What is the purpose of including the book Esther in the Bible?
I understand the story behind Esther of keeping the Jewish people safe from another genocide, but why is it included in the Bible when there is no reference to prayer or God's will.
That's an interesting question. It does talk about Esther calling for prayer and fasting so that God would intervene in the attempt to kill of the Jewish people. Being a Jew, you have to know she is referring to God. Also, Esther's story points to how God could use an ordinary girl, to do something extraordinary for his people, through his power. There are a lot of words we use in the Christian community that are not in the Bible. I did a hub on this http://lambservant.hubpages.com/hub/Mis … e-Passages Towards the end of the hub I talk about Esther not having God's name in it. Esther also is a type of Christ, as are many OT characters.
It seems as though you've answered your own question, backporchstories. In the book of Esther, we see God's overruling providence in the strategic position of Esther as Queen of the Persian Empire. As a result, she is able to save her people (as you have alluded to) and thereby carry them further along the path of God's purpose (will) for them.
The use of Esther depends on what Christianity do you belong, protestant does not used Esther but only Catholics..
Book of Esther is in the King James (Protestant) Bible...
It is a very important Book of the Old Testament. Not only does it give the meaning of Purim but also reveals who "the queen" is in Nehemiah 2:6 Study it out and it ties in Ezra as well.
seajon....this book is in my NIV version of the Bible. MrMaranatha, I will look into Nehemiah and Ezra too with Esther in mind. Thanks!
thanks for that, the Esther belongs to the Septuagint books which were used by the Jews outside of Jerusalem. I thought it was omitted by the reformers.
I sure wish there was an inspiring reason. But the truth is that this was major debate for centuries. More stuff happened and went into the bible as a result of politics and Catholicism then we would like to think about.
It is a nifty idea that things happen only by God's will and as an answer to prayer. But in reality sometimes things just happen.
So i like to think of it as, a matter fact that God has a master plan, and we are not always privy to it. Even with the original twelve, we remember that Christ taught publicly to masses through parable, yet with those He was training explained things fully.
the separation of church and state, for all practicle applications, is a fairly recent event our forefathers tried to kick into gear, while throughout Europe back thru millenia to the Greeks and so on the gods and the state was just presume to be one
I am not attempting to answer from the Christian viewpoint but as I understand it, books that were in the Bible were there not because they talked about God's will, or prayer, or how to be saved, or lots of other stuff that followers of Christ should know, but simply because they were inspired by God.
God's will is clearly seen in His salvation of the Jews after Haman tried so desperately to destroy them. Remember that it was in answer to prayer and fasting that the king countered his decree on their behalf, and allowed them to defend themselves. This is the quote I think of when I think of the book of Esther.
"In the annals of human history, the growth of nations, the rise and fall of empires, appear as if dependent on the will and prowess of man . . .But in the word of God the curtain is drawn aside, and we behold, above, behind, and through all the play and counterplay of human interest and power and passions, the agencies of the All-merciful One, silently, patiently working out the counsels of His own will."
The Book of Esther is one in which the "curtain is drawn aside."
The Book of Esther is of course part of the history of the Jewish people just as the Book of Judith, and The Book of Machabees, which is part of the original Catholic Bible of St. Jerome. Without those books, the history of the Hebrew chosen people of God will be incomplete. It tackles the events that happened to the people of Israel whom God punished for not heeding the covenant that God established thru Moses. Because of Israel's disobedience to God, they were punished, and so Esther and Judith are examples of how they survived from the hands of their persecutors, who are the Assyrians.
I see there are several answers that are similar to what I would have added myself.
Having said that, I really like Chuck Missler's teaching on this. You might want to read some of it yourself.
I was struggling with the Book of Esther myself last month. Traditionally, it is used to encourage Jews (and Christians) who have power to use that power for the good of one's own people, preventing persecution. But the fact that it ends with persecution by the Jews of those who would do them evil points to a possible justification of power and violence. This is a frequent theme in the Hebrew Bible, but one that I hope we, as Jews and Christians, are outgrowing. I am glad that, in the World Parlaiment of Religions, all five world religions (Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, and Buddhism) have said that the obvious plain meaning of such texts, that God supports violence and killing, is not the genuine meaning of these faiths.
One could interpret the Book of Esther inwardly, as Gandhi did the Bhagavad Gita (another holy book full of war and violence) and see it as an inner battle between one's devotion and the worldly and power-seeking desires within oneself that we must conquer to be victorious in peace.
Admittedly, my memory of Esther is very vague. All scriptural stories are written with the same purpose, and some are just embellishments of others written before. They site lessons to point us to true inner freedom. As always, it is better to take the spirit of the message and move on. "I would rather feel compunction in my heart than speak of it" says Thomas A Kempis. Much love.
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