This is the book of Esther written out in my hand, it spans 19 pages. This has been a part of my discipline as I write these posts.
Esther 10: 1-3
King Ahasuerus laid tribute on the land and on the islands of the sea. 2 All the acts of his power and might, and the full account of the high honor of Mordecai, to which the king advanced him, are they not written in the annals of the kings of Media and Persia? 3 For Mordecai the Jew was next in rank to King Ahasuerus, and he was powerful among the Jews and popular with his many kindred, for he sought the good of his people and interceded for the welfare of all his descendants.
And they all lived happily ever after, isn’t that how we want the story to end? For Mordecai he is afforded power and position and honor, and it is great for him and his people and his kindred. As with the previous chapters, many scholars will argue these are additions to what the original story was. Without going into a lot of detail for Esther there are three primary ancient documents: The Masoretic Text (MT) written in Hebrew late 4th or early 3rd Century BCE, the Alpha Text (AT) which is a greek translation of the Hebrew Text (which is roughly 20% shorter than the MT) and the Septuagint which is also a Greek translation used by most early church fathers and probably most of the writers of the New Testament which comes from the Second century BCE. There are differences in each of the texts, with the Septuagint adding quite a lot (if you look in the Apocrypha in most Bibles that contain them, this is where The Additions to Esther come from). Most translations of the Bible go back to the MT, which contains chapters 9 and 10, while the AT does not. Anyways, it really matters little since the text most people read is the translation of the MT from Hebrew into English (or whatever your favorite language is) and this is the communal memory of the book.
The book end on the note of living happily ever after, and that is where we will leave it. I don’t feel a strong desire to spend any time with the Additions to Esther, but Sidnie-White Crawford, whose commentary in The New Interpreter’s Bible I’ve been reading along with as a write does cover this in depth. (Elizabeth Acthemeier, et.al 1999, 3:945-972)
If you have followed through this journey with me, I hope you have enjoyed it and it has provoked thought. Next we are heading into one of the longer books and more challenging books of the Bible, Jeremiah. I am doing this because it is one of the books I don’t know well, like Haggai and Esther, and I want to know more. If you join me on the journey perhaps together we shall see where it leads us.