Why Queen Esther of the Bible remains a controversial figure

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The Book of Esther is a biblical story about a powerful woman playing the politics of power in the court of King Xerxes, one of the greatest and most cruel historical figures in the ancient world. Esther risks her life in a high-stakes policy game and directs the rescue of the Jewish people. This alone will make Esther the most unusual book in the Bible. But add something else to make it special. It is the only book in all the Torah (Old and New Testaments) that does not mention God.

Not only God did not mention, nor pray.

There is much that distinguishes the Book of Esther from other Bible stories. For example, at the beginning of the book, the young Jewish heroine of the story was named Hadassah but gave up her Jewish name in favor of Esther’s most popular Persian name (Esther’s book located in ancient Persia).

When Esther becomes the queen of Persia by marrying King Xerxes, her cousin (who was also her guardian) warns her not to tell her husband or anyone else in court that she is Jewish. She keeps that promise as long as she can.

This doesn’t sound exactly like a story about one of the greatest Bible heroines! Here is a person who disguises her faith, does not mention God, never mentioned that she prayed … but he is nevertheless considered one of the great figures in the history of Judaism and Christianity.

Most commentators agree that the absence of the word “God” is actually a literary tool in the story that highlights one of the central messages in the book. This letter is an ancient word of “Providence.” Providence means that God’s divine will has been fulfilled, even in people who are not believers in God (such as the husband of Esther, King Xerxes, who was pagan), even in situations where God is not explicitly recognized, and even in times when people are not explicitly acknowledged. Acting necessarily “religious”.

This does not mean that the omission of God’s name in Esther’s story means that Esther did not believe in him. There is considerable evidence in the story that Esther – at least in the second half of the story – has a strong faith. Prayer is not mentioned once in the Book of Esther, but implicitly. Maybe it happened, maybe it didn’t.

Providence proves that God is capable of accomplishing His plan even if every human player fails him.

The plan at Esther is a complex one that rivals Alfred Hitchcock’s outstanding plot for twists and turns. King Xerxes, her husband, was deluded in signing a decree that would legalize the murder of all Jews in Persia. The plan was imposed on Persia by Haman, one of the greatest sinners in the Bible. (Hitler is a kind of Haman character.) King Xerxes agrees to Haman’s plan and signs it into law without realizing that his beloved wife Esther is Jewish and that, in fact, he signs the death certificate.

At the same time, Esther and her cousin know that something must be done to get rid of the damage caused by this genocide decree but there is a problem. According to the Bible, no law in ancient Persia can ever be abolished, not even by the king himself. Esther’s bold and highly intelligent man managed to play a policy of power – sometimes from within the king’s harem. Esther knows that even the slightest mistake could end up costing her life.

Esther can reveal not only Haman’s plan, but also to find a way to save the Jewish nation.

All without mentioning Allah. Since the book revolves around Providence, commentators say that God has always planned to spare his chosen people, the Jews. There was no way that a plan like Haman (or later, Hitler) could succeed in destroying all Jews. God used who and what he needed to help Esther to “save” her people, although in fact it was God’s providence through which he worked.

For commentators, Esther is the ultimate story of how chance is never random and how God can work in the most seemingly impossible circumstances.

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