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The New Oxford Annotated Bible New Revised Standard Study Bible that provides essential scholarship and guidance for Bible readers.

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Commentary on Esther

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2.1–18 : Esther becomes the new queen.

2 :

Consistent with its concern for moral rectitude, the Gk version adds that the winning girl (Heb “virgin”) must be virtuous as well as beautiful.

3 :

Perhaps custom required the king to marry a virgin (see 1 Kings 1.1–14; Lev 21.13 ), or it may be a convention of historical romance. In fact, Persian kings could only marry women from certain noble Persian families.

2.5–7 : Mordecai and Esther.

5–6 :

For a second time, the Gk introduces Mordecai (see 11.2–4n.).

7 :

The name Esther derives from Ishtar, the Babylonian goddess of love and war (Marduk and Ishtar were cousins), or from the Persian word for “star,” or both. The Gk fails to mention Esther's Hebrew name, Hadassah. Aminadab, in the Heb ( 2.15 ) Esther's father is named Abihail.

8 :

By beginning the book ( 11.2–12 ) with Mordecai's prophetic dream, the Gk version presents Esther's presence as part of a divine plan (see 10.4–6 ). Here, as in the Heb, there is no suggestion of coercion when Esther was brought to the palace. This is contradicted later in one of the Gk additions to Esther ( 14.15–18 ).

9 :

In winning the favor of Gai (a foreshadowing of 2.15,17; 5.8; 7.3 ), Esther resembles Joseph in the house of Potiphar (Gen 39.2–6 ) and Daniel at the Babylonian court (Dan 1.9 ).

10 :

Esther's silence about her Jewish identity (reiterated in v. 20 ) is a narrative ploy to heighten suspense and to demonstrate her obedience to Mordecai.

2.12–18 : Esther becomes queen.

14 :

The impossibility of seeing the king again unless summoned by name foreshadows Esther's dilemma in 4.11–16 and 15.1–16 when she must violate this law to save her people ( 1.12n.,19n ).

16 :

Adar, March‐April. The Heb gives a different month, Tebeth (December‐January).

17 :

Esther is given the diadem with which Vashti was to be crowned ( 1.11 ).

18 :

Another plot‐marking banquet (see 1.3n. ), clearly a marriage feast (unlike the Heb), foreshadows the two dinners Esther gives later ( 5.5; 6.14–7.1 ) and the feast of Purim ( 9.22 ). Remission of taxes, the Gk correctly interprets the Hebrew term, “holiday,” in economic terms.

2.19–23 : Mordecai and Esther save the king's life.

This may be a second version of the plot in 12.1–6 or a different episode altogether.

20 :

Mode of life, there is no hint of this in the Heb, where Esther is a Jew more by ethnicity than religious faith or observance.

21 :

The Heb does not explain that the conspirators were motivated specifically by jealousy of Mordecai (see Dan 6.3–5 ).

23 :

Hanged, impaled, not strangulation with a rope. The verse foreshadows the gallows Haman prepares for Mordecai ( 5.14 ) only to die upon it himself ( 7.9–10; 9.13–14 ).

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