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Challenging Choices

Esther 2:19–23; chapters 3 and 4; Prophets and Kings, pp. 600, 601


The Message

God helps me accept everyone.

Memory Verse

“People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7).

Have you ever been in a situation in which you did not know what to do? Queen Esther was. Read on to find out what she did.


Mordecai was happy that Esther became queen. But he still did not want her to tell others that she was a Jew.

One day when he was sitting at the palace gate, Mordecai heard two guards talking. They were angry with the king and were planning to kill him! Mordecai told Esther, who told the king. King Xerxes investigated Mordecai’s report. It was true! The guards were arrested and hanged. All of this was written in the daily court record.

About the same time, King Xerxes made Haman his second in command. King Xerxes ordered that everyone should bow down to Haman when they saw him. And everyone did, except Mordecai. One day Haman noticed that Mordecai did not bow to him. He became very angry. Haman knew Mordecai was a Jew. He began thinking about ways to destroy Mordecai—and all other Jews.

Haman decided to tell the king that a certain group of people were causing trouble, and that they should be destroyed. He said he would pay the people who destroyed them. He did not tell the king that the people were Jews.

“Keep the money,” the king said to Haman. “And do with the people as you please.” (See Esther 3:11.)

When Mordecai heard the order, he put on rough clothes. He covered himself with ashes and cried at the city gate. Esther’s servants told her how Mordecai was dressed. She sent good clothes for him to wear, but he refused to put them on.

Esther sent Hathach, her servant, to talk to Mordecai. Mordecai told him everything that had happened. He gave Hathach a copy of the order for Esther. Mordecai told him to ask Esther to go to the king and beg for mercy. Hathach hurried to give Esther the message.

Esther sent a message back to Mordecai. “Nobody may go to the king’s throne room without being called. If anyone goes and the king holds out his gold scepter, that person may live. But if the king doesn’t, that person dies. And I haven’t been called to go to the king for 30 days.”

Mordecai answered, “Just because you live in the king’s palace, don’t think that people won’t soon know you are a Jew. You can’t escape. If you remain silent, help will come another way. But you and the rest of our family will all die. And who knows, you may have been chosen to be queen to save us at this terrible time.”

Esther sent one final message to Mordecai, “Get all the Jews in Susa together. Tell them not to eat or drink anything for three days and nights. My servants and I will do the same. Then, even though it’s against the law, I will go to the king. And if I die, I die.”

What will happen to Esther? Will she die? We will learn more next week.