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 fun and more exciting stories in the Bible, the events are commemorated by the uproarious festival of [[UsefulNotes/JewishHolidays Purim]], and the (surprisingly short) book is read in the synagogue that day at an atypically-noisy session.

The story is the basis for the film ''Film/OneNightWithTheKing''. And the WesternAnimation/VeggieTales episode "Esther: The Girl who Became Queen." ''And'' author Joan Wolf's romance novel ''The Reluctant Queen: The Love Story of Esther''.

It was also adapted into a politically charged Israeli film, titled ''Esther'' by Amos Gitai.


* AnachronicOrder: 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.)
* AudienceParticipation: When the book is read out loud during Purim, audiences are expected to boo and jeer every time they hear the name of Haman. Noisemakers are even provided just so we can be sure his name is properly drowned out.
* BatheHerAndBringHerToMe: A longer version with all the girls (including Esther) selected for the contest.
* BeautyContest: Xerxes has a very elaborate one to choose the new queen. No surprises, the winner is Esther.
* {{Bowdlerise}}: Many people hear the search for a queen portrayed as a beauty contest. While physical beauty ''was'' part of it, it was really more about who could "please the king" the most...''[[SexTropes in bed]].'' In other words, it was more of a CastingCouch than a BeautyContest. [[FridgeHorror Also]], these girls had [[SexualHarassmentAndRapeTropes little to no say]] in whether or not they actually joined the RoyalHarem.
* DisproportionateRetribution:
** 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.
** When Haman finds out that Mordecai's reason for not [[KneelBeforeZod bowing down to him]] is that Mordecai is a Jew, he decides to massacre ''all'' the Jews.
* EvilChancellor: Haman is one of the [[UrExample earliest examples]], and one of the evilest.
* FinalSolution: What Haman proposes regarding the Persian Jews.
* ForgotICouldChangeTheRules: Averted. The king is maneuvered into creating a law that would allow all the Jews to be 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. [[spoiler:However, there is nothing that prevents him from passing a new law enabling the Jewish population to defend themselves with state support.]]
* {{Guile Hero}}ine: Esther is able to keep her head in stressful circumstances, and her courage saves her people.
* HappilyEverBefore: For one person; Xerxes's assassination is foiled in this book, but later he was eventually murdered by a court guard. There is also no mention of Esther outside of this book.
* HoistByHisOwnPetard: Haman builds a gallows to hang Mordecai on. When his plot is discovered, Haman himself is hanged on it.
* HumiliationConga: Boy, does Haman ever get his comeuppance. First he has to publicly honor his hated rival Mordecai, with a plan that Haman came up with thinking he was going to be the honoree. Then his fancy dinner with the king and queen turns out to be a set-up to expose him as the villain. When he tries to plead with the queen for his life, the king [[NotWhatItLooksLike thinks he's trying to assault her]] and sentences him to death right then and there. He winds up literally HoistByHisOwnPetard on the gallows he built himself for Mordecai. You almost feel sorry for the guy. Almost.
* InformedJudaism: Esther's Jewishness is a major plot point, but she apparently passed for a non-Jew well enough that her own husband was surprised to find out her nationality.
* IOweYouMyLife: Mordecai reveals the plot to kill Xerxes, and the king later decides to reward him.
* JesusTaboo: Rather surprisingly for a book of Literature/TheBible, the story never once mentions the name of {{God}}. It's generally accepted that the point is God can work behind the scenes InMysteriousWays even when he is TheUnseen.
* JustSoStory: 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. Xerxes was an actual Persian King though, the same one who is in ''Film/ThreeHundred'' as a matter of fact.
* KneelBeforeZod: Haman is furious when Mordecai refuses to bow to him, and decides to [[DisproportionateRetribution kill all the Jews]] to get revenge.
* NiceJobFixingItVillain: Haman goes to ask the king for a death warrant for Mordecai, but gets sidetracked when Xerxes asks him what a good reward would be for a man who has done great service to the king. Haman, assuming that he's the honoree, proposes an elaborate public ceremony. Turns out the king was asking about Mordecai, and Haman is ordered to carry out his own plan to honor his rival. HumiliationConga ensues.
* NotWhatItLooksLike: Haman throws himself at Queen Esther to beg for his life. The king comes in at the wrong moment and assumes that Haman is trying to rape her. This does not end well for Haman.
* OneDialogueTwoConversations: 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.
* OriginalPositionFallacy: Haman being asked to think up a reward and assuming it's for him is a textbook example.
* PromotedToParent: Mordecai has raised Esther after her parents died.
* ReplacementGoldfish: Xerxes holds a competition to find a beautiful wife for him to replace his divorced one Vashti.
* RagsToRoyalty: Esther gets hand-picked to be the queen.
* RoyalHarem: The home of all the women selected for the BeautyContest.
* SuddenlyEthnicity: To stop Haman's planned pogrom, Esther makes the big reveal that she's Jewish. Granted, the audience has known this all along, but ''her own husband'' is astonished to find out.
* ToiletSeatDivorce: The king divorces Vashti because she refused to appear in public.
* ThereAreNoCoincidences: "It so happened" is a recurring line in this book.
* TheUnseen: 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.
* YouCanLeaveYourHatOn: A literal case, at least implied. The previous queen, Vashti, is asked to parade before Xerxes' drunken party guests wearing her royal crown-- the insinuation being, ''only'' her crown. Her refusal sets the story in motion.
* VillainsWantMercy: Haman begs Esther to save his life. It backfires when Xerxes catches him throwing himself at her bed.
* WorldsMostBeautifulWoman: Esther is determined to be by Xerxes.