Teacher Notes

Bible Stories for Adults

God Saves His People


Welcome and Announcements
    Next Week - Isaiah Prophesies About Jesus - Humiliation (Isaiah)
    Bible Words to Remember:
      We know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose. Romans 8:28

Opening Prayer

A Quick History of the Jews in the Promised Land
    What kind of government did Israel have after settling in the Promised Land?
      Judges 17:6 = In those days Israel had no king; loose confederacy
    How did this change after years of trouble with the neighboring Philistines?
      1 Samuel 8:19-20 = They wanted a king to be like all the other nations

    Who selected Israel's first king?
      1 Samuel 9:15-17 = The Lord chose Saul and told Samuel to anoint him as king
    Did David replace Saul because of his personal ambitions to become king?
      1 Samuel 16:1, 11-12 = God chose him; David never tried to take kingship from Saul
    How did God react when David's son and Israel's third king, Solomon, grew unfaithful?
      1 Kings 11:9-13 = Split nation, Gave Judah to Rehoboam & rest to Jeroboam

    What happened over the next 200 years to the northern nation of Israel?
      2 Kings 17:21-23 = They immediately turned from God, so he gave them to Assyria
    What happened to the southern nation of Judah after its 350 years of existence?
      Jeremiah 25:4-5, 8-9 = They followed the evil ways of Israel, God gave them to Babylon

    What happened while the Jews were in exile in Babylon?
      Daniel 5:22-23, 30-31 = Babylon was conquered by Persia
    What great thing happened to the Jews during the reign of Darius' successor, Cyrus?
      Ezra 1:1-3 = Cyrus allowed Jews to return to rebuild the temple (70 yrs of captivity)

The Book of Esther (Esther 1:1-2)
    At what point in the Jews' history does this story take place? = citadel - palace
      Esther 1:1-2 = During Xerxes' reign, 54 yrs after 1st return (Cyrus), 25 yrs before Ezra

      537 Jews return under Cyrus to rebuild temple
      516 Temple completed
      473 First Purim (Esther)
      458 Ezra goes to Jerusalem
      445 Nehemiah goes to Jerusalem

    The name of God is never stated, mentioned, or even referred to in this book
      It tells a strong story of how God takes care of and saves His people
    What does Paul say hundreds of years later that summarizes this book?
      Romans 8:28 = In all things God works for the good of those who love Him
    What lesson does this story give for our own lives?
      Esther 4:14 = You may have come to your current position for such a time as this

Xerxes Throws a Party (Esther 1)
    How proud was Xerxes of the wealth and power he had? = also Ahasuerus - mighty prince
      Esther 1:4-5, 9 = Held open house for 6 months, then threw a 7-day banquet for all
    How did the banquet end on a sour note? = Vashti - beauty
      Esther 1:10a, 11-12 = Queen Vashti refused Xerxes' command to be presented
    Why did the Persians believe this was a threat to the nation?
      Esther 1:17-18 = Women everywhere will take her lead and disobey their husbands
    What did Xerxes do to prevent this disaster?
      Esther 1:19, 22 = He deposed Vashti & commanded all women to obey their husbands

Vashti Replaced (Esther 2)
    How was Xerxes to find a suitable replacement for Queen Vashti?
      Esther 2:2, 4, 12 = Many virgins were added to Xerxes' harem for 1 year of training
    Who was Esther and how does she enter this story? = Hadassah - myrtle, Esther - star
      Esther 2:5a, 7-8 = Beautiful Jewish girl raised by cousin, selected for Xerxes' harem
    How did the contest turn out?
      Esther 2:17 = Esther was selected and made queen
    How could a Jew become queen of the Persian empire?
      Esther 2:10-11 = She never let it known that she was a Jew, Mordecai stayed in touch
    How did Mordecai's concern for Esther help save Xerxes?
      Esther 2:21-23 = He heard of plot to kill Xerxes and reported it to Esther

Haman Commands Destruction of Jews (Esther 3)
    How did Mordecai's faithfulness to God get him and others in trouble?
      Esther 3:1-2, 5-6 = He wouldn't bow to Haman, who decided to destroy all Jews
    How would Haman get Xerxes' approval to destroy the Jews?
      Esther 3:8-9, 11 = He warned of national threat by a group that refused to obey laws
    How would Haman accomplish this goal of getting rid of all Jews throughout the empire?
      Esther 3:13 = Sent commands throughout the empire to destroy all Jews on March 7
    How had Haman selected this date?
      Esther 3:7 = He cast lots (the pur)

Who Will Stand up for the Jews? (Esther 4)
    How did the Jews respond to this decree?
      Esther 4:1-3 = They were in great distress
    Why couldn't Esther just go talk to Xerxes and ask for his help?
      Esther 4:11 = Anyone who came to the king without being summoned could be killed
    How did Mordecai convince her that she should put her neck on the line and go to Xerxes?
      Esther 4:12-14 = God will somehow deliver His people; this may be why you're queen
    What help did Esther want from the rest of the local Jews?
      Esther 4:15-16 = To fast and pray 3 days for God to be with her

Esther Steps Out with God's Strength (Esther 5)
    How did Xerxes respond to Esther appearing before him without his request?
      Esther 5:2-3 = He was glad to see her and anxious to give her whatever she wanted
    Did Esther immediately make her request to Xerxes?
      Esther 5:4-5 = She invited Xerxes and Haman to come to a banquet
    Did she make her request then?
      Esther 5:6-8 = No, she invited them to another banquet the next day

    How did Haman feel about Esther's invitations?
      Esther 5:11-12 = He was proud of his greatness
    What did Haman's inflated head then lead him to do?
      Esther 5:13-14 = He had a gallows built for hanging Mordecai

Mordecai's Fate (Esther 6)
    What did Xerxes remember that night when he had insomnia?
      Esther 6:1-3 = That Mordecai had never been rewarded for saving him
    Who happened to walk in at that time and what happened? = Haman came for ok to hang M
      Esther 6:6-9 = H thought Xerxes wanted to honor him, suggested procession
    How was Haman surprised?
      Esther 6:10-13 = He was told to personally honor Mordecai in this way

Haman's Fate (Esther 7)
    What did Esther finally request from Xerxes during the banquet on the second day?
      Esther 7:3-4 = For her life and the lives of the Jews
    How did Xerxes respond?
      Esther 7:5-7 = He was furious at what Haman had done, left to consider his options
    How did Haman further seal his fate?
      Esther 7:8-9 = Xerxes thought Haman was molesting Esther, had him hung

The King's Edict (Esther 8-9:17)
    Why couldn't Xerxes just repeal the law that Haman had made in his name?
      Daniel 6:8 = No law made by a Persian king could be repealed or altered
    How did Xerxes decide to solve this dilemma?
      Esther 8:7-8 = He gave Mordecai authorization to make whatever decree he wanted
    What decree did Mordecai make that solved this problem?
      Esther 8:11-12 = He gave the Jews the right to defend themselves on March 7
    How did things turn out?
      Esther 9:1-3 = The Jews defeated those who tried to kill them, Officials helped Jews

The Festival of Purim (Esther 9:18-10)
    How were the Jews to remember this great saving act of God?
      Esther 9:20-22 = An annual festival was set for Adar 14 & 15
    What was this festival called and why?
      Esther 9:24, 26a = Purim, from the word pur (lot)
    How was a regular Jew like Mordecai able to command the setting of this great festival?
      Esther 10:3 = Mordecai was placed second in command to Xerxes

How Purim is Celebrated Today
    A central part of the celebration is hearing the reading of the book of Esther multiple times
      Children act out the story as it is read, Elaborate costumes are made and worn
    Esther and Mordecai are the great heroes
    Haman is the great villain, Alot of noise is made when Haman's name is mentioned
      Booing, stamping on the floor, beating pots & pans, spinning noisemakers
      People write "Haman" on bottoms of shoes and grind their soles into the floor
      Triangular pastries represent Haman's hat, eaten to show dislike of Haman

Closing Prayer

Copyright © 1997 by Kurt Rosenhagen

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