The story of Esther is a true picture of what a princess should be. It has all of the elements of the princess stories that our girls watch and dream about becoming. Esther is a brave, beautiful woman. This lesson allows us to bring forth a Godly woman worthy of our daughters' enchantment. It is also another example of God's persistence in protecting the Israelites from complete ruin.
This story is a little longer than normal in that it encompasses a 10-chapter book. However, it is still possible to read the whole book in 1 or 2 sittings.
Esther was a beautiful young Jewish woman living in Persia. Remember what happened to the Babylonian kingdom after Belshazzar? Remember "mene, mene, tekel, parsin"? The Babylonian kingdom was divided between the Medes and the Persians. The story of Esther is set about 100 years after the Babylonian captivity, and about 60 years after Babylon fell to the Persians. The King of Persia at the time was King Xerxes (some translations give his name as Ahasuerus).
Mordecai was her cousin, who raised her as if she were his daughter. Esther was taken to the house of Xerxes, King of Persia, to become his wife. King Xerxes loved Esther and made Esther queen, but the king did not know that Esther was a Jew, because Mordecai told her not to reveal her identity. The full story can be found in Esther 1 & 2.
Haman was an advisor to the king. Haman hated Mordecai because Mordecai refused to bow down to Haman. So Haman plotted to destroy the Jewish people. Haman descended from the Amalekites. Refer back to Exodus 17. God promised to erase the memory of the Amalekites from the earth. That is why, during the festival of Purim (see the Purim party activity below), everyone makes loud noises whenever Haman's name is spoken, so no one can hear it.
Then Haman said to King Xerxes, "Certain people are scattered among the nations. They live in all of the territories in your kingdom. Their practices are different from the practices of all other people. They don't obey your laws. It really isn't good for you to put up with them." Esther 3:8. The King gave Haman permission to do as he pleased to the Jews. So Haman planned to kill all of the Jews.
Mordecai persuaded Esther to speak to the king on behalf of the Jewish people. This was a dangerous thing for Esther to do, because anyone who came into the king's presence without being summoned could be put to death, and she had not been summoned. Esther fasted for three days to prepare herself, then went into the king. He welcomed her. Later, she told him of Haman's plot against her people.
The King was not happy that Haman had plotted against Esther's people, so he had Haman hanged on the gallows that he had prepared for Mordecai. Esther then asked the King to revoke the decree Haman had him sign into law to have the Jews destroyed. But the King cannot revoke a law he enacted. So he allowed the Jews to fight back, and God gave them the victory in battle.
What is your favorite princess movie? (the boys in your class will probably react very negatively to this, which you can encourage if you wish :))
Today, we are going to learn about a queen in the Bible who allowed herself to be used by God to save the Jews.
Read story from a Children's storybook Bible for younger children.
For older children, read the story from an age-appropriate Children's storybook Bible or tell the story yourself.
Scripture for Kids to Read Aloud: Esther 2:5-18, 3:5-6, 4:1-17, 7:1-10
First, ask the children if they have any questions about the story. What to do if you don't know the answer?
Scripture The days the Jews were celebrating were called Purim. Purim comes from the word pur. Pur means "lot." Now the Jews celebrate those two days every year. They do it because of everything that was written in Mordecai's letter. They also do it because of what they had seen and what had happened to them. Esther 9:26
Scripture Haman noticed that Mordecai wouldn't get down on his knees. He wouldn't give Haman any honor. So Haman burned with anger. But he had found out who Mordecai's people were. So he decided not to kill just Mordecai. He also looked for a way to destroy all of Mordecai's people. They were Jews. He wanted to kill all of them everywhere in the kingdom of Xerxes. Esther 3:5-6
Supplies materials to make shakers or store bought noise makers (options are below)
Heads up! pronounced: ha-men-tash-en
Scripture Esther 9:24-25
Supplies sugar, vegetable oil, orange juice, vanilla, flour, baking powder, fruit preserves
Scripture The king liked Esther more than he liked any of the other women. She pleased him more than any of the other virgins. So he put a royal crown on her head. He made her queen in Vashti's place. Esther 2:17
Scripture Esther 1-10
Supplies crowns, 2 tiaras or crowns, Bible, bag of money
Heads up! Use discretion as to whether this activity would be appropriate for your church. Best used in an older girl's class
Scripture Each virgin had to complete 12 months of beauty care. They used oil of myrrh for six months. And they used perfume and make-up for the other six months. A virgin's turn to go in to King Xerxes could come only after a full 12 months had passed. Esther 2:12
Supplies items for beauty treatments, fruit and other light snacks
Scripture Esther 1-10
Supplies copies of the rhyme
Scripture Then Harbona said, "There's a pole standing near Haman's house. He has gotten it ready for Mordecai. Mordecai is the one who spoke up to help you. Haman had planned to have him put to death. He was going to have the pole stuck through his body. Then he was going to set it up at a place where it would be 75 feet above the ground." Harbona was one of the officials who attended the king. The king said to his men, "Put Haman to death! Stick the pole through his body! Set it up where everyone can see it!" Esther 7:9
Scripture Esther 1-10
Supplies Paper, Markers