This Bible lesson is the part 3 in our series based on the book of Esther. In chapter 3, the children will learn about the plot against the Jewish people. This lesson may be used for Sunday School or Children’s Church.
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 Story: The Decree against the Jews
Scripture: Esther 3:1-15
Target Age Group: Age 7 – 12 (U.S. 1st – 6th Grade)
Time: 20 Minutes
Learning Context: Children’s Church
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Learning Objectives: After this lesson…
- Children express their knowledge of the key people and events in this passage regarding the book of Esther.
- Children express what they understand about the way people respond when they bear a grudge against a person or group of people.
- Children express their understanding the reason Mordecai chose to not bow to Haman.
Curriculum Target Age: Kindergarten – 5th
- Bible: Esther 3:1-15. Prepare beforehand a copy with the important points highlighted to ensure specific explanations on them.
- Optional – Visual Aids like pictures of Mordecai, Haman, King Ahasueus (Xerxes), and if possible, Mordecai at king’s gate with servants. Try an image search on Google or draw simple stick figures and label them with the names.
Children’s Church Teaching Plan:
Establish the lesson by briefly explaining the key people in the story by showing the pictures of Mordecai, Haman, King Ahasuerus, and king’s servants at the gate with Mordecai and relate the roles of each character in the story. Make sure the children repeat their names.
Prior to reading the story, divide the group of children into two groups and ask one half to listen for the ways in which people respond to those they hold a grudge against. Ask the other half of the children to identify the reasons Mordecai would not bow down and display worship toward Haman.
Read (and Recap) Esther 3:1-15. Use different voices as you read the story and strive to involve the children into the story. Reinforce the lesson by asking questions. Who was Haman? Haman was an Agagite and a man the king trusted with authority. How did Haman respond to the news that Mordecai would not bow down to him? He was filled with rage and wanted to destroy him and his people. Who did Haman deceitfully involve in his revenge against Mordecai? He got the king to pass a decree, but king didn’t’ know it was against the Jewish people. Say to the children, “If we are honest, we sometimes get really mad at other people do, don’t we?” Ask what they want to do to get even with someone.
When you’re finished reading the story, use the pictures (or ask simple questions) to review the important people and events in the story.
Ask for a response from the children about their listening assignment. What did they learn about the extent that some people go to carry out a grudge toward another? What did they learn about the reason Mordecai refused to bow down to Haman?
Select a volunteer to demonstrate the lesson about worshipping God instead of people and about bearing grudges against others. Choose a child to be the king, Haman, Mordecai, and some of the servants at the king’s gate. Provide a large ring to be used as the signet ring and be sure the children understand the importance of it. Have one or two try to narrate the story while those selected act it out. At this time it would be good to emphasis God’s desire for us to love others and to forgive.
Children’s Church Lesson Evaluation:
- Choose children to retell the story to the class with role-play. Assign the children the parts of Haman, the king, Mordecai, and several men at the king’s gate. Instruct the other children to take turns telling a portion of the story while the others act it out. Remember to prompt the children by asking them, “What happened next?”
- Ask for a volunteer to explain the two important lessons we learn from this story about proper worship and grudges.
- Give a list of possible lessons and ask the children to say, “Amen” if it was from the story.
- King Ahasuerus promoted Haman. Yes.
- Queen Esther told the king about the plot to kill the king. True, but not part of this story.
- Mordecai refused to worship Haman. Yes.
- Esther respected her uncle and did not tell anyone she was a Jew. True, but not part of this story.
- A large amount of Jews lived in Susa. Yes.
- King Ahasuerus gave his signet ring to Haman. Yes.