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What Is the Book of Esther in the Bible?

Learn about the Book of Esther in this Howcast video with Reverend Dr. Timothy Coombs.


Hi, I'm Tim Coombs, co-pastor of Trinity Presbyterian Church in Scotia, NY and a member of the network of biblical storytellers. To learn more about its mission, go to

The story of Esther is the story behind the Jewish feast of Purim which occurs around February for us. It is a story that is in one sense delightful and funny, there are lots of plot twists, but it's about a very serious subject-the almost genocide of the Jewish people in Persia.

Esther is a Jewish woman with her uncle, Mordecai, who is a very faithful Jew. And there is a beauty contest that Esther wins. As a prize for winning the beauty contest, she becomes the queen to the Persian king.

Now, the king has a prime minister, Haman, who wants to kill all the Jewish people, and so Mordecai comes to Esther and says, ""You have to do something about this, you have to go to the king and reveal this plot."" And Esther says, ""Well I'm afraid of the king."" And Mordecai finally says to her, ""Look, you cannot keep silent about this, I mean I trust that if you do, God will save us, but you and your family will be destroyed. Who knows, maybe everything that has happened so far has occurred for such a time as this.""

Well, Esther wells up her courage and goes to the king and asks him to give her a banquet and it's in the midst of this banquet that not only does she reveal that Haman, the prime minister wants to kill the Jewish people, but that Haman has dishonored the king. So instead of killing the Jewish people, the king takes his revenge out on Haman.

The king allows the Jewish people to defend themselves and on the day of Purim they do and this genocide is avoided. It's a very powerful and important story, not only for the Jewish people, but for all people who face such danger.

That's the story of Esther.

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