Women of the Word: Zeresh

Zeresh was the wife of Haman, a Jew hater who we are introduced to in the book of Esther. He was prime minister under King Ahasuerus (also called King Xerxes) and was one of Ahasuerus’ favorite officials. Ahasuerus often consulted him on matters concerning the governing of the kingdom of Persia. In Esther 3:1-2, we are told that Ahasuerus elevated Haman to a seat of honor higher than that of all the other nobles and commanded everyone to kneel down and pay honor to Haman.

After Ahasuerus deposed of his first beautiful wife, Vashti, he married another beautiful woman named Esther. Esther and her uncle Mordecai, who raised her, were Jewish, and this is where Haman’s real problem began. Even though Haman had been elevated to a high position in the kingdom, Mordecai refused to kneel down to him and refused to pay him any kind of honor. This made Haman furious. When he found out that Mordecai was a Jew, he was not content to only destroy Mordecai. He wanted to destroy all Mordecai’s people, the Jews.

What did Zeresh think of her husband’s violent hatred of Mordecai? What did she think of his plot to destroy the Jews? Did she support him or did she try to stop him? The Bible gives us some answers. Continue reading

Women of the Word: Vashti

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We meet Vashti at the beginning of the book of Esther 1:8-20. She was the former Queen of Persia and the first wife of King Ahasuerus. Now it came to pass that King Ahasuerus threw a mega feast for all the men in his kingdom while Vashti threw another feast for the women. On the last day of feasting, Ahasuerus sent seven of his eunuchs to command Vashti to come to him so he could show her to the people for Vashti was very beautiful to look upon.

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Women of the Word: Esther

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After Ruth, Esther is the only other woman in the Bible who has a book named after and largely devoted to her. The book of Esther tells the story of a Jewish girl whose original name was Hadassah. After losing her parents for reasons that we are not told, Esther was left an orphan and raised by her cousin, Mordecai. She later became Queen of Persia and was used by God to save her people from destruction. Chris Juby gives a short chapter-by-chapter summary of the entire book of Esther:

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