There are customs and traditions throughout the Bible. Some of the same customs in the Bible are found in our culture today. Look through the customs below that are found in the Book of Esther and see how many customs you recognize. They are listed in the order they appear in the book.
“And he brought up Hadassah, that is, Esther, his uncle’s daughter: for she had neither father nor mother, and the maid was fair and beautiful; whom Mordecai, when her father and mother were dead, took for his own daughter” (Esther 2:7). It was a custom that a man must take care of his deceased brother’s family. Mordecai was Esther’s uncle, and he took care of her as if she was his very own daughter.
Sackcloth is mentioned often in the Bible. It was a heavy, coarse, dark cloth made from goats’ hair. It was used for a sign of mourning and was worn next to the skin. Mordecai tore his clothes, put on sackcloth, and cried with a loud and bitter cry (Esther 4:1).
Death would come to anyone who approached the king without being summoned (Esther 4:14). Esther took a major risk going to see the king even though she was his wife. However, there was one law in that regard. If the king stretched out his golden scepter the life would be spared. Such was the case with Esther.
Esther called a fast for her and her maid-servants and all the Jews present in Shushan. They fasted earnestly for three days as part of a supplication to God on behalf of Esther. At the end of the three days, Esther dressed in her royal apparel and went to see the king (Esther 5:1). People still fast today to get answers to prayers.
With her request concerning the sparing of her people, the king said, “It shall be even given thee to the half of the kingdom” (Esther 5:3). This answer protected the king from losing all, but was binding even though the request might have been rash or foolish.
The king asked for the records of the chronicles to be read to him when he could not sleep (Esther 6:1). That’s when the king realized he had not rewarded Mordecai for telling him what he had heard while sitting at the city gates.
Haman was upon Esther’s bed (Esther 7:8). Haman was simply on a “part” of Esther’s mat while he was begging for his life. When the king saw Haman there, he exclaimed, “Will he force the queen also before me in this house?” This had no reference to rape or adultery. His remark reflects his personal concern for and protective care of his wife.
Haman hated Mordecai so much that he ordered a gallows constructed, 75 feet high, on which to hang Mordecai the next day. You see in the book that Haman ended up being hanged on the gallows he had built for Mordecai. It was a custom to build gallows to the height of the hatred (Esther 7:10).
Have you ever wondered why there are candles at most celebrations? This occurrence is based on the verse in the Book of Esther which describes the victory of Esther and Mordecai over Haman as having been celebrated with “light and joy” (Esther 8:16). For this reason, on all joyous occasions (Sabbath, holidays, weddings) candles are lighted.