Xerxes I was the king who battled the 300 Spartans.
|A more historically accurate|
depiction of Xerxes
|300's depiction of Xerxes|
He also had a really bad temper.
Once, as he was preparing to fight the Greeks, a flood came and washed away the bridge he had just built over the river.
He had one of his slaves take a whip and strike the river with it hundreds of times as punishment for knocking down his bridge.
This book is the first book to refer to God’s people as “Jews.”
This is because God’s people in this book were mainly made up of the people of Judah.
Benjamin was also grouped in with Judah.
Esther was from the tribe of Benjamin.
Queen Vashti Deposed (1:1-22)
Xerxes held a big wild party for all of his nobles.
He called for Queen Vashti to come out and strip-dance for him and his several hundred drinking buddies.
His buddies told him that if he didn't punish her then all women in Persia would follow her example and disobey their husbands.
They recommended Xerxes get a new queen and Xerxes agreed.
Vashti According to Puppets...
Esther Made Queen (2:1-18)
Xerxes needed a new queen, so all the virgin girls of the region were brought to his palace for a beauty contest.
She was a Jew.
Her real name was Hadassah.
She was raised by her older cousin Mordecai, who was a palace guard.
Esther was prepped and pampered for a year and made it to the final round.
Xerxes was stunned by her beauty and chose her to be his new queen.
Esther kept her nationality a secret.
Mordecai Uncovers a Conspiracy (2:19-23)
Two men named Teresh and Bigthan tried to assassinate King Xerxes.
Mordecai learned of their plot and reported it to Esther, who reported it to the king.
The two assassins were then executed, and for the time being Mordecai continued on with his normal palace duties.
Introducing Haman (3:1-15)
An Agagite, descendant of Agag
People bow to Haman as he rides through streets
Mordecai refuses to bow
Haman’s grudge against Mordecai
Filled with fury
Brags to his family about his own greatness, depressed when thinks of Mordecai’s defiance
Plot of Haman and his family
Revenge on all Jews, not just Mordecai
Haman petitions Xerxes, tells him about a race of thugs out to assassinate him
Persians granted permission to slaughter all Jews in the area
Edict will go into effect on February 13th
Haman rolls dice to decide date
Edict signed with irrevocable seal of the Medes and Persians
Mordecai’s Response (4:1-17)
Jews mourn over edict
Mordecai’s message to Esther
Plead with the King to change his mind
His words echo Samuel’s words to Saul
If you don’t do what God has called you to do, God will punish you and replace you with someone willing
Esther and Saul were both from the tribe of Benjamin
“Perhaps you were born for such a time as this.”
Esther’s Request to the King (5:1-8)
Esther appears before Xerxes uninvited.
Death-penalty is usual punishment for this act
Xerxes extends his golden scepter, sign of protection
Esther invites Xerxes and Haman to a dinner party that night.
Xerxes and Haman are pleased to be honored by the queen.
After dinner, Esther invites them both back again tomorrow night for another dinner party.
Haman’s Rage Against Mordecai (5:9-14)
Haman leaves in good spirits, but passes Mordecai on his way home and becomes angry again.
He decides he cannot wait until the edict goes into effect
Goes back to palace to get King’s permission to kill Mordecai early
Tells servants to construct gallows 50 cubits high on which to hang Mordecai
Mordecai Honored (6:1-14)
Xerxes is listening to scribes read the royal records to help him sleep
Reads about Mordecai saving his life
Wonders why Mordecai was never rewarded
Xerxes notices Haman standing outside, sends him in
Xerxes cuts Haman short, asks him how to go about honoring somebody special
Dress this man in royal robes, put a crown on his head, have a prince put him on a royal horse and march him through the streets proclaiming, “This is how the King treats those who please him!”
Xerxes agrees, and tells Haman to do all that for Mordecai
Xerxes chooses Haman to be the prince leading Mordecai’s parade
Haman’s Doom (7:1-10)
After the parade, Haman arrives at the second dinner party.
“I and my people have been sold to be destroyed…”
“It is this vile Haman!”
Xerxes is shocked, goes out to the garden to think
Haman falls upon Esther, begging for mercy
Xerxes returns, sees what appears to be Haman attacking his Queen, guards grab Haman
Servant suddenly reports gallows prepared for Mordecai are now built, Xerxes hangs Haman on them
The King’s Edict in Behalf of the Jews (8:1-14)
Esther asks Xerxes to repeal edict of genocide against her people.
Xerxes instead makes a new edict which provides all Jews with weapons to defend themselves, and gives them special permission to execute any of their enemies in the land.
The Triumph of the Jews (8:15–9:19)
On February 13th the edict goes into effect, and the Jews slaughter all of their enemies who had conspired against them.
Many people from other nationalities decide to become Jews themselves before this takes place.
Purim Established (9:20-32)
On the day of this battle, the Jews were saved from destruction, and established a new festival to be celebrated on February 14th and 15th.
This festival came to be known as “Purim” and is still celebrated today.
Purim According to Puppets...
The Greatness of Mordecai (10:1-3)
In the end, Haman was hanged on the gallows prepared for Mordecai.
Mordecai was promoted to the job that had been prepared for Haman.
Ezra 1:1–6:22 – Rebuilding the Temple
Ezra 7:1–10:44 – Reforming the Community
Neh 1:1–7:73 – Rebuilding the city wall
Neh 8:1–10:39 – Hearing and doing the Law
Neh 11:1–13:31 – Further reforms by Nehemiah
According to puppets…
Rebuilding the Temple (1:1–6:22)
“This is what Cyrus king of Persia says:
“‘The Lord, the God of heaven, has given me all the kingdoms of the earth and he has appointed me to build a temple for him at Jerusalem in Judah. Any of his people among you may go up to Jerusalem in Judah and build the temple of the Lord, the God of Israel, the God who is in Jerusalem, and may their God be with them.”
Rebuilding the Temple
People build an altar
High Priest Joshua and Governor Zerubbabel begin reconstruction
Opposition to the Rebuilding
Enemies send threats, attempt sabotage, petition Xerxes I
Later petition Artaxerxes, who orders construction halt
Reign of Darius the Great
Prophets Haggai and Zechariah tell people to rebuild God’s House
Joshua and Zerubbabel restart reconstruction
Governor Tattenai of Trans-Euphrates tattles on them
Darius the Great looks into the law records of Cyrus and gives his blessing to the Jews
Jerusalem Temple rebuilt over next four years, people celebrate Passover again
Reforming the Community (7:1-10:44)
Ezra arrives in Jerusalem
Ezra is a scribe and a teacher
Sent by Darius the Great, ordered to instruct the people in God’s laws
Entrusted with silver and gold for the Temple
Returns some of the Holy Items to the Temple
Recruits Levites to serve in Temple
Darius threatens the Jews with death, banishment, or confiscation of property if they do not follow the laws of their God
Ezra sees that many Jews married pagan wives, and their children knew nothing of God
Ezra accuses the people of their sin, the people confess, and the men divorce their wives
He was cupbearer to King Artaxerxes of Persia
Jerusalem had not yet been rebuilt
The Book of Nehemiah focuses mainly on the rebuilding of Jerusalem’s walls.
Nehemiah according puppets…
Sanballat the Horonite, Tobiah the Ammonite, and Gesham the Arab
Sanballat and Tobiah mock and threaten the builders
Nehemiah posts guards and tells the people to carry a shovel in one hand and in the other hand a spear.
Sanballat, Tobiah, and Gesham invite Nehemiah over for a meal, but Nehemiah knows it’s a trap.
They write a letter to Nehemiah, saying pretty soon the people of Jerusalem will proclaim someone king and Artaxerxes will be jealous.
Nehemiah says, “…you are just making it up out of your head.”
They hire a false prophet to tell Nehemiah to run away and hide.
Nehemiah doesn’t fall for it.
The wall was amazingly completed in only 52 days!
Tobiah keeps threatening Nehemiah after the walls are built.
Nehemiah organizes soldiers to defend Jerusalem, puts his brother Hanani in charge.
Nehemiah helps the poor
The poor cry out to him and he rebukes the officials who had oppressed them.
Nehemiah is appointed governor
Ezra reads the Law
All of the people listen attentively to the whole thing
Summary of God’s faithfulness:
He brought Abraham up out of Ur.
He performed signs and wonders in Egypt and rescued His people from Pharaoh.
He came down on Mount Sinai.
He gave them bread from heaven and water from the rock.
He guided them with cloud and fire in the wilderness even though they worshiped the golden calf.
He led them to the Promised Land.
He sent judges to rescue them from enemies.
He sent prophets to lead them on the right path.
He did not abandon them even when they were exiled by the Babylonians for their sin.
All the people sign a contract promising to be faithful to the Covenant
Nehemiah’s Final Reforms
The Book of Moses was read to the people, and they heard the story about Balaam, and decided they had better send away all the foreigners living in the land.
Nehemiah went back to serve Artaxerxes for awhile, and when he returned he found out that Tobiah was working in the Temple, so he sent him away.
He also discovered that the Levites and Temple musicians had not been adequately paid, so he compensated them.
He rebuked the officials for neglecting the Temple.
He also yelled at and “pulled out the hair” of the men who had married pagan women and whose children knew nothing of their Jewish heritage.
Nehemiah warned the people not to follow in the ways of Solomon, and he asked God to remember him with favor.
These books provide a new perspective on the history of God’s people.
Much of the content sounds very similar to the books of Samuel and Kings.
The Deuteronomistic History was mostly written before Jerusalem was destroyed by Babylon.
The Books of Chronicles were written after God’s people had returned to Jerusalem and the walls were rebuilt.
Some scholars believe that Ezra wrote the Chronicles.
Structure of 1st and 2nd Chronicles
1 Chr 1:1–9:44 – Israel’s family tree
1 Chr 10:1–29:30 – David and the Temple
2 Chr 1:1–9:31 – Solomon and the Temple
2 Chr 10:1–36:23 – Kings of the Temple Community
1st Chronicles according to puppets…
2nd Chronicles according to puppets…