Monday, 10 September 2012

Discovering Esther

(Inspired by "Pastor Mark" Driscoll - although it may be a spoof? [edit - no, it's not])
"Esther and Ruth ....are the only two books of the Bible in which the human hero is in fact a heroine."
Apart from the other female heroes who just don't get a book named after them - Priscilla, Deborah, Mary, Mary Magdalen, Jael, Naomi.

Yes it must be tricky, having a female hero. After all, she doesn't at any point push over a building, get her strength taken from her because she's lusting after a tasty bloke so much she loses all her common sense, take one of her underlings' partners and arrange the underling's murder, or worship foreign gods because of having married so many idolaters.
"Her behavior is sinful and she spends around a year in the spa getting dolled up to lose her virginity with the pagan king...."
Apart from the mis-spelling of "behavior" (I blame American schools) - in what sense has she done anything "sinful" here? How does Esther do anything other than start as a disadvantaged, abused teenager and end up as a queen and hero?
"She performs so well that he chooses her as his favorite"
Oo-er. Is this a reading out of the Bible or a reading into it?
"...and wows with an amazing night in bed....."
Bovver. All the details of that "amazing night in bed" have fallen right out of my Bible. Maybe Burton Dasset has stolen it? That might explain why he's gone so bald?
"She’s simply a person without any character... "
That's right. Apart from her ability to talk Hegai into looking after her - that was hardly just her looks, because she was barely the only pretty young girl round there. Apart from incredible poise and character which must have won the king over - because that "amazing night in bed" - with a young woman on her first time? With a king who's used to taking what he wants - really? - probably wasn't so great. Apart from being dragged off to be the king's plaything, overcoming this, and never once giving away her Jewish heritage?
"...until her own neck is on the line, and then we see her rise up to save the life of her people when she is converted to a real faith in God."
Nope. Until her uncle's neck is on the line, and the whole Jewish people's necks. At which point it's pretty obvious who's in charge (in an earthly sense) - Mordecai gets his instructions. He can do the praying and fasting, while Esther takes her bloody life in her hands and sorts out the Jews' protection.
"Many evangelicals have ignored her sexual sin and godless behavior..."
Which, given her lack of sexual sin, on account of she was barely into her teens and effectively a slave, and her fasting (and telling others to do so) isn't that surprising.
"to make her into a Daniel-like figure, which is inaccurate."
Mmm... Jewish hero lives in accommodation with the rulers, yet keeps the faith and thereby saves pious Jews. Nope, can't see any similarity at all there.
"Some have even tried to tie her story in with modern-day, sex-slave trafficking..."
What, a teenage girl who's ordered into a King's harem? Tied in to sex-slavery? Never.

I can't wait for the series.


  1. Love the Luther quote "heathen unnaturalities". Now there's a title for a blog!

  2. I wish it was a spoof. Tell me it is.

  3. Nope, not a spoof I've heard of Mark Driscoll and nothing rings false.

  4. I don't understand - Esther doesn't punch anyone's lights out - how can she be a hero?

    1. Which is why personally I've always preferred Jael and Judith.

  5. Many moons ago, I taught a course to ordinands in Uganda on Esther. We focused on many of the points you make here, Eileen. This was a considerable challenge for most of the (all male) class, to say nothing of some of the other (male) staff!
    Later, after I had left, one of my former colleagues told me that the note templates for the whole series - and the 2 associated sermons - had been removed from the folder in the library!
    P.S. I'm an evangelical and I wouldn't stand for the way Mark Driscoll (mis)handles the text :-)

  6. And maybe if MD tried reading the Greek version of Esther he'd discover God in that "Godless book".

    1. Don't need the Greek version either. There's a nice English translation in several good Bibles. Including, I believe, the original KJV.

    2. Ooooh - a 'single predestinationist'!


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