What kind of woman was Esther in the Bible Painting of scene from the book of Esther with Esther, the King and Haman

Ever Wonder What Kind Of Woman Was Esther In The Bible?

If you have ever wondered what kind of woman was Esther in the Bible you have come to the right place. The Book of Esther is about an Israelite woman named Esther who was among the captive Jews in the Medo-Persian Empire in the fifth century B.C.

But what kind of woman was Esther, which has an entire Old Testament book that bears her name? Yet this interesting book, set in the land of Persia, neither mentions the name of God nor prayer. Yet within these 10 chapters is a remarkable story. This book shows the protecting hand of Almighty God on His people using an orphan girl.

picture of the book of Esther

I remember the very first time I was introduced to the story of Esther in the Bible. I was just a young teen in Sunday school and my Sunday school teacher at the time — Gina — announced that she would be teaching us about the Book of Esther.

I remember inwardly groaning. I mean, how boring could learning about an entire book of the Bible be? If I had been asked at that time what kind of woman was Esther, I would have honestly said that I didn’t know.

At that point in my life, I didn’t care.

Little did I realize at that time what a wonderful Bible study my Sunday school teacher was going to impart to me.

Her lessons revealed the mysterious and fantastic Book of Esther. Later in life, I was thrilled when other servants of God taught me about Esther’s story. Many years later, I taught the book to my own Sunday school class, and eventually, I wrote a book about Esther, which is a favorite with my readers.

What Kind of Woman Was Esther in the Bible? — Orphaned and Beautiful

Esther was an orphan who was raised by her older cousin, Mordecai, who adopted her as his daughter. Nothing is known about either Esther’s biological parents or any other members of Mordecai’s immediate family. However, Esther both learned and practiced from an early age to be obedient and submissive to the instructions of her adopted father.

The Bible describes Esther in these words: “…the maid was fair and beautiful; whom Mordecai, when her father and mother were dead, took for his own daughter.” Esther 2:7 (KJV)

When King Ahasuerus’ edict, also known by Bible scholars and historians as Xerxes, who was the head of the Persian empire, sent his servants to gather beautiful young virgins from the kingdom to find a replacement for his disobedient, former queen, Vashti, Esther was taken. But prior to this, Mordecai must have instructed Esther what to do, and how to behave, if she was taken. 

In the kings’ harem, the girls were prisoners, so to speak. They were considered royal property, wives of the king, and royal playthings. There, in the palace, they were permanently shut off from their families. Perhaps some of them may have already been betrothed and were looking forward to being married, but now they were enclosed for life in a glamorous royal “prison.”

All of their physical needs would be met lavishly, and among other things they enjoyed a total of 12 months of beauty treatments. However, their personal desires, emotional needs, and future dreams were dashed.

woman having facial done

There, away from the familiarity of home and Mordecai’s influence, Esther remembered Mordecai’s instructions to her, “Don’t let anyone know you are a Jew!” Esther was careful to obey his command.

What Kind of Woman Was Esther in the Bible? — Peaceable

An atmosphere with an overabundance of estrogen-charged emotion can be a very volatile environment. Woman have been considered “catty” under far lesser circumstances. The king’s harem setting must have been even more difficult since it was filled with jealous, frustrated, angry, lonely, beautiful, young women who were either upset with their forced circumstances, or laser focused on the “beauty contest,” and the coveted prized of being chosen as the next queen of Persia.

Despite the tensions that must have existed among the beautiful women who lived in the harem, the young Esther seemed to rise above all of the drama. The Bible relates the impression she made on the king’s eunuch Hegai, the castrated male in charge of the virgins, in this short, but profound, statement: “The maiden pleased him” Esther 2:9 (KJV)

Not only did she favorably impress Hegai, but all others as well, according to Esther 2:15 “And Esther obtained favour in the sight of all them that looked upon her.” (KJV)

Not only was Esther beautiful, but this description showed Esther’s character, that she was a kind and harmonious woman also.

What Kind of Woman Was Esther in the Bible? — Teachable

To go and meet the king, the virgins were allowed anything they desired for this special event. But when it was Esther’s time to go, she made an unusual request to Hegai. She wanted his counsel as to what to wear, and took his advice, according to Esther 2:15 “…she required nothing but what Hegai the king’s chamberlain, the keeper of the women, appointed.” (KJV)

Esther was teachable, she took advice gracefully.

What Kind of Woman Was Esther in the Bible? — A Keeper

Esther 2:17 records the result of Esther’s beauty and kind spirit: “The king loved Esther above all the women, and she obtained grace and favour in his sight more than all the virgins; so that he set the royal crown upon her head, and made her queen instead of Vashti.” (KJV) She was now Queen Esther! The king celebrated the occasion with a great banquet in Esther’s honor.

woman placing silver crown on her head

Even after she became queen, Esther still obeyed Mordecai’s instructions and did not reveal her Jewish identity to anyone.

What Kind of Woman Was Esther in the Bible? — Meek

After Esther was firmly established in her role as queen, Mordecai still clandestinely sought information about Esther’s well-being by regularly visiting at the king’s gate. There, Mordecai overheard two of the king’s chamberlains plotting an assassination attempt on King Ahasuerus.

Because of Esther’s exalted status in the palace, Mordecai was able to get this very important information to Esther who brought it to the proper authorities. The king’s royal officials investigated this alleged rumor, found it to be true, and the perpetrators were executed. Esther made sure Mordecai was credited for his good deed. The immediate threat to the king was neutralized, but other than a passing record made in the king’s chronicles, nothing was either said or done to thank Mordecai.

What Kind of Woman Was Esther in the Bible? — Brave

Sometime after Esther became queen, the king became very impressed with an individual by the name of Haman. Specifically, he was the son of Hammedatha the Agagite. The king then made Haman his “right hand man.” As part of Haman’s promotion, the king decreed that his people were to both bow down to Haman and reverence him. Mordecai, who kept close to the gate of the king in order to be as close as possible to Esther, refused to obey this order from the king.

It seems that Mordecai, because he was a Jew, refused to worship any mortal as it was an honor reserved for God only. Mordecai’s refusal to give Haman this honor infuriated Haman, and so Haman devised a plot to kill not only Mordecai, but also all of Mordeci’s people — the Jews.

Haman carefully couched his request to exterminate the Jews throughout the kingdom in these words to the king, “There is a certain people scattered abroad and dispersed among the people in all the provinces of thy kingdom; and their laws are diverse from all people; neither keep they the king’s laws: therefore it is not for the king’s profit to suffer them.” Esther 3:8 (KJV)

Without investigating the matter or even questioning the identity of these “certain people,” the king agreed with Haman’s plan, gave him carte blanche permission to kill all of them, and confirmed Haman’s plan by giving him his signet ring. Haman proceeded to pick a date for the slaughter of the Jews and issued a kingdom-wide decree outlining the proposed slaughter.

gold signet ring with wax seal

When all of the Jews heard about this, they were understandably upset. Mordecai himself tore off his clothes and put on sackcloth, a rough type of garment, showing he was in deep emotional distress and mourning. When Esther heard of Mordecai’s clothing choice, but not the reason behind it, she sent both proper clothing and a message to him via Hatach, one of the king’s chamberlains.

Mordecai sent a message back to Esther explaining what was planned for the Jews, and a copy of the declaration that contained the king’s command regarding the slaughter of the Jews. Mordecai asked her to go to the king and intercede for her people. At first, Esther was reluctant to do so, telling Mordecai that she had not been called into the king’s presence for at least the last 30 days, and if the king did not personally summon a person, including his wife, the queen, that individual could easily be put to death.

Mordecai answered Esther’s reluctance with these words in Esther 4:13-14 “Think not with thyself that thou shalt escape in the king’s house, more than all the Jews. For if thou altogether holdest thy peace at this time, then shall there enlargement and deliverance arise to the Jews from another place; but thou and thy father’s house shall be destroyed: and who knoweth whether thou art come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” (KJV)

Mordecai started to finally understand God’s plan for his adopted daughter. Despite the fact He took Esther from him, God did so to place her exactly at the right time and in the right place to bring deliverance to all of the Jewish people.

With this admonition, Esther replied back to Mordecai that he was to ask the Jews to fast for three days while she and her maidens would fast, too. Then, after three days, she would go into the royal throne room to speak to the king. Esther ended her return message to Mordecai with these courageous words: “And so will I go in unto the king, which is not according to the law: and if I perish, I perish.” Esther 4:16 (KJV)

What Kind of Woman Was Esther in the Bible? — Unforgettable

After three days of fasting (Although the Bible does not mention this, quite possibly prayers as well for Esther’s success) Esther dressed herself in her royal robes and made her way into the inner court of the king’s palace. Esther’s courage to come into the royal throne room without an invitation from the king must have created a stir.

Yet, possibly after a few tense moments, the king raised his scepter and presented it to her, an invitation that he would accept her unexpected presence rather than having her instantly executed. When Esther approached the king, he asked her what she wanted. Her reply must have surprised him since all she requested of him, despite having risked her life, was to invite him and Haman later that day to a banquet she would prepare for them, to which the king agreed.

golden sceptre

Later that day at the banquet, the three of them — Esther, the king, and Haman — sat down to eat, but the king had a pretty good idea that this woman had more on her mind than just food, so he asked her again what she wanted. Esther 5:8 records Esther’s second request: “If I have found favour in the sight of the king, and if it please the king to grant my petition, and to perform my request, let the king and Haman come to the banquet that I shall prepare for them, and I will do to morrow as the king hath said.” (KJV)

The unknow narrator of this book followed Haman home, and recorded how thrilled he was with the events of the day, including his invitation to another private meal with the king and queen. Haman then boasted about what a privileged person he was.

But despite all of Haman’s happiness, one thing made him furious — Mordecai the Jew refused to bow to him. For Haman, and the day of annihilation of the all the Jews, could not come fast enough.

When Haman told his story to his family, his wife counseled him to build gallows on which to hang Mordecai, and asked the king for his permission to do so the very next day. Haman agreed and followed his wife’s counsel.

wooden gallows

The Scriptures are silent on what happened to the king and Esther after Haman left them. But something had to have occurred!

For the longest time, I felt that after Haman left, perhaps the king may have stood up, and said something like this to Esther, “You make the best sandwiches in all of the kingdom! Thanks for the lunch, Wifey. Now I have to get back to my office and get some royal work done. I will see you here tomorrow.”

And maybe Esther answered, saying something like, “Glad you liked the food, Hubby. I have got to go, too. I have a crochet class and I don’t want to be late. I will see you and Haman here tomorrow.”

But through the years of considering, reading, and studying what the Bible does not say, now I have a different speculation of what may have occurred between the king and his queen.

Perhaps during the meal, and before Haman left, Esther couldn’t keep her eyes off of the king all the time she was being very attentive to him. And he, recognizing this, could not keep his eyes off of her. The phrase “Two’s company, three’s a crowd” was just as applicable to the ancient Persian Empire as it is today.  Maybe, while still staring at his queen, the king said to Haman, “Take the rest of the day off and go home. I will see you tomorrow.”

And after Haman left, leaving the king and his queen alone and together, Esther made the king very happy and very satisfied.

Women today could learn from much Esther, and their husbands would heartily approve.

All of the above is complete speculation on my part. But the first eight words of Esther chapter six provides an interesting clue that relates back to what had occurred earlier that day. “On that night could not the king sleep…” Esther 6:1a (KJV). The number 8 in the Bible is the number of new beginnings. There should have been no reason for the king not to have a restful night’s sleep. He had been the recipient of his wife’s special attention, and he was full of good food and wine. Yet, that night, he suffered from insomnia.

Speculation again, but that night, his mind must have been on her, his beautiful woman! His wife, his queen. Her scent may have been still on his clothing, he was digesting her food, her voice was in his memory…

To try and get some sleep, the king ordered that he be read the boring notes of past events. Surely, he thought, such mundane details would lull him to sleep.

But while the unfortunate scribe who had to give up his own sleep to do the king’s bidding was reading, the king made a startling discovery. Some time ago, there had a been an assassination attempt on his life, but it was foiled by some Jewish guy by the name of Mordecai. The king had neglected to show this brave man his appreciation. The king knew that he had to rectify that, and so he put “show Mordecai some sort of royal appreciation for his service to me” at the top of his “to do” list for the very next day.

Early the next morning, Haman was at the palace to ask for the king’s permission to hang Mordecai on the gallows he had erected for that purpose. But before Haman could ask, the king instead asked Haman “What shall be done unto the man whom the king delighteth to honour?” Esther 6:6 (KJV).

Haman, in his pride, thought that the king could only be referring to himself. So Haman thought quickly and connected a grand scheme that utilized among other royal amenities, the king’s horse, crown, royal clothing, and to parade the person of honor around town. The king thought Haman’s idea was excellent, so he told Haman, “Make haste, and take the apparel and the horse, as thou hast said, and do even so to Mordecai the Jew, that sitteth at the king’s gate: let nothing fail of all that thou hast spoken.” Esther 6:10 (KJV)

What a blow to Haman’s pride! But he had to do what the king commanded. Maybe Haman took Mordecai past the gallows and muttered that he had constructed it for Mordecai’s death.

When Haman was finally finished showing the king’s honor to Mordecai, Mordecai returned to his mourning stance since he was still fasting about the king’s edict to kill all of the Jews, and Haman went to his house very upset.

The royal messenger then arrived to take Haman to Queen Esther’s second banquet.

What Kind of Woman Was Esther in the Bible? — Forthright

At this second banquet, the king asked Esther what she wanted, and Esther told the king everything. She revealed to the king her Jewish background and said she and her people were slated for destruction and she wanted him to intervene. The king was aghast at the revelation that someone wanted to harm the people of his lovely queen and asked her who was responsible for such an act. Esther told him it was Haman.

Three people eating, one woman and two men

The king was furious. After a few moments, he had his servants cover Haman’s head — a sure sign of impending doom. One of the servant’s braved the king’s wrath to inform the king that Haman had built gallows on which to hang the noble Mordecai. The king’s order was that the same gallows be put to good use by having Haman immediately hanged there instead of Mordecai.

Then Esther told the king the rest of her story. She told the king that she was a Jew and that Mordecai was none other than her adopted father, and therefore, the king’s father-in-law! The king then promoted Mordecai to Haman’s former position.

The Jews had deliverance from the evil that Haman had devised. To commemorate this great deliverance for the Jews, they established a two-day holiday, and a great feast called Purim.

cookies and Hebrew parchment indicting feast of Purim

What Kind of Woman Was Esther in The Bible? — An Example

God chose Esther to be the person who He needed to save the entire Jewish nation, or, at least, all of the Jews who lived in Ahasuerus’ kingdom. Esther was obedient and submissive as a young Jewish girl, and this quality enhanced all of her other notable character traits. These exemplary characteristics brought her from being an unknown Jewish orphan to a Biblical heroine who saved her people.

If you enjoyed this article about what kind of woman was Esther in the Bible, dig deeper with a 30-day Bible study devotional book on Esther.

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