The Book of Esther tells the story of the titular heroine, a young woman who was taken to become a Persian Queen, while her cousin works in his court. While there, a plot is made by the official Haman to murder all the Jews.
One of the funnest and most exciting stories in the Bible, the events are commemorated by the uproarious festival of Purim
, and the (surprisingly short) book is read in the synagogue that day at an atypically-noisy session.
- Anachronic Order: In Christian canonical ordering, the Book of Esther comes after the Book of Nehemiah, even though its events come directly before. (In the Jewish ordering, Esther is grouped with the literary books and Nehemiah with the late historical books, in different subsections of the Bible.)
- Chekhov's Gunman: Haman is said to be an Agagite, so some have theorized that he was descended from King Agag, whom Saul's failure to kill immediately gave him to the time to conceive a son whose descendant would come back to destroy the Jews.
- Disproportionate Retribution: If anyone visits the king without him having called for them, they are to be killed unless the king decides he's glad to see them. Naturally, this puts a snag in Esther addressing the matter of the Jews with the king.
- Forgot I Could Change the Rules: Averted. The king is maneuvered into creating a law that would allow all the Jews to massacred by Haman. When Queen Esther reveals that she is Jewish herself and exposes Haman to the king, the law authorizing pogrom cannot be annulled by even the king. However, there is nothing that prevents him from passing a new law enabling the Jewish population to defend themselves with state support.
- Genre Savvy: After Haman is tricked into rewarding his rival and declaring his worthiness across the city, Haman's wife predicts that it's the beginning of a big Humiliation Conga for him.
- Guile Heroine: Esther's smarts are what save the day.
- Happily Ever Before: For one person; Xerxes's assassination is foiled in this book, but later he was eventually murdered by a court guard.
- Hoist by His Own Petard: Haman builds a gallows to hang Mordecai on. When his plot is discovered, Haman himself is hanged on it.
- I Owe You My Life: Mordecai reveals the plot to kill Xerxes, and the king later decides to reward him.
- Just So Story: There is no evidence Persia ever had a Jewish queen and its possible Esther was invented to explain the festival of Purim which already existed.
- One Dialogue, Two Conversations: Xerxes calls in Haman to discuss how he should reward a man who has done a great service to the king. Haman thinks he's talking about himself, only to find to his horror that the king is actually talking about his hated rival Mordecai.
- Promoted To Parent: Mordecai has raised Esther after her parents died.
- Replacement Goldfish: Xerxes holds a competition to find a beautiful wife for him to replace his divorced one Vashti.
- There Are No Coincidences: "It so happened" is a recurring line in this book.
- The Unseen: God is never mentioned, but the story serves as a great example of Him placing the right people in places where they'll eventually be needed.
- World's Most Beautiful Woman: Esther is determined to be by Xerxes.