Of course, Esther was known to be one of the most beautiful royalties to have ever lived in Bible history. Among all the other women, she was specially chosen by the king himself.
But, aside from this well-known fact, what are other things about Esther? What makes her so special?
Here are 7 amazing things you should know about Queen Esther’s life:
- Esther was an orphan.
- Esther’s real name is “Hadassah.”
- The setting of Esther’s book took place in Ancient Persia.
- The book of Esther is one of only two in the Bible that is named after a woman.
- Esther had no intention of standing out.
- Esther’s husband, Xerxes I, was a great warrior.
- Esther is a strategic woman.
Let’s talk about them one by one!
1. Esther was an orphan.
Picture this: an orphan became a queen.
People may find this impossible, but Esther proved otherwise.
Esther, according to Scripture, lost her parents. She was adopted and kept by her older cousin, Mordecai.
This fact is known to all because it is recorded in the Scriptures. According to Esther 2:7 (NIV), “Mordecai had a cousin named Hadassah, whom he had brought up because she had neither father nor mother. This young woman, who was also known as Esther, had a lovely figure and was beautiful. Mordecai had taken her as his own daughter when her father and mother died”.
2. Esther’s real name is “Hadassah.”
A person’s name, like every other word in the dictionary, has meaning.
Queen Esther’s given name was Hadassah, which means “myrtle” in Hebrew. Myrtles are lovely plants, and her name may have been related to her surreal beauty.
When she was crowned queen, she may have gone by the name Esther. But, because she was disguising her Jewish identity from the start, it might have started while she was living in the harem.
On the other hand, Esther is a Persian name that translates as “star.” It sounds similar to Hadassah and refers to star-shaped myrtle blossoms, but it is also connected to the Babylonian goddess Ishtar.
This name-changing setup is very rampant in the olden days. Under Babylonian captivity, names were changed without the permission of the captives. A few examples are David and his friends.
Daniel was then called “Belteshazzar,” and Hananiah was called “Shadrach.” Mishael was changed to “Meshach,” and Azariah to “Abednego.”
3. The setting of Esther’s book took place in Ancient Persia.
The events of Esther took place between 483 and 473 BC, during the first part of King Xerxes’s reign when he appointed Esther as his queen. The events of Esther unfold over an eight- to ten-year period.
During this historical period, the first group of Jews who had returned to Judah struggled to revive temple worship by Moses’ Law. However, Esther and Mordecai, along with a large number of other Jews, had elected not to return to Judah.
They appeared pleased to remain in Susa, Persia’s capital city, where the narrative is set.
The book of Esther was presumably composed between 470 and 424 BC, under the reign of Xerxes’ son Artaxerxes.
4. The book of Esther is one of only two in the Bible that is named after a woman.
Did you notice that there are a lot of women in the Bible whose names are not mentioned?
Esther is one of just two books in the Bible that are named after women. The other one is Ruth.
In ancient times, women were not given as much attention as men. This is why Esther and Ruth are important books in the Bible because they represent the women during those times.
This is a strong message that women are as strong and wise as men. They are capable of doing great things as much as men.
5. Esther had no intention of standing out.
During the time that the king was choosing who fits best for the position of the queen, Esther felt fear. Complete fear.
Because at night, the women were taken to the king’s private quarters. Then, they are sent back to the harem the next day. We don’t know what happened behind the room’s curtains.
But, to be in a room with someone you barely even know, must be very daunting for Esther.
Esther’s goal at that moment is to get out of the situation as soon as possible. But she had to spend a year in the harem before she could finally go, obtaining top-of-the-line beauty treatments like myrrh. She did not want any of this special treatment.
The eunuch in charge of looking after her and the other females gave her a “special diet,” which is often taken to suggest that she maintained kosher.
The term “kosher” refers to food that meets the restrictive dietary requirements of traditional Jewish law.
In the Bible, there’s what we call the food laws. It is written in Leviticus 11. This food law was kept by God’s servants in the Old Testament, by Yahshua (Jesus), His disciples, and the first-century church. It is also followed by God’s people today.
To learn more, please read “5 Scriptures that Prove God’s Food Laws are Still Binding.”
6. Esther’s husband, Xerxes I, was a great warrior.
If you’re familiar with the movie “300”, yes, he is the same Xerxes we’re talking about here.
He was that warrior who attempted and failed to conquer Greece. But after becoming the king of Babylonia, Egypt, and a slew of other provinces with their own gods and civilizations, he formed the idea of Persia.
However, when suppressing an uprising in Babylon, a temple dedicated to the old deity Marduk was demolished. Consider this the official city deity of Babylon and the national god of Babylonia.
It seemed as if King Xerxes would be reigning without the god’s consent if he couldn’t connect with him at the temple (a literal interpretation in biblical times).
It was King Xerxes who took charge of the situation and said that there would be a new faith. He spread the word about Zoroastrianism, which is thought to be a precursor to a lot of monotheistic faiths that have messiah figures and deal with the balance between good and bad.
7. Esther was a strategic woman.
When Mordechai found out about Haman’s plan to kill the Jews, he asked Esther for help. He told her to go to the King and ask him to save her people.
But Mordechai doesn’t say how to do this. Perhaps he didn’t know that you can’t just walk up to the king without being called. Even if you’re the queen.
Esther came up with the idea of how to carry out Mordechai’s request on her own.
It was her idea to get together all of the Jews in Shushan and ask them to fast for three days as a way to show that they were sorry for what might happen. It was also her idea to start two feasts before she asked the king for help.
“If the king likes it, let the king and Haman come to a dinner I’ve made for them.” “The Message” is in the book of Esther at 5:4.
The king and queen were not alone in the throne room. There were likely to be servants, guards, Persian officials, and even foreigners there to do business for the government.
Esther wisely planned to make her request in an informal setting where the king wouldn’t be seen publicly changing his mind about the law because of the power of his wife.
It doesn’t make sense to have an idea without a plan. A plan that doesn’t allow you to act on your own won’t work. Esther made a very detailed plan and took the initiative to see it through. If she hadn’t, the story of Purim might have turned out very differently.
Through Esther’s life, we can conclude that God will use ordinary people in extraordinary ways. Are you willing to be God’s servant?
Heroes is a Bible trivia game released by Hope Channel. Enhanced with 3D graphics and animation, it’s a fun and interactive way to learn about the Bible characters. It comes in English, Portuguese, Spanish, French, and more. The game is available on both iOS and Android devices.