The night before last, I finished reading Angela Hunt’s Esther, which is based off of the Bible story. For those who are unfamiliar with the story of Esther, it can be found in the old testament of the Bible, it is the 17th book in the Bible.
Esther is a young Jewish girl who was raised by her cousin Mordecai after she was orphaned.
When King Ahasuerus (Xerxes 485 – 464 BC) is in search of a new queen after Queen Vashti disobeys him, Esther is brought in as a candidate for the position of queen.
“Esther obtained favor in the sight of all who saw her.” Esther 2:15
King Ahasuerus loved Esther more than all the other virgins who were presented to him so he chose her to be his Queen.
One day Mordecai, who remained nearby and sat in the King’s Gate, heard of a plot against the king by two of the King’s eunuchs. Mordecai told Esther and Esther was able to warn the king in Mordecai’s name.
With the threat gone, King Ahasuerus promotes Haman to be his second in command.
Haman hated Jews, especially Mordecai because he refuses to bow before him when he passes by. So Haman devised a plan to rid the nation of all the Jews and got the King to sign the decree.
When Mordecai heard of this he tore his clothes and put on sackcloth and ashes went out as far as the king’s gate and cried out. He would not have been allowed to go any further.
When Esther hears of what her cousin is doing she sends one of the King’s eunuchs to bring him clothes and he refuses to take them until she agrees to go to the King and plead for their lives, even though the effort could cause her own life because no one goes to the king unannounced.
After some fasting, Esther got up the courage to approach the king and found favor in his sight. She invited the King and Haman to a banquet where would tell him what she wanted.
At the banquet, she says nothing but invites the two to a second banquet. Haman is thrilled at the attention from the queen but on his way home sees Mordecai and is filled with enough anger that he builds a gallows, at the encouragement of his wife, and plans to have Mordecai hanged on it.
Meanwhile, the king is reminded of how Mordecai once saved his life and realizes that nothing was done to show his thanks, so he has Haman, who was coming to tell him about the gallows to tell him what the king should do to show a man honour.
Thinking that the honour was meant for him, he came up with an elaborate plan that involved being led around the streets on the king’s best horse, wearing the king’s robe. The king then had him do just that for Mordecai. Haman was not happy but didn’t have time to do anything about it because it was time to go to the second banquet.
This time, Esther tells the king that Haman has devised the plan to wipe out her people, the Jews. Harbonah, one of the king’s eunuchs informs the king of the gallows meant for Mordecai, and the king has Haman hung on it instead
Mordecai is then given the position that Haman had and they are able to write a decree that allowed the Jews to stand up and fight for themselves.
The book by Angela Hunt is written from the first person accounts of Hadassah (Esther) and Harbonah (the King’s eunuch). It’s been a while since I’ve read something that was written in the first person. Usually a writer is discouraged from doing such, but she pulled it off really well.
Miss Hunt does a great job of depicting what life would have been like for the young Jewish girl both before and after she was chosen to be the queen. From her life among the other virgins who were waiting to be chosen to what she could have endured after becoming queen, away from her friends.
The eunuch’s personal account gives a good insight to the behind-the-scenes of the king’s life and the ways of the palace.
It is clear that miss Hunt did an extensive amount of research, her list of references are two pages long!
The moral of the story is this: we all face struggles in our lifetime, and even though the odds may be against us, we are here for a purpose. God has a plan for our lives, but it is up to us to be obedient to that calling.
I highly recommend this book for a deeper understanding of the Persian Empire in the days of Xerxes l as well the life of Queen Esther.
ARE YOU A FAN OF BIBLICAL FICTION? WHAT WAS THE LAST BOOK YOU READ?