So, Queen Esther of Persia. Who was she? Did she really exist? Was King Xerxes truly so in love with her that he was willing to find a way to save a whole people group?
And what’s the deal with Mordechai and Haman??
Today’s Celebrate Lit Book Tour is a fictional account of the story of Hadassah: Queen Esther of Persia. You know how much I like Biblical fiction, so this time I’m doing something a little different. Below the tour, I want to get into more of Esther’s story from a directly Biblical perspective. I hope you will join me!
*Please note that this post contains affiliate links, where at no extra cost to you, if you purchase through my link, I may receive a small percentage to help support this blogging ministry. I received a copy of this book from the author through one of the groups listed in my disclosure page. I chose to review it here and all thoughts are my own. You can read my full disclosure here.
About the Book: Hadassah
Author: Diana Wallis Taylor
Genre: Christian Historical Fiction
Release date: July 2, 2019
One of the great heroines of the Old Testament, Hadassah was a beautiful, graceful young woman who put her faith in God and her guardian, her cousin Mordecai.
She dreams of marrying Shamir, a tall, handsome, studious young man who is the rabbi’s son. Her heart beats faster when she hears the sound of his deep voice as he reads the Torah. And she hopes that he will visit Mordecai soon to present a betrothal request.
Then, an upheaval in King Xerxes’s palace changes everything. Queen Vashti has been banished and an edict goes out for all qualified young virgins throughout the empire to be taken to the palace as he searches for a new queen.
Fear strikes in the hearts of many, including Mordecai, as he realizes Hadassah will be taken. To hide her identity as a Jew, he tells her to go by the name of Esther. Since he works as a record-keeper at the king’s gates, he can keep tabs on how she is doing.
Hadassah: Queen Esther of Persia imagines what life was like for the woman who saved her people—and perhaps found love in the process.
Click here to grab your copy!
Hadassah, Queen Esther of Persia: The Book Review
I thoroughly enjoyed myself while reading Hadassah, Queen Esther of Persia. Having studied Esther several times, and read several novelizations, I found it pretty accurate, historically speaking.
The only fault I noticed, (and it might have just been a brain freeze) was saying Nehemiah had already gone back to Jerusalem. Everything I’ve ever heard puts Nehemiah 10-20 years After Esther. The author may have meant Sheshbazzer who led the return Cyrus the Great authorized shortly before (Ezra 1). It was a passing mention, and does not impact the story in any way.
Oh, once Esther claims to be descended from King Saul. Not sure where that came from.
The actual Biblical portion of the story mostly occurred between 50-80% of the book. The first 50% and the last 20% were believable and beautiful. The interaction was very good. The backstory, the drama and tension of life in Susa and in the Palace, made me feel like I was right there. (and grateful that I was not!)
This is a unique work, and well worth adding to your collection. If you enjoy Biblical fiction, historical fiction or stories of hope, I would definitely recommend this book.
As much as I enjoyed the author’s account of Lydia in the Bible, her writing has improved and Hadassah: Queen Esther of Persia is 5x better than Lydia: Woman of Philippi (and it was excellent!).
- Meet Lydia in the Bible, Woman of Philippi
- Are You Ready to Dwell In The Shelter of The Most High
- Great Biblical Fiction Authors You Don’t Want to Miss
Will the Real Queen Esther of Persia Please Stand Up?
An excellent book of Esther, but now, would the real queen Esther of Persia please stand up?
I was privileged to get an advance copy of a new Bible study for teens on the Book of Esther shortly before reading this book. Finding an online sermon series and a few other blog posts framed this story nicely!
Who Was Hadassah in the Bible?
So who was Hadassah in the Bible? And how did a simple Jewish girl become Queen Esther of Persia?
Well, God was working. He doesn’t have to like or approve of people’s choices to work things according to his will.
He was at work in Hadassah’s heart, in her pain. A young orphan. Raised by a cousin. She had 2 names, I’m guessing that, like Paul, she had her Hebrew name of Hadassah, and a Persian name, Esther.
Strangers in a foreign land, and yet this was a family that had chosen for some reason, NOT to return to Jerusalem when the opportunity arose.
But they trusted God’s will, even in the hardest moments.
Characteristics of Esther in the Bible
I think that I can safely say that Queen Esther of Persia was not timid and fearful. I don’t believe she was arrogant or selfish or otherwise spoiled. She would not have won Hegai’s approval or support if she was.
Esther 2:8-9 NIV – When the king’s order and edict had been proclaimed, many young women were brought to the citadel of Susa and put under the care of Hegai. Esther also was taken to the king’s palace and entrusted to Hegai, who had charge of the harem.
She pleased him and won his favor. Immediately he provided her with her beauty treatments and special food. He assigned to her seven female attendants selected from the king’s palace and moved her and her attendants into the best place in the harem.
Let’s see if we can break down a few characteristics of Esther in the Bible
Queen Esther Characteristics
Here are some highlights of Queen Esther of Persia’s Noble character:
- Obedience (2:10, 15)
- Pleasant/Friendly (2:9)
- Wise enough to seek advice and follow it (2:10, 15, 20; 4)
- Boldness – courage in action, despite realistic fear (4:16, 7:3)
- Faith (5:4)
- True humility (7:3-4, 8:1-2)
Growing Your Own Queen Esther Characteristics
We can’t just fall into becoming a wise woman of character like Queen Esther of Persia. It’s not that simple.
But you already know that.
Developing a habit of being pleasant to be around is a good start.
Ephesians 4:32 ESV – Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.
Matthew 5:43-48 ESV – “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? …
Colossians 4:6 ESV – Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.
Matthew 7:12 ESV – “So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.
A pattern of respect for authority will cover a couple of the other Characteristics of Esther in the Bible.
Obedience, and Wisdom. Seeking wise advice – and following it, because you realize you don’t know everything. And aren’t in control. Oops, any other bubbles burst besides mine?
Humility: Key to Queen Esther Characteristics
Humility isn’t thinking less of yourself, it is thinking of yourself less. (Apparently not a CS Lewis quote, but maybe Rick Warren)
Either way its true. If Queen Esther of Persia, or Mordecai, had been concerned about themselves, they would have likely refused The King’s gifts. Accepting Haman’s property and position meant they might have bigger targets on their backs.
But it also positioned them to help the Jews. And influence the king for good.
Queen Esther characteristics take diligence, on an individual level. And having a parent like Mordecai sure helps!
Mordecai in the Bible
If you want to study Christian fatherhood, Mordecai in the Bible would be an excellent case study. If he was successfully able to raise a Queen Esther of Persia, I think he can teach us a thing or three.
Mordecai and Esther. Mordecai may have served at the King’s gate, but he definitely served at the feet of his God.
He raised Esther to be obedient and pleasant. Biut he didn’t neglect her confidence in God. Independent thought and courage must have been encouraged too.
Mordecai and Haman
This particular pair, Mordecai and Haman, are more interesting than you might realize.
Mordecai honors God, and bows to the king. But he does not give arrogant, sneaky Haman the respect he ‘thinks’ he deserves.
And Haman is so wrapped up in his own importance that he does not notice Mordecai. But once someone pointed out that Mordecai did not bow down, look out. Hamam did not confront, or even have Mordecai punished. No, let’s annihilate his entire people!
I don’t want to identify with Haman. But I have to ask. Do I confront perceived slights (with love)? Or do I grumble in my heart?
Matthew 5:22 ESV – But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be liable to the hell of fire.
1 Samuel 16:7b ESV – For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.
That second verse is definitely ‘out of context’ but I think it applies to the question at hand.
I’d love to hear your thoughts. (and don’t forget to enter the giveaway!)
Until Next Time, Love God, Love Books, Shine The Light!!
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How Do You Want to Be Remembered?
Hadassah, Queen Esther of Persia has left quite a Legacy, and her noble characteristics are worth emulating. But it’s not easy. I mean, Boldness and True Humility in the same person? A foreign concept. But if Queen Esther of Persia did it, we can too. How do you want to be remembered?
Until Next Time, Love God, Love Books, Shine The Light!!