The Book Of Esther
CHAPTER 1:1-10:3
"Bible Notes"

Outline with Text
Charles Caldwell Ryrie  (1)

The Book of Esther
(Hadassah, Myrtle)

"Always Do The Right Thing"

Notes on Specific Verses:

Chapter 1

1:2 Susa, One of the main capitals and winter residence of the kings, 150 Mi. north of the Persian gulf (Neh. 1:1).

1:3-12 For 6 months (in the year 482 B.C.) the king exhibited the grandeur of his court, during which time he probably planned with the military and civil leaders his proposed invasion of Greece (which occurred in 480 B.C.). At the conclusion, a Seven day drinking feast was held (though no one' was compelled to drink) the queen holding a separate feast for the women guests. On the last day of the feast, the drunken king summoned his queen, presumably to make a lewd display of her before his guests, but she refused to obey.

1:13 Wise men who understood the times (astrologers). They also knew the Law of Moses (cf. Ezra 7:14).

1:16-19 The councillors turned the matter into a national crisis threatening male supremacy.

1:19 cannot be repeated. Persian laws were irrevocable (8:8; Dan. 6:8).

1:22 The king solemnly decreed (how could it ever have been enforced) that every man was to rule his own household and that his native language was to be spoken in that home.

Chapter 2

2:1 Later, after these things. After Xerxes's (Ahasuerus') defeat at Plataea in 479, he probably began to long for his queen again.

2:2 If Vashti had ben restored, she most likely would have destroyed the king's attendants (since they had recommended she be deposed); therefore they urged this alternate plan.

2:6 Kish, not Mordicai, had been taken captive to Babylon by Nebuchadnezzar in 597. After the Persians conquered Babylon, many Jews migrated to the cities of Persia.

2:7 Hadassah, meaning "Myrtle," was her Hebrew name; her Persian name (Esther) meant "Star".

2:8-11 Esther was taken into the king's harem and instructed by Mordecai (her cousin who reared her) not to reveal her nationality. Perhaps he feared for her life (v. 11), or for his own position (V. 19).

2:9 food, some of which would have been forbidden by the law of Moses; yet, in contrast to Daniel (1:5), she ate.

2:15-17 Each concubine waited to be summoned by the king. Esther's turn came in the month of Tebeth (the Babylonian name for December - January), 479 B.C., She was crowned Queen four years after Vashti's divorce and after Xerxes (Ahasuerus) had suffered a crushing defeat at the hands of the Greeks.

2:18 proclaimed (made) a holiday. This could mean a release from taxes, a holiday, or release of prisoners.

2:19 a second time. Another occasion when Ahasuerus added to his harem, after Esther had been made Queen. King's gate. The place where commercial and judicial matters were transacted. That Mordecai was there indicates that he held an important position, probably in the judicial system.

2:21-23 Mordecai foiled an assassination plot against the king, and the report of this service was duly recorded in the king's diary (6:1-2). Hanged, Not by the neck but impaled on a stake or post (Ezra 6:11).

Chapter 3

3: 1 the Agagite. Possibly related to the Amalekites (1 Sam 15:8, 33). If so, Haman was a descendant of Esau, and enemy of the descendants of Isaac.

3:2 Apparently Mordecai did not bow to Haman because Haman claimed some sort of divine honors, as did the Persian kings. As a faithful Jew, Mordecai could not give such honor (Deuteronomy 6:13-14).

3:6 Haman realized that to kill only Mordecai would not solve his problem.

3:7 twelfth year ... first month. March - April 474 B.C., more than four hears after Esther had become queen. Pur. An Assyrian word meaning "lot." The plural, Purim, gives its name to the feast commemorating the Jews' deliverance from Haman. Haman, being very superstitious, cast the lot in order to determine the most propitious time for carrying out his plot against the Jews. The lot fell on the Twelfth Month (February - March) which not only gave Haman time to prepare but also, in the overruling providence of God, gave the Jews time to thwart his plan.

3.9 In reality Haman offered a bribe to the king, the amount of which he expected to cover by confiscating the property of the Jew. Ten thousand talents of silver = A talent weighed from 58 - 80 pounds = Using an average of 75 pounds, this would amount to 12,000,000 ounces.

3:10-11 The king, not even interested enough to inquire who the people were, gave Haman his ring (on which was the official seal, the equivalent of the king's signature) and permission to do whatever he wished with the people and their money.

3:12-13 The edict was drawn up and letters were sent immediately by a postal system employing riders stationed at various intervals who passed messages along to each other, thus allowing the letters to reach the remotest part of the empire in time to prepare for the execution of the Jews on March 7, 473 b.c..

Chapter 4

4:1 sackcloth. A course, loose cloth (like burlap), worn as a sign of mourning.

4:2 no one clothed in sackcloth was allowed. A sad countenance was not tolerated in the royal presence.

4:7 That Mordecai was privy to these details indicates his high position in the realm.

4:8 for her people. Hathach now knew that Esther was a Jewess.

4:13 Mordecai put pressure on Esther, reminding her that she risked death whether she approached the king or not.

4:14 Mordecai was convinced that God would somehow save the Jewish nation, whether through Esther or otherwise.

4.16 Prayer was no doubt the purpose for this fast, indicating Esther's sense of dependence on God.

Chapter 5

5.1 on the third day. A part of a day was counted as a whole day, explaining how the fast could extend for three days, night and day (4:16); and yet terminate on the third day (Matt. 12:40).

5.5-8 It was providential that Esther apparently lost the courage to expose Haman before the king at her first banquet, and so held a second one the next day. During the intervening night, the events of chapter 6 took place, making it much easier for Esther to expose Haman at the second banquet.

5.11 his many sons. Haman had 10 sons

5.14 gallows. Pole or post, like a crucifixion. fifty cubits high. 75 feet high, an excessive height, almost the height of the city walls so that all could see how great was Haman's power.


Chapter 6

6.1 could not sleep. Literally sleep fled from him. Once again God overruled. Cronicles. (Cf. 2:23).

6.4-5 By divine arrangement, Haman was at court early to seek permission to have Mordecai executed on the gallows he had built during the night.

6.8 Assyrian reliefs depict the practice of setting crown-like headdresses on horses.

6.13 Haman's wife and his wise men apparently just now suspected that Mordecai was a Jew, and predicted doom for Haman if this were so.

6:14 Guests were customarily sent for and escorted to oriental banquets.

Chapter 7

7:4 sold. Referring to Haman's bribe (3:9; 4:7).

7:8 When the king returned, he found Haman pleading for his life before Esther, who was reclining on the couch at the banquet table. The king placed the worst possible construction on the situation. The word. i.e., to execute Haman.

7:9 Harbona. One of the king's eunuchs (1:10).


Chapter 8

8:1 how he was related to her. i.e., her cousin and guardian.

8:2 Haman's property was given to Esther, who made Mordecai its administrator.

8:8-14 Though the king could not revoke the previous decree Haman had devised (cf. Dan. 6:8, 12, 15), there was no reason why a counter decree could not be issued. Mordecai proceeded to issue such a decree with the king's approval, thereby permitting the Jews to defend themselves, kill their attackers, and take spoils on the day Haman's decree was to become effective. The counter decree was issued on June 25, 474 b.c. and disseminated posthaste, allowing he Jews about 8 months to prepare to defend themselves.

8:17 became Jews. i.e., embraced the religion of Judaism as proselytes.


Chapter 9

9:1 The tables were turned. Another indication of the sovereign providence of God.

9:3 The rulers, torn between two contradictory decrees, wisely decided, in view of his popularity, to obey the one issued by Mordecai.

9:10 Though the Jews had a right to the spoil, they did not take it (8:11; 9:15-16).

9:13 Why Esther asked permission to continue the massacre in Susa for a second day is not stated. Perhaps she was simply being vindictive, or perhaps she had learned of further attacks being planned against the Jews. Publicly hanging, or impaling, Haman's already dead ten sons sent a strong warning to others.

9:17-22 Jews in the provinces celebrated their victory on the 14th day of Adar, while Jews in Susa waited until the 15th (because of the events of v 15). Eventually Mordecai ordered that both days should be observed annually as the Feast of Purim.

9:29-31 Later, a second letter was written by Esther and Mordecai together, in which they enjoined fasting (which they had personally ben observing) on all Jews in connection with Purim.


Chapter 10

10:1 a tribute, perhaps to pay for his disastrous expedition to Greece.

10:3 Mordecai held the office of first minister no longer than 8 years, for secular history records that another man was in that office in 465 b.c.

(1) Ryrie Study Bible, Expanded Edition
Charles Caldwell Ryrie, Thd., Phd.
Moody Press, Chicago, 1994