May 26, 2019 – Esther 8 – 10
Lesson Date: May 26, 2019
Focal Scripture Passage: Esther 8:1-8, 11; 9:1-2, 13-16, 20-22, 26-28; 10:3
AIM: To lead students to discover how the Jews celebrated God’s miraculous protection, and to decide on a specific way to celebrate God’s goodness to them.
Before class: Read the notes on Esther 8 – 10 found in the Sunday School Teacher Book.
INTRODUCTION (Create Learning Readiness): Read the following dates to the class:
The 4th day of July
The 3rd Monday of January
The 4th Thursday of November
The last Monday of May
Ask: “What do those dates have in common?” (they are all holidays). Read each date aloud again and ask: “What is the purpose of that holiday?” (the 4th of July celebrates our nation’s independence, the 3rd Monday in January is a memorial for Martin Luther King and remembrance of his ideals, the 4th Thursday of November is a day to give thanks for God’s blessings, and the last Monday of May is a day to remember and honor the sacrifices of our armed forces).
Tell the class we remember and celebrate important dates, both nationally and in our private lives. Ask: “What are some special personal days that we celebrate?” (birthdays and wedding anniversaries).
Tell the students in today’s lesson we will discover that the Jewish people instituted a new holiday to remember and celebrate God’s protection from the wicked plot of Haman.
HEART OF THE LESSON (Bible Study):
- Tell the class that this morning we will conclude our study of the book of Esther.
- Remind them that Esther was one of the captive Jews living in Persia. God miraculously elevated her to become the queen of all Persia.
- Ask: “What was last week’s lesson about?” (Haman plotted to kill all the Jews in Persia, but God worked through Mordecai and Esther to preserve them.
- Ask if any volunteer would recite last week’s memory verse (Esther 4:14).
- The Jews Were Still in Danger.
- Read Esther 7:10.
- Explain that even though Haman was dead, the decree calling for the destruction of all the Jews in the Persian Empire was still in place. It was part of the “law of the Medes and Persians,” which could not be changed. Wicked Haman was dead, but the Jews were still in great danger.
- Read Esther 8:1-2.
- Ask: “What had Esther told the king?” (about her relationship to Mordecai).
- Ask: “What happened to Mordecai?” (the king gave him Haman’s job and Esther gave him Haman’s house).
- Read Esther 8:3.
- Ask: “What did Esther ask the king?” (to do something to save the Jews).
- Summarize: Even though Haman was dead, the Jews were still in danger of being exterminated. Esther asked the king for help.
- The King Issued a Decree to Spare the Jews.
- Read Esther 8:4-6.
- Tell the class Esther once again went before the king.
- Ask: “What did she ask the king?” (to send out a proclamation reversing Haman’s previous order to destroy the Jews).
- Read Esther 8:7.
- Ask a volunteer to read Esther 8:8.
- Ask: “What did the king tell them to do?” (write a new decree in the king’s name and seal it with the king’s ring).
- Tell the students they called in scribes to copy the decree into the languages of the 127 provinces of the Persian Empire, and then swiftly sent the letters out to the provinces.
- Ask the class to listen for the content of those letters, as a volunteer reads Esther 8:11.
- Explain the following:
- The king authorized the Jews to gather together and defend themselves from attack.
- He further authorized them to kill anyone who would attack them, as well as the wives and children of their enemies.
- Finally, he authorized them to claim the property and possessions of those they killed.
- Tell the class the letters were sent out, the king exalted Mordecai even more, and the Jews in every province rejoiced. In fact, many people in the empire became Jews.
- Summarize: Esther appealed to the king for mercy, after which he issued a decree to spare the Jews from extermination.
- The Jews Were Spared.
- Remind the class that Haman’s wicked decree set a specific date on which all the Jews in the empire were to be killed.
- Tell the class that the fateful day came in late February or early March of 473 c.
- Read Esther 9:1-2.
- Ask: “What happened?” (the Jews gathered together to defend themselves and destroy their enemies; everyone was fearful of the Jews).
- Tell the students the Jews killed all those who would have killed them.
- Ask a volunteer to read Esther 9:13-14.
- Ask: “What did Esther ask concerning Haman’s ten sons?” (that they be hanged, and they were).
- Ask a volunteer to read Esther 9:15-16.
- Ask: “How many enemies did the Jews kill throughout the whole empire?” (75,000).
- Remind the students that the king authorized them to seize their enemies’ property.
- Ask: “Did they exercise that right?” (no).
- Summarize: On the date Haman had planned for all the Jews to die, they were spared and killed 75,000 of their enemies.
- The Jews Established an Annual Celebration.
- Ask a volunteer to read Esther 9:20-22.
- Ask: “What did Mordecai tell all the Jews everywhere to do?” (celebrate their deliverance from Haman’s wicked plot every year with feasting, joy, and exchanging of gifts).
- Explain that Haman had cast lots – called casting the “Pur” – to set the date on which the Jews would die (Esther 3:7).
- Read Esther 9:26.
- Ask: “Why did they call this new celebration Purim?” (after the word Pur).
- Ask a volunteer to read Esther 9:27-28.
- Tell the class that Purim is an annual celebration still observed by Jews today. This year, for example, Purim began at sundown on Monday, March 9.
- Read Esther 10:3.
- Tell the students that Mordecai the Jew was second only to the king in power. He continually sought the welfare of his people.
- Summarize: The Jews established an annual holiday to celebrate their great deliverance. Faithful Jews still celebrate Purim to this day.
PERSONAL APPLICATION: Remind the class that Haman wanted to exterminate all the Jews living in all 127 Persian provinces. Ask: “Why is it important that Haman’s wicked plot to exterminate the Jews was foiled? Why does it really matter?” (if the plot had succeeded Ezra never would have gone to Jerusalem to beautify the temple, read the law, and lead the people in revival; Nehemiah never would have gone to Jerusalem to rebuild the walls; and most importantly, Jesus Christ never would have been born). If Christ had not been born then He could not have died on the cross to pay for our sins. We would be forever lost.
Tell the students the Jews established a celebratory feast to remember God’s goodness and mercy in protecting them from extermination. They celebrate that feast every year. Ask: “Do we ever celebrate God’s goodness and mercy to us?” (we do at Christmas, Easter, and when we participate in the Lord’s Supper).
Ask: “Has God been good and merciful to you? Has He saved your soul? Has He preserved your life through some serious medical problems? Has He protected you and your family members from harm?” Tell the class this is the most important question: “Are you doing anything to celebrate His goodness and mercy?”
Ask the students to brainstorm specific ways we can celebrate God’s mercy, protection, and provision upon us. After allowing time for several ideas, ask the students if any of those ideas might be a good way for them to celebrate God’s work on their behalf. Encourage everyone to decide on one or more specific way to celebrate God’s goodness. Lead a closing prayer.
CONCLUSION: Encourage everyone to follow through on their specific plans this week, and to thank God every day for protecting them and delivering them from harm.
Be sure everyone has a copy of the Sunday School Member Quarterly for the summer quarter. Tell them that starting next week we will study the last three books in the Old Testament, Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi. Encourage them to follow the Daily Bible Reading Guide in their quarterly, which begins tomorrow.
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