I’ve written on this before, but with my friend Seraphim pointed out an eight step process to the Day of Atonement. It is crucial to understanding Esther:
1. High Priest takes off robes of glory and beauty, puts on linen garments.
2. High Priest kills bull as purification offering, ascends with incense to the Most Holy, cleanses the Covering with blood (Mercy Seat).
3. The High Priest kills the goat marked for the Lord (symbolizing the people), ascends with the incense to the Most Holy, and cleanses the Covering with blood.
4. The blood of the bull and the goat together are then used to purify the Courtyard Altar.
5. The goat marked for destruction is sent away to destructon.
6. The High Priest is reinvested with robes of glory and beauty.
7. An ascension offering is made.
8. The fat of the purification offering is burned up to God.
Esther follows a similar pattern:
1. Queen Esther takes off her royal robes that signify her status as queen and puts on sackcloth and dung (Esther 14:1-2)
2. Esther ascends in an incense cloud of the prayers of her handmaidens to the throne of the King and has a banquet for him as a way to earn his trust for herself. She sacrificially offers herself
3. Esther then ascends again to beg for the lives of her people.
4. Israel is purified when the King accepts Esther’s request to save her people.
5. Mordecai is killed on the device he set up to destroy the Jews
6. Queen Esther retakes her seat with the King
7. The Jews are allowed to fight back and sacrifice the Gentiles to Lord
8. This point is actually connected to the last point. In Mordecai’s dream, he sees that the righteous are exalted and then “consume” those held in honor.