Esther is a campfire story.

Esther is a campfire story. That’s what I realized several years ago. Here’s a taste of reading that way.

It’s summer. Time for a campfire story. A dozen people, from different families, from little kids to grandparents. The s’mores are done. The fire has settled into a quiet flickering. And someone from across the circle says to you, “Tell us a story.”

“Which one?” you ask.

“The one about the Esther.”

You smile. You love telling it as much as they love hearing it.

“This is what happened during the time of Xerxes.”

“Which Xerxes?” someone asks. It’s part of the story routine.

“The Xerxes who ruled over 127 provinces stretching from India to Cush.”

Go ahead. You read it. Out loud.

Esther 1:1-9

Everyone is settled back to listen. Some on the sand, back against the logs. A couple people in their Adirondack chairs. They are thinking about the party of a king and the party of a queen. Whatever you want to eat or drink. The kind of a party you dream about.

So you keep telling the story.

“On the seventh day, when the King was in high spirits from wine…”

A couple people smile. A drunk king. This will get interesting.

Esther 1:10-21

“But mom,” you hear across the fire. “That’s not right what the king did.”

“Shhh,” you hear. “Keep listening.”

You smile. A drunk king with all his friends watching is likely to do foolish things when his pride is hurt. You understand it well. It sounds all too timely.

It’s why you keep telling the story.

“Later when King Xerxes’ fury subsided, he remembered Vashti and what she had done and what he had decreed about her.”

From across the fire you hear a voice again.“Is this the beauty pageant story? I thought we didn’t believe in beauty pageants.”

“We don’t. But they did. So listen for what happened.”

Esther 2:1-11