likely have dismissed him immediately. Mordecai was thus in a position to learn of and to foil a plot to assassinate the king.

(ESTHER 2:21)

“In those days while Morʹde•cai was sitting in the king’s gate, Bigʹthan and Teʹresh, two court officials of the king, doorkeepers, got angry and plotted to do away with King A•has•u•eʹrus.”

*** it-1 p. 519 Court Official ***
Bigthan and Teresh were Medo-Persian court officials who were trusted servants, their duty seemingly being to guard the door of King Ahasuerus’ private apartment. (Es 2:21)

(ESTHER 3:1)

“After this King A•has•u•eʹrus promoted Haʹman the son of Ham•me•daʹtha the Agʹag•ite and exalted him by putting his throne above all the other princes who were with him.”

*** ia chap. 15 p. 131 She Stood Up for God’s People ***
Haman may have been among the very last of the Amalekites, since “the remnant” of them had been destroyed back in the days of King Hezekiah.—1 Chron. 4:43.

*** ia chap. 15 p. 131 par. 18 She Stood Up for God’s People ***
18 A man named Haman rose to prominence in the court of Ahasuerus. The king appointed him prime minister, making Haman his principal adviser and the second in command in the empire. The king even decreed that all who saw this official must bow down to him. (Esther 3:1-4) For Mordecai, that law posed a problem. He believed in obeying the king but not at the cost of disrespecting God. You see, Haman was an Agagite. That evidently means that he was a descendant of Agag, the Amalekite king who was executed by God’s prophet Samuel. (1 Sam. 15:33) So wicked were the Amalekites that they had made themselves enemies of Jehovah and Israel. As a people, the Amalekites stood condemned by God. (Deut. 25:19) How could a faithful Jew bow down to an Amalekite? Mordecai could not. He stood his ground. To this day, men and women of faith have risked their lives to adhere to this principle: “We must obey God as ruler rather than men.”—Acts 5:29.

*** w11 10/1 p. 21 She Stood Up for God’s People ***
A man named Haman rose to prominence in the court of Ahasuerus. The king appointed him prime minister, making Haman his principal adviser and the second in command in the empire. The king even decreed that all who saw this official must bow down to him. (Esther 3:1-4) For Mordecai, that law posed a problem. He believed in obeying the king but not at the cost of disrespecting God. You see, Haman was “an Agagite.” That evidently means that he was a descendant of Agag, the Amalekite king who was executed by God’s prophet Samuel. (1 Samuel 15:33) So wicked were the Amalekites that they had made themselves enemies of Jehovah and Israel. As a people, the Amalekites stood condemned by God. (Deuteronomy 25:19) How could a faithful Jew bow down to a royal Amalekite? Mordecai could not. He stood his ground. To this day, men and women of faith have risked their lives to adhere to this principle: “We must obey God as ruler rather than men.”—Acts 5:29.

*** w11 10/1 p. 21 She Stood Up for God’s People ***
Haman may have been among the very last of the Amalekites, since “the remnant” of them were destroyed back in the days of King Hezekiah.—1 Chronicles 4:43.

*** it-1 p. 56 Agagite ***
AGAGITE
(Agʹag•ite) [Of (Belonging to) Agag].
A term applied to Haman and to his father, Hammedatha, at Esther 3:1, 10; 8:3, 5; 9:24. It apparently designates them as descendants of Agag and hence of Amalekite descent. The Jews traditionally have understood the expression in this way and take the Agag to be the monarch mentioned at 1 Samuel 15:8-33. Josephus refers to Haman as “of Amalekite descent.” (Jewish Antiquities, XI, 209 [vi, 5]) Mordecai was a descendant of Kish of the tribe of Benjamin, thus making him and Haman, in a sense, traditional enemies.—Es 2:5.

*** it-1 p. 87 Amalek ***
There is no further direct mention of the Amalekites in Biblical or secular history. However, “Haman the son of . . . the Agagite” was probably a descendant, for “Agag” was the title or name of certain Amalekite kings. (Es 3:1; Nu 24:7; 1Sa 15:8, 9)

*** it-1 p. 1023 Haman ***
HAMAN
(Haʹman).
Son of Hammedatha the Agagite. The designation “Agagite” may mean that Haman was a royal Amalekite. (Es 3:1; see AGAG No. 1; AGAGITE.) If, indeed, Haman was an Amalekite, this in itself would explain why he harbored such great hatred for the Jews, for Jehovah had decreed the eventual extermination of the Amalekites. (Ex 17:14-16) This was because they showed hatred for God and his people by taking the initiative to sally forth in attack on the Israelites when they were traveling through the wilderness.—Ex 17:8.
Haman was a servant of King Ahasuerus (Xerxes I) of Persia, who ruled early in the fifth century B.C.E. Haman was honored and appointed as prime minister over the Persian Empire.

(ESTHER 3:2)

“And all the king’s servants who were in the king’s gate would bow low and prostrate themselves to Haʹman, for this is what the king had commanded respecting him. But Morʹde•cai refused to bow low or prostrate himself.”

*** ia chap. 15 p. 131 She Stood Up for God’s People ***
Haman may have been among the very last of the Amalekites, since “the remnant” of them had been destroyed back in the days of King Hezekiah.—1 Chron. 4:43.

*** ia chap. 15 p. 131 par. 18 She Stood Up for God’s People ***
18 A man named Haman rose to prominence in the court of Ahasuerus. The king appointed him prime minister, making Haman his principal adviser and the second in command in the empire. The king even decreed that all who saw this official must bow down to him. (Esther 3:1-4) For Mordecai, that law posed a problem. He believed in obeying the king but not at the cost of disrespecting God. You see, Haman was an Agagite. That evidently means that he was a descendant of Agag, the Amalekite king who was executed by God’s prophet Samuel. (1 Sam. 15:33) So wicked were the Amalekites that they had made themselves enemies of Jehovah and Israel. As a people, the Amalekites stood condemned by God. (Deut. 25:19) How could a faithful Jew bow down to an Amalekite? Mordecai could not. He stood his ground. To this day, men and women of faith have risked their lives to adhere to this principle: “We must obey God as ruler rather than men.”—Acts 5:29.

*** w11 10/1 p. 21 She Stood Up for God’s People ***
A man named Haman rose to prominence in the court of Ahasuerus. The king appointed him prime minister, making Haman his principal adviser and the second in command in the empire. The king even decreed that all who saw this official must bow down to him. (Esther 3:1-4) For Mordecai, that law posed a problem. He believed in obeying the king but not at the cost of disrespecting God. You see, Haman was “an Agagite.” That evidently means that he was a descendant of Agag, the Amalekite king who was executed by God’s prophet Samuel. (1 Samuel 15:33) So wicked were the Amalekites that they had made themselves enemies of Jehovah and Israel. As a people, the Amalekites stood condemned by God. (Deuteronomy 25:19) How could a faithful Jew bow down to a royal Amalekite? Mordecai could not. He stood his ground. To this day, men and women of faith have risked their lives to adhere to this principle: “We must obey God as ruler rather than men.”—Acts 5:29.

*** w11 10/1 p. 21 She Stood Up for God’s People ***
Haman may have been among the very last of the Amalekites, since “the remnant” of them were destroyed back in the days of King Hezekiah.—1 Chronicles 4:43.

*** w06 3/1 p. 9 par. 4 Highlights From the Book of Esther ***
3:2; 5:9—Why did Mordecai refuse to bow down to Haman? It was not wrong for the Israelites to acknowledge the superior position of an exalted personage by prostrating themselves. However, in the case of Haman, more was involved. Haman was an Agagite, probably an Amalekite, and Jehovah had marked Amalek for extermination. (Deuteronomy 25:19) For Mordecai, bowing down to Haman was an issue of integrity to Jehovah. He flatly refused, stating that he was a Jew.—Esther 3:3, 4.

*** it-2 p. 431 Mordecai ***
Refuses to Bow to Haman. Subsequent to this, Haman the Agagite was made prime minister by Ahasuerus, who ordered that all in the king’s gate prostrate themselves before Haman in his newly exalted position. Mordecai staunchly refused to do so and gave as a reason that he was a Jew. (Es 3:1-4) The fact that Mordecai based his action on this reason proves that it had to do with his relationship, as a dedicated Jew, to his God Jehovah. He recognized that prostrating himself before Haman involved more than falling down to the earth for an exalted personage, as Israelites had done in the past, merely acknowledging such a one’s superior position as ruler. (2Sa 14:4; 18:28; 1Ki 1:16) In Haman’s case there was good reason why Mordecai did not bow. Haman was probably an Amalekite, and Jehovah had expressed himself as being at war with Amalek “from generation to generation.” (Ex 17:16; see HAMAN.) It was a matter of integrity to God and not a political issue on Mordecai’s part.

*** w86 3/15 p. 24 Divine Deliverance From Genocide ***
Read 3:1–5:14. Ahasuerus makes an Amalekite named Haman prime minister. But Mordecai, mindful that Jehovah had determined to “have war with Amalek from generation to generation,” refuses to prostrate himself before Haman. (Exodus 17:8-16) In retaliation, proud Haman persuades the king to annihilate the Jews!

(ESTHER 3:4)

“Day after day they would ask him, but he would not listen to them. Then they told Haʹman to see whether Morʹde•cai’s conduct would be tolerated; for he had told them that he was a Jew.”

*** w06 3/1 p. 10 par. 2 Highlights From the Book of Esther ***
3:4. In some situations, it may be prudent to remain silent about our identity, as Esther was about hers. However, when it comes to taking a stand on important issues, such as Jehovah’s sovereignty and our integrity, we must not be afraid to make known that we are Jehovah’s Witnesses.

*** it-2 p. 431 Mordecai ***
Refuses to Bow to Haman. Subsequent to this, Haman the Agagite was made prime minister by Ahasuerus, who ordered that all in the king’s gate prostrate themselves before Haman in his newly exalted position. Mordecai staunchly refused to do so and gave as a reason that he was a Jew. (Es 3:1-4) The fact that Mordecai based his action on this reason proves that it had to do with his relationship, as a dedicated Jew, to his God Jehovah. He recognized that prostrating himself before Haman involved more than falling down to the earth for an exalted personage, as Israelites had done in the past, merely acknowledging such a one’s superior position as ruler. (2Sa 14:4; 18:28; 1Ki 1:16) In Haman’s case there was good reason why Mordecai did not bow. Haman was probably an Amalekite, and Jehovah had expressed himself as being at war with Amalek “from generation to generation.” (Ex 17:16; see HAMAN.) It was a matter of integrity to God and not a political issue on Mordecai’s part.

(ESTHER 3:5)

“Now when Haʹman saw that Morʹde•cai refused to bow low and prostrate himself to him, Haʹman became filled with rage.”

*** it-1 p. 216 Attitudes and Gestures ***
Although it was a common thing for the Jews to bow before authority to show respect, Mordecai refused to bow before Haman. This was because Haman, as an Agagite, was very likely an Amalekite, concerning whom Jehovah had said that he would completely wipe out their remembrance from under the heavens and that he would have war with Amalek from generation to generation. (Ex 17:14-16) Since bowing down or prostration would have a connotation of peace toward Haman, Mordecai refused to perform this act, because he would have violated God’s command in doing so.—Es 3:5.

(ESTHER 3:7)

“In the first month, that is, the month of Niʹsan, in the 12th year of King A•has•u•eʹrus, they cast Pur (that is, the Lot) before Haʹman to determine the day and the month, and it fell on the 12th month, that is, Aʹdar.”

*** nwt p. 1692 Glossary ***
Adar. After the Babylonian exile, the name of the 12th month of the Jewish sacred calendar and the 6th month of the secular calendar. It ran from mid-February to mid-March. (Es 3:7)—See App. B15.

*** nwt p. 1796 B15 Hebrew Calendar ***
ADAR February—March
14, 15 Purim
Frequent thunder and hail
Flax

*** it-1 p. 638 Divination ***
Wicked Haman had “someone [evidently an astrologer] cast Pur, that is, the Lot, . . . from day to day and from month to month,” in order to determine the most favorable time to have Jehovah’s people exterminated. (Es 3:7-9) Regarding this text, one commentary says: “In resorting to this method of ascertaining the most auspicious day for putting his atrocious scheme into execution, Haman acted as the kings and nobles of Persia have always done, never engaging in any enterprise without consulting the astrologers, and being satisfied as to the lucky hour.” (Commentary on the Whole Bible, by Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown) Based on this divination, Haman immediately set in motion his wicked scheme. However, Jehovah’s power to deliver his people was again demonstrated, and Haman, who trusted in divination, was hanged on the very stake he had prepared for Mordecai.—Es 9:24, 25.

*** it-1 p. 1024 Haman ***
Haman manifested the traits of the Amalekites. He was obviously a worshiper of false gods, and he perhaps relied on astrologers when having lots cast to determine the auspicious day for the destruction of the Jews. (Es 3:7; see LOT, I.)

*** it-2 p. 715 Pur ***
PUR
A non-Hebrew word found at Esther 3:7 and 9:24, 26; it means “lot” (Heb., goh•ralʹ; see LOT, I). This is the singular form, the plural being “Purim.” (Es 9:26, 28-32) “Pur” is linked with an Akkadian word, puru, meaning “lot.” It is the source of the name of the Jewish festival Purim.—See PURIM.

*** it-2 p. 716 Purim ***
The name comes from the act of Haman in casting pur (lot) to determine the auspicious day to carry out an extermination plot against the Jews. Being an Agagite, perhaps a royal Amalekite, and a worshiper of pagan deities, he was resorting to this as “a species of divination.” (Es 3:7, Le, ftn; see DIVINATION; LOT, I; PUR.)

*** w86 3/15 p. 24 Divine Deliverance From Genocide ***
3:7—What was involved in casting Pur?
“Pur” appears to be a Persian word meaning “lot.” Lots were often cast by astrologers as a form of divination. Likely, this was done so as to determine the most auspicious time for Haman to carry out his plan of genocide.

(ESTHER 3:8)

“Haʹman then said to King A•has•u•eʹrus: “There is a certain people scattered and dispersed among the peoples in all the provinces of your realm, whose laws are different from those of all other peoples; and they do not obey the king’s laws, and it is not in the king’s interests to let them be.”

*** ia chap. 15 p. 131 par. 19 She Stood Up for God’s People ***
Haman persuaded the king by painting a dark portrait of the Jews. Without naming them, he implied that they were inconsequential, a people “scattered and separated among the peoples.” Even worse, he said that they did not obey the king’s laws; hence, they were dangerous rebels.

*** ia chap. 15 p. 131 par. 19 She Stood Up for God’s People ***
Esther 3:5-10.

*** w11 10/1 p. 21 She Stood Up for God’s People ***
Haman spoke to the king, painting a dark portrait of the Jews. Without naming them, he implied that they were inconsequential, a people “scattered and separated among the peoples.” Even worse, he said that they did not obey the king’s laws; hence, they were dangerous rebels.

*** w11 10/1 p. 21 She Stood Up for God’s People ***
Esther 3:5-10

(ESTHER 3:9)

“If it pleases the king, let a decree be written that they be destroyed. I will pay 10,000 silver talents to the officials to put into the royal treasury.””

*** ia chap. 15 p. 131 par. 19 She Stood Up for God’s People ***
He proposed to donate to the king’s treasury an immense sum of money to cover the expense of slaughtering all the Jews in the empire.

*** ia chap. 15 p. 131 par. 19 She Stood Up for God’s People ***
Esther 3:5-10.

*** ia chap. 15 p. 131 She Stood Up for God’s People ***
Haman offered 10,000 silver talents, worth hundreds of millions of dollars today. If Ahasuerus was Xerxes I, the money might have made Haman’s offer more appealing. Xerxes needed a vast store of funds to carry out his long-proposed but ultimately disastrous war against Greece.

*** w11 10/1 p. 21 She Stood Up for God’s People ***
Esther 3:5-10

*** w11 10/1 p. 21 She Stood Up for God’s People ***
He proposed to donate to the king’s treasury an immense sum of money to cover the expense of slaughtering all the Jews in the empire.

*** w11 10/1 p. 21 She Stood Up for God’s People ***
Haman offered 10,000 silver talents, worth hundreds of millions of dollars today. If Ahasuerus was Xerxes I, the money might have made Haman’s offer more appealing. Xerxes needed a vast store of funds to carry out his long-proposed but ultimately disastrous war against Greece.

*** it-1 pp. 1023-1024 Haman ***
He added an economic appeal, saying to the king: “Let there be a writing that they be destroyed; and ten thousand silver talents [c. $66,060,000] I shall pay into the hands of those doing the work by bringing it into the king’s treasury.”

(ESTHER 3:13)

“The letters were sent by means of couriers to all the king’s provinces, giving the order to annihilate, to kill, and to destroy all the Jews, young and old alike, children and women, on a single day, on the 13th day of the 12th month, that is, the month of Aʹdar, and to seize their possessions.”

*** ia chap. 15 p. 132 par. 20 She Stood Up for God’s People ***
20 Soon messengers were speeding on horseback to every corner of the vast empire, delivering what amounted to a death sentence on the Jewish people. Imagine the impact of such a proclamation when it reached far-off Jerusalem, where a remnant of Jews who had returned from exile in Babylon were struggling to rebuild a city that still had no wall to defend it.

*** w11 10/1 pp. 21-22 She Stood Up for God’s People ***
Soon messengers were speeding on horseback to every corner of the vast empire, delivering a death sentence to the Jewish people. Imagine the impact of such a proclamation when it reached far-off Jerusalem, where a remnant of Jews who had returned from exile in Babylon were struggling to rebuild a city that still had no wall to defend it.

*** it-1 p. 516 Courier ***
COURIER
A man especially selected from the royal bodyguard to deliver royal decrees and other urgent correspondence from a king to distant areas of his realm. The speed of delivery by couriers (Heb., ra•tsimʹ; literally, runners) was of prime importance. From early times such men were referred to as “runners.” They are called this at 2 Chronicles 30:6, 10; Jeremiah 51:31.
In the Persian Empire fast horses were used, along with relay stations, or posts, where fresh couriers and horses waited to carry important messages on their way. (Es 3:13-15; 8:10, 14)

*** it-1 p. 797 Ezra ***
He undoubtedly lived during the rule of Ahasuerus, in the time of Mordecai and Esther, at the time the decree went out to exterminate the Jews throughout the Persian Empire. There were many Jews living in Babylon, so this national crisis must have made an indelible imprint on Ezra, strengthening him in faith in Jehovah’s care for and deliverance of his people and serving as training, maturing him in judgment and competence to accomplish the tremendous task later set before him.—Es 1:1; 3:7, 12, 13; 8:9; 9:1.

(ESTHER 3:15)

“The couriers went out quickly by order of the king; the law was issued in Shuʹshan the citadel. The king and Haʹman then sat down to drink, but the city of Shuʹshan was in confusion.”

*** ia chap. 15 p. 132 par. 20 She Stood Up for God’s People ***
Haman, however, sat drinking with the king, unmoved by the grief he had stirred up among the many Jews and their friends in Shushan.—Read Esther 3:12–4:1.

*** w11 10/1 p. 22 She Stood Up for God’s People ***
Haman, however, sat drinking with the king, unmoved by the grief he had stirred up among the many Jews and their friends in Shushan.—Esther 3:12–4:1.

(ESTHER 4:1)

“When Morʹde•cai learned of everything that had been done, he ripped his garments apart and put on sackcloth and ashes. Then he went out into the middle of the city, crying out loudly and bitterly.”

*** ia chap. 15 p. 132 par. 20 She Stood Up for God’s People ***
Esther 3:12–4:1.

*** ia chap. 15 p. 132 par. 20 She Stood Up for God’s People ***
Imagine the impact of such a proclamation when it reached far-off Jerusalem, where a remnant of Jews who had returned from exile in Babylon were struggling to rebuild a city that still had no wall to defend it. Perhaps Mordecai thought of them, as well as of his own friends and relatives in Shushan, when he heard the terrible news. Distraught, he ripped his clothes, wore sackcloth and placed ashes on his head, and cried aloud in the middle of the city.

*** w11 10/1 p. 22 She Stood Up for God’s People ***
Esther 3:12–4:1

*** w11 10/1 pp. 21-22 She Stood Up for God’s People ***
Imagine the impact of such a proclamation when it reached far-off Jerusalem, where a remnant of Jews who had returned from exile in Babylon were struggling to rebuild a city that still had no wall to defend it. Perhaps Mordecai thought of them, as well as of his own friends and relatives in Shushan, when he heard the terrible news. Distraught, he ripped his clothes, wore sackcloth and placed ashes on his head, and cried aloud in the middle of the city.

(ESTHER 4:3)

“And in every province where the king’s word and his decree reached, there was great mourning among the Jews, along with fasting and weeping and wailing. Many were lying down in sackcloth and ashes.”

*** it-1 p. 217 Attitudes and Gestures ***
Grief was often expressed by the ripping of garments (1Sa 4:12; Job 2:12; see RIPPING OF GARMENTS) and sometimes by putting ashes on the head. (2Sa 13:19) When the Jews were condemned to destruction at the hands of their enemies by the order of King Ahasuerus, “sackcloth and ashes themselves came to be spread out as a couch for many.” (Es 4:3)

*** w86 3/15 p. 24 Divine Deliverance From Genocide ***
4:3—Why did Mordecai and the Jews fast?
Because a national calamity was imminent, it was a time for somber, serious thinking. (Ecclesiastes 3:4) They sorely needed divine guidance. Fasting thus signified their turning to Jehovah for needed strength and wisdom. When faced with trials, do you also turn prayerfully to God?—Hebrews 5:7.

(ESTHER 4:11)

““All the king’s servants and the people of the king’s provinces are aware that if any man or woman goes into the king’s inner courtyard without being summoned, there is only one law that applies: He is to be put to death; he may live only if the king holds out to him the golden scepter. And I have not been summoned to the king now for 30 days.””

*** ia chap. 15 p. 133 par. 22 She Stood Up for God’s People ***
She was afraid, as she freely revealed in her reply to Mordecai. She reminded him of the king’s law. To appear before the king unsummoned meant a death sentence. Only if the king held out his golden scepter was the offender spared. And did Esther have any reason to expect such clemency, especially in view of Vashti’s fate when she had refused the king’s command to appear? Esther told Mordecai that the king had not invited her to see him in 30 days! Such neglect left her plenty of reason to wonder if she had fallen out of favor with this capricious monarch.—Esther 4:9-11.

*** ia chap. 15 p. 133 She Stood Up for God’s People ***
Xerxes I was known for his mercurial, violent temper. The Greek historian Herodotus recorded some examples from Xerxes’ war against Greece. The king ordered that a pontoon bridge of ships be built across the strait of Hellespont. When a storm ruined the bridge, Xerxes ordered the engineers beheaded and even had his men “punish” the Hellespont by whipping the water while an insulting proclamation was read aloud. In the same campaign, when a wealthy man begged that his son be excused from joining the army, Xerxes had the son cut in half, his body displayed as a warning.

*** w11 10/1 pp. 22-23 She Stood Up for God’s People ***
She was afraid, as she freely revealed in her reply to Mordecai. She reminded him of the king’s law. To appear before the king unsummoned meant a death sentence. Only if the king held out his golden scepter was the offender spared. And did Esther have any reason to expect such clemency, especially in view of Vashti’s fate when she refused to appear when bidden to do so? She told Mordecai that the king had not invited her to see him in 30 days! Such neglect left her plenty of reason to wonder if she had fallen out of the capricious monarch’s favor.—Esther 4:9-11.

*** w11 10/1 p. 23 She Stood Up for God’s People ***
Xerxes I was known for his mercurial, violent temper. The Greek historian Herodotus recorded some examples from Xerxes’ war against Greece. The king ordered that a pontoon bridge of ships be built across the strait of Hellespont. When a storm ruined the bridge, Xerxes ordered the engineers beheaded and even had his men “punish” the Hellespont by whipping the water while an insulting proclamation was read aloud. In the same campaign, when a wealthy man begged that his son be excused from joining the army, Xerxes had the son cut in half, his body displayed as a warning.

(ESTHER 4:14)

“For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance will come to the Jews from another source, but you and your father’s house will perish. And who knows whether it is for a time like this that you have attained to your royal status?””

*** ia chap. 15 pp. 133-134 par. 23 She Stood Up for God’s People ***
23 Mordecai replied firmly to bolster Esther’s faith. He assured her that if she failed to act, salvation for the Jews would arise from some other source. But how could she expect to be spared once the persecution gathered force? Here Mordecai showed his profound faith in Jehovah, who would never let His people be exterminated and His promises go unfulfilled. (Josh. 23:14) Then Mordecai asked Esther: “Who is there knowing whether it is for a time like this that you have attained to royal dignity?” (Esther 4:12-14) Is not Mordecai worthy of imitation? He trusted completely in his God, Jehovah. Do we?—Prov. 3:5, 6.

*** w11 10/1 p. 23 She Stood Up for God’s People ***
Mordecai replied firmly to bolster Esther’s faith. He assured her that if she failed to act, salvation for the Jews would arise from some other source. But how could she expect to be spared once the persecution gathered force? Here Mordecai showed his profound faith in Jehovah, who would never let His people be exterminated and His promises go unfulfilled. (Joshua 23:14) Then Mordecai asked Esther: “Who is there knowing whether it is for a time like this that you have attained to royal dignity?” (Esther 4:12-14) Mordecai trusted completely in his God, Jehovah. Do we?—Proverbs 3:5, 6.

*** w86 3/15 p. 24 Divine Deliverance From Genocide ***
Read 3:1–5:14. Ahasuerus makes an Amalekite named Haman prime minister. But Mordecai, mindful that Jehovah had determined to “have war with Amalek from generation to generation,” refuses to prostrate himself before Haman. (Exodus 17:8-16) In retaliation, proud Haman persuades the king to annihilate the Jews!
Mordecai asks Esther to intervene, reminding her that, if she is silent, “relief and deliverance themselves will stand up for the Jews from another place.” Since the fate of Jehovah’s people and his judgment against the Amalekites are at issue, Mordecai is confident that God will provide escape. (1 Samuel 12:22)

(ESTHER 4:16)

““Go, gather all the Jews who are found in Shuʹshan and fast in my behalf. Do not eat or drink for three days, night and day. I along with my female attendants will also fast. I will go in to the king, which is against the law, and if I am to perish, I will perish.””

*** w06 3/1 p. 10 par. 6 Highlights From the Book of Esther ***
4:16. With full reliance on Jehovah, Esther faithfully and courageously faced a situation that could have resulted in her death. It is vital that we learn to rely on Jehovah and not on ourselves.

*** it-2 p. 717 Purim ***
Esther’s fasting before entering the king’s presence with her original petition, a banquet invitation, indicated her appeal to God for help.—Es 4:16.

(ESTHER 5:1)

“On the third day Esther put on her royal robes and stood in the inner courtyard of the king’s house, opposite the king’s house, while the king was sitting on his royal throne in the royal house opposite the entrance.”

*** ia chap. 15 p. 125 pars. 1-2 She Stood Up for God’s People ***
ESTHER tried to calm her heart as she approached the courtyard in the palace at Shushan. It was not easy. Everything about the castle was designed to inspire awe—its multicolored relief sculptures of winged bulls, archers, and lions of glazed brickwork, its fluted stone columns and imposing statues, even its position atop huge platforms near the snowcapped Zagros Mountains and overlooking the pure waters of the river Choaspes. All of it was intended to remind each visitor of the immense power of the man whom Esther was going to see, the one who called himself “the great king.” He was also her husband.
2 Husband! How different Ahasuerus was from the kind of husband any faithful Jewish girl might have expected! He did not look to such examples as Abraham, a man who humbly accepted God’s direction to listen to Sarah, his wife. (Gen. 21:12) The king knew little or nothing of Esther’s God, Jehovah, or of His Law. Ahasuerus knew Persian law, though, including a law forbidding the very thing that Esther was about to do. What was that? Well, the law said that anyone who appeared before the Persian monarch without first being summoned by the king was liable to death. Esther had not been summoned, but she was going to the king anyway. As she drew near to the inner courtyard, where she would be visible from the king’s throne, she may have felt that she was walking to her death.—Read Esther 4:11; 5:1.

*** ia chap. 16 p. 135 pars. 1-2 She Acted Wisely, Bravely, and Selflessly ***
ESTHER slowly approached the throne, her heart racing. Imagine a hush falling over the great royal chamber in the Persian palace of Shushan, a silence so profound that Esther could hear her own soft footsteps and the rustling of her royal garments. She could not let her attention wander to the grandeur of the royal court, the graceful columns, the richly carved ceiling of cedars imported from distant Lebanon. She trained all her attention on the man seated on the throne, the man who held her life in his hands.
2 The king watched intently as Esther approached, extending his golden scepter toward her. It was a simple gesture, but it meant Esther’s life, for by it the king excused her from the offense she had just committed—that of appearing before him without a royal invitation. As she came to the throne, Esther reached out and gratefully touched the top of the scepter.—Esther 5:1, 2.

*** w12 1/1 p. 24 She Acted Wisely, Bravely, and Selflessly ***
ESTHER slowly approached the throne, her heart racing. Imagine a hush falling over the great royal chamber in the Persian palace of Shushan, a silence so profound that Esther could hear her own soft footsteps and the rustling of her royal garments. She could not let her attention wander to the grandeur of the royal court, the graceful columns, the richly carved ceiling of cedars imported from distant Lebanon. She trained all her attention on the man seated upon the throne, the man who held her life in his hands.
The king watched her intently as she approached, extending his golden scepter toward her. It was a simple gesture, but it meant Esther’s life, for by it the king excused her from the offense she had just committed—that of appearing before him without a royal invitation. As she came to the throne, Esther reached out and gratefully touched the top of the scepter.—Esther 5:1, 2.

*** w11 10/1 p. 18 She Stood Up for God’s People ***
ESTHER tried to calm her heart as she approached the courtyard in the palace at Shushan. It was not easy. Everything about the castle—its multicolored relief sculptures of winged bulls, archers, and lions of glazed brickwork, its fluted stone columns and imposing statues, even its position atop huge platforms near the snowcapped Zagros Mountains and overlooking the pure waters of the river Choaspes—was designed to remind each visitor of the immense power of the man whom she was going to see, the one who called himself “the great king.” He was also her husband.
Husband! How different Ahasuerus was from the kind of husband any faithful Jewish girl might have expected! He looked to no examples such as Abraham, a man who humbly accepted God’s direction to listen to Sarah, his wife. (Genesis 21:12) The king knew little or nothing of Esther’s God, Jehovah, or of His Law. Ahasuerus knew Persian law, though, including a law forbidding the very thing that Esther was about to do. What was that? Well, the law said that anyone who appeared before the Persian monarch without first being summoned by the king was liable to death. Esther had not been summoned, but she was going to the king anyway. As she drew near to the inner courtyard, where she would be visible from the king’s throne, she may have felt that she was walking to her death.—Esther 4:11; 5:1.

*** it-1 p. 764 Esther, Book of ***
Esther “took her stand in the inner courtyard of the king’s house opposite the king’s house, while the king was sitting on his royal throne in the royal house opposite the entrance of the house. And it came about that, as soon as the king saw Esther the queen standing in the courtyard, she gained favor in his eyes.” (Es 5:1, 2) Excavations have revealed that the detail of the description is exact. A corridor led from the House of the Women to the inner court, and at the side of the court opposite the corridor was the hall, or throne room, of the palace. The throne was placed in the center of the farther wall, and from this vantage point the king could look over the screen that intervened and could see the queen waiting for an audience.

(ESTHER 5:2)

“As soon as the king saw Queen Esther standing in the courtyard, she gained his favor, and the king held out to Esther the golden scepter that was in his hand. Esther then approached and touched the top of the scepter.”

*** ia chap. 16 p. 135 pars. 1-2 She Acted Wisely, Bravely, and Selflessly ***
ESTHER slowly approached the throne, her heart racing. Imagine a hush falling over the great royal chamber in the Persian palace of Shushan, a silence so profound that Esther could hear her own soft footsteps and the rustling of her royal garments. She could not let her attention wander to the grandeur of the royal court, the graceful columns, the richly carved ceiling of cedars imported from distant Lebanon. She trained all her attention on the man seated on the throne, the man who held her life in his hands.
2 The king watched intently as Esther approached, extending his golden scepter toward her. It was a simple gesture, but it meant Esther’s life, for by it the king excused her from the offense she had just committed—that of appearing before him without a royal invitation. As she came to the throne, Esther reached out and gratefully touched the top of the scepter.—Esther 5:1, 2.

*** w12 1/1 p. 24 She Acted Wisely, Bravely, and Selflessly ***
ESTHER slowly approached the throne, her heart racing. Imagine a hush falling over the great royal chamber in the Persian palace of Shushan, a silence so profound that Esther could hear her own soft footsteps and the rustling of her royal garments. She could not let her attention wander to the grandeur of the royal court, the graceful columns, the richly carved ceiling of cedars imported from distant Lebanon. She trained all her attention on the man seated upon the throne, the man who held her life in his hands.
The king watched her intently as she approached, extending his golden scepter toward her. It was a simple gesture, but it meant Esther’s life, for by it the king excused her from the offense she had just committed—that of appearing before him without a royal invitation. As she came to the throne, Esther reached out and gratefully touched the top of the scepter.—Esther 5:1, 2.

*** it-1 p. 764 Esther, Book of ***
Esther “took her stand in the inner courtyard of the king’s house opposite the king’s house, while the king was sitting on his royal throne in the royal house opposite the entrance of the house. And it came about that, as soon as the king saw Esther the queen standing in the courtyard, she gained favor in his eyes.” (Es 5:1, 2) Excavations have revealed that the detail of the description is exact. A corridor led from the House of the Women to the inner court, and at the side of the court opposite the corridor was the hall, or throne room, of the palace. The throne was placed in the center of the farther wall, and from this vantage point the king could look over the screen that intervened and could see the queen waiting for an audience.

(ESTHER 5:3)

“The king asked her: “What is the matter, Queen Esther? What is your request? Even to the half of my kingdom, it will be granted you!””

*** ia chap. 16 p. 135 par. 3 She Acted Wisely, Bravely, and Selflessly ***
3 Everything about King Ahasuerus bespoke his immense wealth and power. The royal garb of the Persian monarchs of those times reputedly cost the equivalent of hundreds of millions of dollars. Yet, Esther could see some warmth in her husband’s eyes; in his own way, he did love her. He said: “What do you have, O Esther the queen, and what is your request? To the half of the kingship—let it even be given to you!”—Esther 5:3.

*** w12 1/1 p. 24 She Acted Wisely, Bravely, and Selflessly ***
Everything about King Ahasuerus bespoke his immense wealth and power. The royal garb of the Persian monarchs of those times reputedly cost the equivalent of hundreds of millions of dollars. Yet, Esther could see some warmth in her husband’s eyes; in his own way, he did love her. He said: “What do you have, O Esther the queen, and what is your request? To the half of the kingship—let it even be given to you!”—Esther 5:3.

(ESTHER 5:4)

“Esther replied: “If it pleases the king, let the king along with Haʹman come today to the banquet that I have prepared for him.””

*** ia chap. 16 pp. 136-137 She Acted Wisely, Bravely, and Selflessly ***
She Wisely Chose “a Time to Speak”
5 Should Esther have revealed to the king the whole problem in front of his court? Doing so might have humiliated him and given his adviser Haman time to dispute her charges. So, what did Esther do? Centuries earlier, wise King Solomon was inspired to write: “For everything there is an appointed time, . . . a time to keep quiet and a time to speak.” (Eccl. 3:1, 7) We may imagine Esther’s adoptive father, the faithful man Mordecai, teaching the young woman such principles as she grew up under his care. Esther certainly understood the importance of choosing carefully the “time to speak.”
6 Esther said: “If to the king it does seem good, let the king with Haman come today to the banquet that I have made for him.” (Esther 5:4) The king agreed and had Haman summoned. Can you see how wisely Esther spoke? She preserved her husband’s dignity and created a more suitable setting for revealing her concerns to him.—Read Proverbs 10:19.

*** w12 1/1 pp. 24-25 She Acted Wisely, Bravely, and Selflessly ***
She Wisely Chose “a Time to Speak”
Should Esther have revealed to the king the whole problem in front of his court? Doing so might have humiliated him and given his adviser Haman time to dispute her charges. So what did Esther do? Centuries earlier, wise King Solomon was inspired to write: “For everything there is an appointed time, . . . a time to keep quiet and a time to speak.” (Ecclesiastes 3:1, 7) We may imagine Esther’s adoptive father, the faithful man Mordecai, teaching the young woman such principles as she grew up under his care. Esther certainly understood the importance of choosing carefully the “time to speak.”
Esther said: “If to the king it does seem good, let the king with Haman come today to the banquet that I have made for him.” (Esther 5:4) The king agreed and had Haman summoned. Can you see how wisely Esther spoke? She preserved her husband’s dignity and created a more suitable setting for revealing her concerns to him.

(ESTHER 5:8)

“If I have found favor with the king and if it pleases the king to grant my petition and to act on my request, let the king and Haʹman come to the banquet that I will hold for them tomorrow; and tomorrow I will do as the king says.””

*** ia chap. 16 pp. 137-138 pars. 7-8 She Acted Wisely, Bravely, and Selflessly ***
Ahasuerus enjoyed himself, and he was moved to ask Esther again what her petition might be. Was this now the time to speak?
8 Esther thought not. Rather, she invited the king and Haman to come to a second banquet, on the following day. (Esther 5:7, 8) Why did she delay? Remember, all of Esther’s people were facing death by the king’s decree. With so much at stake, Esther had to be sure that the time was right. So she waited, creating yet another opportunity to show her husband how highly she regarded him.

*** w12 1/1 p. 25 She Acted Wisely, Bravely, and Selflessly ***
Ahasuerus enjoyed himself, and he was moved to ask Esther again what her petition might be. Was this now the time to speak?
Esther thought not. Rather, she invited the king and Haman to come to a second banquet, on the following day. (Esther 5:7, 8) Why did she delay? Remember, all of Esther’s people were facing death by the king’s decree. With so much at stake, Esther had to be sure that the moment was right. So she waited, creating yet another opportunity to show her husband how highly she regarded him.

*** w86 3/15 p. 24 Divine Deliverance From Genocide ***
5:6-8—Why did Esther delay informing the king?
Esther’s courage certainly had not failed her, since she had already risked death. Probably, however, she first wanted to win the king’s goodwill. Hence, she invited him to a second banquet. Divine direction was also involved, since the ensuing interim allowed for certain developments.

(ESTHER 5:9)

“On that day Haʹman went out joyful and with a cheerful heart. But when Haʹman saw Morʹde•cai in the king’s gate and noticed that he did not rise and tremble in his presence, Haʹman was filled with rage against Morʹde•cai.”

*** ia chap. 16 p. 139 par. 10 She Acted Wisely, Bravely, and Selflessly ***
10 Esther’s patience paved the way for a remarkable chain of events. Haman left the first banquet in high spirits, “joyful and merry of heart” that the king and queen favored him so. As Haman passed through the castle gate, though, his eyes fell on Mordecai, that Jew who still refused to pay him special homage. As we noted in the preceding chapter, Mordecai’s reasons had nothing to do with disrespect but, rather, with his conscience and his relationship with Jehovah God. Yet, Haman “was immediately filled with rage.”—Esther 5:9.

*** w12 1/1 p. 25 She Acted Wisely, Bravely, and Selflessly ***
Esther’s patience paved the way for a remarkable chain of events. Haman left the first banquet in high spirits, “joyful and merry of heart” that the king and queen favored him so. As Haman passed through the castle gate, though, his eyes fell upon Mordecai, that Jew who still refused to pay him special homage. Mordecai’s reasons had nothing to do with disrespect but, rather, with his conscience and his relationship with Jehovah God. Yet, Haman “was immediately filled with rage.”—Esther 5:9.

(ESTHER 5:10)

“However, Haʹman restrained himself and went to his house. Then he sent for his friends and Zeʹresh his wife.”

*** w93 8/15 p. 20 par. 10 Let Your Self-Control Exist and Overflow ***
10 Consider, too, an example from the days of Mordecai and Esther. The official named Haman became angry that Mordecai would not bow to him. Later Haman erroneously thought he would be favored. “Haman went out on that day joyful and merry of heart; but as soon as Haman saw Mordecai in the king’s gate and that he did not rise and did not quake on account of him, Haman was immediately filled with rage against Mordecai. However, Haman kept control of himself and came into his house.” (Esther 5:9, 10) He was quick to feel the emotion of joy. Yet he was also quick to feel rage at the mere sight of one against whom he held a grudge. Do you think that when the Bible says that Haman “kept control of himself” it meant he was exemplary in self-control? Hardly. For the time being, Haman controlled his actions and any show of emotion, but he failed to control his jealous rage. His emotions led him to plot murder.

(ESTHER 5:14)

“So Zeʹresh his wife and all his friends said to him: “Have a stake put up, 50 cubits high. And in the morning tell the king that Morʹde•cai should be hanged on it. Then go with the king to enjoy yourself at the banquet.” This suggestion seemed good to Haʹman, so he had the stake put up.”

*** ia chap. 16 p. 139 par. 11 She Acted Wisely, Bravely, and Selflessly ***
11 When Haman told his wife and friends of this slight, they urged him to prepare a huge stake, over 72 feet (22 m) tall, and then to ask the king’s permission to hang Mordecai on it. Haman liked their idea and immediately set about the task.—Esther 5:12-14.

*** w12 1/1 p. 26 She Acted Wisely, Bravely, and Selflessly ***
When Haman told his wife and friends of this slight, they urged him to prepare a huge stake, over 72 feet (22 m) tall, and then to ask the king’s permission to hang Mordecai on it. Haman liked their idea and immediately set about the task.—Esther 5:12-14.

February 29–March 6, 2016
Esther 6-10

(ESTHER 6:1)

“That night the king could not sleep. So he said to bring the book of the historical records of the times, and it was read to the king.”

*** w86 3/15 p. 25 Divine Deliverance From Genocide ***
Read 6:1–7:10. Ahasuerus suffers from sleeplessness, no doubt divinely induced. Possibly feeling that he has failed in some way, he has the book of records, perhaps the royal diary, read to him.

(ESTHER 7:2)

“The king said to Esther again on the second day during the banquet of wine: “What is your petition, Queen Esther? It will be granted you. And what is your request? Even to the half of my kingdom, it will be done!””

*** ia chap. 16 p. 140 par. 16 She Acted Wisely, Bravely, and Selflessly ***
16 Esther dared not test the king’s patience any further; at her second banquet, she had to tell all. But how? As it turned out, the king gave her the opportunity, asking again what her petition might be. (Esther 7:2) Esther’s “time to speak” had come.

*** w12 1/1 p. 26 She Acted Wisely, Bravely, and Selflessly ***
Esther dared not test the king’s patience any further; at her second banquet, she had to tell all. But how? As it turned out, the king gave her the opportunity, asking again what her petition might be. (Esther 7:2) Esther’s “time to speak” had come.

(ESTHER 7:3)

“Queen Esther answered: “If I have found favor with you, O king, and if it pleases the king, let my life be granted as my petition, and my people as my request.”

*** ia chap. 16 pp. 140-141 par. 17 She Acted Wisely, Bravely, and Selflessly ***
17 We may imagine Esther saying a silent prayer to her God before uttering these words: “If I have found favor in your eyes, O king, and if to the king it does seem good, let there be given me my own soul at my petition and my people at my request.” (Esther 7:3) Notice that she assured the king that she respected his judgment regarding what seemed good. How Esther differed from Vashti, the king’s former wife, who had purposely humiliated her husband! (Esther 1:10-12) Further, Esther did not criticize the king for his folly of trusting in Haman. Rather, she begged the king to protect her from a danger to her own life.

*** w12 1/1 pp. 26-27 She Acted Wisely, Bravely, and Selflessly ***
We may imagine Esther saying a silent prayer to her God before uttering these words: “If I have found favor in your eyes, O king, and if to the king it does seem good, let there be given me my own soul at my petition and my people at my request.” (Esther 7:3) Notice that she assured the king that she respected his judgment regarding what seemed good. How Esther differed from Vashti, the king’s previous wife, who had purposely humiliated her husband! (Esther 1:10-12) Further, Esther did not criticize the king’s folly of trusting in Haman. Rather, she begged the king to protect her from a danger to her own life.

(ESTHER 7:4)

“For we have been sold, I and my people, to be annihilated, killed, and destroyed. If we had simply been sold as male and female slaves, I would have kept silent. But the distress is not proper, for it will be damaging to the king.””

*** ia chap. 16 p. 141 par. 18 She Acted Wisely, Bravely, and Selflessly ***
18 That request surely moved and amazed the king. Who would dare endanger his queen? Esther went on: “We have been sold, I and my people, to be annihilated, killed and destroyed. Now if we had been sold for mere men slaves and for mere maidservants, I should have kept silent. But the distress is not appropriate when with damage to the king.” (Esther 7:4) Note that Esther frankly exposed the problem, yet she added that she would have kept quiet about it if mere slavery had been the threat. This genocide, though, would be too costly to the king himself to keep quiet about it.

*** w12 1/1 p. 27 She Acted Wisely, Bravely, and Selflessly ***
That request surely moved and amazed the king. Who would dare endanger his queen? Esther went on: “We have been sold, I and my people, to be annihilated, killed and destroyed. Now if we had been sold for mere men slaves and for mere maidservants, I should have kept silent. But the distress is not appropriate when with damage to the king.” (Esther 7:4) Note that Esther frankly exposed the problem, yet she added that she would have kept quiet about it if mere slavery had been the threat. This genocide, though, would be too costly to the king himself to keep quiet about it.

*** w06 3/1 p. 11 par. 1 Highlights From the Book of Esther ***
7:4—How would an annihilation of the Jews bring “damage to the king”? By tactfully pointing out the possibility of selling the Jews as slaves, Esther brought to the fore the matter of damage to the king by their destruction. The 10,000 silver pieces that Haman had promised were far less profitable to the king’s treasury than the wealth that could have been generated if Haman had schemed to sell the Jews as slaves. The execution of the plot would also have meant the loss of the queen.

*** w86 3/15 p. 25 Divine Deliverance From Genocide ***
7:4—Why would destruction of the Jews be damaging to the king?
Had Haman schemed to sell the Jews into slavery, this likely would have resulted in great profit for Ahasuerus. But the destruction of an entire people would result in financial loss far greater than the 10,000 silver talents Haman had promised to pay. Success of the genocide plot would also result in the king’s losing his queen—very personal damage indeed!

(ESTHER 7:6)

“Esther said: “The adversary and enemy is this evil Haʹman.” Haʹman became terrified because of the king and the queen.”

*** ia chap. 16 p. 142 par. 20 She Acted Wisely, Bravely, and Selflessly ***
Esther 7:5-7.

*** ia chap. 16 pp. 141-142 par. 20 She Acted Wisely, Bravely, and Selflessly ***
Imagine Esther pointing a finger as she said: “The man, the adversary and enemy, is this bad Haman.” The accusation hung in the air. Terror filled Haman.

*** w12 1/1 p. 27 She Acted Wisely, Bravely, and Selflessly ***
Esther 7:5-7

*** w12 1/1 p. 27 She Acted Wisely, Bravely, and Selflessly ***
Imagine Esther pointing a finger as she said: “The man, the adversary and enemy, is this bad Haman.” The accusation hung in the air. Terror filled Haman.

(ESTHER 7:7)

“The king rose up in a rage from the banquet of wine and went into the palace garden, but Haʹman stood up to plead with Queen Esther for his life, for he realized that the king was determined to punish him.”

*** ia chap. 16 p. 142 pars. 20-21 She Acted Wisely, Bravely, and Selflessly ***
Picture the volatile monarch’s face coloring as he realized that his trusted adviser had duped him into signing an order that would destroy his own beloved wife! The king stormed out into the garden to regain his composure.—Esther 7:5-7.
21 Haman, exposed as the scheming coward that he was, groveled at the queen’s feet.

*** w12 1/1 p. 27 She Acted Wisely, Bravely, and Selflessly ***
Picture the volatile monarch’s face coloring as he realized that his trusted adviser had duped him into signing an order that would destroy his own beloved wife! The king stormed out into the garden to regain his composure.—Esther 7:5-7.
Haman, exposed as the scheming coward that he was, groveled at the queen’s feet.

(ESTHER 7:8)

“The king returned from the palace garden to the house of the wine banquet and saw that Haʹman had thrown himself on the couch where Esther was. The king exclaimed: “Is he also going to rape the queen in my own house?” As soon as these words left the king’s mouth, they covered Haʹman’s face.”

*** ia chap. 16 p. 142 par. 21 She Acted Wisely, Bravely, and Selflessly ***
When the king came back into the room and saw Haman on Esther’s couch pleading with her, he angrily accused Haman of attempting to rape the queen in the king’s own home. That sounded the death knell for Haman. He was taken away, his face covered.

*** w12 1/1 p. 27 She Acted Wisely, Bravely, and Selflessly ***
When the king came back into the room and saw Haman pleading with Esther on her couch, he angrily accused Haman of attempting to rape the queen in the king’s own home. That sounded the death knell for Haman. He was taken away, his face covered.

*** w06 3/1 p. 11 par. 2 Highlights From the Book of Esther ***
7:8—Why did court officials cover Haman’s face? This was likely to suggest shamefulness or impending doom. According to one reference work, “the ancients sometimes covered the heads of those about to be executed.”

*** it-2 p. 753 Rape ***
When the scheming Haman the Agagite was exposed before the Persian king Ahasuerus for his treachery against the Jews, and especially against Ahasuerus’ queen, Esther, the king was enraged. Knowing that he could expect no mercy from the king, Haman in desperation fell down upon the couch where Esther was lying, pleading with her. When the king reentered the room, he saw Haman there and cried out: “Is there also to be a raping of the queen, with me in the house?” Immediately he sentenced Haman to death. The sentence was carried out, and evidently afterward Haman was hanged on the stake that had been erected by Haman for the hanging of Esther’s cousin Mordecai. (Es 7:1-10) In the record of the king’s statement (Es 7:8) the Hebrew word ka•vashʹ is used; it means “subdue, subject” (Ge 1:28; Jer 34:16) but can also mean “rape.”

*** w86 3/15 p. 25 Divine Deliverance From Genocide ***
7:8—Why was Haman’s face covered?
Haman did not cover his own face in shame or remorse. Evidently the court officials covered his face, possibly to represent shamefulness or doom. Likely this was the first step taken in carrying out the death sentence.

(ESTHER 7:9)

“Har•boʹna, one of the king’s court officials, now said: “Haʹman also prepared a stake for Morʹde•cai, whose report saved the king. It is standing at Haʹman’s house, 50 cubits high.” At that the king said: “Hang him on it.””

*** it-1 p. 1024 Haman ***
Subsequently, the king ordered the murderous Haman to be hanged on the 22-m-high (73 ft) stake Haman had prepared for the hanging of Mordecai. (Es 7:7-10)

(ESTHER 8:1)

“On that day King A•has•u•eʹrus gave the house of Haʹman, the enemy of the Jews, to Queen Esther; and Morʹde•cai came in before the king, because Esther had revealed how he was related to her.”

*** it-2 p. 327 Medo-Persian Empire ***
King Ahasuerus (evidently Xerxes I), when properly informed, signed a decree that thwarted a scheme to exterminate the Jews. (Es 7:3–8:14)

*** it-2 p. 331 Medo-Persian Empire ***
[Picture on page 331]
Mordecai and Esther before King Ahasuerus (evidently Xerxes I)

(ESTHER 8:3)

“Moreover, Esther spoke again to the king. She fell down at his feet and wept and pleaded with him to undo the harm done by Haʹman the Agʹag•ite and his scheme against the Jews.”

*** ia chap. 16 p. 143 pars. 24-25 She Acted Wisely, Bravely, and Selflessly ***
24 Now that Esther and Mordecai were safe, could the queen relax? Only if she were selfish. At that moment, Haman’s decree to kill all the Jews was making its way to every corner of the empire. Haman had cast lots, or Pur—evidently a form of spiritism—to determine the opportune time to carry out this vicious attack. (Esther 9:24-26) The day was yet months away, but it was fast approaching. Could disaster still be averted?
25 Esther unselfishly risked her life again, appearing before the king once more without an official invitation. This time, she wept for her people, pleading with her husband to revoke the terrible edict.

*** ia chap. 16 p. 143 par. 25 She Acted Wisely, Bravely, and Selflessly ***
Esther 8:3

*** w12 1/1 p. 28 She Acted Wisely, Bravely, and Selflessly ***
Now that Esther and Mordecai were safe, could the queen relax? Only if she were selfish. At that moment, Haman’s decree to kill all the Jews was making its way to every corner of the empire. Haman had cast lots, or Pur—evidently a form of spiritism—to determine the opportune time to carry out this vicious attack. (Esther 9:24-26) The day was yet months away, but it was fast approaching. Could disaster still be averted?
Esther unselfishly risked her life again, appearing before the king once more without an official invitation. This time, she wept for her people, pleading with her husband to revoke the terrible edict.

*** w12 1/1 p. 29 She Acted Wisely, Bravely, and Selflessly ***
Esther 8:3

(ESTHER 8:4)

“The king held the golden scepter out to Esther, at which Esther rose and stood before the king.”

*** w86 3/15 p. 25 Divine Deliverance From Genocide ***
Read 8:1–10:3. Mordecai becomes prime minister in place of Haman. Again risking her life, Esther approaches the king uninvited and pleads that steps be taken to undo the scheme of Haman.

(ESTHER 8:5)

“She said: “If it pleases the king and if I have his favor, and if it seems proper to the king and I am pleasing in his eyes, let an order be written to annul the documents of that schemer Haʹman the son of Ham•me•daʹtha the Agʹag•ite, which he wrote to destroy the Jews in all the king’s provinces.”

*** w06 3/1 p. 11 par. 8 Highlights From the Book of Esther ***
8:5. Esther tactfully did not mention the king’s responsibility in the decree designed to annihilate her people. Similarly, we need to be tactful when giving a witness to high officials.

*** w86 3/15 p. 25 Divine Deliverance From Genocide ***
Read 8:1–10:3. Mordecai becomes prime minister in place of Haman. Again risking her life, Esther approaches the king uninvited and pleads that steps be taken to undo the scheme of Haman.

(ESTHER 8:8)

“You may now write in the king’s name whatever you see fit in behalf of the Jews and seal it with the king’s signet ring, for a decree that is written in the king’s name and sealed with the king’s signet ring cannot be revoked.””

*** it-2 p. 613 Persia, Persians ***
While the history of the Persian rulers shows them to be not above duplicity and intrigue, yet a basic adherence to some tribal creed of ‘keeping one’s word’ may be reflected in their insistence on the inviolability of “the law of the Medes and the Persians.” (Da 6:8, 15; Es 1:19; 8:8) Thus, when Cyrus’ decree was found some 18 years after its date of issuance, King Darius recognized the legality of the Jews’ position as regards the building of the temple and gave orders that full cooperation be extended to them.—Ezr 6:1-12.

*** w86 3/15 p. 25 Divine Deliverance From Genocide ***
Read 8:1–10:3. Mordecai becomes prime minister in place of Haman. Again risking her life, Esther approaches the king uninvited and pleads that steps be taken to undo the scheme of Haman. The monarch agrees and allows Mordecai to dictate a counterdecree in Ahasuerus’ name. Although by Persian custom the previous extermination order cannot be canceled, the new law permits the Jews to defend themselves.

(ESTHER 8:9)

“So the secretaries of the king were summoned at that time in the third month, that is, the month of Siʹvan, on the 23rd day, and they wrote all that Morʹde•cai commanded to the Jews, as well as to the satraps, the governors, and the princes of the provinces from Inʹdi•a to E•thi•oʹpi•a, 127 provinces, to each province in its own script and to each people in its own language and to the Jews in their own script and language.”

*** it-1 p. 560 Cushan ***
CUSHAN
(Cuʹshan).
Cushan appears at Habakkuk 3:7 as paralleling “the land of Midian” and hence evidently is another name for Midian or relates to a neighboring country. As shown in the article CUSH (No. 2), some descendants of Cush appear to have settled on the Arabian Peninsula;

(ESTHER 8:10)

“He wrote it in the name of King A•has•u•eʹrus and sealed it with the king’s signet ring and sent the written documents by the hand of couriers on horses; they rode on swift post-horses, bred for royal service.”

*** g93 4/8 p. 18 Neither Snow nor Rain nor Volume Halts the Mail ***
The “letters were sent by mounted couriers riding on horses from the royal stables. . . . So the couriers, mounted on their royal horses, were dispatched posthaste at the king’s urgent command,” states The New English Bible, at Esther 8:10, 14.
Those dependable relay riders, with horses stationed at approximately 14-mile [23 km] intervals, were the preferred means to deliver King Ahasuerus’ counterdecree that would save the Jews from genocide during the fifth century B.C.E. Historian Herodotus said that these letter carriers were not “hindered from accomplishing at their best speed the distance which they have to go, either by snow, or rain, or heat, or by the darkness of night.” This was the everyday governmental communications system that ran throughout the Persian Empire.

*** it-1 p. 516 Courier ***
In the Persian Empire fast horses were used, along with relay stations, or posts, where fresh couriers and horses waited to carry important messages on their way. (Es 3:13-15; 8:10, 14) They rushed messages to their destinations night and day and in all kinds of weather. In the Roman Empire there were stations placed every few kilometers for the couriers where 40 horses were constantly kept. Roman couriers could travel about 160 km (100 mi) a day, a considerable speed in those times. With this system of post-horses, royal messages could be dispatched to the ends of an empire in a relatively short period of time.

*** it-2 p. 613 Persia, Persians ***
Likely to overcome the disadvantage of the imperial capital’s being somewhat in a corner of the far-flung domain, a speedy system of communication was developed by means of a royal mail service employing couriers riding post-horses, thereby connecting the throne with all the jurisdictional districts. (Es 8:10, 14) Royal highways were maintained; one ran from Shushan all the way to Sardis in Asia Minor.

(ESTHER 8:14)

“The couriers riding the post-horses used in the royal service went out urgently and speedily at the king’s order. The law was also issued in Shuʹshan the citadel.”

*** g93 4/8 p. 18 Neither Snow nor Rain nor Volume Halts the Mail ***
The “letters were sent by mounted couriers riding on horses from the royal stables. . . . So the couriers, mounted on their royal horses, were dispatched posthaste at the king’s urgent command,” states The New English Bible, at Esther 8:10, 14.
Those dependable relay riders, with horses stationed at approximately 14-mile [23 km] intervals, were the preferred means to deliver King Ahasuerus’ counterdecree that would save the Jews from genocide during the fifth century B.C.E. Historian Herodotus said that these letter carriers were not “hindered from accomplishing at their best speed the distance which they have to go, either by snow, or rain, or heat, or by the darkness of night.” This was the everyday governmental communications system that ran throughout the Persian Empire.

*** it-1 p. 516 Courier ***
In the Persian Empire fast horses were used, along with relay stations, or posts, where fresh couriers and horses waited to carry important messages on their way. (Es 3:13-15; 8:10, 14) They rushed messages to their destinations night and day and in all kinds of weather. In the Roman Empire there were stations placed every few kilometers for the couriers where 40 horses were constantly kept. Roman couriers could travel about 160 km (100 mi) a day, a considerable speed in those times. With this system of post-horses, royal messages could be dispatched to the ends of an empire in a relatively short period of time.

*** it-2 p. 613 Persia, Persians ***
Likely to overcome the disadvantage of the imperial capital’s being somewhat in a corner of the far-flung domain, a speedy system of communication was developed by means of a royal mail service employing couriers riding post-horses, thereby connecting the throne with all the jurisdictional districts. (Es 8:10, 14) Royal highways were maintained; one ran from Shushan all the way to Sardis in Asia Minor.

(ESTHER 8:15)

“Now Morʹde•cai left the king’s presence in royal apparel of blue and linen, wearing a great golden crown and a fine-fabric cloak of purple wool. And the city of Shuʹshan shouted for joy.”

*** it-1 p. 662 Dyes, Dyeing ***
Purple dye was obtained from shellfish or mollusks such as the Murex trunculus and Murex brandaris. In the neck of these creatures there is a small gland containing but a single drop of fluid called the flower. Initially it has the appearance and consistency of cream, but upon exposure to air and light it gradually changes to a deep violet or reddish purple. These shellfish are found along the shores of the Mediterranean Sea, and the shades of color acquired from them vary according to their location. The larger specimens were broken open individually, and the precious fluid was carefully removed from them, whereas the smaller ones were crushed in mortars. Since the amount of fluid acquired from each shellfish was quite small, accumulating a considerable amount was a costly process. Hence, this dye was expensive, and garments dyed purple became the mark of wealthy persons or those in high station. (Es 8:15; Lu 16:19)

(ESTHER 8:17)

“And in all the provinces and all the cities, wherever the decree of the king and his law reached, the Jews were rejoicing and exulting, holding banquets and celebrations. Many of the peoples of the land were declaring themselves Jews, for the dread of the Jews had fallen upon them.”

*** w06 3/1 p. 11 par. 3 Highlights From the Book of Esther ***
8:17—In what way were ‘many of the peoples of the land declaring themselves Jews’? Many of the Persians evidently became Jewish proselytes, thinking that the counterdecree was an indication of God’s favor upon the Jews. The same principle is in operation in the fulfillment of a prophecy found in the book of Zechariah. It states: “Ten men out of all the languages of the nations will take hold, yes, they will actually take hold of the skirt of a man who is a Jew, saying: ‘We will go with you people, for we have heard that God is with you people.’”—Zechariah 8:23.

*** it-2 p. 699 Proselyte ***
When the Jews in Mordecai’s time received permission to stand and defend themselves, “many of the peoples of the land were declaring themselves Jews.” (Es 8:17) The Septuagint reads: “And many of the Gentiles were circumcised, and became Jews.”—Bagster.

*** w86 3/15 p. 25 Divine Deliverance From Genocide ***
8:17—How did people ‘declare themselves Jews’?
The Septuagint says that these Persians “were getting circumcised and Judaizing.” Evidently taking the counterdecree as a sign of divine backing for the Jews, many Persians became Jewish proselytes. Similarly today, “a great crowd” of “other sheep” have taken their stand alongside the anointed remnant.—Revelation 7:9; John 10:16; Zechariah 8:23.

*** w86 3/15 p. 25 Divine Deliverance From Genocide ***
Jubilation breaks forth among the Jews! No longer helpless victims, they now have several months to organize their defense.

(ESTHER 9:5)

“The Jews struck down all their enemies with the sword, killing and destroying them; they did whatever they wanted to those hating them.”

*** ia chap. 16 p. 144 par. 26 She Acted Wisely, Bravely, and Selflessly ***
Jehovah gave his people a great victory. He no doubt protected his people from terrible reprisals by handing their enemies a thorough defeat.—Esther 9:1-6.

*** w12 1/1 p. 29 She Acted Wisely, Bravely, and Selflessly ***
Jehovah gave his people a great victory. He no doubt saw to it that, lest his people face terrible reprisals, their enemies suffered a thorough defeat.—Esther 9:1-6.

(ESTHER 9:10)

“the ten sons of Haʹman the son of Ham•me•daʹtha, the enemy of the Jews. But after they killed them, they did not seize any plunder.”

*** w06 3/1 p. 11 par. 4 Highlights From the Book of Esther ***
9:10, 15, 16—Even though the decree authorized plundering of the spoil, why did the Jews refrain from doing so? Their refusal left no doubt that their purpose was self-preservation, not self-enrichment.

*** w86 3/15 p. 25 Divine Deliverance From Genocide ***
9:10, 15, 16—Why did the Jews not take plunder?
The king’s decree authorized them to take plunder. Their refusal to do so, however, made it evident that their purpose was self-preservation, not self-enrichment.

(ESTHER 9:15)

“The Jews in Shuʹshan gathered together again on the 14th day of the month of Aʹdar and killed 300 men in Shuʹshan, but they did not seize any plunder.”

*** w06 3/1 p. 11 par. 4 Highlights From the Book of Esther ***
9:10, 15, 16—Even though the decree authorized plundering of the spoil, why did the Jews refrain from doing so? Their refusal left no doubt that their purpose was self-preservation, not self-enrichment.

*** w86 3/15 p. 25 Divine Deliverance From Genocide ***
9:10, 15, 16—Why did the Jews not take plunder?
The king’s decree authorized them to take plunder. Their refusal to do so, however, made it evident that their purpose was self-preservation, not self-enrichment.

(ESTHER 9:16)

“The rest of the Jews in the provinces of the king also gathered together and defended their lives. They got rid of their enemies, killing 75,000 of those who hated them; but they did not seize any plunder.”

*** w06 3/1 p. 11 par. 4 Highlights From the Book of Esther ***
9:10, 15, 16—Even though the decree authorized plundering of the spoil, why did the Jews refrain from doing so? Their refusal left no doubt that their purpose was self-preservation, not self-enrichment.

*** w86 3/15 p. 25 Divine Deliverance From Genocide ***
Finally, Adar (February-March) 13th arrives. Some 75,000 who were ‘seeking their injury’ are killed by the Jews.

*** w86 3/15 p. 25 Divine Deliverance From Genocide ***
9:10, 15, 16—Why did the Jews not take plunder?
The king’s decree authorized them to take plunder. Their refusal to do so, however, made it evident that their purpose was self-preservation, not self-enrichment.

(ESTHER 9:21)

“He instructed them to observe the 14th day of the month of Aʹdar, as well as the 15th day, each and every year,”

*** it-2 p. 716 Purim ***
PURIM
(Puʹrim).
The festival celebrated on the 14th and 15th of Adar, the last month of the Jewish year, corresponding to late February and early March; also called the Festival of Lots. (Es 9:21) The name comes from the act of Haman in casting pur (lot) to determine the auspicious day to carry out an extermination plot against the Jews. Being an Agagite, perhaps a royal Amalekite, and a worshiper of pagan deities, he was resorting to this as “a species of divination.” (Es 3:7, Le, ftn; see DIVINATION; LOT, I; PUR.) In King Ahasuerus’ (Xerxes I) 12th year, on Nisan 13, apparently in the spring of 484 B.C.E., the official extermination decree that Haman had induced the king to approve was prepared for all the Persian provinces, commanding the destruction of the Jews.

*** it-2 p. 716 Purim ***
A great slaughter took place on Adar 13, not of the Jews, but of their enemies. It continued in the royal city of Shushan through the 14th. On the 14th day of Adar the Jews in the jurisdictional districts rested, and those in Shushan on the 15th day, with banqueting and rejoicing.—Es 8:3–9:19.
To commemorate this deliverance, Mordecai imposed upon the Jews the obligation to observe Adar 14 and 15 each year with ‘banqueting and rejoicing and sending portions to one another and gifts to the poor people.’ (Es 9:20-22)

(ESTHER 9:22)

“because on those days the Jews rested from their enemies and in that month their grief was changed to rejoicing and their mourning to a day of celebration. They were to observe them as days of feasting and rejoicing and as a time to send portions of food to one another and gifts to the poor.”

*** w06 3/1 p. 11 par. 9 Highlights From the Book of Esther ***
9:22. We should not forget the poor among us.—Galatians 2:10.

(ESTHER 9:24)

“For Haʹman the son of Ham•me•daʹtha the Agʹag•ite, the enemy of all the Jews, had schemed against the Jews to destroy them, and he had cast Pur, that is, the Lot, to throw them into a panic and to destroy them.”

*** it-1 p. 56 Agagite ***
AGAGITE
(Agʹag•ite) [Of (Belonging to) Agag].
A term applied to Haman and to his father, Hammedatha, at Esther 3:1, 10; 8:3, 5; 9:24. It apparently designates them as descendants of Agag and hence of Amalekite descent. The Jews traditionally have understood the expression in this way and take the Agag to be the monarch mentioned at 1 Samuel 15:8-33. Josephus refers to Haman as “of Amalekite descent.” (Jewish Antiquities, XI, 209 [vi, 5]) Mordecai was a descendant of Kish of the tribe of Benjamin, thus making him and Haman, in a sense, traditional enemies.—Es 2:5.

(ESTHER 9:26)

“That is why they called these days Puʹrim, after the name of the Pur. Therefore, because of all that was written in this letter and what they saw concerning this matter and what had come upon them,”

*** it-2 p. 272 Lot, I ***
Haman had “Pur, that is, the Lot” cast as a form of divination to determine the auspicious day for the extermination of the Jews throughout the Persian Empire. (Es 3:7) The plural is pu•rimʹ, from which the Festival of Purim, also called the Festival of Lots, gets its name.—Es 9:24-26.

*** it-2 p. 715 Pur ***
PUR
A non-Hebrew word found at Esther 3:7 and 9:24, 26; it means “lot” (Heb., goh•ralʹ; see LOT, I). This is the singular form, the plural being “Purim.” (Es 9:26, 28-32) “Pur” is linked with an Akkadian word, puru, meaning “lot.” It is the source of the name of the Jewish festival Purim.—See PURIM.

*** it-2 p. 716 Purim ***
Commemoration of Deliverance. The festival commemorates the Jews’ deliverance from destruction through Haman’s plot. Consequently, the name Purim was probably given by the Jews in irony. (Es 9:24-26)

(ESTHER 9:31)

“to confirm the observance of the days of Puʹrim at their appointed times, just as Morʹde•cai the Jew and Queen Esther had instructed them to do and just as they had obligated themselves and their descendants to carry out, including the fasting and supplication.”

*** it-1 p. 763 Esther, Book of ***
In view of the absence of any direct mention of God in the book, some charge that the book is irreligious. Nevertheless, it tells of fasting and a “cry for aid” on the part of the Jews, implying prayer. (Es 4:3, 16; 9:31)

(ESTHER 10:1)

“King A•has•u•eʹrus imposed forced labor on the land and the islands of the sea.”

*** it-1 p. 61 Ahasuerus ***
Subsequently, “King Ahasuerus proceeded to lay forced labor upon the land and the isles of the sea.” (Es 10:1) This activity fits well with the pursuits of Xerxes, who completed much of the construction work his father Darius initiated at Persepolis.

(ESTHER 10:2)

“And all his powerful and mighty accomplishments, as well as the detailed account of Morʹde•cai’s greatness to which the king exalted him, are they not written in the book of the history of the times of the kings of Meʹdi•a and Persia?”

*** w09 3/15 p. 32 Questions From Readers ***
Yes, some Bible writers did refer to or consult existing but uninspired histories or documents. Esther 10:2 refers to “the Book of the affairs of the times of the kings of Media and Persia.”

*** it-2 p. 360 Medes, Media ***
In the following century the book of Esther (Es 1:3, 14, 18, 19) reverses the order, with one exception (Es 10:2) in which the Medes are listed as preceding the Persians historically.

Highlights From the Book: Esther

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