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1. If invited for a private audience with the prime minister or president, would you go? What might he or she want to talk to you about? What questions would you pose? How would you dress and prepare yourself?
2. What contest have you ever won? Who was your competition?
3. Verse 1 is a hinge verse, spanning four years (see verse 16 and chapter 1:3). In that time, what happened to the king’s anger? His memory? His decree? His former wife, Vashti?
4. As this king’s search unfolds, how does it compare to the story of Joseph (Genesis chapters 37 – 41)?
5. How do Mordecai and Esther fit into the model referenced in Question #4? Who are Mordecai’s ancestors (1 Samuel 9:1)? How do Mordecai and Esther relate to each other? How do they fit the man-woman household rule in chapter 1:22?
6. How would you describe this search for a new queen? How would the Persian people describe it?
7. How would you have felt if you were Esther (who had no choice in the matter) about being selected for the king’s harem? Flattered? Frightened? Used? Angry? Proud? Embarrassed?
8. Why did Mordecai forbid Esther to reveal that she was a Jew?
- he was ashamed of the fact
- he was afraid Esther would be persecuted
- he was afraid Esther would be disqualified
- he liked to run Esther’s life
- something told him it wasn’t the right time
9. What might have happened if Esther had not obeyed Mordecai? How did she manage to keep her ethnic background secret from the king?
10. Of what significance is the year-long preparation period? What in your culture roughly corresponds to it?
11. Nothing is said here about the morality of Xerxes’ seizing or sampling the women as he does. Why is that?
12. How would you describe Esther?
13. In your relationship with God, how do you feel right now?
14. Where would you fit yourself into this story? A queen fit for a king? A runner-up? A personal attendant? A fretful, fatherly Mordecai?
15. How important is physical attractiveness to you in courting or keeping your mate?
16. How would you feel if God, as King, took four years to fill a “vacancy” or solve some other problem in your life? How important (to you and to God) is time and timing?
17. If you were chosen queen or king, what would be the greatest asset or strength would you bring to your country? Where are you using that gift now?