The King Behind the Scene
Esther 1:1-22

The King Behind the Scene

Esther 1:1-22

Big Idea:  God is the Sovereign and Hidden King. His plan Sovereignly operates in all aspects of life.

Overview of Esther’s Story


               -Power and Pomp of the King

  1. ESTHER BECOMES QUEEN (Esther 1:10 – 2:20)

                -Vashti Deposed
                -Esther Crowned Queen

  1. THE PLOT AGAINST XERXES: ‘in those days’ (Esther 2:21–23)

               -Mortdecai discovers and reports two guards plan to kill the king

  1. HAMAN’S PLOT AGAINST THE JEWISH EXILES: ‘after these things …’ (Esther 3:1–15)

               -Agaagaite….Canaanite (Old Enemy of Jews). Hates Mortdecai because he won’t bow.

               -Gets the King to sign an edict on the 13th of Adar to (11 months) to kill all the Jews.

  1. MORDECAI AND ESTHER RESPOND TO HAMAN’S PLOT: ‘when Mordecai learned …’ (Esther 4:1 – 5:8)

                -You were appointed queen for such a time as this
                -Salvation will come but you and your house will be destroyed
                -Esther comes before the King (Asks to throw them a banquet: The King & Haman)

  1. HAMAN’S PLOT AGAINST MORDECAI: ‘filled with rage against Mordecai’ (Esther 5:9-14)

              -Discusses it with friends and family and makes a large stake to kill Mortdecai on the next day.

  1. XERXES HONOURS MORDECAI: ‘the man the king delights to honour’ (Esther 6:1–11)

             -Just so happens to have the royal chronicles read and remembers what Mortdecai did and desires to honor him.
             -Haman thinks it’s him and says the king’s robe, crown, and horse….he parades Mortdecai around.

  1. PARTIAL SUCCESS: the death of Haman (Esther 6:12 – 7:10)

              -The 2nd Banquet and Esther reveals Haman’s plot to kill her, Mortdecai, and all the Jews
              -King in drunken rage impales Haman on stake he was going to impale Mortdecai upon.

  1. FULL SUCCESS: The Jewish people are saved (Esther 8:1 – 9:16)

             -King elevates Mortdecai to 2nd in kingdom.
             -Order an edict that the Jews can protect themselves.


Main things we want to learn from Esther

  • The Reality of God’s hiddenness
    1. The Only book where God’s name isn’t mentioned. No references to God, prayer, miracles, dietary laws, purity…..Author’s intentionally taken God’s name out of the story so we will look for Him.
      1. God’s Activity with Moses, Elijah, Elisha
      2. God’s Activity in Ruth/ Joseph
      3. God’s Activity in Esther
    2. God’s hiddenness is a reality God’s people have faced
      1. I will wait for the LORD, who is hiding his face from the house of Jacob, and I will hope in him. (Isa. 8:17)
      2. Why, O LORD, do you stand far away? Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble? (Ps. 10:1)
      3. How long, O LORD? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me? (Ps. 13:1)
      4. “Truly, you are a God who hides himself, O God of Israel” (Isa. 45:15).
    3. We have experienced the hiddenness of God.
  1. God’s Sovereign Activity and Purpose.
    1. While God is not mentioned He is everywhere in the story.
    2. Story of Rembrandt’s: The Night Watch (Student and Master)-Amsterdam
        1. Where do you see Rembrandt? No Signature, Not in the Faces
        2. “You look for a signature, but I see the subtlety of artistic style. You look at their faces, but I see the character of the brushstrokes. And that is why you look at the painting and conclude the artist is nowhere. And that is why I look at the painting and see the artist everywhere.”
      1. Reversals-
      2. Irony-
  • God’s uses broken people for His plan.
    1. The King & Council- God uses ignorant and complacent people in His Sovereign plan.
    2. Haman-God can even use the wicked intentions of someone’s heart to bring about His purposes (Joseph-You intended this for evil, but God for good).
    3. Esther-Contrast with Daniel (She doesn’t speak up about Identity, sleeps with a Gentile, no dietary restrictions….Seems like she goes along with whatever men say… being courageous enough to risk her life).
      1. God is faithful in His process of growing and maturing us.
      2. He transforms Esther into someone who would lay down her life in order to rescue her people from certain death.
  • God’s Heart of Rescue.
    1. God might discipline His people, but he will never forsake them. He has steadfast love and faithfulness for His people. Even the Jews who remained in Exile and didn’t return, who had seemingly compromised with their faith and identity….God didn’t give up on them but rescued and redeemed them.
      1. Jesus shows us God’s heart perfectly as He gives up His life to redeem and rescue His enemies that they might become His people!
  • Being a People of Celebration.
    1. Esther ends with Purim. A Jewish Festival of Celebration over God’s deliverance of His people. They feast, give presents, and recount and remember.
    2. We, as Christians, are a people of celebration. The end of our story is one of deliverance and victory. We celebrate in view of the victory Christ has purchased for us by giving up His life and raising from the dead. 

Esther 1:1-22

Now in the days of Ahasuerus, the Ahasuerus who reigned from India to Ethiopia over 127 provinces, in those days when King Ahasuerus sat on his royal throne in Susa, the citadel, in the third year of his reign he gave a feast for all his officials and servants. The army of Persia and Media and the nobles and governors of the provinces were before him, while he showed the riches of his royal glory and the splendor and pomp of his greatness for many days, 180 days.And when these days were completed, the king gave for all the people present in Susa the citadel, both great and small, a feast lasting for seven days in the court of the garden of the king’s palace. There were white cotton curtains and violet hangings fastened with cords of fine linen and purple to silver rods[a] and marble pillars, and also couches of gold and silver on a mosaic pavement of porphyry, marble, mother-of-pearl, and precious stones. Drinks were served in golden vessels, vessels of different kinds, and the royal wine was lavished according to the bounty of the king. And drinking was according to this edict: “There is no compulsion.” For the king had given orders to all the staff of his palace to do as each man desired. Queen Vashti also gave a feast for the women in the palace that belonged to King Ahasuerus.

10 On the seventh day, when the heart of the king was merry with wine, he commanded Mehuman, Biztha, Harbona, Bigtha and Abagtha, Zethar and Carkas, the seven eunuchs who served in the presence of King Ahasuerus, 11 to bring Queen Vashti before the king with her royal crown,[b] in order to show the peoples and the princes her beauty, for she was lovely to look at. 12 But Queen Vashti refused to come at the king’s command delivered by the eunuchs. At this the king became enraged, and his anger burned within him.

13 Then the king said to the wise men who knew the times (for this was the king’s procedure toward all who were versed in law and judgment, 14 the men next to him being Carshena, Shethar, Admatha, Tarshish, Meres, Marsena, and Memucan, the seven princes of Persia and Media, who saw the king’s face, and sat first in the kingdom): 15 “According to the law, what is to be done to Queen Vashti, because she has not performed the command of King Ahasuerus delivered by the eunuchs?” 16 Then Memucan said in the presence of the king and the officials, “Not only against the king has Queen Vashti done wrong, but also against all the officials and all the peoples who are in all the provinces of King Ahasuerus. 17 For the queen’s behavior will be made known to all women, causing them to look at their husbands with contempt,[c] since they will say, ‘King Ahasuerus commanded Queen Vashti to be brought before him, and she did not come.’ 18 This very day the noble women of Persia and Media who have heard of the queen’s behavior will say the same to all the king’s officials, and there will be contempt and wrath in plenty. 19 If it please the king, let a royal order go out from him, and let it be written among the laws of the Persians and the Medes so that it may not be repealed, that Vashti is never again to come before King Ahasuerus. And let the king give her royal position to another who is better than she. 20 So when the decree made by the king is proclaimed throughout all his kingdom, for it is vast, all women will give honor to their husbands, high and low alike.” 21 This advice pleased the king and the princes, and the king did as Memucan proposed. 22 He sent letters to all the royal provinces, to every province in its own script and to every people in its own language, that every man be master in his own household and speak according to the language of his people.

Big Idea:

God is the Sovereign and Hidden King. His plan Sovereignly operates in all aspects of life.


The Vanity of the World (1-9)-The Courage to Say No (10-12)-The Illusion of Control (13-22)

The Vanity of the World (1-9)

  • Passage intended to show the greatness and glory of the King!
    • 6 month festival-No Limit to His wine and wealth and food
    • Most descriptive background outside of Tabernacle/Temple-Intended to show the King’s great wealth and power
      • Likely happened after he squashed rebellion in Egypt but before His loss to the Greeks….
  • We see the character of the King: Vanity, Arrogance, Foolishness
    • Everything that was done was to orbit around him and his greatness (Vanity-Emptiness)
  • Solomon teaches us this lesson! The greatest parties, the most influential and entertaining company, the nicest and most orderly home & possessions, the greatest success, power & affluence they don’t leave us fulfilled but rather empty!
    • There is another KINGDOM….a better KINGDOM…another King…a better KING that we are to live for. We don’t see Him, but we can experience Him. We were not meant to orbit around ourselves, but around Him!

What are ways we’re like the King?

Living for the Kingdom we don’t yet see while in a kingdom that lives only for what is SEEN.

1 John 2:15-17-15 Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life[c]—is not from the Father but is from the world. 17 And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.

The Courage to Say No (10-12)

  • The Power and Danger of the King
  • Vashti’s Refusal- She refused to be treated as a doll, a sex object for men. Defying the institutional powers that be! Dangerous.
    • What Institutional powers/ Political systems are perpetrating racism? Are maintaining unjust sexual discrimination and objectifying people?
  • Common Grace- God has given common grace to those who don’t know Him. Non-Christians who are moral and have insight into what is right and wrong in instances. Humility as a Christian! We can learn from all people.
    • How would God have you to say NO to the status quo?


      • No to locker-room talk about women.
      • No to pornography
      • Stand for conviction of pre-marital sex and living together!


      • No to dressing in such a way that you place your identity in your appearance! In revealing certain aspects of your body for attention.
      • No to comparing yourselves to others and finding your worth and dignity based on how you compare!
      • No to allowing men to say, touch, or treat you in such a way that is less than honorable.

The Illusion of Control (13-22)

  • The all-powerful King is a puppet to his advisors….
    • In seeking to exert control it simply revealed that he didn’t have control! Control is an illusion. It implies that we’re the Sovereign ones. In the midst of an all-powerful king and empire,
    • Esther uses Satire to peel back the curtain and reveal that the King isn’t all powerful! There is another King, behind the Scene who is ordering and guiding the story.
      • Psalm 103:19 -The Lord has established his throne in the heavens, and his kingdom rules over all.
      • Proverbs 21:1 The king’s heart is a stream of water in the hand of the Lord; he turns it wherever he will.
      • Psalm 22:28 For kingship belongs to the Lord, and he rules over the nations.
      • 1 Timothy 6:15b-16-he who is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords, 16 who alone has immortality, who dwells in unapproachable light, whom no one has ever seen or can see. To him be honor and eternal dominion. Amen.
    • The world’s effort control seeks to enslave us! We must see the irony in it.
      • Look to Christ/the cross: You would not have any power over me had it not been given you from my Father who is in heaven!-John 19:11
      • It leads us to trust in our Heavenly King and His Sovereign plan to work all things together for good! Do you trust God? Have you experienced the peace that comes from resting in His Sovereignty?