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Adult Sabbath School Bible Study Guide - 3rd Quarter 2015, Aug 2 2015


Sunday Aug, 2


Esther in Persia


Read Esther 1:2-20. What is happening here? What things about this story are hard to understand from our perspective today? (As you read, remember that a lot of details are nor presented).


The weeklong banquet that King Ahasuerus gave for his nobles and officials seems extravagant, even for someone at the pinnacle of political power, far beyond what most Christians could find acceptable. The unrestricted consumption of alcohol (Esther 1:7, 8) was unusual, because drinking during ancient formal feats was usually controlled by convention and ritual. In this case, it clouded the king’s judgment to the point that he ordered his wife Vashti to provide entertainment for the king’s drunken, all-male gathering. This was far beneath her dignity as a married woman and as a member of the royal family. Whatever her response, she faced the dilemma of losing status, and her courageous choice to retain self-esteem in the face of an autocratic ruler’s base desires prepare the reader to understand the power for good that a principled woman could exert, even in a male-dominated royal court.

Meanwhile, though, we have to deal with the actions of Esther. Esther 2:3 gives the impression that these women were not volunteers. The king issued the decree, and so Esther had to come. Had she refused, who knows the outcome?


Read 1 Corinthians 9:19-23. In what ways can we apply the principles seen in these verses to what happened with Esther? Or do they apply?


So far in the story the real heroine is Vashti, who then disappears from history. Her modesty and stand on principle opened the way for Esther. In some case, though, principled stand don’t always lead to an obvious good. In the end, why should we take principled stands, even if we don’t know the outcome of our actions?

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