Friday, June 17, 2011

The Absence of Gods’ Name in Esther

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In the book of Esther many things happen that are different from any other scriptures in the bible. The way that the Jews act in Esther and the fact that God is not mentioned are just a few of the things that happen in Esther that are different from other biblical stories.

In the scripture of Esther God is not mentioned for a number of possible reasons. These reasons could be simple or complex. The time when Esther was written was between 48- 471 B.C.E. After the Jews return from exile. This was a time when the Jews did not get along with non-Jews. The peoples faith in God was possibly low or absent. Maybe, this is why God is not mentioned. Another reason for God not being mentioned in Esther is that the stories in Esther never happened. The story of Esther was just a fictional series of events. These events were never supposed to be in the Jewish Cannon. There is no way have knowing if Esther was supposed to be in the bible or not. It does not make sense, that all the other scriptures in the bible deal with God accept this one. When this story was written maybe the people of this time did not have faith in God anymore. The Jews had just returned from the exile. There faith in God was not as strong as it once was. Or maybe God is not mentioned in Esther, because he did not have to be mentioned. Just because God is not mentioned in this scripture of the bible does not mean he is not there.

I think that the Jews during the time of Esther believed in God and that is why they fasted. By the people fasting they were praying to God for peace. After they fasted God ended the blood- shed. This is also another way of God showing us today that just because we don’t see him, it does not mean he isn’t there. God is all through the chapters of Esther, even though his named does not appear once. God was just there in a different way in Esther. God was not speaking directly to his prophet. God was just sitting back and waiting for things to fall in place. He had everything planned before it happened. God made it possible for Esther to be there when she was needed. The main point of God being this way was for him to demonstrate sovereignty and his loving care for his people. God never left his people.

The Jews treated the non- Jews with hatred at times. Throughout the story of Esther, the Jews are fighting with the non- Jews. The Jews I believe did not hate the non- Jews as much as the non- Jews hated the Jews. The Jews could have easily wiped out the non- Jews if they wanted to. The Jews only killed people that they thought were there enemies. Sometimes they killed the non- Jews, but most of the time they were peaceful. One example of the Jews trying to come up with a nonviolent solution is when Mordecai became aware of Haman’s intentions. Mordecai spoke to Esther, asking her to seek intervention of the king and thereby bring a peaceful end to the situation between the Jews and non- Jews. (Esther) The Jews were only going to act in self-defense according to Esther. Another way that you can tell that the Jews didn’t hate the non- Jews, is by when they did battle each other the Jews never completely killed everyone. They never killed wives or children after defeating their enemies. They never killed anyone who didn’t attack them.

Haman’s plot to kill all Jews failed for many different reasons. The main reason that his plot failed was because of Esther and her gathering of all the Jews to fast. Haman did not know that Esther was a Jew. The fasting of the Jews saved them. God put so much fear into Haman that he was afraid. Esther and Mordecai were the two main reasons for the failed plot to kill all the Jews.

The moral of the story of Esther is that God is always there. God always finds a way for his people to survive. God made it possible for Esther and Mordecai to be there for the Jews. This story of Esther shows that the Jews escape certain extinction again. The Jews should have bean destroyed, but they were not. The only reason for this has to be God. Haman should have bean able to get rid of the Jews, but he couldn’t. Gods’ promise to the Jews was fulfilled again. Another theme that is not really talked about is how good always conquers evil. When the people fasted they were asking for Gods’ help. God was their listening and caused Haman’s plan to fail. This is one of the most encouraging scriptures in the bible, because it shows us that God never gives up on us. The name of God is not mentioned in this book, but the hand of God is clearly seen throughout the account. The Book of Esther shows two truths, the first being that God is sovereign. The second is that when we are faithless, God is faithful. The Jews who were struggling in Jerusalem and Judah needed the encouragement of this book and the reminder that God keeps his covenant promises.

The scripture of Esther is included in the biblical Canon, because it is a scripture on God in a different way. It deserves to be in the Jewish Canon as much as any other scripture. Just because Gods’ name is not mentioned does not mean it deserves to be thrown out. The scripture still talks about Jewish people in the time after exile. The story is talking about faith in God will keep you safe. That is the main point in most of the Jewish Canon; therefore it deserves to be in the Jewish Canon.

Although Esther is an unusual scripture in the sense that it doesn’t deal with the word “God, prayer, dietary laws ” it still is very important to the history of the Jews. The absence of these things in the scripture actually makes it more compelling. We get to draw our own conclusions on what the scripture means to us. The story to me makes me believe that you don’t have to see God to know he is there.

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