I feel like no one talks about the book of Esther much.
There are only a few books of the bible that tell just one specific historical story without a lot of extra baggage. In fact, I’d argue that only Ruth, Esther, and Jonah fit that bill. These three books tell the story of a specific person whom God brought to a specific place at a specific time to fulfill a specific purpose. “Specific” is the key word here. We can’t forget that this is a historical story about real people.
There are only two books in the bible named after women. Ruth was a Gentile who married a Jew, while Esther was Jew who married a Gentile. Both books focus on God’s providence for His chosen people—Esther brings about the physical salvation of all the Jews in Persia, while Ruth becomes a key part of the lineage of Christ, and thereby the salvation of the whole world. Both books show that God is looking after His people even when those people are unaware or indifferent. And both books are also full of symbolism that can help transform an interesting, sometimes weird, historical anecdote into a meaningful story for modern-day followers of Christ.
No allegory is perfect and all analogies break down at a certain point. This is a true story, and there are a few different ways of looking at the symbols/allegory. Most sources I’ve read say that the king represents the soul and Haman represents the flesh, Mordecai represents the holy spirit and Esther the human spirit. I can’t say that’s flat-out wrong, but honestly I don’t think it’s necessarily right, and over-complicates things—I actually believe that the symbolism in the book of Esther is far more overt and clear than that. More importantly, I believe that there is one clear warning that Esther’s story highlights that, regardless of your feelings on allegory, we can’t afford to ignore.
From a timing standpoint, the key events in the book of Esther appear to happen right around Passover. Haman’s decree was written on Nisan 13 (Esth. 3:12; Passover is on Nisan 15), and we can assume Mordecai—sitting in the king’s gate—found out fairly soon and went into mourning. When Esther finds out, she mentions that she hasn’t been called into the king for the past 30 days, and commands a fast for three days and nights before she will go before him to try and save her people. So while we don’t know the exact dates, it’s almost certainly Passover timing.
FIRST, I strongly recommend reading through the whole book—it’s short, it will seriously will take about 15 minutes, and it’s worth it. We’ll quickly run through two allegory symbolism scenarios to get the whole picture, then get down to the heart of what we need to learn from Esther. If you’re a total spoilsport, you can skip this part and jump to the moral of the story at the end, but I think this part is pretty fascinating and fleshes out some important details…