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There was a King called Nebuchadnezzar who went to war with the Jews who lived in Israel. He won that war and he took the Jews away to Babylon as his slaves.  One of the people was Daniel and you might have heard about him already. 

Mordecai was another of the people taken to Babylon.  He had a cousin called Esther who was much younger than he was.  Now when Esther's mother and father died Mordecai looked after Esther as if she was his own daughter.

Later Babylon and Persia went to war and Persia defeated Babylon. The King of Persia was called Xerxes. He now had a large Empire.

Xerxes was married to Queen Vashti but they fell out and Xerxes was looking for a new Queen.

This is rather complicated so before we start reading the main  part of the story the main  things we need to remember are:

Mordecai was Esther's cousin and he looked after her.

Xerxes was the king and he wanted to find a new queen.

Now we can read about this in the book of Esther in the Bible.  The story is very long indeed but there are enough verses here to tell you the main things in the story. The Bible verses are in black with blue writing to help explain it. Picture of Esther with Xerxes


Esther Chapter 2

5. Now there was a certain Jew in Shushan named Mordecai,

6.Who had been taken away from Jerusalem among those who had been made prisoner with Jeconiah, king of Judah, when Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, had taken him away.

7.And he had been a father to Esther, the daughter of his father's brother: for she had no father or  mother, and she was very beautiful; and when her father and mother were dead, Mordecai took her for his daughter.


Esther was taken to King Xerxes to see if he wanted her to be his queen.

16.So Esther was taken in to King Xerxes in his house in the tenth month, which is the month Tebeth, in the seventh year of his rule.

17.And Esther was more pleasing to the king than all the women, and to his eyes she was fairer and more full of grace than all the other virgins: so he put his crown on her head and made her queen in place of Vashti.

 18. Then the king gave a great feast for all his captains and his servants, even Esther's feast; and he gave orders through all the divisions of his kingdom for a day of rest from work, and gave wealth from his store.

19.Mordecai took his seat in the doorway of the king's house.

Mordecai knew that some people did not like the Jews so he told Esther not to tell Xerxes that she was a Jew.

20. Esther had still said nothing of her family or her people, as Mordecai had given her orders; for Esther did what Mordecai said, as when she was living with him.

Mordecai heard two men plotting to kill the king so he told Esther who told the king.

21. In those days, while Mordecai was seated at the king's doorway, two of the king's servants, Bigthan and Teresh, keepers of the door, being angry, were looking for a chance to make an attack on King Xerxes.

22.And Mordecai, having knowledge of their purpose, sent word of it to Esther the queen; and Esther gave the news to the king in Mordecai's name.

23.And when the thing had been looked into, it was seen to be true, and the two of them were put to death by hanging on a tree: and it was put down in the records before the king. 


Picture of Haman 

 Book of Esther: Chapter 3

 1.After these things, by the order of the king, Haman, the son of Hammedatha the Agagite, was lifted up and given a position of honour and a higher place than all the other captains who were with him. 

2.And all the king's servants who were in the king's house went down to the earth before Haman and gave him honour: for so the king had given orders. But Mordecai did not go down before him or give him honour.

Xerxes made Haman the most important man in the Kingdom. It was like making him Prime Minister.  He ordered all his servants to bow down to Haman .





5.And when Haman saw that Mordecai did not go down before him and give him honour, Haman was full of wrath. 

The reason that Mordecai would not do this was that Morecai was a Jew. The Jewish Law said he must not bow down to a man but only to God.  Haman was so angry that he did not just want to kill Mordecai. He wanted to kill all the Jews. 

6.But it was not enough for him to make an attack on Mordecai only; for they had made clear to him who Mordecai's people were; so Haman made it his purpose to put an end to all the Jews, even Mordecai's people,through all the kingdom of Xerxes.


8.And Haman said to King Xerxes, There is a certain nation living hereand there in small groups among the people in all the divisions of your kingdom; their laws are different from those of any other nation, and they do not keep the king's laws: for this reason it is not right for the king to let them be.

9.If it is the king's pleasure, let a statement ordering their destruction be put in writing: and I will give to those responsible for the king's business, ten thousand talents of silver for the king's store-house.

Haman knew that the Jews had a lot of money. He told Xerxes that when they had been killed the King would get all their money.

10.And the king took his ring from his hand and gave it to Haman, the son of Hammedatha the Agagite, the hater of the Jews.

11.And the king said to Haman, The money is yours, and the people, to do with them whatever seems right to you.

 Book of Esther Chapter 4

Mordecai sent a message to Esther.

1.Now when Mordecai saw what was done, pulling off his robe, he put on haircloth, with dust on his head, and went out into the middle of the town, crying out with a loud and bitter cry.

8. And he gave Hathatch the copy of the order which had been given out in Shushan for their destruction, ordering him to let Esther see it, and to make it clear to her; and to say to her that she was to go in to the king, requesting his mercy, and making prayer for her people.


9.And Hathach came back and gave Esther an account of what Mordecai had said.


Esther had a problem. If she went to see Xerxes without permission the law said that she would be put to death.  There would be only one chance. If he pointed at her with his rod of gold, her life would be spared.

10.Then Esther sent Hathach to say to Mordecai with this message:

11.It is common knowledge among all the king's servants and the people of every part of the kingdom, that if anyone, man or woman, comes to the king in his inner room without being sent for, there is only one law for him, that he is to be put to death; only those to whom the king's rod of gold is stretched out may keep their lives: but I have not been sent for to come before the king these thirty days.

What was Esther to Do?  Go forward to the next page to find out.

Remember that you can click a heading on the brown band at the top of the page or the black band at the bottom to go to the index or any topic.

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