The king of Persia throws a feast and calls for Queen Vashti to appear, but she refuses.  The advisors counsel that the king depose and replace her.

The king's young men (of course) propose a contest, for any beautiful woman to be taken to the palace, made up for months, and given one night with the king.  He can choose the one he likes to be the next queen.  A Jewish orphan Hadassah (Esther) is chosen.  Her uncle Mordecai discovers a plot against the king.

Mordecai descends from Saul; Haman from Agag (see 1 Samuel 15).  Haman is promoted, and proposes to pay for the destruction of the dangerous Jews.  The king accepts.

Mordecai hears of it, mourns publicly, and asks Esther to ask the king to change the decree.  She hesitates; he presses; she relents and asks him to fast 3 days for her.

She goes into the king and he accepts her.  (He could have had her executed for her uninvited entrance.)  She asks him and Haman to a feast.  At that feast she asks them to another feast the next day.  Haman is proud of his high position, and all the angrier at Mordecai.  He builds a gallows to hang him on.

The king can't sleep that night, and has old journals read to him.  He hears of Mordecai saving him and wants to honor him.  Haman comes in (is it morning now?), probably ready to accuse and execute Mordecai, but the king has Haman honor him publicly instead.  He is horrified!

Esther reveals that she is a Jew and Haman wants her and her people dead.  The king hangs Haman on the gallows he had prepared for Mordecai.

Esther gets Haman's house; Mordecai gets his position.
Esther asks again to revoke the law allowing the destruction of the Jews.  The king cannot, but gives them permission to write in new law regarding it.  They write that the king allows the Jews to defend themselves if any still try to attack, plunder or kill them.

The day comes and the Jews kill 500 in the capital Susa who try to harm them.  They mark the day as a perpetual feast, and Haman's sons are also executed.

The king rules, and Mordecai is a faithful second at his side, speaking peace.

How this is about Jesus
He is prefigured as Esther, the one chosen and favored by the king.  She intercedes successfully for her people, at risk to her own life.
Jesus is also prefigured as Mordecai, a faithful Jew who is raised to the right hand of the throne.  He is wise in his law-making and personal counsel to Esther.

Esther emphasizes letters/laws and feasts, just as the church has been given the Word and Sacraments in the Kingdom of God.
This book never mentions God or prayer, as a literary way of showing that God's people had to learn how to live in a place that was far from God.

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