Workers For Jesus Online Bible Study Table of Contents

About this Bible Study........The King James Version of the Bible is written in a beautiful form of the English language. It can be hard for modern English readers to understand.  In this study, you will find notes and summaries in brown just above the the verses from the Bible. We recommend that you read the notes and summaries first, and then read the verses in their KJV form. 


Timeline of the Bible

God creates the world. --- God destroys the world with the flood, but saves  Noah and his family.--- God chooses Abraham and his descendants to His people.
---Abraham's grandson, Jacob, has 12 sons who lead the 12 tribes of Israel.--- The Israelites become slaves in Egypt.--- God helps the Israelites escape and leads them to Canaan.
---The Israelites fight in wars and take control of Canaan.---Judges lead the Israelites, but the Israelites want to have kings instead of judges. --- David is Israel's greatest king.--- Israel divides into 2 parts: Israel and Judah.--- The people of Israel and Judah continue to sin and worship false gods.--- God allows the Assyrians and the Babylonians to take the Israelites out of Israel and Judah.--- The Israelites (Jews) live in Babylonia and then Persia.
--- This book of the Bible happens during this time ---When Persia defeats the Babylonians, the Jews go back to Judah.--- The Jews build God's Temple in Jerusalem again.--- Greece defeats Persia, and the Greeks control Judah (also now called Israel).--- The Jews become independent for 100 years.-- The Romans take control of Israel.--- Jesus is born. At age 30, Jesus begins his ministry. ---Jesus is crucified and then is resurrected. --- A Roman named Saul is converted to Christianity and becomes Paul.--- Christianity spreads. --- Paul write letters to Christians in other places. In the year, 70 A.D., God's Temple in Jerusalem is destroyed again.

 

The Book of  Esther

This book tells the story of a Jewish girl named Hadassah and the King of Persia. When the king looks for a new queen, Hadassah becomes Esther, the Queen of Persia.  After Esther becomes the queen, one of the king's helpers, Haman, has a plan to kill all of the Jews in Persia.  Esther is very brave and finds a way to save the her people, the Jews. 

 


Esther 1 - 3

The king of Persia looks for a new queen.
A Jewish girl, Hadassah, becomes Esther, Queen of Persia.
One of the king's workers convinces the king to kill all of the Jews in Persia.

 

 


Map from Keyway.ca

The Persian Empire covered many areas. It included the modern-day countries of Israel, Jordan, Syria, Iraq, Iran Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Turkey.

The Persian kings named in the Bible were Cyrus, Ahasruerus, Artaxerxes, and Darius.
 


Esther 1


The king has a big party and wants his guests to see Queen Vashti..
 

People who study the Bible have a few different names for Ahasuerus. He is also called Xerxes or Artaxerxes.

It was the time that Ahasuerus was the king of Persia. Ahasuerus was king over a very large area.  At that time, Persia had 127 provinces (similar to states). Persia went from India in the east to Ethiopia in the west (see map at left).
[1] Now it came to pass in the days of Ahasuerus, (this is Ahasuerus which reigned, from India even unto Ethiopia, over an hundred and seven and twenty provinces:)


Ahasuerus lived in the city of Shushan. His palace (home) was there.
[2] That in those days, when the king Ahasuerus sat on the throne of his kingdom, which was in Shushan the palace,


It was the third year that Ahasuerus was king. He had a big feast (party, dinner). All of the important people of Persia and the area named Media were there at the feast. They were the leaders, rich men, and princes of these areas.
[3] In the third year of his reign, he made a feast unto all his princes and his servants; the power of Persia and Media, the nobles and princes of the provinces, being before him:

 

Sushan is the name of the city where the Persian king lived. It was a name for the city named Susa. Susa is in the country we now call Iran.



Graphic from www.karenswhimsy.com

The king  wanted his guests to see that he was great. He showed them all of his riches for 180 days.
[4] When he shewed the riches of his glorious kingdom and the honour of his excellent majesty many days, even an hundred and fourscore days.


After 180 days, the king had a big feast for 7 days. Everyone in the palace in Shushan was invited if they were important or not important. The feast was in the garden of the king's palace.
[5] And when these days were expired, the king made a feast unto all the people that were present in Shushan the palace, both unto great and small, seven days, in the court of the garden of the king's palace;


The palace was decorated for the feast. There were white, green, and blue decorations hanging up. They were attached to silver rings and marble pillars. The decorations were attached with purple linen cords. The beds were gold and silver, and the floor was red, blue, white, and black marble.
[6] Where were white, green, and blue, hangings, fastened with cords of fine linen and purple to silver rings and pillars of marble: the beds were of gold and silver, upon a pavement of red, and blue, and white, and black, marble.


All of the cups and glasses were different. They were made of gold. The king owned a lot of wine so everyone was drinking wine at the party.
[7] And they gave them drink in vessels of gold, (the vessels being diverse one from another,) and royal wine in abundance, according to the state of the king.


Each man drank as much as he wanted. But the king told his helpers not to force anyone to drink more than he wanted.
[8] And the drinking was according to the law; none did compel: for so the king had appointed to all the officers of his house, that they should do according to every man's pleasure.


The Queen of Persia was named Vashti. Vashti also had a party for all of the women. Their party was also in the king's palace.
[9] Also Vashti the queen made a feast for the women in the royal house which belonged to king Ahasuerus.
 

The party continued for several days. On day 7, the king was drunk from drinking wine. He gave an order to his helpers: Mehuman, Biztha, Harbona, Bigtha, Abagtha, Zethar, and Carcas.  He ordered them to bring Queen Vashti to his party. He wanted her to wear her crown. He wanted the men at his party to see that she was beautiful.
[10] On the seventh day, when the heart of the king was merry with wine, he commanded Mehuman, Biztha, Harbona, Bigtha, and Abagtha, Zethar, and Carcas, the seven chamberlains that served in the presence of Ahasuerus the king,
[11] To bring Vashti the queen before the king with the crown royal, to shew the people and the princes her beauty: for she was fair to look on.
 

But Queen Vashti refused to come to the king's party. The king was very angry at her.
[12] But the queen Vashti refused to come at the king's commandment by his chamberlains: therefore was the king very wroth, and his anger burned in him.

The king talked to the wise men who knew the laws. This is what he did when he needed to make important decisions. He asked them what he should do about Queen Vashti.  She did not obey the king's order. The men who were sitting with the king were princes of Persia and Media. Their names were:  Carshena, Shethar, Admatha, Tarshish, Meres, Marsena, and Memucan.  
[13] Then the king said to the wise men, which knew the times, (for so was the king's manner toward all that knew law and judgment:
[14] And the next unto him was Carshena, Shethar, Admatha, Tarshish, Meres, Marsena, and Memucan, the seven princes of Persia and Media, which saw the king's face, and which sat the first in the kingdom;)
[15] What shall we do unto the queen Vashti according to law, because she hath not performed the commandment of the king Ahasuerus by the chamberlains?

Media was a part of Persia. It was in the middle part of the country we now call Iran. The people who lived in Media were called Medes.

The prince named Memucan answered the king. He said that Queen Vashti had behaved wrongly. She behaved wrongly to the king and also to all of the princes and people in Persia. He said that the other women in Persia will hear about Queen Vashti refusing the king's order. Then they will start behaving the same way. He said there will be a lot of anger in Persia if the women do not obey their husbands.
[16] And Memucan answered before the king and the princes, Vashti the queen hath not done wrong to the king only, but also to all the princes, and to all the people that are in all the provinces of the king Ahasuerus.
[17] For this deed of the queen shall come abroad unto all women, so that they shall despise their husbands in their eyes, when it shall be reported, The king Ahasuerus commanded Vashti the queen to be brought in before him, but she came not.
[18] Likewise shall the ladies of Persia and Media say this day unto all the king's princes, which have heard of the deed of the queen. Thus shall there arise too much contempt and wrath.

Memucan said that the king should make a new written order. Vashti should not be queen anymore. The order should go to all of the Persians and Medes. Then the wives will hear the order, and then they will obey their husbands. The king should find a new queen who is better.
[19] If it please the king, let there go a royal commandment from him, and let it be written among the laws of the Persians and the Medes, that it be not altered, That Vashti come no more before king Ahasuerus; and let the king give her royal estate unto another that is better than she.
[20] And when the king's decree which he shall make shall be published throughout all his empire, (for it is great,) all the wives shall give to their husbands honour, both to great and small.


The king liked what Memucan said. He made an order and sent it to all parts of Persia.  The order was in many different languages so that everyone in the Persian kingdom would understand.
[21] And the saying pleased the king and the princes; and the king did according to the word of Memucan:
[22] For he sent letters into all the king's provinces, into every province according to the writing thereof, and to every people after their language, that every man should bear rule in his own house, and that it should be published according to the language of every people.
 



There are movies about the Book of Esther. The movie on the left is from 1999. The one on the right is from 2006.  The movies are good to watch for entertainment and to help fill in some details. But, always keep in mind that the movies do not follow the Bible exactly.


Esther 2


The plan to find a new queen.

Later, after his order went out to all of Persia, King Ahasuerus was not mad anymore. He thought about Queen Vashti and what she did. He thought about the order he made about her.
[1] After these things, when the wrath of king Ahasuerus was appeased, he remembered Vashti, and what she had done, and what was decreed against her.

The men who helped the king suggested a new plan for him.  They could look for a new queen. The king could pick workers to look in all of Persia for pretty young virgins.  They could bring all of the virgins to the king's house in Shushan.  A man named Hege was the king's worker. He could be in charge of the women and do special things to make them pure. Then, the king could pick a new queen from these young women.  The king liked this idea and agreed to do this.
[2] Then said the king's servants that ministered unto him, Let there be fair young virgins sought for the king:
[3] And let the king appoint officers in all the provinces of his kingdom, that they may gather together all the fair young virgins unto Shushan the palace, to the house of the women unto the custody of Hege the king's chamberlain, keeper of the women; and let their things for purification be given them:
[4] And let the maiden which pleaseth the king be queen instead of Vashti. And the thing pleased the king; and he did so.

 

The 12 sons of Jacob and their families made the 12 tribes of Israel.  Esther and Mordecai were from the tribe of  Benjamin.

The 12 tribes were:

Asher
Benjamin
Dad
Gad
Issachar
Joseph
Judah
Levi
Naphtali
Rueben
Simeon
Zebulon

Mordecai was a Jewish man who lived in Shushan. Mordecai's father was Jair, and his ancestors were Shimei and Kish. He was from the tribe of Benjamin. In the past, Mordecai's ancestors lived in Jerusalem. But when Nebuchanezzar of Babylon took the Jews away from Jerusalem, Mordecai's ancestors were taken away. This happened when Judah's king was Jeconiah.
[5] Now in Shushan the palace there was a certain Jew, whose name was Mordecai, the son of Jair, the son of Shimei, the son of Kish, a Benjamite;
[6] Who had been carried away from Jerusalem with the captivity which had been carried away with Jeconiah king of Judah, whom Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon had carried away.
 

Mordecai's aunt and uncle had a daughter. Her Jewish name was Hadassah, but her Persian name was Esther. Esther was very pretty. When Esther's parents died, Mordecai took care of Esther like she was his own daughter.
[7] And he brought up Hadassah, that is, Esther, his uncle's daughter: for she had neither father nor mother, and the maid was fair and beautiful; whom Mordecai, when her father and mother were dead, took for his own daughter.

When the king's order went out, many young women were taken to the king's house. Esther was one of them. She went to the king's house where Hegai (same as Hege) was in charge.
[8] So it came to pass, when the king's commandment and his decree was heard, and when many maidens were gathered together unto Shushan the palace, to the custody of Hegai, that Esther was brought also unto the king's house, to the custody of Hegai, keeper of the women.


Hegai liked Esther very much. He was nice to her, and he helped her. He gave her the things she needed to be pure quickly. He gave her 7 maidens to help her. He liked her better than all of the women who came to the king's palace.
[9] And the maiden pleased him, and she obtained kindness of him; and he speedily gave her her things for purification, with such things as belonged to her, and seven maidens, which were meet to be given her, out of the king's house: and he preferred her and her maids unto the best place of the house of the women.

Esther did not tell anyone that she was Jewish. Mordecai had told her she should not tell.
[10] Esther had not shewed her people nor her kindred: for Mordecai had charged her that she should not shew it.

Every day, Mordecai walked by the place where the women were staying. He wanted to see how Esther was doing.
[11] And Mordecai walked every day before the court of the women's house, to know how Esther did, and what should become of her.

It took 12 months for each woman to become pure. For 6 months, they had special skin treatments with the spice named myrrh. Then for the next 6 months, they had skin treatments with perfumes that smelled sweet.
[12] Now when every maid's turn was come to go in to king Ahasuerus, after that she had been twelve months, according to the manner of the women, (for so were the days of their purifications accomplished, to wit, six months with oil of myrrh, and six months with sweet odours, and with other things for the purifying of the women;)


Each woman had one night with the king. When it was her turn, each woman could choose the jewelry she wanted. After her night with the king, she went to live in the second house of the women. The man named Shaashgaz was in charge of that house. She did not go back to the king unless he called for her and used her name.
[13] Then thus came every maiden unto the king; whatsoever she desired was given her to go with her out of the house of the women unto the king's house.
[14] In the evening she went, and on the morrow she returned into the second house of the women, to the custody of Shaashgaz, the king's chamberlain, which kept the concubines: she came in unto the king no more, except the king delighted in her, and that she were called by name.



Esther becomes the queen.

 

Esther meets the king.
Graphic from
Breadsite.org

It was the tenth month of the year (the month named Tebeth), and it was the 7th year that Ahasuerus was king. It was Esther's turn (Esther's father's name was Abihail who was Mordecai's uncle).  She did not ask for jewelry. She only took what Hegai (man in charge of the women) told her to take. Everyone thought highly of Esther.
[15] Now when the turn of Esther, the daughter of Abihail the uncle of Mordecai, who had taken her for his daughter, was come to go in unto the king, she required nothing but what Hegai the king's chamberlain, the keeper of the women, appointed. And Esther obtained favour in the sight of all them that looked upon her.
[16] So Esther was taken unto king Ahasuerus into his house royal in the tenth month, which is the month Tebeth, in the seventh year of his reign.
 

The king loved Esther more than any of the other women. He picked her to be the new queen.
[17] And 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.


The king celebrated the new Queen Esther. The king had a big party for all of his princes and workers. He didn't make the other areas of Persia pay taxes for a time. He sent gifts to the other areas. These were expensive gifts because the king had a lot of money.
[18] Then the king made a great feast unto all his princes and his servants, even Esther's feast; and he made a release to the provinces, and gave gifts, according to the state of the king.
 



Mordecai gets a job in the palace and learns about a plot to kill the king.


For a second time, virgins were gathered. Then Esther's cousin, Mordecai, got a job in the king's house.

[19] And when the virgins were gathered together the second time, then Mordecai sat in the king's gate.


Mordecai told Esther that she should not tell anyone she was Jewish.  Esther obeyed him and did not tell.
[20] Esther had not yet shewed her kindred nor her people; as Mordecai had charged her: for Esther did the commandment of Mordecai, like as when she was brought up with him.


While Mordecai was working, he found out that 2 men were planning to kill the king. The 2 men were Bigthan and Teresh. They were guards at the king's palace. Mordecail told Esther, and Esther told the king.
[21] In those days, while Mordecai sat in the king's gate, two of the king's chamberlains, Bigthan and Teresh, of those which kept the door, were wroth, and sought to lay hand on the king Ahasuerus.
[22] And the thing was known to Mordecai, who told it unto Esther the queen; and Esther certified the king thereof in Mordecai's name.
 

The king's people checked into this and found out it was true.  Then the 2 men were killed by hanging.  All of this was written in the book of the history of the king.
[23] And when inquisition was made of the matter, it was found out; therefore they were both hanged on a tree: and it was written in the book of the chronicles before the king.

 



Esther 3

The king's worker, Haman, hates the Jews and wants to destroy them.
 

Haman's father was an Agagite. His family was called that because their ancestor was  King Agag.  He was king of the Amalekite people.  Back in the book of Samuel, Samuel told the Jewish King Saul to destroy the Amalekite people.  That may be why Haman hates the Jewish people now.

There was a man named Haman. His father was Hammedatha who was an Agagite. King Ahasuerus promoted Haman to an important job.  He was in a higher job than the other princes. The king's workers were supposed to bow to Haman. That was the king's order. But Esther's cousin, Mordecai, did not bow to him.
[1] After these things did king Ahasuerus promote Haman the son of Hammedatha the Agagite, and advanced him, and set his seat above all the princes that were with him.
[2] And all the king's servants, that were in the king's gate, bowed, and reverenced Haman: for the king had so commanded concerning him. But Mordecai bowed not, nor did him reverence.


Some of the other workers asked Mordecai why he didn't obey the king's order and bow to Haman.  They asked him everyday, but he still would not bow to Haman. The workers reported this to Haman. They waited to see what would happen because Mordecai had told them he was Jewish.
[3] Then the king's servants, which were in the king's gate, said unto Mordecai, Why transgressest thou the king's commandment?
[4] Now it came to pass, when they spake daily unto him, and he hearkened not unto them, that they told Haman, to see whether Mordecai's matters would stand: for he had told them that he was a Jew.
 

Haman saw that Mordecai did not respect him and bow to him. Then he was very angry
[5] And when Haman saw that Mordecai bowed not, nor did him reverence, then was Haman full of wrath.


Haman though about killing Mordecai by himself. But then he decided to kill all of the Jewish people in Persia.
[6] And he thought scorn to lay hands on Mordecai alone; for they had shewed him the people of Mordecai: wherefore Haman sought to destroy all the Jews that were throughout the whole kingdom of Ahasuerus, even the people of Mordecai.


It was the first month (named Nisan). It was the 12th year that Ahasuerus was king of Persia. Haman wanted to pick the time to kill all of the Jews. He cast Pur (like casting lots, a lottery) to pick the time.  He picked the 12th month (named Adar).
[7] In the first month, that is, the month Nisan, in the twelfth year of king Ahasuerus, they cast Pur, that is, the lot, before Haman from day to day, and from month to month, to the twelfth month, that is, the month Adar.


Then Haman talked badly about the Jews to the king. He told the king that the Jews were in all areas of Persia. He said they used different laws and didn't obey Persia's laws. He said it was not good for the king to let them live. Haman said that all of the Jews should be killed.  He said he would put 10,000 talents of silver (about 280 tons) into the king's money if they kill all of the Jews.  
[8] And Haman said unto king Ahasuerus, 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.
[9] If it please the king, let it be written that they may be destroyed: and I will pay ten thousand talents of silver to the hands of those that have the charge of the business, to bring it into the king's treasuries.


The king took off his ring. He gave the ring to Haman (his father's name was Hammedathat and he was an Agagite--the Jews' enemy). The king told Haman to keep the silver. He could do whatever he wanted to do with the Jews.
[10] And the king took his ring from his hand, and gave it unto Haman the son of Hammedatha the Agagite, the Jews' enemy.
[11] And the king said unto Haman, The silver is given to thee, the people also, to do with them as it seemeth good to thee.
 

These were the months in the Jewish calendar:
  1. Nissan
  2. Iyar
  3. Sivan
  4. Tamuz
  5. Av
  6. Elul
  7. Tishrei
  8. Cheshvan
  9. Kislev
  10. Tevet
  11. Shevat
  12. Adar I
  13. (Adar II)

The king's scribes wrote the king's order to send to all areas in Persia. This was on the 13th day of the first month (Nissan).  The orders were written in all of the languages used in Persia. The orders were written in letters in the name of King Ahasuerus and sealed with the king's ring. (to show it was a true order from the king).  The letters went to the leaders in every area (province).
[12] Then were the king's scribes called on the thirteenth day of the first month, and there was written according to all that Haman had commanded unto the king's lieutenants, and to the governors that were over every province, and to the rulers of every people of every province according to the writing thereof, and to every people after their language; in the name of king Ahasuerus was it written, and sealed with the king's ring.
 

The order in the letters said that all Jews should be killed. Every Jew in every area should die--the young, old, children, and female. They should all be killed on the 13th day of the 12th month (named Adar). They should also take everything that the Jews owned.
[13] And the letters were sent by posts into all the king's provinces, to destroy, to kill, and to cause to perish, all Jews, both young and old, little children and women, in one day, even upon the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, which is the month Adar, and to take the spoil of them for a prey.

The order should be posted in every area of Persia so that everyone will know what will happen.
[14] The copy of the writing for a commandment to be given in every province was published unto all people, that they should be ready against that day.
 

The letters went out quickly all over Persia. The people in the city of Shushan  heard the order. Then the king and Haman sat down to drink. Everyone who heard the order in Shushan was confused.
[15] The posts went out, being hastened by the king's commandment, and the decree was given in Shushan the palace. And the king and Haman sat down to drink; but the city Shushan was perplexed.


 

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