Esther 7: They have the next feast that Haman bragged about and Esther reveals his plot to the king. The king is furious, begs for his life, and is finally impaled on the same 75 foot pole he prepared for Mordecai.
Esther 4: Esther learns of Haman’s plot to destroy all the Jews because Mordecai is dressed in mourning clothes outside the King’s gate. She initially tells him that she is safe, but he makes it clear that she needs to do something to stop this from happening. He even suggests that perhaps this is why she was chosen as queen, to stop this action.
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.
Nehemiah 13: These seems to be a break in the time between the end of chapter 12 and the beginning of this chapter. Nehemiah was in Babylon and when he returned he had to set things back in order because people let things happen that shouldn’t have happened with respect to the temple. He then admonished people for working on the Sabbath. Finally, he had to remind the people not to marry foreign women. Seems like everything almost fell apart while he was gone. Didn’t take long.
Nehemiah 10: The signing of the pledge they made at the end of the previous chapter. Four groups sign it: Governor Nehemiah, priests, the levites, and the leaders of the people. The rest of the chapter focuses on what this covenant means and the things that they agreed to. Many of these come from the Torah.
Nehemiah 7: First few verses focus on Nehemiah’s instructions related to protecting the city now that the wall is finished. The overwhelming majority of this chapter focuses Nehemiah registering the families. And it was a lot of people (42,360).
Nehemiah 4: Opposition to the construction of the wall grew considerably as the people became more organized. Enough to the point that Nehemiah set up guards to protect the workers and prayed to God for his help. The opposition pulled back because they realized it would no longer be easy to destroy them.