The Bible doesn’t mention Esther after God uses her in His plan to rescue the Jews from an evil plot to destroy them in the book of Esther. But based on Greek historical information, she was likely killed 9 years later, around the same time her husband, King Xerxes I, was assassinated.
In one of the most courageous accounts in the Bible, we see a beautiful young Jewish girl taken captive in a foreign palace, win the heart of a Persian king, cling tightly to her faith, and risk her life to save her fellow Jews. But what happened to Esther after King Xerxes I died? Let’s take a closer look at the book of Esther.
Who Was Esther?
We learn about Esther in one book of the Bible—Esther.
During the time of the exile, when the Jews had been carried away from Jerusalem to Persia, Esther was a beautiful, young Jewish girl. She was orphaned and looked after by Mordecai, her cousin (Esth 2:7).
At that time, King Ahasuerus of Persia (Xerxes I) ruled. He had been publicly shamed by his wife—Queen Vashti (Esth 1:12), so was advised to take a new wife from all the beautiful virgins of the land (Esth 2:2-4). Esther was chosen as a candidate for queen as a young girl and forced to come to the palace. Through her wise choices and her natural beauty, she won the King’s favor and became his wife (Esth 2:17).
Later she became aware of an evil plot of the King’s head administrator (Haman) to annihilate the Jews—her people. She boldly approached the King without being summoned (which could’ve cost her her life) and pleaded her case.
Esther 4:16b (ESV) Then I will go to the king, though it is against the law, and if I perish, I perish.
God is faithful and He used Esther in a powerful way to save His people!
Who Was Xerxes?
Xerxes I or Ahasuerus was the Persian King from 485BC—465BC, during the height of the Persian empire. According to the Bible, he had ruled for seven years when he took Esther as his wife. Five years later, she approached him after discovering Haman’s plot to destroy the Jews.
The Bible doesn’t record what became of Xerxes after the rescue of the Jews, but due to his activities against Greece, Greek records describe how he died. Just nine years after Esther helped save the Jews, he was murdered in his sleep by Artabanus—a man who either desired to be king or wanted the throne for Xerxes’ son, Artexerxes (it isn’t clear). His death was avenged by his son, Artexerxes, when the truth came out later.
What Happened to Queen Esther After Xerxes Died?
The author of Esther is silent on Esther after the victory of the Jews, so we can’t know for sure how she died. But there are two possible outcomes that could’ve played out.
1. Esther Was Safe in the Palace
Typically, after the death of her husband, a queen would still have a home in the palace. She would be cared for and comfortable until she passed away. Since we don’t have any evidence regarding her death, it’s possible that Esther lived out the rest of her life quietly.
2. Esther Was Killed Alongside her Husband
Sadly, the most likely outcome is that she was killed too. Due to the nature of King Xerxes’ death—murder—it’s likely that anyone close to him, including Esther and Mordecai (her honorable cousin who was promoted to the head of the King’s administration), were killed too.
Esther’s Hope for Eternal Life
Esther probably didn’t hope for her life to end at around 28 years old, but her faith in God gave her assurance and peace regarding death—she knew she would be with the One True God in Heaven when she died. We know this because Esther was willing to lay down her life to rescue her people earlier in her life; she had complete confidence in the sovereignty of God. Death was something she had considered and was prepared to face.
John 15:13 (ESV) Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.
As Christians, we too can have hope of eternal life like Esther when we understand why Jesus had to die, and what it means for us. If we repent and call on the name of Jesus, He will save us and we won’t need to fear death. Instead, we can look forward to eternal life with Him!
Romans 10:13 (ESV) For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”