Is Esther a godly example for believers?

One of the difficulties for a Christian when studying the Book of Esther is figuring out why the book seems to condone the moral choices made by the main character. An honest look at the book reveals that Esther was chosen to be part of the king’s harem, spent a night in his bedroom, and later became his queen. (To be fair, she didn’t have much of a choice in the matter.) But coupled with the lack of any mention of God, prayer, or obedience to the Mosaic Law, we are left scratching our heads. How does this fit with 2 Timothy 3:16-17?

“All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.”

While this verse is true, we have to remember that “everything found in the Bible is not to be emulated. Sometimes the biblical narratives show us how we should not act. ‘In all things God works for the good of those who love him’ (Rom. 8;28), but that does not mean that all things that happen are in themselves good (e.g., a small child killed by a drunken driver). The disturbing ethical practices of Esther and Mordecai resulted in the deliverance of the Jewish people from a terrible pogrom, but their success does not prove that the means used were good or pleasing to God” (Expositor’s Bible Commentary, ed. Frank Gaebelein).

Perhaps the best way to look at Esther (as with other imperfect Bible characters) is that she was used by God, despite her moral failings, to accomplish the deliverance of God’s people. We do not look to her as an example of purity or as a godly believer. Instead, we focus on what God did despite the moral issues in her history.

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