Bible Lesson: The Tables are Turned (Esther 8-10)

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This lesson concludes the study of Esther for older elementary students.  The Book of Esther is an opportunity for believers to see how God (even though His name isn’t mentioned) is Sovereign in the affairs of this world.  He protects His people and turns the tables against those who wish to harm them.  Students will discover that God uses all our circumstances for our good.

Gospel Connection: The fate of the wicked in this passage is a challenge for us to repent and turn to Christ. We must choose now which side we will be on when Jesus comes. God’s justice is certain and only those hidden by the blood of Christ will be saved. Without Jesus’ righteousness, we are all guilty.

Bible Passage:   Esther 8-10
Bible Story Title:  The Tables are Turned
Target Age Group:  Ages 9-11 (3rd-5th Grade U.S.A.)
Target Time Frame: 60 Minutes
Original Teaching Context: Sunday School
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Credits: Image courtesy of Sweet Publishing and Distant Shores Media

Supply List:  Bibles, Visuals for lesson using paper plates or construction paper, write an event (examples are in the lesson) on one side and on the flip side write how the tables were turned,

Learning Goal:  Students will learn that God can be trusted in all our circumstances because in His timing He uses our difficulties for our good.

Learning Activity #1:  Using paper plates have students use one side to name/draw difficulties they have experienced.  On the flip side of the plate have the students name/draw what the Bible promises them about their future.

Memory Verse:  Genesis 50:20 “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.”

Bible Lesson:  The Tables are Turned (Esther 8-10)

Have you ever heard the phrase the tables have been turned?  What does that mean?  It means a situation has changed to the opposite of what it was.  Suppose you were on a team that lost all its games.  As the season begins to end the tables are turned and you win all your games.

(Use plates or paper and have these or similar phrases on one side.  On the other side how the table was turned in favor of the Jews.)

We have been studying Esther and things were looking grim for God’s people the Jews.  Today we are going to discover how the table was turned in favor of the Jews.  I will give you an example from something that has already happened in our study:

  • Haman builds a gallows 75 feet high to hang Mordecai on. (Esther 5:14)/Tables turned-Haman was hung on the gallows he built for Mordecai.  (Esther 7:9-10)

Let’s open our Bibles to Esther 8.

Let’s read Esther 8:1. 

Show plate that says:

  • Haman boasts about all he owns.  (Esther 5:11)/How was the table turned in Esther’s favor?  (The king gave her everything that Haman owned.)

Read Esther 8:1-2.

Show the plate that says:

  • King Xerxes promotes Haman and commands that everyone honor him. (Esther 3:1-2)/ How was the table turned in Mordecai’s favor?  (The king gave him Haman’s position of authority and Esther gave him all that Haman owned. Esther 8:1-2; 9:3-4; 10:3)

At this point in the story of Esther the evil plan that Haman put into motion is still going to happen.  What law was made concerning all the Jews living in the kingdom? (On the thirteenth day of the twelfth month all the Jews were to be destroyed Esther 3:13)  Read Esther 8:3-8. Esther weeps and begs the king to help save her people.  He gives her permission to have a new law that will allow the Jews to protect themselves.

Read Esther 8:11-13.

Show the plate that says:

  • Haman an enemy of the Jews convinced King Xerxes to make a law that all the Jews living in his kingdom would be destroyed on a certain day. (Esther 3:8-14)/How were the tables turned in favor of the Jews? They were given the right to protect themselves by destroying anyone who would attack them.  (Esther 8:11-13)

Read Esther 9:1-5.

Show the plate that says:

  • On the 13th day of the 12th month all the Jews were to be killed and annihilated.  (Esther 3:13-14)/The tables were turned and the Jews got the upper hand over those who hated them.

Read Esther 8:15-17; 9:20-26. 

Show the plate that says:

  • There was great mourning among the Jews with fasting, weeping and wailing at the news of the plan to destroy all the Jews.  (Esther 4:1-3)/How were the  tables were turned in favor of the Jews? The Jews were filled with great joy and celebrated.

Show the final plate that has death/separation from God on one side and Eternal Life on the other.

As we close we are going to look at what the Bible says about you and me.  Did you know each one of us face a day of death and destruction?  Because each of us is a sinner and our destiny is death/separation from God.  (Romans 3:23; 1 Corinthians 15:22; Romans 6:23; Ephesians 2:1-5)

The tables of this destiny can be turned because of what Jesus has completed for all people by dying on the cross.  The perfect, sinless Son of God went to the cross and all the sins of mankind were placed upon Him.  He died a cruel death on the cross in our place.  He was buried and on the third day God raised Jesus from the dead.  Through faith in Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection for me I can have eternal life. (Romans 6:23; 1 Corinthians 15:3-4; Acts 4:8-12; Acts 4:30-31)

As we close each of us have circumstances in our lives.  Some of the situations may be very difficult.  If you are a believer you can trust that God will turn the tables on your circumstance one day.  You may live to see it or you may not.  Whatever God allows in your life you can trust Him to use for good.  If you are not a believer you can turn the table of your destiny of death to eternal life by putting your faith in Jesus today.  While you are still living you have the opportunity to turn the table.  After you die you cannot change your destiny.  Before we pray I will be silent to allow you to pray to God and talk to Him about what He has shown you this morning from our lesson.

Personal Challenge Questions:

  1. What did you learn about God today?  How can this truth about God help you in your walk with Him?
  2. What truth from our lesson can you put into practice?  How will you do that this week?

Close in prayer.

Closing Activities:

  • Work on memory verse by removing words as students recite it.
  • Have students share their plates of tables turned on their circumstances.


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