|Esther - esītẽr
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia
akin to the Zend
ctara, the Sanskrit
Esther was a Jewish orphan, who became the queen of Xerxes, in some
respects the greatest of the Persian kings. She was brought up at Susa
by her cousin Mordecai, who seems to have held a position among the
lower officials of the royal palace. Vashti, Xerxes' former queen, was
divorced; and the most beautiful virgins from all the provinces of the
empire were brought to the palace of Susa that the king might select her
successor. The choice fell upon the Jewish maiden. Soon after her
accession a great crisis occurred in the history of the Jews. The entire
people was threatened with destruction. The name of Esther is forever
bound up with the record of their deliverance. By a course of action
which gives her a distinguished place among the women of the Bible, the
great enemy of the Jews was destroyed, and her people were delivered.
Nothing more is known of her than is recorded in the book which Jewish
gratitude has made to bear her name.
Change of Name
The change in the queen's name from Hadassahהדסּה, “a myrtle,” to Esther, “a star,” may possibly indicate the style of beauty for which the Persian queen was famous. The narrative displays her as a woman of clear judgment, of magnificent self-control, and capable of the noblest self-sacrifice. See ESTHER, BOOK OF.
Taken from: International Standard Bible Encyclopedia by James Orr, M.A., D.D., General Editor