This may be explained by the fact that it was not uncommon for nobles to have several names in those days e.
Some have objected to Xerxes sending decrees in different languages, but this may have well be due the tolerance of the Persians towards those people whom they had conquered Some have objected to the number of people who were killed on the day of Purim:. But large massacres occurred before this time in the Ancient Near East When 75, is extended into the many cities of the Persian empire, it is not implausible. The background of the book of Esther is so full of accurate Persian detail that it may be assumed that this number is also true This work is a theological treatise of history in narrative form The theme of triumph of Judaism over her enemies made Esther immediately popular.
There have been protests about including Esther in the canon of scripture before and after the Council of Jamnia which pronounced it canonical To provide the historical background for the feast of Purim To emphasize the continuing, ongoing, religious significance of the Jewish people Archer, Jr. A Survey of Old Testament Introduction, This longer version was available as early as Jerome in the fourth century A.
Book of Esther Summary
In this expanded form the story included such passages as a dream of Mordecai that reveals to him the plot against the king, letters from Mordecai and Xerxes, and prayers of Mordecai and Esther. These additions served the function of inserting God more obviously into the plot, but they have no claim to authenticity Andrew E.
Hill and John H. Walton, A Survey of the Old Testament, Introduction to the Old Testament, , n. Introduction to the Old Testament, The epilogue in Esther is understood to be a reference to his death like those in the books of Kings and Chronicles. Hill and Walton affirm that analysis of the Hebrew language used in the book indicates that it is older than the second century B.
Andrew E. He would have been literate in Hebrew and could have incorporated the Persian loan words easily since he would have also been fully literate in their language. Finally, his position within the Persian court could well account for his intentional silence concerning the name of God or any references to prayer. He would have been sensitive to court attitudes concerning non-state religions. His own memoirs the Book of Nehemiah , on the other hand, would have been more personal and could have been left in or sent to Judah without needing to be presented before the king or another of his officials for approval Gary W.
The literary style and features of the book do not commend it as belonging to a genre that is intended only to chronicle history. On the contrary, it possesses many of the characteristics of the modern short story, with fast-paced action, narrative tension, irony, and reversal. The blend of these literary features with a historical setting and a theological purpose, however, suggest that the genre of the book of Esther is unique to itself.
There is nothing like it in ancient literature, and in the Bible, only the story of Joseph comes close Andrew E. LaSor et al call the work a historical novella or short story, but by saying such they question the truthfulness of the book LaSor, Hubbard, and Bush, Old Testament Survey, , Introduction to the Old Testament, ; The Jerusalem Talmud questioned the books canonicity because it introduced a new feast Meg.
Childs writes, The festival celebrate the days of rest when the Jew got relief from their enemies v. It is, therefore, not to be understood as a victory celebration, but a rejoicing over the relief from persecution, a celebration of rest Brevard S. Childs, Introduction to the Old Testament as Scripture, Continuing he writes, What is the canonical effect on the book of Esther which this appendix in 9. The original story of the persecution and rescue of the Jews is retained as normative scripture along with its intrigue, brutality, nationalism, and secularity, but the story has been given a new theological interpretation within the worship of Israel.
The celebration is set in the framework of fasting and mourning, the full religious meaning of which has been carefully defined throughout the rest of Israel's sacred tradition. The manner of the celebration in all its original 'secularity' is unchanged, but the object of the hilarity is redefined.
All Israel shares in the joy of rest and relief which is dramatized by the giving of gifts,especially to the poor. It is a time to remember by hearing again the story of Purim. The effect of the reshaping of the festival is not to make a secular festival into a religious one, but to interpret the meaning of Purim in all its secularity in the context of Israel's existence, which is religious.
The very language by which the festival is now regulated as the 'appointed seasons', 'gifts to the poor', 'rest from enemies', 'remembrance throughout every generation Visher saw the theological significance of Esther to lie in the manner in which it posed the 'Jewish question'. Bickerman denied that there ever was such an issue in the book.
Perhaps the basic theological issue at stake in this disagreement has been more clearly formulated by R. Gordis: 'It is fundamental to the Jewish worl-outlook that the preservation of the Jewish people is itself a religious obligation of the first magnitude' Megillat, In my judgment, Gordis' assertion holds true for Christian theology if kept within the critical guidelines which have been fixed by the canonical context of Esther.
On the one hand, the book of Esther provides the strongest canonical warrant in the whole Old Testament for the religious significance of the Jewish people in an ethnic sense. The inclusion of Esther within the Christian canon serves as a check against all attempts to spiritualize the concept of Israel--usually by misinterpreting Paul--and thus removing the ultimate scandal of biblical particularity.
On the other hand, the canonical shape of Esther has built into the fabric of the book a theological criticism of all forms of Jewish nationalism which occurs whenever 'Jewishness' is divorced from the sacred traditions which constitute the grounds of Israel's existence under God Brevard S. Israel's history was replete with the marvelous interventions of the Lord on behalf of his covenant people.
The mighty plagues, the deliverance fro Egypt, the parting of the sea, and the crumbling of the walls of Jericho were classic examples of Yahweh's miraculous deliverance of Israel. More recently, the return of the exiles from their Babylonian captivity was evidence of God's continuing ability to accomplish the impossible.
But God is not so visible in the book of Esther. Where others may see coincidences, Israel saw the Lord at work. A king's insomnia could just as easily bring deliverance as receding waters. In the course of this book it therefore becomes evident that the well-known themes of prophecy and wisdom were still viable expressions of God's intentions even though Israel was scattered among the nations. The prophetic theme of God's protection of Israel and the judgment of her enemies e.
Even more evident is the wisdom theme that God would prosper the righteous and bring to naught the schemes of the wicked cf. The message comes through clearly: God's methods may vary, but his purposes do not. His workings may be obscured to skeptics by the disguise of coincidence, but the people of God recognize his sovereign hand in the ebb and flow of history.
His name is not mentioned, but his influence is unmistakable Andrew E. Concerning its setting he writes, At the time of the writing of the book It had taken the nation 21 years to complete the building of the temple and, as is evident from the last half of the Book of Ezra, the people were not in good spiritual condition during the reign of Artaxerxes Of course both Ezra and Nehemiah noted the reason for the nation's lowly condition; the people had not been following the Deuteronomic Covenant and therefore were under God's curse rather than under His promise of blessing.
The Book of Esther, then, would have been a great encouragement to thee struggling Jews. It would have helped them realize that the surrounding peoples which seemed so awesome could never conquer the unique people of God.
Esther Overview and Outline
Israel was protected by God even though a large number of them was outside the land. The Book of Esther would also encourage them to worship the God of Israel, though He is not mentioned by name in it Ibid. Live empowered with love! The Divorce of Vashti, B. The Discovery of Esther, C. The Devotion of Mordecai, D. The Decree of Haman, II. The Defeat of Haman, 1. Haman humbled, 2. Haman hanged, B. The Days of Purim, E.
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