Cover image for Esther, Queen of the Jews: The Status and Position of Esther in the Old Testament By Tal Davidovich

Esther, Queen of the Jews

The Status and Position of Esther in the Old Testament

Tal Davidovich

BUY

$29.50 | Paperback Edition
ISBN: 978-1-57506-818-3

6" × 9"
2013

Coniectanea Biblica Old Testament Series

Esther, Queen of the Jews

The Status and Position of Esther in the Old Testament

Tal Davidovich

Though Esther’s position as a queen in the Persian court is unquestioned in Jewish thought, the historicity of this datum raises some questions. Scholars have pointed out that Esther, as a Jew, could not have become King Ahasuerus’ wife according to a Persian law that allowed Persian kings to marry only women from seven specific noble families. Scholars do agree on the “late” production of the Book of Esther, though they differ concerning the approximate date of its composition.

 

  • Description
  • Table of Contents
Though Esther’s position as a queen in the Persian court is unquestioned in Jewish thought, the historicity of this datum raises some questions. Scholars have pointed out that Esther, as a Jew, could not have become King Ahasuerus’ wife according to a Persian law that allowed Persian kings to marry only women from seven specific noble families. Scholars do agree on the “late” production of the Book of Esther, though they differ concerning the approximate date of its composition.

Nevertheless, in Jewish thought Esther was, is, and will always be regarded as the queen of Persia, an idea based, perhaps, on the need for security and comfort for diaspora Jews, who passed this story on to their children through the generations to give them hope even in their darkest hours. Esther’s status in Jewish thought as a Persian queen is based on the contents of the different versions of the Book of Esther and also on the Persian socio-historical background of the events described in the book.

This study includes an introduction, an examination of Esther’s character in the Book of Esther, in comparison to other royal women in the OT, and in light of the Resh Galuta, and conclusions. The study follows the evolution of Esther’s status inside and outside the royal palace and her power in comparison to other similarly placed women. Whether she was a member of the pilagshim or carried the title of Queen (of the Jews?) is a question of secondary importance. Of more importance is that Esther was indeed Resh Galuta, the one woman in Jewish history who is known to have been the Head of the Diaspora, the formal leader of all the Jews in exile.

1. Introduction

1.1 Background

1.2 Structure and Method

1.3 Earlier Studies

1.4 Aim of investigation

1.5 The Achaemenid Dynasty and the Status of Royal Women: The Socio-Historical Background

1.6 The Achaemenid Kings and Their Royal Women

1.7 The different Versions of the Book of Esther

1.8 Queen Esther in Proof of History

2. “A Beautiful Orphan Queen,” or “To Be or Not To Be”

2.1 Introduction

2.2 The Story

2.3 Direct Characterizations/Descriptions of the Status of Esther as Described in the OT Book of Esther

2.4 Indirect Characterizations for the Status of Esther as Described in the OT Book of Esther

2.5 The Description of Her Life in the Palace as One of the Royal Women

2.6 “In the Evening She Came”

2.7 Conclusions

3. Your Majesty

3.1 The Gathering of the Girls

3.2 Approaching the King

3.3 The Ring

3.4 Esther as a Possible Chief Concubine

3.5 Summary

4. Head of the Diaspora

4.1 Before Concluding

5. Conclusions

Bibliography

Index of Old Testament References

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