Thursday, February 8, 2024

Ladies Bible Class: Esther, Lesson 17

Esther, Lesson 17

Chapter 5:1- 8

The book of Esther:  A study of God in action when nothing appears to be happening!

by Patsy Norwood (c) 2023 - 2024.  All Rights Reserved.

In our last lesson we left Mordecai putting into action his part of Esther’s plan.  In this lesson Esther implements her part of the plan.  It looked like this …

1 Now it happened on the third day that Esther put on her royal robes and stood in the inner court of the king’s palace, across from the king’s house, while the king sat on his royal throne in the royal house, facing the entrance of the house.

Are you holding your breath?  What’s the king going to do!!!!

A dear older woman, who was a dedicated Bible student, whom I love dearly and who mentored me until she moved away told me that in her studying on the book of Esther, she had found information that said that Esther was so afraid and so scared as she stood before the entrance of the house that she literally trembled and almost fainted.  I don’t find that hard to believe at all!

Let’s look closer at this verse: 

“Now it happened on the third day” … this was the third day of her fasting.

“Esther put on her royal robes” … research points to Esther having worn sackcloth during her time of fasting and praying.

Here’s what Josephus recorded about this moment in time:  When Esther had used this supplication for three days, she put off those garments, and changed her habit, and adorned herself as became a queen, and took two of her handmaids with her, the one of which supported her, and the other followed after, and lifted up her large train (which swept along the ground ) with the extremities of her fingers; and thus she came to the king, having a blushing redness in her countenance, with a pleasant agreeableness in her behavior, yet did she go in to him with fear.

2 So it was, when the king saw Queen Esther standing in the court, that she found favor in his sight, and the king held out to Esther the golden scepter that was in his hand. Then Esther went near and touched the top of the scepter.

Whew!  We can breathe now!  This was the moment of truth for Esther, if the king had just ignored her presence, she would have been dragged off and killed, but the king did notice her and showed her favor.  What a relief that must have been, but her work was just beginning.  Getting in to see the king with her life intact was just the first step.

Let’s go back to Josephus for a bit more insight …

And as soon as she was come over against him, as he was sitting on his throne, in his royal apparel, which was a garment interwoven with gold and precious stones, which made him seem to her more terrible, especially when he looked at her somewhat severely and with a countenance on fire with anger; her joints failed her immediately, out of the dread she was in, and she fell down sideways in a swoon: but the king changed his mind, which happened, as I suppose, by the will of God, and was concerned for his wife, lest her fear should bring some very evil thing upon her, and he leaped from his throne, and took her in his arms, and recovered her, by embracing her, and speaking comfortably to her, exhorting her to be of good cheer, and not to suspect anything that was sad on account of her coming to him without being called, because that law was made for subjects, but that she, who was a queen, as well as he a king, might be entirely secure; and as he said this, he put the sceptre into her hand, and laid his rod upon her neck on account of the law; and so freed her from her fear.

3 And the king said to her, “What do you wish, Queen Esther? What is your request? It shall be given to you—up to half the kingdom!”

It doesn’t appear that the king has fallen out of love with Esther, he even seems to show concern for her.  This is the first kind emotion we’ve seen the king show.

Let’s focus on the last part of the verse, “It shall be given to you up to half the kingdom.”  I’m sure the king didn’t literally mean he would give her half his kingdom, but it does mean that he was willing to go to great lengths to fulfill Esther’s request – whatever it was!

Do you think the king realized that whatever had brought Esther to his throne must have been seriously important for her to risk her life?

Wait, could that be compassion the king is displaying?

4 So Esther answered, “If it pleases the king, let the king and Haman come today to the banquet that I have prepared for him.”

Notice that Esther didn’t jump right in with her petition, she instead used caution.  Maybe she was making sure that her standing with the king was on good ground, that his affection for her was genuine and still there.  So much depended on the way she handled this situation, she simply had to do her best to get it right.

5 Then the king said, “Bring Haman quickly, that he may do as Esther has said.” So the king and Haman went to the banquet that Esther had prepared.

This plan is moving fast, and the scene now shifts from the king’s throne room to the banquet the queen has prepared, assumingly somewhere at her residence.

6 At the banquet of wine the king said to Esther, “What is your petition? It shall be granted you. What is your request, up to half the kingdom? It shall be done!”

‘Up to half the kingdom?’  The king must really be concerned and or smitten with Esther, this is the second time he has told her that she could have up to half of his kingdom.

7 Then Esther answered and said, “My petition and request is this:

I’m sure the king was anticipating what Esther’s petition might be, he knew it had to be serious, but he didn’t yet know how serious.

8 If I have found favor in the sight of the king, and if it pleases the king to grant my petition and fulfill my request, then let the king and Haman come to the banquet which I will prepare for them, and tomorrow I will do as the king has said.”

Tomorrow?  If the king and Haman (let’s not forget that Haman is at the banquet too) were waiting with bated breath for Esther’s reason for the quick invite to this banquet they were disappointed.  They were going to have to wait another day.

Meanwhile Haman …. Well, that’s next week’s lesson!

Why did Esther delay giving her request to the king a second time?

Did she need more assurance that the king’s concern for her was real?

Did she lose her courage?

Did her women’s intuition tell her the timing wasn’t right?

Or was it that God was quietly working behind the scenes?

Those are my thoughts on this week’s lesson, what are yours?

I sincerely hope that as we study this book, you’re gathering knowledge about God and that you’re seeing how this account of Esther fits in with His redeeming plan for mankind.  The Bible is about God and the more we learn about Him, the more we fall in love with Him.

In our next lesson, Esther 5: 9 - 14, we get a good look at the person Haman is!  We will see that Proverbs 16:18 fits him perfectly … Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.

I hope you’ve enjoyed today's lesson.  Don't forget to leave a comment and if you're enjoying this class, please share the link with other ladies who you think might enjoy it as well.

Links to previous lessons can be found HERE.

Until the next class ...

patsy @ From This Heart of Mine; (c) 2023 - 2024 by Patsy Norwood ~ All Rights Reserved.


  1. One of my most favorite quotes-
    My religious beliefs teach me to feel as safe in battle as in bed. God has fixed the time of my death. I do not concern myself with that, but to be always ready whenever it may overtake me. That is the way all men should live, and all men would be equally brave.
    'Stonewall' Thomas Jonathan Jackson

    I think we can apply this to Esther.

  2. Lana, I have never heard that quote, but I agree it can be applied to Esther in this situation. By the way, I love the quote, I'm going to add it to my journal. Thank you for sharing.