Introduction to Esther: The introduction is interesting. I really enjoy reading two different versions of the bible. I learn something from each one and I feel I’m getting a more complete picture. For example, the intro in the CEB study bible identifies three themes: importance of proportion, the challenge of living a faithful life in an unfaithful world, and the importance of the written word (p. 765 OT – 766 OT). Among many interesting things in the NRSV version is this little gem: “Furthermore, both Esther and Song of Solomon celebrate, albeit in different contexts, the power of feminine sexuality” (p. 707). As I’ve said many times, it’s interesting how many of these readings are timely. In this situation, I’m starting this book on the same day as the women’s march (1/20/18). Here’s another interesting statement: “The story’s purpose is to entertain, but more importantly to demonstrate the inevitability of retributive justice and, paradoxically, the need for oppressed minorities to act shrewdly and boldly for that justice to prevail” (p. 708). We live in a time where the oppression of minorities is becoming even more prominent. This should be an interesting read.
Esther 1: Wow, interesting start. Xerxes I threw a 180 day party followed by a 7 day feast. A little over the top. Then his queen, Vashti, refuses to obey his command and his advisors suggest he replace her with someone else so other women in the kingdom don’t do the same thing. Yikes!
On a different note, the number 7 is all over the place in this chapter. The 7 day feast, the 7 eunuchs sent to get the queen, and the king’s seven smart advisors.
Esther 2: Vashti is replaced by Esther after a very lengthy process. Her “father,” Mordecai, who was really her cousin, ends up saving the king. The text makes it clear that the hid their heritage from everyone (they were Jewish). Makes sense though, this was the time of the exile.
Esther 3: Haman plots to destroy all of the Jews after Mordecai refuses to bow to him.
Psalm 78: This is a really long psalm focused on the history of the people. The first part focuses on the time in the wilderness and the second focuses on the full exodus. According to the notes, a big emphasis will be on the people’s disobedience. I don’t really have much to say on this one. It’s really just a history of the people’s disobedience.