Esther was a girl that God used to help His people in a very special way. She was a Jew, living a very long way from home, in a country where the Jews were looked at with suspicion. She lived almost 500 years before Jesus was on earth, in Persia (the country we now call Iran.)
Esther didn’t have the easiest start to her life – she was an orphan who was raised by a kind uncle (Mordecai). He would have taught her about her place among God’s chosen people, the Jews, and all that used to happen in the temple, back in Jerusalem, when he was a boy. She grew up to be a beautiful young woman, with a good character and quick mind.
Esther and her uncle lived near the king’s palace, and her good looks caught the attention of the king’s advisors. They thought that she would make a good wife for the king. But she was in competition with many other girls, because whoever became the king’s wife also became queen. The king liked Esther better than anyone else, so she became the queen of the Persian empire!
Not long after this, one of the king’s advisors decided to make life very difficult for the Jewish people. No-one could approach the king to try to help them – except Esther. She was very scared because even the queen could not go to see the king without a special invitation; she could even have been killed for doing it!
But thousands of lives were at risk, so she plucked up the courage to go and see the king, to ask him to save the Jewish people. Her courage was rewarded! The king stopped the people from being killed, and punished the bad advisor who hated God’s people.
Queen Esther was in the right place, at the right time – put there by God – to save her people. In Esther 4:14, a book in the Old Testament, we read this about Esther, “Yet who knows if perhaps you were made queen for just such a time as this?” (New Living Translation)
An orphan girl who became queen, turned out to be one of the best heroes ever!