Characters can make or break a good story. If you think of the shows or movies you watch the most, there’s a good chance it’s because you enjoy or relate to certain characters. Conversely, if you think of the shows or movies that you’ve turned off or never returned to, it’s probably because you didn’t particularly enjoy or connect with any of the characters.
In the first two chapters of Esther we are quickly introduced to a variety of important characters:
There’s King Ahasueras, who loves showing off “the riches of his royal glory and the splendor and pomp of his greatness,” which apparently includes his wife.
Speaking of his wife, we also briefly meet Queen Vashti, who rightly refuses to be paraded around in front of the drunk king and a presumably inebriated crowd.
We’re introduced to a Jewish man, Mordecai, who had admirably committed to raising the “daughter of his uncle” (apparently “cousin” was too simple) after the girl’s parents had died.
And this daughter of Mordecai’s uncle? That would be Esther–the young Jewish woman who caught the king’s eye and was ultimately selected to fill the vacancy left behind by Queen Vashti.
These characters, along with others, will develop more fully as the plot thickens through the entirety of the book of Esther. But there’s one character–more specifically, one name–that will remain conspicuously absent throughout the duration of the story: God.
Not once does the book of Esther–a book of the Bible, mind you–ever mention God’s name. But as the story unfolds in the chapters ahead, make no mistake–God is at work. Watch as he unfolds and unfurls his plans, albeit under the radar. You’ll see that he is clearly present as he works his plan of redemption through the aforementioned cast.
In summation, the book of Esther will remind us of a significant truth: just because God seems absent, it doesn’t mean he’s inactive.