Bible Study – Book of Esther – Session 1
Introduction and chapters 1 & 2
The author’s central purpose was to record the institution of the annual festival of Purim (taken from the word pur – to cast a lot), and to keep alive for later generations the memory of the great deliverance of the Jewish people during the reign of Xerxes.
Throughout much of the story the author calls to mind the on-going conflict between Israel and the Amalekites, a conflict that began during the Exodus period and continued through Israel’s history up to the time of Esther. As the first people to attack Israel after their deliverance from Egypt, the Amalekites were seen by the Jews as representation of all the powers of the world standing against God’s people. Now that Israel has been released from captivity, Haman’s edict is the final major effort in the Old Testament period to destroy them. Closely associated with the conflict with the Amalekites is the Rest that is promised to the people of God (in Deuteronomy 25: 19). With Haman’s defeat the Jews enjoy rest from their enemies.