Saturday, June 25, 2011

Esther read through

1.22  speak in the language...  apparently this has to do with the law being written in each man's language and not about the right of each man to speak in the language of his choosing.

2.8  was taken....   The passive voice and comment in the TWOT article would make me lean toward the view that this was not something that Esther tried out for.
verb, nifal, passive, prefixed (imperfect) sequential, singular, feminine, third person (Logos morphology
  "This root is used over a thousand times in the OT, often taking its nuance from the words with which it is used, As in English one can take vengeance (Isa 47:3) or receive disgrace (Ezk 36:30), and God receives (accepts) prayer in Ps 6:10 where it is used in parallel with šāmaʿ “to hear” (cf. Job 4:12). A similar parallel exists between lāqaḥ “snatch” and gānab “steal” (cf. Job 4:12; Jer 23:30–31; Jud 17:2). In the passive stems (Pual and Niphal) the usage “be taken, carried away” (I Sam 4:11) or “be brought” (Gen 2:15) suggests that such “taking” is against the will of those taken. These basic meanings are also found in postbiblical Hebrew, Aramaic, Moabite, Phoenician, Arabic, Ugaritic, and Akkadian."
---Kaiser, W. C. (1999). 1124 לָקַח. In R. L. Harris, G. L. Archer, Jr. & B. K. Waltke (Eds.), Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament (R. L. Harris, G. L. Archer, Jr. & B. K. Waltke, Ed.) (electronic ed.) (482). Chicago: Moody Press.

2.17  the king loved...  It is interesting to note that Esther had already captured the attention of Hegai who gave her special treatment with extra beauty treatments and the best the house of women had to offer.  I see another Joseph situation, where she was specially blessed by God.  

3.4  for Mordecai had told...  The text is not as specific as I would like about the  reason Mordecai would not bow and pay homage (or as in 5.9 stand and tremble before him) before Hamman other that the implication that it had something to do with the fact that he was a Jew.  The rest of the chapter bears out the notion that the Jewish thing was central to the whole issue.  I wonder if Mordecai refused to bow before a dedicated enemy of his people or was it because of the second commandment as Keil and Delitzsch seem to think.  "When the other officials of the court asked him from day to day, why he transgressed the king's commandment, and he hearkened not unto them, i.e., gave no heed to their words, they told it to Haman, “to see whether Mordochai's words would stand; for he had told them that he was a Jew.” It is obvious from this, that Mordochai had declared to those who asked him the reason why he did not fall down before Haman, that he could not do so because he was a Jew, - that as a Jew he could not show that honour to man which was due to God alone. Now the custom of falling down to the earth before an exalted personage, and especially before a king, was customary among Israelites; comp. 2Sa_14:4; 2Sa_18:28; 1Ki_1:16. If, then, Mordochai refused to pay this honour to Haman, the reason of such refusal must be sought in the notions which the Persians were wont to combine with the action, i.e., in the circumstance that they regarded it as an act of homage performed to a king as a divine being, an incarnation of Oromasdes. This is testified by classical writers; comp. Plutarch, Themist. 27; Curtius, viii. 5. 5f., where the latter informs us that Alexander the Great imitated this custom on his march to India, and remarks, §11: Persas quidem non pie solum, sed etiam prudenter reges suos inter Deos colere; majestatem enim imperii salutis esse tutelam. Hence also the Spartans refused, as Herod. 7.136 relates, to fall down before King Xerxes, because it was not the custom of Greeks to honour mortals after this fashion. This homage, then, which was regarded as an act of reverence and worship to a god, was by the command of the king to be paid to Haman, as his representative, by the office-bearers of his court; and this Mordochai could not do without a denial of his religious faith."  --Keil & Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament;  Johann (C.F.) Keil (1807-1888) & Franz Delitzsch (1813-1890)

3.7  they cast...  Who did the casting? 
"The subject of הִפִּיל is left indefinite, because it is self-evident that this was done by some astrologer or magician who was versed in such matters. Bertheau tries unnaturally to make Haman the subject, and to combine the subsequent הָמָן לִפְנֵי with הַגֹּורָל: ”Haman cast Pur, i.e., the lot, before Haman,” which makes Pur signify: the lot before Haman. הָמָן לִפְנֵי means in the presence of Haman, so that he also might see how the lot fell. פּוּר is an Old-Persian word meaning lot (sors); in modern Persian, bâra signifies time, case (fois, cas), pâra or pâre, piece (morceau, pièce), and behr, behre, and behre, lot, share, fate; comp. Zenker, Turco-Arabic and Persian Lexicon, pp. 162 and 229. The words ”from day to day, from month to the twelfth month,” must not be understood to say, that lots were cast day by day and month by month till the twelfth; but that in the first month lots were at once cast, one after the other, for all the days and months of the year, that a favourable day might be obtained. We do not know the manner in which this was done, “the way of casting lots being unknown to us.”    --Keil & Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament;  Johann (C.F.) Keil (1807-1888) & Franz Delitzsch (1813-1890)

7.4  I would have held my tongue, although...   This is an interesting piece of logic (that seems primarily aimed at a grotesquley oversized ego) that both Feigns a singular interest in the King's benefit and complete disregard for Haman even being worth a passing mention.  Flatter the King and insult Haman all in one "fell swoop."  How sweet it must have been for Esther and utterly horrifying for Haman.
"After the usual introductory phrases (Est_7:3 like Est_5:8), she replied: “Let my life be given me at my petition, and my people at my request.” For, she adds as a justification and reason for such a petition, “we are sold, I and my people, to be destroyed, to be slain, and to perish. And if we had been sold for bondmen and bondwomen, I had been silent, for the enemy is not worth the king's damage.” In this request עַמִּי is a short expression for: the life of my people, and the preposition בְ, the so-called בְּ pretii. The request is conceived of as the price which she offers or presents for her life and that of her people. The expression נִמְכַּרְנוּ, we are sold, is used by Esther with reference to the offer of Haman to pay a large sum into the royal treasury for the extermination of the Jews, Est_3:9; Est_4:7. אִלּוּ, contracted after Aramaean usage from לוּ אִם, and occurring also Ecc_6:6, supposes a case, the realization of which is desired, but not to be expected, the matter being represented as already decided by the use of the perfect. The last clause, וגו הַצָּר אֵין כִּי, is by most expositors understood as a reference, on the part of Esther, to the financial loss which the king would incur by the extermination of the Jews."      --Keil & Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament;  Johann (C.F.) Keil (1807-1888) & Franz Delitzsch (1813-1890)
7.8  covered Haman's face...  "his attendants covered Haman’s face°, signaling his doom." --NLT 
 IVP Bible Background Commentary on the OT has an interesting take.  "7:8. covered face. Greeks and Romans typically covered the head of criminals condemned to death, but if that were the case here we would expect the word “head” instead of “face.” In an Assyrian elegy covering the face is seen as a treatment of the dead. Since the hanging is generally considered to be a treatment of the corpse rather than a means of execution (see comment on 2:23), this face covering can be presumed to indicate Haman has died. The king does not issue a death sentence."  --Matthews, V. H., Chavalas, M. W., & Walton, J. H. (2000). The IVP Bible background commentary : Old Testament (electronic ed.) (Es 7:8). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.

8.16  many of the people of the land became Jews, because fear of the Jews fell on them...  This is a very interesting note tucked in at the end of this chapter.  I can't help but wonder if this isn't a
euphemism for conversion and fear of the Jews has as much to do with a fear of God.

9.3  because of the fear of Mordecai...  Forget human rights, looking out for the little guy, and the sanctity of life.  Self-interest ruled the day.

10.1  imposed a tribute on the land...  Typical.

No comments:

Post a Comment