Old Testament Character Sketch Bible Study Template
How it works
Esther was a Jewish woman that became queen. She hid her religious beliefs as the Jewish people were being persecuted. Esther learned of Haman’s plot to kill and destroy all of the Jewish people. In order to save her people, she set up a banquet with the king and revealed to him Haman’s plan as well as her true identity. By doing so, she saved her people and was accepted for who she was.
Her actions resulted in the feast of Purim which is an annual feast amongst the Jewish community.
What led to the Esther becoming a queen? Xerxes dismissed Vashti as queen which let to Esther becoming queen.
What led to Mordecai, Esther’s guardian, to be captured by the Persian’s? He intervened in the attempted assassination against Xerxes, but his advisor, Haman, had him arrested.
What did Esther do when she found out that Mordecai was imprisoned? Esther sent servants to relay messages back and forth so that she could find out what happened. When Esther heard of Haman’s plans she requested a banquet be held with the king.
What did Esther tell the king during the banquet? Esther revealed her true identity to the king. She let him know that she was Jewish bowed humbly at his feet. Esther also let the king know about Haman’s plans to eradicate all of the Jewish people.
What was the end result of Esther’s courage to come forward? Esther’s actions led to “Xerxes [issuing] another decree allowing the Jews to defend themselves against those who might try to attack them”.
What is Festival of Purim? The Jewish people “celebrate “Esther’s Banquet” at the Feast of Purim on the fifteenth of Adar in remembrance of God’s blessing and protection.
The first major occurrence in Esther’s life is where she was when she was made queen. Another major where is when the banquet took place. During this banquet many major events began to unfold. Esther revealed her true identity to the king. It is also the location where Haman was exposed to the king and he was executed. Finally, this is where Xerxes’s decree was made to protect all of the Jewish people of Persia. Esther’s courage saved her people.
The events in Esther’s life took place from 483 to 473 BC. It took a total of 10 years for everything to unfold. “The events recorded in the book happened after Zerubbabel’s return to Jerusalem in 538 BC” (Hindson & Towns, p. 170).
Why were the Jewish people being persecuted in Persia? Mordecai refused to bow down to Harman which made him angry. Harman made it his personal mission to destroy Mordecai and all of the Jewish people.
Why was Esther such an important figure in the Old Testament? Esther is one of the two only books in the bible where a woman is the main figure. Also, she was able to set her fear aside to save her people by coming forward.
Step Five: Construct a timeline that details the life of your Bible personality.
- Esther becomes the queen
- Mordecai saves the king, but is imprisoned by Haman
- Haman decrees to destroy all of the Jews
- Mordecai appealed to Esther
- Esther held a banquet to approach the king about Haman’s plan
- Haman is executed once Esther exposes his plan
- Esther reveals her true identity and pleads for the salvation of the Jewish people
- Decree is signed to protect the Jewish people
- Festival of Purim
Step Six: Determine what Biblical wisdom can be gained from this character. Carefully look through your general observations based on your first impressions, your deeper study, and your timeline. What biblical wisdom can you gather about your character? Write out five elements of Biblical wisdom that can be understood from your character. Provide a concise explanation of each of these elements.
Racial Tension: The very first impression was that no matter what time we are living in, there seems to be racial tensions. During Esther’s time there was racial hatred towards the Jewish people. This greatly troubled her which led to her hiding who she truly was. Today, there is still racial hatred whether it be because your ethnicity or something as simple as the color of your skin. Sadly, we are living in a time that there is tension amongst us Christians. More and more people are straying away from God’s word as they feel like they are going to be judged just for their belief. Christians are being socially cast out so people feel as though they have to hide who they really are just like Esther did in her time.
God’s Sovereignty: God is always working even when we do not realize it. God’s sovereignty reigns over everyone and everything. God used Esther, without her realizing it, to save the Jewish people. She knew that God was in control and that she could count on him so her, along with the entire Jewish community, fasted and prayed from Him to save them all. Esther was courageous and she stood up for her people and God displayed his power.
Action: Esther spent many years fearful of being exposed of her true identity. When her family and people were in jeopardy, she took action and came forth. She put her fear aside and trusted that God was in control of the entire situation. As Christians we will be faced with many obstacles and we need to put our worries aside and let God do his work. He will always be there for us and provide as He did for Esther.
Deliverance: With the help of my bible, I realized that God provided deliverance for Esther. The Jewish people celebrate the Festival of Purim which is a symbol of God’s deliverance. Harman plotted against the Jewish people and wanted to have them exterminated as if they were a disease. Esther and Mordecai turned to God along with the Jewish community. Their faith gave them the confidence and courage to supersede this trying time in their lives. They put their hope in God as they knew he would deliver them from Harman’s evil plan.
Wisdom: God gave both Esther and Mordecai great wisdom when they were faced with their many struggles. Instead of them letting their fear get the best of them, they turned to God. God gave them the answers and they acted upon them. Wisdom can be demonstrated in many ways; Esther humbled herself before the king and revealed all of her secrets. She stood up for herself and her people and God honored her loyalty and faithfulness. Esther was a strong woman of God and can be an example to many of us today.
Step Seven: Ask, “How does this character’s life reflect other truths found in the Scriptures?” List and explain 3 truths from this person’s life that fit within all of the Bible. Your explanation must note how these truths fit the framework of God’s Word.
Serving God sometimes calls us to risk our own well-being.
Esther was living a comfortable life as she was the queen. She had many possessions and servants, as well as her physical beauty. Esther knew that in an instant this could all be gone and she could face death if her true identity was exposed. With this knowledge, she risked everything to save her people. She was confident that the Lord would protect her. Peter and John also risked their lives as they spoke about Jesus’ resurrection (Acts 4:3). They were apprehended, but many already heard the message and the number of followers grew to 5,000 (Acts 4:4). Our number one security blanket should rest upon the Lord. We will face many challenges in our life and real security is provided to us by God so we should not be afraid to take risks when we are speaking God’s word.
God has a purpose and plan for situations that He places us in.
Many biblical characters, like Esther, were faced with my trials and tribulations. This is no surprise or mistake; God places us in situations for a reason and he reveals that truth and it is our responsibility to see it. For example, Esther learned of Harman’s plan to eradicate the Jews. Instead of ignoring it, she turned to fasting and prayer as God calls us to. Other biblical characters like Joel (Joel 1:14) and Jehoshaphat (2 Chron 20:3-4), turned to fasting and prayer as well. They knew that God had a plan for them and the He would reveal himself and provide the answers to them. God is constantly making plans for us; we must depend and trust him no matter how difficult the situation may be.
Courage cannot replace a well thought out plan.
Esther knew that she was going to come forward; God gave her the courage to do so, but she carefully planned before doing so. Esther called for three days of fasting and prior before she came forward to the king. (Esther 4:16). Isaiah, in 32:8, states “but the noble make noble plans, and by noble deeds they stand.” Courage is a great trait, but we cannot be naïve either. Careful planning, along with prayer, with come with better results.
Step Eight: Ask, “How does this character’s life point me to Jesus?” List and explain 3 ways the life of your character can point to the person and work of Jesus Christ.
During difficult times Esther turned to fasting and prayer.
When things started unraveling, Esther instructed her people to turn to fasting and prayer. She knew that God was the answer to her problems and that He would be there for her and her people. She did not take things into her own hands, but turned to Christ in a time of need.
The Festival of Purim celebrates God’s deliverance of the Jewish people.
Esther’s courage and belief that God was going deliver her people led to the Festival of Purim. Every year the Jewish community celebrates God’s deliverance of the Jewish people from the Persian Empire (Harman). God used Queen Esther to intercede on behalf of the Jews and led to their freedom and safety.
Esther knew God was in charge and that He would protect her and the Jews.
Esther relied on her faith and turned to Christ during trying times. She knew God was in control and knew that God would display his power by carrying out his will. She trusted in God wholeheartedly and although she was risking her life Esther put all her faith in the Lord.
Step Nine: What points of application can be made using the Four Common Questions? List and explain 1 point of application for each of the Four Common Questions.
The question of duty
Esther was told by Mordecai to keep her family background and nationality a secret from the king. She respected him and felt as though it was her duty to continue to follow his instruction. By doing so she was able to gain the respect of the king and her people. When the time came for her to reveal her truths, the king was receptive to her as she had gained his trust and respect. Esther stood up for her family, people and faith; as Christians it is also our duty to stick up for our fellow Christians and beliefs. We cannot be ashamed of who we are and it is our responsibility to speak God’s truth.
The question of character
Although God was not specifically mentioned in the Book of Esther, she lived her life for Him. She knew and believed that He would deliver and protect the Jews. Esther prayed and when she approached the king with confidence, she knew this was God’s work.
The question of clause
The motivation for Esther was saving her people. She knew that Harman wanted to completely eliminate them and she had to act. Esther had to step forward and reveal herself so that she could save her people. Although her life was at risk, she put her faith in God and relied on Him.
The question of discernment
Esther’s choice to come forward demonstrated great discernment. With prayer and fasting, Esther relied on God to provide her guidance and understanding of what she had to do. Although Esther was fearful, she knew what had to be done. She teaches Christians that even though something may seem difficult, or even impossible, putting your faith in God wholeheartedly is ok; He will never fail you. God has a purpose and plan for all of us. We may not see what it is right now, but we must trust in Him at all times. Like Esther, we must put our faith out there and be confident in who we are.
- Esther [Easton, Matthew George (1969). Easton’s Illustrated Bible Dictionary (p. 755). Retrieved from https://app.wordsearchbible.com.]
- Hindson, Ed & Towns, Elmer L. (2017). Illustrated Bible Survey (p. 170). B&H Publishing Group. Retrieved from https://app.wordsearchbible.com.
- Esther [Holman Bible Staff, The HCSB Translation Team, Howard, Jeremy Royal & Blum, Edwin (2010). HCSB Study Bible. B&H Publishing Group. Retrieved from https://app.wordsearchbible.com.]
- Life Application Study Bible: New Living Translation. Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., 2016.