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Lesson Prep

Background Scripture (read 2-3 times during the week)

Esther 1-10

Story Summary

The story of Esther is a true picture of what a princess should be. It has all of the elements of the princess stories that our girls watch and dream about becoming. Esther is a brave, beautiful woman. This lesson allows us to bring forth a Godly woman worthy of our daughters' enchantment. It is also another example of God's persistence in protecting the Israelites from complete ruin.

This story is a little longer than normal in that it encompasses a 10-chapter book. However, it is still possible to read the whole book in 1 or 2 sittings. 

Esther was a beautiful young Jewish woman living in Persia. Remember what happened to the Babylonian kingdom after Belshazzar? Remember "mene, mene, tekel, parsin"? The Babylonian kingdom was divided between the Medes and the Persians. The story of Esther is set about 100 years after the Babylonian captivity, and about 60 years after Babylon fell to the Persians. The King of Persia at the time was King Xerxes (some translations give his name as Ahasuerus).

Mordecai was her cousin, who raised her as if she were his daughter. Esther was taken to the house of Xerxes, King of Persia, to become his wife. King Xerxes loved Esther and made Esther queen, but the king did not know that Esther was a Jew, because Mordecai told her not to reveal her identity. The full story can be found in Esther 1 & 2.

Haman was an advisor to the king. Haman hated Mordecai because Mordecai refused to bow down to Haman. So Haman plotted to destroy the Jewish people. Haman descended from the Amalekites. Refer back to Exodus 17. God promised to erase the memory of the Amalekites from the earth. That is why, during the festival of Purim (see the Purim party activity below), everyone makes loud noises whenever Haman's name is spoken, so no one can hear it.

Then Haman said to King Xerxes, "Certain people are scattered among the nations. They live in all of the territories in your kingdom. Their practices are different from the practices of all other people. They don't obey your laws. It really isn't good for you to put up with them." Esther 3:8. The King gave Haman permission to do as he pleased to the Jews. So Haman planned to kill all of the Jews.

Mordecai persuaded Esther to speak to the king on behalf of the Jewish people. This was a dangerous thing for Esther to do, because anyone who came into the king's presence without being summoned could be put to death, and she had not been summoned. Esther fasted for three days to prepare herself, then went into the king. He welcomed her. Later, she told him of Haman's plot against her people.

The King was not happy that Haman had plotted against Esther's people, so he had Haman hanged on the gallows that he had prepared for Mordecai. Esther then asked the King to revoke the decree Haman had him sign into law to have the Jews destroyed. But the King cannot revoke a law he enacted. So he allowed the Jews to fight back, and God gave them the victory in battle.

What You Will Need

Supplies
Following are good items to have on hand as you tell the story:
A Persian rug for the students to sit on
Rich silky fabrics available to touch- Xerxes was very wealthy. He had the finest of everything
Golden goblet- for banquet
Perfume- for girls brought to palace
Bible- Mordecai worshiped God
Tiara or crown for Xerxes, Vashti and Esther
royal robe
Money bag -for Haman

Resource Sheet

Esther Coloring Sheet

This coloring sheet depicts Esther appearing before the King, pleading with him to save the Jews

Lesson

1. Warm Up

get your kids talking and engaged

What is your favorite princess movie? (the boys in your class will probably react very negatively to this, which you can encourage if you wish :))

Today, we are going to learn about a queen in the Bible who allowed herself to be used by God to save the Jews.

2. Teach the Story

teach a holistic story

Read story from a Children's storybook Bible for younger children.

For older children, read the story from an age-appropriate Children's storybook Bible or tell the story yourself.

3. Bible Mastery

give them basic Bible skills

Scripture for Kids to Read Aloud: Esther 2:5-18, 3:5-6, 4:1-17, 7:1-10

4. Comprehension Questions

make sure they understand the story

First, ask the children if they have any questions about the story. What to do if you don't know the answer?

  • Who raised Esther? (Mordecai, her cousin)
  • How did the Israelites end up in Persia? (they were carried away to Babylon, which then fell to the Medes and Persians)
  • How did Esther become a queen of Persia? (the King was mad at Vashti, the queen before her, and searched for a new queen)
  • Who told Esther to keep the fact she was a Jew a secret? (Mordecai)
  • Who was Haman? (the head of all of King Haman's officials)
  • Why did Haman want to get rid of the Jews? (Mordecai didn't pay homage or honor to Haman as he was commanded to do)
  • What did Haman do to destroy the Jews? (he had the King pass a law that everyone in his kingdom was to destroy all the Jews in all the towns of Persia)
  • How did Esther help Mordecai? (she approached the King, even though she had not been called by him, revealed she was a Jew, and told the King that Haman plotted against her own people)
  • What did the King do to Haman after he realized what he was doing? (he had him hanged on the very gallows Haman planned to hang Mordecai)
  • What did the King do to help the Jews? (he couldn't revoke the law that he signed, so he allowed them to fight back when the Persians tried to destroy them, and God helped them gain victory when they fought)

5. Faith Questions

help them apply the story to their lives and open up a conversation about faith and the gospel; close with prayer
  • God placed Esther as a queen in Persia so she could be used to save the Jews from destruction ("And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?" Esther 4:14)
  • How can God use you where you are right now?

6. Memory Verse

hide God's Word in their heart
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Matthew 6:13

Reinforcement Activities

Crowns

Scripture The king liked Esther more than he liked any of the other women. She pleased him more than any of the other virgins. So he put a royal crown on her head. He made her queen in Vashti’s place. Esther 2:17

  • Make crowns out of thin cardboard or purchase ready-made crowns from a craft store.
  • Add glitter, jewels , stickers and other decorations.
  • Esther became Queen of Persia and saved her people from Haman's plan to destroy the Jews.

Act out story of Esther

Scripture Esther 1-10

Supplies crowns, 2 tiaras or crowns, Bible, bag of money

  • Characters:
    • King Xerxes
    • Queen Vashti
    • Mordecai
    • Haman
    • Esther
Introduce characters and give them props
  • Xerxes gets a crown
  • Vashti gets a tiara or crown.
  • Mordecai gets a Bible since he followed God's law and refused to pay homage to Haman
  • Esther gets a crown or tiara on her head and a robe around her shoulders as she becomes queen.
  • Haman gets a money bag since he was prideful about his wealth and the high position he held.
Use a Bible story book to tell the story and have the children act it out as you go along.

Beauty treatments

Heads up! Use discretion as to whether this activity would be appropriate for your church. Best used in an older girl's class

Scripture Each virgin had to complete 12 months of beauty care. They used oil of myrrh for six months. And they used perfume and make-up for the other six months. A virgin’s turn to go in to King Xerxes could come only after a full 12 months had passed. Esther 2:12

Supplies items for beauty treatments, fruit and other light snacks

  • All of the woman brought to the palace for Xerxes to choose his queen, had to complete 12 months of beauty treatments and special food.
  • Allow the girls to complete beauty treatments. Have pillows and comfortable resting spots around the room and a table with fruit and light snacks.
  • foot spa
  • hair salon
  • pedicures (with or without polish)
  • foot massages
  • fragrant lotions

The Ballad Of Queen Esther

Scripture Esther 1-10

Supplies copies of the rhyme

  • Fill in the rhyme, as you tell the story of Queen Esther.

Hangman Haman

Scripture Then Harbona said, “There’s a pole standing near Haman’s house. He has gotten it ready for Mordecai. Mordecai is the one who spoke up to help you. Haman had planned to have him put to death. He was going to have the pole stuck through his body. Then he was going to set it up at a place where it would be 75 feet above the ground.” Harbona was one of the officials who attended the king. The king said to his men, “Put Haman to death! Stick the pole through his body! Set it up where everyone can see it!” Esther 7:9

  • Play the classic game of hangman with words and names from the story:
  • Mordecai
  • Esther
  • Xerxes
  • decree
  • Persia
  • summoned
  • plot
  • After they solve the puzzle, remind them of that part of the story.

Purim Party!

Scripture The days the Jews were celebrating were called Purim. Purim comes from the word pur. Pur means “lot.” Now the Jews celebrate those two days every year. They do it because of everything that was written in Mordecai’s letter. They also do it because of what they had seen and what had happened to them. Esther 9:26

  • Purim is a Jewish holiday that commemorates the deliverance of the Jewish people in Persia from Haman's plot to kill all the Jews.
  • Purim is celebrated a month before Passover.
  • It is one of the most festive Jewish holidays.
  • "These days should be remembered and observed in every generation by every family, and in every province and in every city. And these days of Purim should never cease to be celebrated by the Jews, nor should the memory of them die out among their descendants." Esther 9:28
  • Ways to celebrate:
  • Read story of Esther-use shakers when Haman's name is read
  • Purim costumes- Dress up like characters from the story of Esther. Encourage students to bring princess and prince costumes or make your own.
  • Make Hamantaschen (see the "Hamantaschen Cookies" activity for a recipe)

Haman Shakers

Scripture Haman noticed that Mordecai wouldn’t get down on his knees. He wouldn’t give Haman any honor. So Haman burned with anger. But he had found out who Mordecai’s people were. So he decided not to kill just Mordecai. He also looked for a way to destroy all of Mordecai’s people. They were Jews. He wanted to kill all of them everywhere in the kingdom of Xerxes. Esther 3:5-6

Supplies materials to make shakers or store bought noise makers (options are below)

  • During traditional Jewish Purim celebrations, the story of Esther is told and whenever the name "Haman" is said everyone makes noises with noisemakers (since he's the bad guy...)
  • Make shakers and noise makers to use whenever Haman's name is mentioned when you read the story.
  • Use empty water bottles, two paper plates staples together, Toilet paper rolls with covers rubber banded on ends.
  • Fillers: beans, bells, rice (tends to be messy), popcorn kernels, pennies
  • Can also purchase store-bought noise makers from party aisle.

Hamantaschen Cookies

Heads up! pronounced: ha-men-tash-en

Scripture Esther 9:24-25

Supplies sugar, vegetable oil, orange juice, vanilla, flour, baking powder, fruit preserves

  • These cookies are traditionally made during the Jewish holiday of Purim.
  • The pastries are supposed to symbolize the defeated enemy of the Jewish people, and thus resemble the "ears of Haman."
  • The word tasch means "pouch" or "pocket" in Germanic languages, and may refer to "Haman's pockets", symbolizing the money which Haman offered in exchange for permission to destroy the Jews.
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 5 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 cup fruit preserves, any flavor
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F Grease cookie sheets.
  • In a large bowl, beat the eggs and sugar. Stir in the oil, orange juice, and vanilla. Combine the flour and baking powder; stir into the batter to form a stiff dough. Add more lour, if not stiff enough to roll out. Roll dough out to 1/4 inch in thickness. Cut into circles using a cookie cutter. Place cookies 2 inches apart onto the prepared cookie sheets. Spoon about 2 teaspoons of preserves into the center of each one. Pinch the edges to form three corners.
  • Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, until lightly browned. Allow cookies to cool slightly before removing.
Hamantaschen Cookies Example