The book of Esther is so filled with reprehensible characters and abhorrent behavior, it baffles me as to why Jewish people have celebrated Purim for centuries. The Persian king and his cronies come across as completely evil jerks, but even the heroes, the persecuted Jews seem to descend to their enemies' own sinful levels. When the king establishes a decree for the Jews to kill all their enemies--men, women, and children, the Jews kill 75,000 people.
Instead of getting such revenge, why didn't the Jewish people reject the king's decree? Why didn't they explain to the sovereign that they, as followers of the God of hesed and justice, wouldn't stupe to the evil behavior of their enemies?
Also, what's with the total war? Or did the Jewish killers ignore the evil king's decree and only kill the adult males of the households? But then what happened to all of the women and helpless children?
Lastly, as admirable as Esther is because of her courage, should she be held up as an ideal when she agrees to go into a foreign emperor's haren, especially since she is replacing the heroic queen, who refuses to be treated like a plaything?
There are so many troubling issues and actions in this Jewish Bible story. I wonder how I ever read and heard it lectured on as a kid.
Last but not least, it is puzzling why God isn't avidly involved in the story.
That's the bad news.
Next time, we'll take a look at Ruth, a heroine of so much good news.
In the Light,