In Shelamzions period, there were no precedents for powerful queens in Judeanot unless one counts Jezebel, the most notorious queen in Israelite history, or her daughter Athaliah. She was in a foreign land without the protection and support of her people. The Queen was the oldest monarch to have reigned in Britain before she passed away in September 2022, aged 96. [5] Ilan discusses variants of the same traditions inSilencing the Queen, 35-42, drawing attention to how later rabbinic sources gradually eliminate Shelamzion from this tradition and replace her with her contemporary Shimon ben Shetach. Midrash adds that Esther's father died during her mother's pregnancy, and the latter died during childbirth (Esth. Given new belongings (Esther 2:9). Esther would then be aged18 when she wins the beauty contest, 22 when she becomes queen (Esther 2:16-17), and 27 when she helps to defeat Haman's genocide scheme. Gaalya Cornfeld, ed.,Josephus: The Jewish War; Zondervan Publishing House, 1982). According to one, Hadassah, which appears first in the verse, was Esthers real name, and the reason why she was called Esther requires clarification. The spelling of her name is confirmed by its appearance in the Qumran material; see4QCalendrical Document C(Florentino Garcia Martinez and Elbert J. C. Tigchelaar, eds.,Dead Sea Scrolls Study Edition[Brill Academic Publishers, 2000], 694). What did the Nazis begin using gas chambers instead of mobile killing units and shooting squads after a while. The Book of Esther was probably written in the 2nd centurybce. What is the labour of cable stayed bridges? The Scroll of Esther is read on Purim from a parchment scroll. These words persuaded Esther to approach the king and she requested a private dinner for him and Haman. Esther gained even greater favour with Ahasuerus after she helped thwart an assassination plot against him that Mordecai overheard at the palace gate. How can a woman test for infertility at home? Something went wrong while submitting the form. When Esther's words were reported to Mordecai, he sent back this answer: "Do not think that because you are in the king's house you alone of all the Jews will escape. A few of them, such as Nehemiah, Mordecai and Daniel, rose to positions of prominence under the Babylonian kings.The last of the Prophets of the Tanakh (Hebrew Bible) were still living.King Cyrus had recently made his famous proclamation (2 Chronicles 36:22-23) allowing the Jews to resettle Judea (Israel), and some had gone up with Zerubavel, but the enemies of the Jews had then slandered them (Ezra ch.4), causing the Babylonian king to put a stop to the rebuilding and resettlement of Judea. Esthers story culminates when the beloved queen is faced with the decision to either continue to disguise her Jewish heritage and maintain her safety or jeopardize everything to advocate for her people. We can adjust the hypothetical ages and birth dates of Mordecai, Esther and their parents by a few years and still keep it . The events of Esther unfold over an eight- to ten-year period. Rabbah5:3). She is mentioned several times throughout the Book of Esther. The spirit of divine inspiration descended on Esther shortly before she went to Ahasuerus, thus leading to her inclusion in the list of the seven women prophets(BTMegillah14a; 15a). to be fictional. She was compared to a hind, for just as a hind has a narrow womb and is as desirable to her mate at all times as at the first time, so, too, was Esther as desirable to Ahasuerus at all times as at the first time. My God, My God, Why Have You Forsaken Me? Jesus or Esther? Upset, the king stepped out into the palace gardens. The Bible doesn't say how old Esther was when she married him, but if she was 17 this would make her born in 500BC. window.location.replace(""); She overtook Queen. When Mordecai refused to bow down to Haman at the gate, Haman was extremely offended and sought to have Mordecai killed. There is not one correct rendering of her name in any rabbinic manuscript (260). We read that: "The king loved Esther more than all the other women, and she obtained grace and favour in his sight more than all the virgins; so he set the royal crown upon her head and made her queen instead of Vashti. Am Yisrael Chai Esther, on the other hand, was taken every day and, like them, she requested miracles. does not give many details of Esther's life, Persian records do. Mordecai stopped at the gate because he wanted to tell the king about a plot to kill him. This, then, is the meaning of(Esth. This makes Esther 60 years younger than her cousin Mordecai. Esther replaced Queen Vashti, who had been sentenced to death because she had refused to display her beauty to the King's feast attendants. The ancient Jewish historian Josephus provides some details. In contrast with other women, whom Ahasuerus married without recording the nuptials or the date of the marriage, Esthers marriage was documented, and the date of her marriage was recorded (Pesikta de-Rav Kahana,Ha-Hodesh ha-Zeh["This monthEx. In the midrashic reenactment, Esther sent a message to Mordecai in which she asked him whether Israel had transgressed one of the commandments of the Torah. brought him up to be favorable to the Jews and he later rebuilt the Sometimes it was hard for Esther because the other Jews were treated badly. We just don't know. point. cit.). In a risky move, Esther reveals her Jewish heritage to Ahasuerus and pleads with him to spare her people, despite the risk of death. Esther was a good queen. In the Erez Israel tradition, she miscarried the fetus she bore in her womb (the offspring of Ahasuerus) (Esth. He killed Haman in 473BC, when he was 45 ( Esther 3:7 ). When she relayed Mordecais information to the king, she attributed it to Mordecai(Esth. She ordered her uncle: "Go, gather together all the Jews and fast for me, and neither eat nor drink for three days, night or day." The Rabbis include Esther among the seven most beautiful women in the world (BT Megillah 15a). [7] Queen Esther risks her own life when she goes to the kings chambers uninvited: If I must die, so be it, she says (Esther 4:16). The Rabbis add that Esther found favor in the eyes of both heaven and humans (Esth. Read Esther 4:1-17. According to the Babylonian tradition, she saw menstrual blood (BT Megillah15a). By signing up for this email, you are agreeing to news, offers, and information from Encyclopaedia Britannica. The Rabbis view this as self-sacrifice on Esthers part, since she was willing to die herself, provided that Haman would also perish; (4) Esther sought to turn Haman into her ally, so that he would not rebel against Ahasuerus the king (and thereby become even more dangerous); (5) Esther wanted to obscure her identity and prevent any suspicion of her being a Jew (since Haman was an antisemite); (6) Esther desired to arouse the Jews to pray and cry out to God, so they would not think that her presence in the royal palace sufficed to neutralize Hamans activity; (7) Esther sought to arouse Gods compassion, to show that the Jews did not oppose Haman, that no one stood in Hamans way, and therefore only He could deliver Israel; (8) Esther hoped that Ahasuerus, who was a capricious king, would change his opinion of Haman (BTMegillahloc. Mordecai held a position inside of the king's palace, and he went their every day to perform his duties. She was alone, alone with her grief and trauma. Be on the lookout for your Britannica newsletter to get trusted stories delivered right to your inbox. Mordechais loyalty and faithfulness to the King were key elements in the unfolding of the events. The Bible depicts Esther as an orphan who was raised in the house of her uncle Mordecai(Esth. Her reign lasted less than a decade but still longer than a two-term presidency. [2] See Ilan,Integrating women, 127, commenting onJewish War1.71 andJewishAntiquities13.302. He even granted permission for the Jews to arm themselves with weapons and deliver the kings edicts throughout the kingdom. Anyway, there's no record of whether Esther was 100). Other problems that also call into question the story's reliability include Mordecai being identified as sent into exile by Nebuchadnezzar - an event that must have place over a century before Xerxes assumed power. Queen Esther is the reluctant heroine of the Purim story. During the . We may assume, therefore, that she was about 14 years of age when she succeeded to the throne. How old was King Xerxes when he married Esther? He deposed Queen Vashti in 483/482BC when he was 36 ( Esther 1:3 ). That being said, "the written Torah." Esther was ready to endanger herself and even to give her life to save her people, who therefore are called her people (4:8): to plead with him for her people(Ex. "scroll." The document, published by National Records of Scotland on Thursday, says the late British monarch died at 3:10 p.m. UK time . Victoria, in full Alexandrina Victoria, (born May 24, 1819, Kensington Palace, London, Englanddied January 22, 1901, Osborne, near Cowes, Isle of Wight), queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland (1837-1901) and empress of India (1876-1901). What is the moral of the story of Esther? 22:25). Esthers jar is a visual representation of her emotional turmoil and her suffering. The grave of Mordecai and Esther still stands in Hamadan; and the Jews of Iran, to this day, are referred to as "the children of Esther.". Scripture is silent on when and how Queen Esther died, and history is also silent on her life, as well. But she does not reveal her Jewish heritage to the king and learns of a plan to kill all Jews by the kings advisor, Haman. cit. if(typeof ez_ad_units!='undefined'){ez_ad_units.push([[250,250],'coalitionbrewing_com-leader-3','ezslot_14',155,'0','0'])};__ez_fad_position('div-gpt-ad-coalitionbrewing_com-leader-3-0');Furthermore, Esthers actions become increasingly irrational and her behavior can be classified as psychotic. In another exposition, she was given this name by the Gentiles, after the celestial body Istahar (BTLit. In the midrashic exposition, Ahasuerus tries to discover Esthers origins, explaining that this would be beneficial for her relatives, since he would appoint them to important positions (Midrash Panim Aherimloc. We see, however, that this was a stratagem on Mordecais part, so that Esther would not be frequently summoned to the king. In the midrashic expansion, on her way to the king Esther encountered various obstacles and she had to pass through seven departments in the palace. She had one son with [11] Elias J. Bickerman, The Colophon of the Greek Book of Esther,Journal of Biblical Literature63.4 (1944): 339-62. Even after she becomes queen because of the disobedience of Queen Vashti, Esther remains modest and down-to-earth. Queen Esther is an orphan raised by her uncle Mordecai and is eventually married to King Ahasuerus. The Rabbis then mention an additional argument that is raised by the people, that the writing of the Book of Esther will arouse the enmity of the non-Jewish nations. Ilan relies upon Bickermans dating, as does Aaron KollersEsther in Ancient Jewish Thought(Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2014). Lit. Their grandfather was Alexander Jannaeus, the second eldest son of John Hyrcanus. Rabbah6:11). How old was Queen Elizabeth II when she died? Contributors control their own work and posted freely to our site. [11] According to the colophon to Greek Esther, a delegation of Jews from Jerusalem went to Egypt with the translation of the story of Megillat Esther and asked the Jews of Alexandria to begin celebrating the festival of Purim. After Esther was crowned queen, Mordecai held an important position at the palace and worked closely with the Queen in all matters. The Rabbis were concerned about the question of Esthers marital status. Ahasuerus first tried to turn his face so that he would not look upon Esther, but the ministering angels forcibly turned his head, until he cried out. After she tested positive for . if(typeof ez_ad_units!='undefined'){ez_ad_units.push([[300,250],'coalitionbrewing_com-leader-2','ezslot_12',154,'0','0'])};__ez_fad_position('div-gpt-ad-coalitionbrewing_com-leader-2-0');Throughout the course of the story, Esther suffers from a major depressive episode, possibly accompanied by severe anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder. She was the wife of the Persian King Xerxes [aka "Ahasuerus" in many Bibles] who ruled Persia from 486 to 465 BC. BC (he would have already been well over 90 years old at this So, we know that Daniel was dead long before Esther was born and Yes, Mordechai was indeed Esthers cousin. Dont miss the latest essays from 5:3), but not things that were opposed to the kingdom, such as her asking him to rebuild the Temple (BT Megillah loc. King Ahasuerus, named Darius, who became King Darius II. In Jacobs blessing to his sons, he blesses Benjamin(Gen. 49:27): Benjamin is a ravenous wolf; in the morning he consumes the foe, and in the evening he divides the spoil, which the Rabbis applied to Mordecai and Esther. Esther then initiated a covert plan to defeat Haman using her grace and beauty. The Rabbis accordingly relate her to the MatriarchRachel, the mother of the tribe of Benjamin. He asked what she wanted. Another tradition has her becoming pregnant by Ahasuerus, but miscarrying (Esth. After an exhilarating victory, they declared the following day a holiday and (alluding to the lots Haman had cast) named it Purim, which is Hebrew for lots.. 2:7). After more than 70 years on the throne, Queen Elizabeth II died on September 8, 2022. The outraged king ordered that Haman be hanged on the gallows built for Mordecai and that Mordecai be named to fill Hamans position. In spite of its origins it soon became the basis of the Jewish festival of Purim.According to the book, Vashti, Esther's predecessor as queen of Persia, was divorced by her husband, King Xerxes (Ahasuerus), who then sought a suitable virgin for his wife, finally choosing Esther. "And Esther obtained favour in the sight of all who saw her." (2:15). old or so, Estheryuckthat's not what they showed in the Esther before she died (I'm guessing she died in 464 BC) and maybe According to another tradition, he accompanied her to ensure that she did not suffer from sorcery (Esth. "Esther: Midrash and Aggadah." She recognizes that she needs to personally plead the king to save her people but knows this act is a grave transgression. After he had Vashti killed, all the lands rebelled against him; once he married Esther, one hundred and twenty-seven lands came under his rule once again, and when he appointed Mordecai as viceroy, they all returned to him (Midrash Tehilim, onPs. older than her (do the math a 37 year old king marrying a 14 year Esther invited Ahasuerus and Haman to a feast and the Rabbis ask: why did she invite Haman? The king held a party in his honor one day. . The BT presents this in the opposite way: the king first talked with her by means of an interpreter, but when she told him that she was descended from King Saul, he spoke with her directly, out of respect (Lev. Queen Elizabeth II has died today aged 96. Given things for purification (Esther 2:9). The combined symptoms in Esther signify that she was suffering from a serious psychiatric illness, but the precise diagnosis remains unclear. 20). Rabbah8:7; the passage is taken from Josippon). ), or her strength wanedPirkei de-Rabbi Eliezer[ed. She was able to use the jar to communicate her innermost thoughts and feelings to those around hershowcasing her strength, resilience and defiance in the face of her oppression. Haman, having become incensed thatMordecai, aJew, held him indisdainand refused obeisance, convinced the king that the Jews living under Persian rule were rebellious and should be slaughtered. ; Frymer-Kensky,In the Wake of the Goddesses, 137-38. I'm also King Xerxes ordered Queen Vashti to appear at a banquet, but she refused to do so which led to her banishment. His father was Kish, who descended from the House of Benjamin. As Esther poured her tears and anguish into the jar, it became a bridge between her innermost feelings and the outside world. Esthers jar was a tangible expression of her emotional devastation, her loss of hope, and her feelings of utter helplessness. Her death is believed to have been around the age of 57. There is support for this too in the Talmud (Yoma 29a).4) Esther comes from the Median "astra," meaning "myrtle." Esther was born about 492BC and was 14 when she became Queen. The King also issued a proclamation throughout the land to honor Mordecai. Abase him before me, for You abase the proud (Esth. Esther was born about 492BC and was 14 when she became Queen. them clearly. She received her Ph.D. in religion from Princeton University. No, Esther and Mordecai were not married. 464 BC. In the midrashic account, Ahasuerus initially ruled the entire world. He was born in 518BC. The Rabbis even find proof that God concurred with the activity of Mordecai and Esther, since it is written(Esth. Until Esther was chosen, no woman could compare with Vashti in beauty. cit.). Mordecai was a trusted advisor to King Xerxes of Persia and Esther was his adopted daughter. I told her not to tell anyone she was an Israelite, though, because a lot of people still didn't like Israelites and I thought King Xerxes might not pick her to be the new queen if he knew she was an . By entering your email and clicking Sign Up, you're agreeing to let us send you customized marketing messages about us and our advertising partners. The night of their union, Ahasuerus loved Esther "above all women" and made her the Persian Empire's Queen. Ahasuerus consulted with Mordecai how to discover Esthers secret, and Mordecai advised him to arouse Esthers jealousy by inviting other women to him, thus motivating her to disclose her secret (BT Megillah 13a). Her story is one of faith, courage, and resilience, and her bravery serves as an inspiration to others to never give up fighting for what you believe in. Queen Esther died in 473 BCE, so she was likely in her late fifties or early sixties at the time of her death. One day he overheard a conspiracy between two of the king's guards who wanted to assassinate Xerxes. Esther herself observed the commandment of searching for thehamez(Esth. 22:5). She reigned in the first century BCE, sixty years after the Hasmoneans achieved independence from the Seleucid Empire and a few decades before King Herod. She was living there as part of the harem of the king, but was singled out by the King who was so taken with her beauty that he chose her to be his queen. This also leads to a different understanding of Mordecais involvement, as he walks about in the royal courtyard out of concern for his wife. In response, Esther tells him that, like him, she is the offspring of royalty (Midrash Abba Gurion, para. During this historical period, the first group of Jews who had returned to Judah struggled to revive temple worship by Moses' Law. Thisdevarbuilds on Ilans work: her oeuvre is well known to academics but is not as well known as it could be tothe reading public. Esthers first husband was Mordecai. Beautiful as the moon (Talmud, Megillah 13a).3) Esther comes from the Semitic root ath-tar, "morning star." For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father's family will perish. Esther remained passive and allowed the King to rape her repeatedly. Persian King would have probably not been interested in a 35 year Queen Vashti has been banished and an edict goes out for all qualified young virgins throughout the empire to be taken to the palace as he searches for a new queen. Oops! No biblical law specifies that only men can reign, although hundreds of years after Shelamzions reign, the rabbis of would interpret Deuteronomy 17:14, which states You will set a king over you as a king, not a queen (Sifre Deuteronomy 157).[3]. What did this queen do? The enraged King ordered Haman's hanging, elevated Mordecai to prime minister and gave Jews the right to defend themselves against any enemy. Saul, a Benjaminite, did not reveal to his uncle that he had been anointed to be king; likewise, Esther did not disclose her identity(Gen. Rabbah71:35). The book of Esther (2:7) states that she had both names, Esther and Myrtle (Hadassah in Hebrew). The answer is yes. The Bible does not specify how old she was when her parents died. 6:6), or the definite statement, that could be known only to God: but they did not lay hands on the spoil (9:10). Like many Jews today, she had two names, one Hebrew and one Greek. She was a beautiful Jewish woman, the wife of the Persian king Ahasuerus (Xerxes I). Rabbah8:6). In various sources the Rabbis relate to the question of the Book of Esthers acceptance as Scripture and to the establishment of the holiday ofPurim. One advantage to welcoming Shelamzion back into Jewish memory is making space for a role model of diplomacy and peace. This understanding of the Book of Esther is linked to the perception of Esther as a prophet: she is included in the list of seven women prophets(BTMegillah14a; Seder Olam Rabbah21). The Book of Esther tells of Esther marrying King Ahasuerus of Persia and therefore becoming his queen. Codification of basic Jewish Oral Law; edited and arranged by R. Judah ha-Nasi c. 200 C.E. She was compared to the dawn, for just as the dawn breaks at the end of each night, so, too, Esther [i.e., the miraculous delivery of the Jews] came after there had been no miracles [during the period of exile and darkness](BTYoma29a). What is the reflection of the story of princess urduja? [3] Then the queen gave Haman's estate to Mordecai and prayed the king to deliver the nation of the Jews from the fear for their lives, and she showed him what the letter that had been sent throughout the country by Haman, the son of Ammedatha; for, she said, if her country were destroyed and her countrymen were to perish, she could herself bear to . Esther exposes Haman's evil plan. 10:2). Upon realizing this, Mordecai subdued the enemy and turned the wickedness of Haman back onto himself and his family. How can we explain Esther's abrupt change in behavior from deep despair to determined action and from passiveness to leadership? It was only when Esther came that Ahasuerus removed the likeness of Vashti and replaced it with that of Esther (Esth. Seeking a new queen, the king appointed commissioners to bring all the beautiful young virgins from every province into his harem for a year of cosmetic treatments so that he might select a new bride. The King of Persia, Ahasuerus, had appointed Haman to be his prime minister and a decree was issued ordering the annihilation of all Jews. She understood why she had to suffer through her relationship with this irritable king. Similarly, Shelamzion had to succeed against all odds to maintain her queenship. Honor the king. Esther was taken to the royal harem despite her being married, which further aggravated her sorry condition. Queen Elizabeth, who reigned for 70 years as Britain's monarch, died Thursday at Balmoral, her estate in the Scottish Highlands. Mordechai later adopted Esther as his daughter after her parents died. Please refer to the appropriate style manual or other sources if you have any questions. Furthermore, he commanded all the provinces of his realm to provide special favors and tax exemptions to Esther and her people, the Jews. The king agreed, not knowing that Esther, his beloved queen, and Mordecai, the man to whom he owed his life, were both Jews. How old was Queen Elizabeth II when she died? Rebekah had sent him there to be safe from his angry twin brother, Esau. According to one tradition, Esther was responsible for Mordecais being seated at the palace gate, since she told Ahasuerus that all the great kings seated a Jewish advisor at the gate (Midrash Abba Gurionloc. Later pilgrims mentioned the site, and noted that special celebrations were held there on Shushan Purim. The Queen died in the afternoon of September 8, 2022. Rabbah6:9). Please consider supporting Despite the close bond they had, they remained uncle and niece and were not married. The Queen ascended to the throne in 1952 at the tender age of 25, and was on a royal tour of Kenya when Philip delicately broke the news that her father, King George VI, had died.
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