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Esther



Esther [Es'ther] The Persian name of Hadassah, Daughter of Abihail, son of Shimei, son of Kish, a Benjamite. Being an orphan she was brought up by her cousin Mordecai. She was fair and Beautiful and was thought suitable to be presented to the king. God gave her favour in the eyes of the royal Household, and also caused the king to choose her for his queen, though she was a captive. The king is called Ahasuerus, but he is supposed to have been the Xerxes of history. Mordecai, refusing to bow to Haman the Agagite, roused the wrath of the latter, who procured an edict for the Destruction on a certain day of all the Jews in the empire. Esther was hereupon charged by Mordecai to plead with the king for their Deliverance. She therefore called all the Jews in Shushan to fast with her three days and nights, saying she would go in to the king unbidden, and if she perished she perished. God gave her favour in the eyes of the king and he held out the Sceptre to her. At a Banquet she told the king that Haman had sold her and her people. The king was enraged, and being told at this moment of the Gallows on which Haman intended to hang Mordecai (who had been the means of the king's life being saved), orders were at once given to hang Haman thereon. Esther had again to endanger her life by Appearing before the king unbidden; but again the king received her graciously and gave her the desired Authority to rescue the Jews from their threatened calamity: they were allowed to defend themselves when attacked by their enemies. By a remarkable providence, the king not being able to sleep one night, Mordecai had been brought into favour, and he was now exalted to fill the office of Haman. This gave the Jews great advantage, for the provincial rulers all stood in fear of Mordecai. When the appointed day arrived, instead of the Jews being destroyed, they were able, not only to defend themselves, but avenge themselves on their enemies, ending with a day of feasting and gladness. The days of Deliverance were appointed by Esther and Mordecai as an annual festival. See ESTHER, Book OF.

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