Wednesday, 14 March 2012

22. Esther - Royal and still faithful

There's a big craze for finding new stars at the moment. 

The show 'How do you solve a problem like Maria' came up with Connie who looked a bit like Julie Andrews; we've had a hunt for the new Joseph, and now the hunt is apparently on for a new Jesus (to star in Lloyd Webber's 'Superstar' musical).

Having sacked Queen Vashti, The King of Persia needs to find a new Queen, so, approx. 2500 years before reality shows, he launches his 'Hunt For A New Submissive Wife' show and a young Jewess called Esther is swept up in the excitement and carried off to the royal palace. Out of all the contestants it appears the King is drawn to her especially. This may have something to do with how delicious she no doubt smells after spending the majority of the last 12 months in the bath with oil of myrrh and other exotic perfumes (Esther 2:12).

But the King has bargained for more than he realises by falling for a Jewish believer. When his new right hand man, the evil Haman, hatches a plot to exterminate the Jews, Queen Esther carries through a successful series of subtle and courageous steps which lift the lid on the genocidal plan. Eventually Haman is hanged on a gallows he had prepared for Esther's uncle and chief advisor, Mordecai.

The Jews are now granted by Royal edict the right to avenge themselves on their enemies (cue rather violent bit) and have ever since celebrated this Jewish heroine in the feast of Purim. Esther's no wilting violet though -  at her suggestion, Haman's ten sons are summarily hanged. So we're not quite at the stage of loving our enemies and praying for all who persecute us then (Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount) but with this story of post Exilic faith, possibly around 460 BC, we approaching ever nearer.

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