The True Beauty of Esther

6 March 2023


Welcome to this year’s reflection on Purim.

Purim begins Monday night, 6th March, 2023 until nightfall Tuesday, 7th March 2023. In Jerusalem, Shushan Purim is celebrated on 8th March (Shabbat permitting).

In the Jewish Bible, we read of the story of Queen Esther in the Ketuvim (writings).  Queen Esther is a Jewish girl who becomes the queen of King Xerxes of Persia. She walked an unusual path, and her faith and courage were used by God to save her Jewish people from annihilation.

Date of Writing: The Book of Esther was likely written between 460 and 350 B.C.

You may wish to view my previous articles for more background on Esther: (1)(2)

Purim is still celebrated today in Israel and the diaspora. It commemorates the time when the Jewish people living in Persia were saved from extermination through Esther.

Part of the celebrations includes dressing up in costumes, performing plays and even beauty contests.

When the Megillah (Book of Esther) is read, noisemakers (e.g. groggers) are used by many to blot out the sound of Haman’s name. Food is also a big part of the celebration with Hamantaschen, triangle-shaped pastries to represent Haman’s ears or Haman’s pockets. Also, food gifts are given.

The theme of this story and many other Jewish stories has developed into this saying: “They tried to kill us, we won, let’s eat!” And so it is for Purim, a celebration with traditions of its own, including food.


To give you a brief background to the Book of Esther, we find that Jerusalem had fallen to Babylon and the Jews were exiled, around 605 BC. Babylon had been taken over by the powerful Persian Empire in 539 BC. Daniel survived the transition to the new empire, maintaining his administrative role (Daniel 6:28).

By the time of King Ahasuerus, also known as Xerxes in Esther, Daniel was gone and Haman had become the Prime Minister of Persia (Esther 3:1).

Let me introduce you to Queen Esther.

Esther’s name

Hadassah (Myrtle) was her Jewish name, but she assumed the name Esther to hide her Jewish identity. The three-letter root of Esther in Hebrew is s-t-r (סתר‎), “hide, conceal”. The passive infinitive is (לְהִסָּ֫תֶר‎), “to be hidden”.

As we know, Esther’s true name and identity were hidden, but also God’s name is not mentioned in the text, yet His work is evident throughout the story.

Esther’s qualities

  • Youth/Beauty

The scripture declares that she was young and beautiful — these were the conditions of the search made for the new queen for King Xerxes. Ahasuerus is evidently to be identified with Xerxes.

Then said the king’s servants that ministered unto him, Let there be fair young virgins sought for the king: Esther 2:2 (CJB)

… The young woman had a beautiful figure and was extremely good-looking… Esther 2:7 (CSB)

  • Wisdom/Humility

She was wise inasmuch as she listened to Mordecai and learnt what she had to do. There was favour and grace from God upon her life, but she also received the favour of the King.

Wisdom and humility go hand in hand.
The discipline of wisdom is fear of Adonai,
so before being honoured, a person must be humble.
~ Proverbs 15:33 (CJB)

Esther displayed wisdom when she gave her banquets to prepare the way for her requests to the King.


One could say that humility is dependence on the Lord and respecting others, while godly wisdom gives one the ability to discern and choose the best course of action.

When the Lord blesses a person with looks, wealth and His favour, it is not for the person’s benefit, but for the Father’s purposes.

  • Loyalty

Esther was loyal to Mordechai her cousin who acted as her father, and also to her non-Jewish husband. She moved with poise, based on her principles in the difficult circumstances of her day, and did not act irrationally but stayed the course to see a marvellous victory for her people.

  • Courage

At the time of Purim, we remember Esther’s courage in saving her people in Persia 2000 years ago, even though the circumstances were extreme.

  • Fasting

When one fasts, there is a concept that we are untethering ourselves from earthly things and tethering ourselves to the Lord and heavenly realms. The Book of Esther does not specifically mention prayer, but it may be implied.

Esther trusted the Lord in her fasting and as a result, the King extended to her his golden sceptre.

Subsequently, we also see that the law of the Medes and Persians was altered to allow the Jewish people to defend themselves against the evil plans that had been put into place by Haman.

The Bible talks about when we fast, not if we fast.

“Moreover, when you fast, do not be like the hypocrites, with a sad countenance.
For they disfigure their faces that they may appear to men to be fasting.
Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward.” ~ Matthew 6:16

Fasting is the lifestyle of the believer awaiting the return of the Bridegroom —

“But the days will come when the bridegroom will be taken away from them,
and then they will fast in those days.” ~ Mark 2:20 (NKJV)

  • Jewish Culture

In the Jewish writings, Esther is called a Heroine, a Prophetess and yes, she was a stand-alone Queen. We can glean much from her life to enable us to stand against difficult odds, keep our eyes on the Lord and see Him break through our obstacles in His own inimitable way.

In fact, we, as Bible-believing Christians, have it within our ability to stand with the Father’s Beloved Chosen people to assist them through prayer, giving and going to the Holy Land to follow in the footsteps of our Lord. All are valid ways of supporting His Beloved Chosen People.

Now Esther was the daughter of Abihail, the uncle from whom Mordecai had adopted her as his own daughter. And when it was her turn to go to the king, she did not ask for anything except what Hegai, the king’s trusted official in charge of the harem, had advised. And Esther found favour in the eyes of everyone who saw her.
~ Esther 2:15 (BSB)

Her life and identity were hidden. It was as if she was the Lord’s secret agent in this perilous setting. The Lord’s solutions come through a man — or a woman in this instance. The Father always has someone through whom He can bring solutions.

The King offered her up to half of his kingdom. Some people throw money at problems, but in this case, money was not going to solve the problem of the Jews being annihilated — something more strategic was needed.

Once Haman was out of the picture, the King, although unable to annul a formal royal decree, instead adds to it, permitting the Jews to join together and destroy any and all of those seeking to kill them. (Esther 8:1–14)

The King spoke to Esther and Mordechai, who then called the secretaries — new letters were issued:

The letters said that the king had granted the Jews in every city the right “to assemble and defend their lives by destroying, killing, and exterminating any forces of any people or province that would attack them, their little ones or their women or would try to seize their goods as plunder.
~ Esther 8:11 (CJB)

The shift had begun and —

“And the Jews smote all their enemies with the stroke of the sword,
and with slaughter and destruction,
and did as they wished to those who hated them.”
~ Esther 9:5

They needed to be able to fight for themselves, save themselves, and be given some rights to stand up and defend themselves.

At the same time as Purim today invites lighthearted fun, the battle became serious as the Jews killed 75,000 who were standing against them, causing others to feign Jewishness.

Behind the Scenes

Even though God’s name does not appear in the Book of Esther, we can see His work behind the scenes.

Miracles did take place — the Lord’s hand was at work throughout these days of His people in Persia.

Time to Take Action

I believe prayer is always the first step before doing a work for the Lord. At this time, we can pray for Israel and her national security.

Perhaps you are being challenged to view the plight of the Father’s Beloved Chosen People differently in this season. The approaching nuclear capability of Iran, their enemy is one of the greatest threats to the existence of Israel at this time. May we pray that Iran will not reach this nuclear capability, as their stated aim is to annihilate the nation of Israel.

You are welcome to join Celebrate Israel with our Zoom calls as we pray for the nation of Israel each month.
Or you may wish to contact me for further information

Soon after my conversion experience, I had a special moment when I heard a message stating,
“Who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” (Esther 4:14)

This message has stayed with me all my life and brought me to the place in which I now find myself, praying for and serving His Beloved Chosen People. May it be your moment as well.


Thank You, Lord, for bringing each one of us to a moment of realisation
of how we can pray for and bless Your Beloved Chosen People. Amen.


Painting: François-Léon Benouville, “Esther” (1844)/Wikimedia Commons

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  1. Jim Twelves 6 March 2023 at 10:18 am - Reply

    Nel, your passion and commitment to the Lord’s call is so evident in your writing, thank you so much for this. It is remarkable to reflect on the journey the Lord has taken the Jews. It seems to me to be parable for us all if we will let Him.
    Btw, do you know the ministry of Amir Tsarfati?

    • Nel Farnik 6 March 2023 at 3:59 pm - Reply

      Dear Brother Jim Twelves, thank you for your encouraging words. Yes, I do follow Amir Tsfarti quite closely on Telegram etc. Bless you as you continue on your path in Him. shalom Nel

  2. Kim Beazley 6 March 2023 at 10:34 am - Reply

    “Who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?”

    Would that we all heard that call, as every one of us has a Kingdom calling on our lives.

  3. John 7 March 2023 at 3:21 pm - Reply

    What is the significance of the other figure in the painting?

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