Although God’s name is never mentioned in the Book of Esther, there is evidence to suggest that the book revolves around God’s desire to redeem his people. Perhaps the most compelling evidence to this end lies in the heritage of two of the books main characters – Esther and Haman. According to some traditions, Esther was the daughter of Abihail and according to some traditions – a descendant of King Saul. Meanwhile, Haman was a descendant of Agag of the Amalekites. Saul fell out of favor with God after disobeying him one too many times. One of the first instances in which Saul disobeyed God was when God told the Israelites to utterly destroy the Amalekites. Saul and his people slaughtered most of the Amalekites, but spared their king. Later, he offered a sacrifice to God by himself, rather than waiting for Samuel. This disobedience led to his separation from God and deprived his heir, Jonathan, of the throne.

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The story of Esther is a sort of reversal of the story of Saul. Saul changes from a man who does God’s will to a man who loses his inheritance through disobedience. Esther changes from a girl who fits seamlessly into pagan culture, who eats Pagan food and who hides her Hebrew heritage and a member of a persecuted minority, to a Queen, championed by a King and his men and elevated to one of the highest places in the Persian kingdom, because of her obedience.

This becomes clear when we consider the case of Vashti, who is removed from power because she disobeys the orders of the king. Esther, on the other hand, shows the king respect and obeys protocol. We can see that this is important because the way she addresses the king is repeated over and over. “If it please the king,” she says, each time she makes a request, “and if I have found favor in his sight.” The fact that the king has commanded actions is also important. We can see that because the phrase “the king’s commandment” is repeated multiple times. Clearly, commands and obedience are a central theme of Esther. Evidence that God is at work in the story of Esther is abundant when we compare Esther to other books. God often troubles the sleep of kings and in this story, the King remembers Mordecai at just the right moment because he cannot sleep. It is interesting that the tables only begin to turn for the Hebrews after both Mordecai and Esther exhibit obedience to God. Both of them, for instance, begin fasting.

Esther, meanwhile, lays down her life for her friends and is willing to claim her Hebrew heritage. We know the fact that she hides her heritage is important, because the author repeats it more than once. It is also significant, therefore, when she makes up her mind to reveal her identity. Indeed, her willingness to reclaim her relationship with her faith and her people mark a turning point in her life. After this, the King elevates Mordecai. Better yet, the man who sought to destroy Mordecai is put in charge of elevating him. Soon after, Mordecai is told by his family that he will “fall” if Mordecai is a Hebrew. The term “fall” is repeated again when he “falls” on Esther’s bed. This focus on falling might symbolize the victory of the Hebrews over their oppressors.

After Haman’s fall, Haman’s orders to allow the Hebrews to be killed still stands and the Hebrews are in great danger. Yet the King encourages his people to defend the Hebrews and allows them to defend themselves. Interestingly, the Hebrews are also helped because the “fear of Mordecai” falls upon them. This sort of paralyzing fear often seems to accompany God’s actions in an event. It seems likely that that was the case here as well.

Another event that occurs after Haman is hung on the gallows he set up for Mordecai is that Esther is given his house and Mordecai is given control of it. This sort of reversal is very in keeping with God’s will. Jesus’s statement that “the first shall be last and the last shall be first” reflects such a theme. This theme is repeated over and over again in Esther, perhaps indicating that the events that transpire are God’s doing. Vashti, for instance, goes from a Queen to be boasted of to nothing. Her home is given away to a commoner and a foreigner – Esther. Esther, meanwhile, goes from a foreigner and a stranger to a Queen. Haman, one elevated above other princes and rulers and even given the ring of the king is demoted and eventually hung after he plots to have Mordecai hung. Mordecai, meanwhile, goes from wearing sackcloth and ashes and from suffering persecution to being paraded about on the king’s horse, dressed in the king’s clothing and given control of a house.

The Hebrews themselves turn from a people who must fast, mourn and worry to a people who are victorious, joyful and well. They are, in a word, redeemed. If this interpretation is correct, it tells us that God is willing to reconcile with his people and to redeem them even after many generations have passed.