This is the first Bible lesson in a series of 10 that walk a child through the book of Esther and valuable lessons learned from her life. These were first intended for Children’s Church but could be modified for a Sunday School lesson about Esther. Please feel free to modify these for your own ministry setting. As always, we welcome your feedback in our comment section below. Estimated length is 20 minutes.
Note: The book of Esther can be difficult to relate back to Jesus and his Good News. One clear connection is the promise that the Savior would be born from the family of Abraham. The plot to eliminate the Jews (the promised family) was a threat to God’s promise. When God saved Esther and the Jews in Persia, he was also protecting the future birth of Jesus according to his promises. The saving work of Christ was directly tied to God’s saving work in the book of Esther.
Bible Passage: Esther 1:1-22
Learning Objectives: After this lesson…
- Children will express their knowledge of the key people and events in this passage by retelling the story.
- Children will express what they understand about ancient customs from the story.
- Children will demonstrate an understanding of how anger can affects decisions.
Curriculum Target Age: Kindergarten – 5th grade
- PRINT this lesson plan
- Bible: Esther 1:1-22. Prepare beforehand a copy with the highlighted points of the story to ensure specific explanation of them.
- Suggested visuals: Pictures of King Ahasuerus (Xerxes), Queen Vashti, map showing Susa, the capital of the area of India to Ethiopia (from this Biblical era).
Children’s Church Teaching Plan:
Establish the lesson by briefly explaining who the key people to the story are by showing the pictures of King Xerxes and Queen Vashti and their role in the story. Make sure the children repeat their names. Show the map so the children understand the location in which this event took place.
Prior to reading the story, divide the group of children into two groups and ask one half to listen for what they learn about royal customs in that day. Ask the other half of the children to identify the cause of the king’s angry toward the queen.
Read (and Recap) Esther 1:1-22. Read with different voice inflections and stop to involve the children into the story. Reinforce the lesson by asking questions. How long was the king’s first banquet? 180 days. How long was the second banquet? 7 days. Who else was having a banquet? Queen Vashti. What made the king so mad at the queen? She refused to come to his banquet. Say to the children, “Don’t you think it would be hard to leave your own party for someone elses?”
When you’re finished reading the story, use the pictures to review the important people and events in this story. Go over the map so the children understand where the story took place.
Ask for a response from the children about their listening assignment. What did they learn about the royal customs of that day? What made the king so mad at the queen and what did he do with his anger?
Select some volunteers to demonstrate the lessons being taught in the story of Esther. Select a child to be King Xerxes and Queen Vashti. Have the girls sit around the child playing the queen and the boys around the child playing the king, pretending they are attending a banquet. Help them retell it by asking, “What came next?” Reiterate the fact that anger can cause someone to make harsh and wrong decisions.
Children’s Church Lesson Evaluation:
Ask for a volunteer to explain what the anger of the king caused him to do. Then talk to the children about angry and ask them to come up with right responses to things that cause them to feel angry with others.
Give a list of possible lessons and ask the children to clap their hands if it was from the story.
- The king gave two banquets for the people in his kingdom. Yes.
- God shows that He is everywhere. True, but not part of this story.
- The queen refused to leave her banquet to come to the kings. Yes.
- The king’s first banquet was 180 days. Yes.
- The king wanted a new queen. True, but not part of this story.
- Anger caused the king to make a bad decision. Yes.