The place: Persia. The time: fifth century BC. The Jews were threatened with genocide. A decree ordered the extermination of young and old, women and children. The book of Esther describes how this crisis was averted through the bravery of Esther, the wisdom of her stepfather and the unity of the Jewish people. It also reveals the God who quietly - and sometimes unexpectedly - works behind the scenes to order the events of our lives.
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“Furthermore, fundamental to Jewish and Christian theology is the view that where God’s people are to be found, God is actively present, and certainly Jewish presence is central to the Esther story. So we need to grapple with why God’s name is not mentioned, while holding onto a theological perspective that prefers to talk about the ‘hidden’ God in the text rather than the ‘absent’ God.” (Page 48)
“Mordecai is similar to Vashti: they both take the daring path of refusing to honour men who are unquestioningly honoured by everyone else.” (Page 90)
“Mordecai’s response to Esther has three elements: (1) her own life is in danger; (2) the Jews will be saved with or without her; (3) her very purpose in life is at stake. Although Mordecai’s words are sometimes understood as a veiled or open threat, it is more consistent with the role Mordecai assumes in the story to conclude that he is simply advising Esther that it is better for her to act than not to act.” (Pages 103–104)
“In this sense Vashti and Esther do not champion the feminist cause. They champion the purposes of God that allow Gentile and Jew, the privileged and the orphan, women and men, to contribute to the outworking of his salvation for his people. The crisis in the story centres not on male/female power but on Persian power versus Jewish vulnerability. When times are particularly critical, it seems that God chooses to work in unexpected ways by reversing roles and redistributing effective power. The author did not intend to bring a feminist perspective but a theological one, and this original intention must be allowed to instruct our reading of the text today.” (Page 77)