Esther’s Request To The King (Esther 5:1 – 8)

Scripture Text:

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Esther 5:1 – 8

1. Did it help to “dress for success” in your last job interview? How so?

2. When you want someone to do a special favor for you, how do you convince them?

3. “On the third day” – of what? Why is that detail relevant to the plot?

4. What might be the purpose of Esther’s delaying tactics: fear? Intriguing the king? Buying time? Waiting for him to up his offer? Building suspense for the reader? Or what?

5. What is the king’s response so far to her requests? What does this imply?

6. If any request could be granted, as was done for Esther, for what would you  ask? Why that?

7. What assurances do you have that when you ask God for something, it will be grated?



Mordecai Persuades Esther To Help (Esther 4)

Scripture Text:

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Esther 4

1. When have you “cried your eyes out”? Over what issue, hurt or loss?

2. In your family, who cries like an open spigot? Like a drippy faucet? Who pouts? Fasts?

3. By now this story is front page news in the Jerusalem Times. As a reporter, to whom in Susa would you go for an “inside scoop”? For your “gossip column”? Would you name your sources? Why or why not?

4. Mordecai’s crying and penitence were culturally accepted (verses 1 and 3)? As for Esther, what options are open to her as queen? As a Jew? At what costs?

5. Which option does Esther finally settle on (verses 15 and 16)? What hope does she have for success? What else is she feeling?

6. What does fasting involve? Where is God in this?

7. Why do you think Mordecai would break his silence about who Esther is? If she remains silent, what hope is there?

8. “If you’re not part of the problem or its solution, let’s not waste time talking” – How does this quote apply here? How do you feel when you are the innocent or helpless third-party?

9. Do you think Esther was either innocent or helpless? What did Mordecai think?

10. Can you imagine a crisis in which you would go “against the law”, as Esther does, to find a solution?

11. Have you ever fasted? How long? What for? What was the result? How do you show readiness to do God’s will?


Haman’s Plot To Destroy the Jews (Esther 3)

Scripture Text:

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Esther 3

1. In your zealous years, did you march, protest, rally, picket or obstruct? For what cause? Break any laws? Get in trouble?

2. In what ways have your views changed?

3. The plot twists! Four more years elapse between chapters (verse 7 and chapter 2:16) in this TV-like mini-series. Who now comes onto the scene in a starring role?

4. Why won’t Mordecai kneel? And why is Haman intent on killing all Mordecai’s race? Is this a clash in priorities? Of personalities? Of perception? Of peoples?

5. What is a “pur” (verse 7)? What is the significance of the 11-month delay secured “by lot” (compare verses 7 and 12)? Was providence overruling coincidence?

6. If Haman the Agagite is a descendant of King Agag (see 1 Samuel 15) and the hated Amalekites, what does this mean for the Israelites? How is King Saul’s failure to extinguish all the Amalekites coming back (500 years later) ti haunt Israel?

7. What does this chapter add to your picture of King Xerxes? What half-truths does he agree with (verses 8 and 9)? What does he disavow (verse 11, but see chapter 4:7 and chapter 7:4)? What do his own people think (verse 15)?

8. As a fellow Jew, would you have urged Mordecai to “bow his knee” and not risk the lives of everyone else? Why?

9. Think of some whose customs are different from yours. How does that affect your fellowship? Do you build on similarities, or bridge the differences? Why?

10. In conflicts of conscience, are you more like . . . 

  • Mordecai (a pacifist protester)
  • Haman (an enraged politician)
  • Xerxes (easily swayed or pacified)
  • the couriers (dutifully bearing whatever news they are given)
  • the people (bewildered by it all)