Brave Esther

Brave Esther

Long ago, in a country called Babylon, there was a king named Achashveyrosh and a queen named Vashti. King Achashveyrosh ordered his wife the queen to appear at a party so he could show everyone how pretty she was. She refused.

King Achashveyrosh was furious. Haman, one of the king’s advisors, told him that if word got around, no one’s wife would think she had to listen to her husband. At Haman’s urging, King Achashveyrosh ordered that his wife be put to death. King Achashveyrosh ordered a search through the kingdom for a beautiful girl to be his bride. The king’s scouts came upon Esther. She was beautiful, gracious, and kind. Soon Esther was married to King Achashveyrosh.

Esther was a Jew. The Jews had been driven out of their home about 70 years before and exiled in Babylon. They prayed that someday they would be able to return to Israel.

Esther’s Uncle Mordecai was the Jewish leader. He encouraged Esther to hide her faith from the king and his advisors.

Haman had become the prime minister, a powerful man. He decided it would be appropriate for everyone to bow down to him. Mordechai refused to bow down to Haman. This angered the mean little man, who asked King Achashveyrosh to authorize a royal decree to annihilate the Jews.

In the coming year, on the 13th day of the month the people called Adar, all the Jews were to be killed, in every province and every nation of the land. There would be no place to run, and no place to hide. Brave Queen Esther went to the king on the Jews’ behalf.

Esther was afraid. She hadn’t been allowed to see the king for a month. In fact, no one could see him without being invited. But she fasted and prayed for three days, mustered up her courage, and went to see the king. Although he was initially angry at her, King Achashveyrosh spared her life and offered “half my kingdom for your wishes.”

Esther asked the king and Haman to join her for dinner that night. As they were drinking wine, the king again asked Esther, “Now what is your request? Even up to half the kingdom, it will be granted.”

Esther told them her request was to have them join her the next night for a banquet. “Then I will answer the king’s question,” she said. Both the king and Haman were delighted to attend a second banquet with the lovely young queen.

Haman was very pleased that he’d been asked to dine with King Achashveyrosh and Esther two nights in a row. He was puffed up with pride. Haman saw Mordecai at the king’s gate. Mordecai refused to bow to him. Furious, Haman decided that night to build a gallows on which to hang Mordechai. He planned to speak to the king about it the very next morning.

That same night the king could not sleep. He ordered the book of the chronicles, the record of his reign, to be brought in and read to him. The book was turned to the day Mordecai exposed a plot to assassinate the king. The king was reminded of this tale and asked what reward Mordecai had received. The king’s attendants told him that nothing had been done for Mordecai. The next morning, just as Haman was arriving to ask that Mordecai be hanged, the king asked him, “What should be done for the man the king delights to honor?”

Haman, full of himself, mistakenly thought the king was referring to him. So he answered the king, “For the man the king delights to honor, have them bring a royal robe the king has worn and a horse the king has ridden, one with a royal crest placed on its head. Then let the robe and horse be entrusted to one of the king’s most noble princes. Let them robe the man the king delights to honor, and lead him on the horse through the city streets, proclaiming before him. This is what is done for the man the king delights to honor!’”

The king commanded, “Go at once. Get the robe and the horse and do just as you have suggested for Mordecai the Jew, who sits at the king’s gate.” Shocked, Haman obeyed the king. He was very upset that Mordecai, his enemy, was being honored by the king. Haman had to lead Mordecai around the city proclaiming, “This is what is done for the man the king delights to honor!” Haman had to go to the banquet with the king and queen.

Harbona, one of the king’s attendants, told the king of the gallows that Haman had built to have Mordecai hanged. The king was furious with Haman and ordered that he be hanged on those gallows. Haman’s pride and cruelty had led to his own destruction. Brave, young Esther had saved her people.


Reprinted with permission from Bible For Kids: A Collection of Bible Stories for Children Complete (Over 60 Illustrated) (With Over 100 Fun-Filled Follow-Up Activities).

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