Monday, February 2, 2015

Esther, Day 1 Readings

The King Seeks a New Queen and Esther Attracts His Eye  

Today's reading sets the stage for the rise of Esther to a position of influence in the palace of King Ahasuerus (who Biblical historians usually identify as Xerxes, the father of Artaxerxes, who is the king during the books of Ezra and Nehemiah).  After Queen Vashti refuses the king's invitation to appear at a banquet, the king punishes her by stripping her of her position in the household.  So he begins the search for a new queen and beautiful women from throughout the kingdom are brought into the king's harem, where they are conditioned and prepared for a single meeting with the king.

Esther, a Jewish orphan raised by her uncle Mordacai, was one of the women taken into the king's harem and she made the most of her appearance with the king, who was pleased with her.  Eventually, she becomes the king's favorite and is publicly presented as the new queen.  Shortly after this, Esther relayed information to the king from Mordacai of a plot to assassinate him, which would prove important as the story continued.

Read Esther 1:1-2:23  (NIV)   (NRSV)   (CEB)
[links to Bible Gateway open in a new window]

Reading the Bible in Its Entirety

If you are planning to read the Bible in its entirety, you should read Esther 1-2 today.