Friday, July 5, 2019

Queen Esther Overview
 I decided to update my Esther lesson. Because of how I teach, I usually try to do a couple of fun lessons between Life of Jesus and Book of Acts. Esther is always one of them. But I wasn't feeling like doing the setup that I usually do. So I updated everything and we even had a little extra time for review and discussion. This is an overview of the whole book of Esther in one lesson. It took me about 35 minutes to teach and they stayed interested the entire lesson.
Lesson found in the Old Testament Book of Esther
When King Ahasuerus (A-has-u-e’-rus) had been king for 3 years, he had a feast for his officials and servants. He showed them how great his kingdom was. It lasted 180 days! When that feast was over, he had another feast that lasted 7 days. His queen, Queen Vashti, was having a feast for the women in the royal palace. On the seventh day, the king was feeling really good and told some men to bring in Queen Vashti to him, wearing her crown, so he could show his friends how beautiful she was.
But, the queen refused to go to the king and he was angry! Nobody refuses the king! If the queen would not come to the king, then he would give her royal position to another.
The king’s servants gathered all the beautiful young women for the king to choose a new queen. Mordecai was raising his cousin, Esther, because her parents had been killed. She was beautiful. She was taken with the other women for the king to see, and he liked her. He moved her to the best place for the women in the palace. But she did not tell the king about her people. Mordecai had told her not to mention that her family was Jewish. It took the women a whole year to get ready to go before the king! Once a woman went before the king, she couldn’t go before him again, unless HE called for her by name.
Esther went before the king 4 years later again. He loved her more than all the other women. (2:16) He put the crown on her head and made her the new queen.
After a time, when Mordecai was sitting out by the gate and he overheard 2 of the king’s doorkeepers talking. They were angry at the king and wanted to kill him. Mordecai told Queen Esther about this and she told the king what Mordecai had told her. When an investigation was done, they were both hanged!
After that, Haman was made second in command to the king. When Haman walked in the king’s gate, everyone bowed to him…except for Mordecai. This made Haman so angry! When he found out that Mordecai was a Jew, he decided to kill all the Jews!
Haman talked the king into making a new decree to kill the Jews for not keeping the king’s laws. The king gave his signet ring to Haman so he could write a new law.
The Jews mourned this new law, especially Mordecai. Queen Esther was very upset when she heard and sent one of her men to ask Mordecai why this happened. Mordecai explained everything and asked for Queen Esther to go before the king and plead with him for her people. Except that everyone knew that there was a law about going in to the inner court to see the king. If he did not hold out his gold scepter to you, you would die. Esther had not been called to see the king for a month. Queen Esther told Mordecai to have all the Jews to fast, not eat or drink, for 3 days. She would also do this with her maids. And then…she would go into the king, and if he didn’t hold out the scepter, she would die.
On the third day, she put on her robes and when the king saw her, he held out his scepter! She went close to the scepter and touched it. Think about how she had to be feeling. Her heart had to be racing and she had to be scared, but she did it! The king said “What do you wish, Queen Esther? Anything you want, up to half of the kingdom, I will give to you.” She asked if the king and Haman would come to a banquet that she has made ready today. The king called Haman to come quickly and they went to the banquet. While they ate, the king asked her what her petition was. She told him that she would like them to come to a banquet again the next day.
Haman went home that night and bragged to his wife and friends about his position with the king and his power. He told them about how Queen Esther had a banquet just for him and the king! But he told them “I just can’t stand to see that Jew, Mordecai, sitting at the king’s gate not bowing down to me.” So, his wife and friends suggested that he build gallows and hang Mordecai on it. He liked that idea, so he started building it.
That night, the king couldn’t sleep, so he had the records book brought to him. He read about Mordecai saving him from the 2 gate keepers plans to kill him. He asked his servants what had been done as a thank you and they told him nothing.  Haman had just come to the court, so the king told him to enter. The king asked him: “What should be done to honor someone that helped the king?” Haman told the king that he should wear royal robes on a horse that the king has ridden and wear a crown. Then parade him around in the city telling everyone that “The king is honoring this man!”
Haman thought this would be for him, but the king told him to go get Mordecai and do this for him! Even worse, he was the one that had to lead the horse and tell everyone that this man is being honored by the king! Haman was so upset! And then, right when he had finished showing off Mordecai, Haman was told to go to the next banquet with the king and queen.
So again, during this banquet, the king asked Queen Esther what she wanted, up to half of the kingdom. She told the king “If I have found favor with you, to spare me and my people.” The king asked her who would dare to do such a thing, and she said the wicked man is Haman. The king was so angry, he went to the garden to think and while he was there, Haman begged the queen to save him. Haman fell across the couch just when the king came back in and that made him even angrier! He shouted “Now you will attack the queen too?”               
One of the servants saw the gallows and told the king they were being built for Mordecai, so the king said “Hang Haman on it!” So, they hanged Haman instead!
The king gave Mordecai his signet ring and gave him Haman’s position (remind them it was second in command after the king.) And Queen Esther once again went to see the king. He held out his scepter and she explained about the law Haman had made about killing the Jews. He told Mordecai to write out a new law and seal it with the king’s signet ring that no one else can change and save your people. And that document was sent out into all the provinces.
And these things that happened were written in the king’s books and Queen Esther and Mordecai were well liked and considered great among the people.
This a favorite lesson and probably because there is food. That is rare in my class and any food has to be a part of the lesson. This was a smaller scale than I usually do. But, they enjoyed it the same.
At the beginning of class, I have the students fill out these new law scrolls.
At the end of class, we discuss their new law. We talk about the importance of the law and how it can affect people. I usually get someone with "Everyone is allowed to eat cookies for breakfast everyday." So, after learning about Esther, do they want to change the law that was written down?
Click to download:   color scroll   black & white scroll
I make these scepters for the students to take home. I bought the long dowel rods and cut them into 2 sticks. I glued these caps onto one end. I used this paint to make them gold and they loved them. I always give a speech about "It's not a sword or a stick. Do not hurt anyone with it."
This is a Character Assessment Chart. It can be used during the lesson and students can write different important points about each person. Or, it can be used for review. "What do you remember about...?"  Color and black & white is included. Click here to download.
These Bible Verse printables are half sheets. I printed on a thinner scroll-like paper. This includes the color and black & white. Click here to download.
These are the original worksheets for Esther. I used both to teach this lesson and they can be printed front to back to save paper.  Part 1   Part 2
 You can see more about Esther 1 and Esther 2 in the above older blog posts.
Click here to see Esther for preschool.
Click here to see the original Esther post that is scripted for the students to act out the lesson.

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