The New Student's Reference Work/Esther
Esther (ĕs′ ter) (a star), the Persian name of the Jewish maiden Hadassah. She was the foster-daughter of Mordecai, one of the officers of the Persian king, Ahasuerus, and was selected by the king as his wife instead of Vashti, who had refused to present herself to the king and his courtiers in the midst of a drunken revel. The king’s prime minister, Haman, out of jealousy toward Mordecai, had persuaded the king to issue a decree for the destruction of the Jews. But through the influence of Esther, acting under Mordecai’s direction, Haman was hanged, Mordecai was made chief in his place, and another decree issued permitting the Jews to destroy their enemies. The story is found in Esther. The Jews still observe the feast of Purim in memory of this event, and the whole book of Esther, called by them The Roll, is read in their synagogues on that day.