We use cookies to enhance your experience on our website. By continuing to use our website, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. You can change your cookie settings at any time. Find out more
Select Bible Use this Lookup to open a specific Bible and passage. Start here to select a Bible.
Make selected Bible the default for Lookup tool.
Book: Ch.V. Select book from A-Z list, enter chapter and verse number, and click "Go."
:
OR
  • Previous Result
  • Results
  • Look It Up Highlight any word or phrase, then click the button to begin a new search.
  • Highlight On / Off
  • Next Result

The Oxford Bible Commentary Line-by-line commentary for the New Revised Standard Version Bible.

Purpose and Genre of LXX Esther.

1.

Why did the translator include the six Additions and make the numerous other changes that distinguish LXX Esther from its Hebrew prototype? Most answers to this question reflect upon LXX Esther's inclusion of over fifty references to God, in contrast to MT Esther in which direct divine references are absent. Divine titles and other references to God are found primarily in the Additions. Addition C, which conveys the prayers of Esther and Mordecai, mentions God in virtually every verse, as does Addition F, the interpretation of Mordecai's dream. But the LXX translator has added a number of references to God in the canonical material as well. For example, 2:20 , which describes Esther's obedience to Mordecai in her decision not to divulge her ethnic identity, also indicates that she is to fear God and keep his laws even as she commences a new life in the harem of a Gentile king. In 4:8 Mordecai calls upon Esther not only to go to the king but also to call upon the Lord in her effort to avert the evil decree instigated by Haman. Artaxerxes' insomnia is attributed to the Lord in 6:1 , while the premonition of Haman's wife concerning Haman's downfall is ascribed to the fact that the living God is with Mordecai ( 6:13 ). The Greek word used most frequently in reference to the divine is theos (God), with kyrios (Lord) as the next most frequent term. Other descriptive terms are ‘king’ (basileus, C 13:9, 15; 14:3, 12 ), and ‘saviour’ (sōtēr, 15:2 ). Phrases, such as ‘the living God, most high and mighty’ (E 16:16 ), ‘the God of Abraham’ (C 13:15; 14:18 ) and ‘the all-seeing God’ (D 15:2; 16:4 ) are also employed.

2.

The effect of these references, both in their variety and quantity, is to insert God very securely into the story as the one through whom the salvation from danger occurred. God's prominence in the plot is in contrast to the MT's emphasis on the human agents, Mordecai and Esther (Fox 1991a : 273). Moore comments, however, that LXX Esther's religious concerns are reflected not only in the addition of references to God but also in the emphasis on particular themes, such as God's providential care of Israel (A, F), God's miraculous intervention in history (D 15:8 ), the efficacy of prayer and fasting (C), and the importance of cult and temple (C 14:9 ).

3.

Clines, however, argues that the function of the Additions is not wholly or even primarily to introduce the explicit language of divine causation into a deficient Hebrew original, but to recreate the book in the mould of post-exilic Jewish history, as exemplified by the books of Ezra, Nehemiah, and Daniel. Just as God stirs up the spirit of Cyrus in Ezra 1:1 and of returnees in 1:5 , so does he change the spirit of the king to gentleness in LXX Esther D 15:8 and keep him from sleeping in 6:1 . In Dan 2 , as in Additions A and F, the meaning of history is conveyed through dreams and their interpretations, while Ezra 9, Neh 1, and Dan 9 contain exemplary prayers of supplication similar to the prayers of Mordecai and Esther in Addition C (Clines 1984: 169–70).

4.

In addition to religious motivations and concerns, the Greek translation may have been intended to increase the story's dramatic appeal (Moore 1977: 153). The aura of authenticity is strengthened by Additions B and E which in florid Greek purport to be the texts of royal edicts authorizing (B) and repealing (E) the mass destruction of Persian Jewry. Moore (ibid. 220–2) suggests that Esther's prayer (C) and the detailed description of her emotions and behaviour upon approaching the king (D) combine to make Esther a more realistic character and to suggest a similarity to Judith, a link frequently made by the Church Fathers as well as by contemporary scholars (Day 1995: 222–5). Certainly LXX Esther differs from its Hebrew Vorlage in describing the inner thoughts and feelings of its principal characters.

5.

Such observations have led some scholars to conclude that LXX Esther is a Hellenistic Jewish novel, influenced by the Graeco-Roman novel genre (Wills 1990; 1995 ). This suggestion does not rule out a didactic purpose or a historical kernel, but does emphasize the imaginative and entertaining aspects of the book, including its fanciful setting, adventurous tone, and detailed portrayal of its central figures (Wills 1995: 1). Day's (1995: 215–22) study, which focuses on the characterization of Esther in MT, LXX, and AT, argues that there is not enough direct correspondence between these Esthers and the heroines of Greek novels to conclude that LXX and AT were intended as explicit reworkings of their Hebrew prototypes towards the Greek novel genre.

  • Previous Result
  • Results
  • Look It Up Highlight any word or phrase, then click the button to begin a new search.
  • Highlight On / Off
  • Next Result
Oxford University Press

© 2020. All Rights Reserved. Cookie Policy | Privacy Policy | Legal Notice