Soooooo small update.
After the first post on Monday, I got a call on Tuesday for a contract at Seven Stones. It began Wednesday and runs for the next six weeks. It’s the school I interned at last year so I felt like I’m coming home. I’m filling in for Flower, the Indigenous Studies teacher (I wrote about the team last year. I’ll reintroduce them again soon. Flower has the coolest flower tattoos all over her arms. She’s really into botany). It’s really weird not having her around ’cause she’s a mega member of the staff and Cultural Arts team. But she’ll be back soon and the kids will be so happy to see her. My goal is to hold the fort until her return and learn some Cree and Indigenous history in the mean time 😉
Side note. I’m starting to wonder if God has something up His sleeve. I have all kinds of reasons for studying Esther’s story but I feel like God’s got His reasons, too… So I’ll keep you posted as we go.
As I was saying last week, I’m building this story like an Inquiry project. Before I can actually tell the story, I need to get the facts down and set this up a little. I usually start those with a KWL chart. On Monday, I did the ‘W’, meaning “Want to Know” and today, I’m going to dig into the ‘K’ for “Know.” After this, the story of Esther with a cast of kitties will begin.
Here’s my list of Know’s:
- It’s the story of how God used Esther (and Mordecai) to save the Jewish people from genocide. The story is celebrated during the festival of Purim (a.k.a. Festival of Lots. I recognize that name from the New Testament. Can’t remember what passage it is but Jesus does something special near this festival). Generally, it occurs in March each year. They celebrate this story, specifically their deliverance from their enemies.
- Esther’s real name is Hadassah. She is given the name Esther to hide her Jewish identity.
- Hadassah means ‘myrtle tree.’ The tree holds different meanings to different cultures but to the Hebrews it symbolizes love and marriage. The oils and fragrance of the the tree are often used in the cosmetic and medical industry.
- Persian Empire is now present-day Iran and surrounding area.
- King Xerxes is written with a certain level of empathy. He’s got strengths and weaknesses. In comparison, Haman is written as the supreme Bad Guy. There is nothing redeeming about him. He is seen as completely wicked. Not only is he sentenced to die at the end, but his whole family and bloodline dies, too. He was the one to organize the genocide against the Hebrews. In the end, it’s his legacy that becomes extinct. **This point is obviously arguable but this is just how I read it. **
**The next little bit of K’s I got from the Intro to Esther in the NIV bible version. Here’s the website. Found here: Intro to Esther (NIV)**
- The author was likely Hebrew and called Persia home as he/she is aware of Persian customs. It was written a couple years after the Hebrews were delivered from their enemies as the writer references some of the anniversaries.
- The writer has a thing for the number 2. There are a lot of duplications in the story:
In addition to the three groups of banquets that come in pairs there are two lists of the king’s servants (1:10,14), two reports that Esther concealed her identity (2:10,20), two gatherings of women (2:8,19), two fasts (4:3,16), two consultations of Haman with his wife and friends (5:14; 6:13), two unscheduled appearances of Esther before the king (5:2; 8:3), two investitures for Mordecai (6:10–11; 8:15), two coverings of Haman’s face (6:12; 7:8), two royal edicts (3:12–15; 8:1–14), two references to the subsiding of the king’s anger (2:1; 7:10), two references to the irrevocability of the Persian laws (1:19; 8:8), two days for the Jews to take vengeance (9:5–12,13–15) and two letters instituting the commemoration of Purim (9:20–28,29–32).
- Because God isn’t explicitly stated in the story and there is no reference to worship, sacrifice or prayer (as was common to the Hebrew’s lifestyle), people often wonder why it would be considered a part of the bible. Since the story is mostly written with a Hebrew audience in mind, they would read it with the assumption that God is already involved. There is no need to prove His existence in the story, nor is their any need to educate the readers on the customs as they already are familiar with it. God’s sovereignty is assumed, even in the most trivial inconveniences and coincidences. It’s believed that by omitting any reference to God, it actually draws more attention to Him and the work He did/does behind the scenes. Odd, I know, but the technique is surprisingly effective. I’m constantly wondering, “God, what are you up to? And WHY?” And it leaves me in a state of awe every time I read this story and try to figure out how he weaved the sequence of events together. The artistry of the plot alone blows my mind. All the writer had to do was document it. God took care of the rest.
I feel like there’s more to this list but this is a good place to start.
And now the story begins…