Brief Introduction to the Book of Esther

Seeing as it is Purim today (and in some places tomorrow), I offer this throwback post that inaugurated my brief series on the book of Esther.

W.onderful W.orld of W.adholms

This is a story of feasts or banquets (Esther 1:3, 5, 9; 2:18; 5:2-5; 5:8; 8:17; 9:17-19) and thus “the major purpose of the book of Esther is to provide the historical grounds for the celebration of the feast of Purim” (599). This festival was to be “binding” (the Piel of the Heb. qûm Esther 9:21, 27, 29, 31-32) for every following generation. In relation to this festival re-enactment, the book is filled with “intrigue, brutality, nationalism, and secularity” (Childs 604). Purim may perhaps be regarded as “a carnival performance of misrepresentation” which finds its characterizations in the account of Esther (Brueggemann 347). “All Israel shares in the joy of rest and relief….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…

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