We call women “beautiful inside and out” when we think they have both good looks and pleasing character.
In the Bible, Esther was an example of this.
In this article, you will:
- Get to know Esther and her story
- Know 7 qualities that make her beautiful inside and out
- Learn important life lessons from her story
Who Was Esther in the Bible?
The origin and meaning of her name
Esther’s name came from an old Persian word stāra, which means “star.”
How would you like to have this name?
But did you know that Hadassah was Esther’s original name in Hebrew?
It means “myrtle” (SDA Bible Dictionary, 341-43). Interestingly, part of it still denotes a star knowing that myrtle is a green shrub with star-shaped flowers.
What a beautiful name!
Her family and residence
Esther was the daughter of Abihail and the adopted daughter of her cousin, Mordecai, adviser of King Ahasuerus (SDA Bible Dictionary, 341-43).
Esther and Mordecai were “descendants of the Hebrew exiles who had been transported to Babylon by Nebuchadnezzar more than 100 years earlier.”
And despite the prophetic call for them to return to Judah (Isaiah 48:20; Jeremiah 50:8), they, among with other Israelites, chose to stay in Persia.
With this, they both lived in Susa (Shushan), one of the capital cities of Persia, east of Babylon (Esther 2:5).
The beauty pageant
Have you joined a beauty contest in your locality or on the national and international stage? Such a great privilege, right? But the challenges were not a joke.
But what if you were rather chosen as a candidate? No need to audition or anything.
Well, that was what happened in the case of Esther.
King Ahasuerus was looking for a woman to replace Queen Vashti, who disobeyed him by refusing to come to his feast (Esther 1 and 2).
Esther was one of the several young women brought to the king’s palace. There, they were trained and taken care of by Hegai, the king’s eunuch, before they finally presented themselves before the king (verses 8-14).
Chosen as the new queen
In the tenth month, Esther was finally taken to the king in the royal residence.
“The king was attracted to [her] more than to any of the other women” (verse 17, NIV). She must have been really beautiful inside and out.
And yes, Esther was crowned queen. All the preparation efforts paid off.
To celebrate it, the king organized a banquet, declaring that day a holiday throughout the provinces. He also gave her royal gifts (verse 18).
The plot to destroy the Jews
Five years after the coronation, Haman was promoted to be the king’s chief adviser (Esther 3).
It was bad news for Mordecai as Haman was angry at him for not kneeling down or paying honor to him (verses 2-5).
Because of this, Haman wanted to kill Mordecai. But after learning that his people were the Jews, he looked for a way to destroy them all (verse 6).
He told the king, “There is a certain people dispersed among the peoples in all the provinces of your kingdom who keep themselves separate. Their customs are difference from those of all other people and they do not obey the king’s laws; it is not in the king’s best interest to tolerate them” (verse 8, NIV).
Eventually, Haman convinced the king to sign a decree to destroy all the Jews (verses 10-12). Little did they know Esther was one of them.
With this, what do you think would happen to Esther?
The need to intercede for the Jews
Mordecai asked Esther to intercede for the Jews (Esther 4). But the problem was that no one in the palace knew she was a Jew as it was a secret.
Besides, it was a palace rule that anyone who came to see the king uninvited would be put to death unless he held out his golden scepter to him or her (verse 11). And, in fact, King Ahasuerus had not called to see her for a month already.
But Mordecai reminded Esther, “Do not think that, because you are in the king’s house, you alone of all the Jews will escape” (verse 12, NIV).
He continued, “For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?”
Though it would mean risking her life, Esther agreed with the plan.
She told Mordecai, “Go, gather together all the Jews who are in Susa and fast for me. Do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my attendants will fast as you do. When this is done, I will go to the king even though it is against the law. And if I perish, I perish” (verse 16, NIV).
What a brave woman!
Executing the plan
The day has finally come for a moment of truth. No more turning back.
Esther fasted and prayed to prepare for this day that would forever change history. And she fixed herself, making sure she looked her best with her prettiest clothes.
Finally, Esther stepped into the royal court. Surprisingly, the king was pleased with her and held out his scepter.
He asked, “What is it, Queen Esther? What is your request? Even up to half the kingdom, it will be given you” (Esther 5:3, NIV).
But instead of revealing her secret right away, Esther acted with wisdom and kept her petition for the meantime.
She invited him and his adviser to come to a banquet she prepared. And they agreed to come.
In the first banquet, Esther tried to soften up the king to gain his confidence first. Yet, she decided it wasn’t yet time to reveal everything.
She invited them to another banquet the following day, surrendering everything to God’s will (verses 7 and 8).
In this second feast, Esther finally told the king, “If I have found favor with you, Your Majesty, and if it pleases you, grant me my life—this is my petition. And spare my people—this is my request” (Esther 7:3, NIV).
She continued, “For I and my people have been sold to be destroyed, killed, and annihilated. If we had merely been sold as male and female slaves, I would have kept quiet because no such distress would justify disturbing the king” (verse 4, NIV).
Finally, Esther revealed it was Haman who made the plot. The king became so furious and Haman was terrified.
The happy ending
The king ordered that Haman be impaled on the stake he himself built for Mordecai (Esther 7:9-10).
Soon, Mordecai was promoted to replace Haman’s position as chief advisor. Then, he and Esther drafted a new decree to not only save the Jews but also avenge them on all their enemies (Esther 8:8, 11).
And on the twenty-third day of the third month, the decree was signed and implemented in all of the 127 provinces stretching from India to Cush (verse 9).
It was indeed a time of happiness, joy, and honor for the Jews.
7 Qualities That Make Esther Beautiful Inside and Out
1) She was remarkably beautiful and pleasing.
Esther was “a remarkably beautiful young woman” (SDA Bible Dictionary, 341-43).
As you’ve seen from her story, King Ahasuerus was attracted to her “more than to any of the other women” (Esther 2:17, NIV).
But at the same time, Esther was admirable and pleasing to be with. Beautiful inside and out indeed.
No wonder why she pleased the king’s eunuch and easily won his favor that he provided her special food and all the necessary beauty treatments (verse 9).
Also, Esther’s “tact and winsomeness brought her into royal favor and earned for her the title of queen after the former queen, Vashti, fell into disfavor” (SDA Bible Dictionary, 341-43).
2) She was humble and polite.
Esther showed politeness in inviting the king and his adviser to a banquet.
She said, “If it pleases the king, let the king, together with Haman, come today to a banquet I have prepared for him” (Esther 5:4, NIV).
Also, if not only for Mordecai’s insistence, she would probably faithfully comply with the palace rule to never come before the king uninvited (verse 11 of chapter 4).
And even as Esther won the king’s trust for her to finally reveal her secret, she was still humble and polite with her request.
She said, “If I have found favor with you, Your Majesty, and if it pleases you, grant me my life—this is my petition. And spare my people—this is my request” (verse 3 of chapter 7, NIV).
Such a woman, so beautiful inside and out!
3) She was wise.
Let’s go back to the first banquet (Esther 5).
Knowing it was a private time with the king and his adviser anyway, Esther could have told them her request. But, as you’ve seen from the story, she didn’t reveal her cards right away.
Instead, she used it as an opportunity to win the king’s confidence first so much so that he felt compelled to grant her something in return having been invited to another banquet (chapter 7).
4) She was submissive and obedient.
As you’ve read earlier, Esther and Mordecai descended from the Hebrew exiles transported to Babylon during Nebuchadnezzar’s time (SDA Bible Dictionary, 341-43).
Because of this, Mordecai advised Esther never to reveal her Jewish identity and family background in the king’s palace. Or else, her life would be in danger.
And Esther did as she was told (Esther 2:10).
Another evidence of Esther’s obedience was her commitment to abide by the palace rule to never approach the king uninvited unless he held his scepter on her.
But as discussed earlier, she did it anyway because Mordecai insisted. After all, silence would not help save the Jews from Haman’s plot (verses 13 and 14 of chapter 4).
5) She was concerned about the people around him.
Esther could have used her power and authority for fame and luxury. She could have just enjoyed the benefits and privileges of the royal life.
But she didn’t forget her fellow Jews. He used her position to save them from Haman’s plot (Esther 5-7).
Such golden heart and loving concern for her people.
6) She was bold enough to take risks.
At first, Esther was hesitant to take Mordecai’s advice to make a petition to the king on behalf of the threatened Jews. And she couldn’t break the palace rule to never enter the king’s court uninvited.
But she changed her mind and bravely took the challenge no matter how risky it was.
She confirmed, “Go, gather together all the Jews who are in Susa and fast for me. Do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my attendants will fast as you do. When this is done, I will go to the king even though it is against the law. And if I perish, I perish” (verse 16, NIV).
And we have seen from Esther’s story how brave she was in approaching the king and laying down her petition (Esther 5).
7) She remained faithful to God.
Knowing that the fate of the Jews was upon her, Esther must have felt like the world was revolving around her. Whatever she chose to do would result in something that would forever change history and would never be regained.
“The crisis that Esther faced demanded quick, earnest action; but both she and Mordecai realized that unless God should work mightily in their behalf, their own efforts would be unavailing” (Ellen White’s Writings, Daughters of God 46.5).
Esther surrendered it all to God in fasting and prayer with Mordecai and the rest of the Jews.
“At a time when it seemed that no power could save them, Esther and the women associated with her, by fasting and prayer and prompt action, met the issue, and brought salvation to their people” (Ellen White, Daughters of God 45.3).
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