Introduction: The title of this book comes from its principal character. Esther. In this it is similar to many other Old Testament books (e.g., Joshua, Ruth, Samuel, Ezra, Nehemiah, Job, et al). In Esther there is no direct mention of God. The genre of the Book is historical narrative. This book records the circumstances that elevated Esther to the influential position of Queen and her part in saving the Jewish people. Taken from the BB Anchors Pro Pack S-2-9
• Esther quiz template
• Jigsaw Puzzle (any jigsaw with enough pieces)
Activity1 - Esther -The Story
Aim: To tell the story of Esther.
• Read through the book of Esther and familiarise yourself with the story.
• This is a difficult story for young children to follow, so choose the main parts to tell.
King Xerxes was very rich. One night He commanded his wife Queen Vashti to come and see his friends, but she refused and he became furious and would not allow Vashti to be Queen after that. When he began to miss having a wife his helpers had a beauty contest. The most beautiful woman would be the new Queen. Esther was a young Jewish woman and was chosen to take part in the contest The King liked Esther best of all and chose her to be his Queen. Esther may not have understood why she was chosen to be the Queen, but God had a plan and as we listen we will see how God uses Esther for His plan.
Esther’s uncle Mordecai took care of Esther and raised her as his own daughter. Mordecai was a Jewish man who loved and obeyed God and taught Esther the same. Before Esther became Queen, Mordecai told her not to tell anyone that she was Jewish. Mordecai loved Esther so he sat at the King’s gate to be near her. One day by the gate he overheard two men planning to kill King Xerxes so he told Esther and she told the King, then the two men were put to death.
King Xerxes had a noble man called Haman who was the highest of the King’s men. King Xerxes commanded everyone to kneel and honour Haman when they saw him. Mordecai knew it was against God’s commandments to bow down to anyone but God so he refused. This made Haman angry and he hated Mordecai. Haman knew that Mordecai was Jewish so that made Haman hate all Jews. Haman went to King Xerxes and asked him to make a law that all the Jews to be killed. He said that there were people in the Kingdom who wouldn’t obey the King’s laws. The King listened to Haman and made a law that all the Jews should be destroyed.
This was terrible news — because the Jews were God’s people. But God loves His people and protects them from harm. Mordecai heard about Haman’s plan and he cried out wailing. He sent a messenger to tell Esther to do something to stop this happening. When Esther heard she was very scared and knew that if she went to the King without being invited she could be killed right on the spot Only people who were invited could come and stand before his throne. Mordecai encouraged Esther and told her that it was for such a time in as this that God had planned to use her for His purposes. If she didn’t help then God would use someone else to
save His people.
Even though she might die, Esther and her people prayed and fasted for three days and then she went to see the King. God gave courage to Esther. When the King saw her he smiled, held out his sceptre for her to touch to show that it was ok to come into the room. The King asked her what she wanted, and she asked him and Haman to a banquet.
At the banquet she didn’t tell Xerxes about Hamans evil plan but invited the King and Haman again to a banquet the next night.
Haman was very proud that he was the only person invited to attend the King and Queen’s banquet and he left the banquet very happy. On his way home he walked by Mordecai and was furious that he would not kneel and honour him. At home he told his family about his invitation to eat at the banquet with the King and Queen and about how much he hated Mordecai. Hamans wife and his friends told him that he should build a gallows so that Mordecai could be hung on it. Haman was delighted with this idea and had the gallows built.
The night before Esther’s banquet, the King could not sleep and asked his servant to bring him a history book for him to read. God was in control and there was no accident that the King could not sleep. The history book was brought for him to read and it was all about when Mordecai overheard the plot to have him killed. King Xerxes understood Mordecai had not been honoured or rewarded for saving his life so he planned to reward Mordecai.
When Haman came to see the King to get permission to hang Mordecai on the gallows the King asked him. “What should be done for the man the King delights to honour?” Haman was very proud and assumed the King wanted to honour him so he came up with how he would want to be honoured. Then King Xerxes told him to give Mordecai all that Haman had come up with for himself.
At the banquet Esther knew it was God’s time to tell the King that she and her people were going to be killed. She told the King that she was a Jew and about the law to kill all the Jews. The King was angry and asked who would dare to think about killing his wife. The King loved Esther and he was very angry. Esther pointed at Haman and said that he was the man who wanted to destroy the Jews.
King Xerxes had Haman put to death on the gallows he had built for Mordecai. God used Mordecai and Esther to save His people, the Jews, from destruction. King Xerxes made a new law saying that Jews could protect themselves from those who were going to attack them. The Jews were saved because of the faithfulness and obedience of Esther.
This is quite a long story and it could help to keep the children’s attention if you illustrate the story with puppets or with toys.
Activity 2 - Esther Quiz
Aim: To reinforce the story of Esther.
Give the children a copy of the Esther quiz to complete in pairs or groups.
Activity 3 - Created For A Purpose
Aim: To think about how God used Esther and think about ourselves and how God will use us.
• Give each child a piece of a jigsaw puzzle. They will hold this as you talk.
• Read Esther 4:14:
God created each one of us unique and special and different from each other There is only one of you and one of me and we are very important to God and to the families that we are a part of.
Sometimes we don’t feel that special — we feel like we don’t fit sometimes that we are the wrong shape, the wrong look or just in the wrong place. A bit like that piece of puzzle that you are holding.
But with each piece of a puzzle there is an exact place where it fits, an exact part of the picture, part of the story that needs to be there — without it the picture is not complete.
Well Esther was like a piece of puzzle that had an exact place to be — she was a Jew who became a Queen and saved her people. Mordecai said to her -
And who knows but that you have come to royal position for such a time as this. (NIV)
He could see that Esther was part of God’s plan and we know — don’t we — that we have a very important part in God’s plan.
Let’s put this puzzle together and see what the picture is made up of — we need to work together to make this puzzle work and to see the big picture. The puzzle is like God’s plan for each one of us and we can only see a little piece of God’s great big plan,
We need to be obedient and follow what God has asked us to do so that we can be pan of God’s great big picture.
Get a large puzzle with enough pieces for each child to have a piece. It does not matter if it is a bit bigger as you can work together to complete the picture. Get the children to guess what they think the picture is of.
For full details see the BB Anchors Pro Pack S2-9