What Happened to Queen Esther After Xerxes Died?

March 26, 2024

The Old Testament provides valuable insights into the life of Queen Esther. Her story is one of great courage and triumph against overwhelming odds. She averted a potential genocide for the Jewish people and her contribution is honored in the Jewish festival of Purim.

The biblical narrative tells us that Esther was an orphan who grew up with her older cousin Mordecai. They both belonged to the Jewish people and lived in Persia during the time of King Xerxes (Esther 2:7). This particular king was the son of Darius the Great and Queen Atossa of Persia and reigned from 486 to 465 B.C.

Esther was chosen to be the next queen of Persia because she was beautiful and fit the king’s criteria for beauty. He wanted her to appear before him at one of his opulent banquets to show off her beauty. She refuses to do so and he is displeased and seeks a new queen.

After Mordecai becomes aware of Haman’s plan to annihilate the Jews, he convinces Esther to intercede with the king on their behalf. Mordecai informs her that if she approaches the king without being summoned she will be killed (Esther 4:8).

Mordecai urges Esther to take the risk because it was possible God had made her queen for such a time as this. The rabbis teach that Esther fasted for three days before she went to the king to persuade him to cancel Haman’s decree (BT Megillah 16a). They also believe that she ate seeds in the palace, similar to Daniel and his fellows, so that she could observe the Torah commandment of kosher food even while in the king’s harem (Esther 4:14).

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