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Esther (11px IPA: /IPA: /; Hebrew: אֶסְתֵּר</span>, Modern Ester Tiberian ʼEstēr), born Hadassah, is the eponymous heroine of the Biblical Book of Esther. According to the Bible, she was a Jewish queen of the Persian king Ahasuerus. While Ahasuerus was traditionally identified with Xerxes I during the time of the Achaemenid empire, many historians now believe that Esther was the queen of Persia under a later king of Persia, during the time of the Sassanid empire. Her story is the basis for the celebration of Purim in Jewish tradition.
King Ahasuerus held a 180-day feast in Susa (Shoushan). He ordered his queen, Vashti, to appear before him and his guests wearing no veil, which was dishonorable, to display her beauty by only wearing her crown. But when the attendants delivered the king's command to Queen Vashti, she refused to come. Furious at her refusal to obey, the king asked his wise men what should be done. One of them said that all the women in the empire would hear that "The king Ahasuerus commanded Vashti the queen to be brought in before him, but she came not." Then the women of the empire would despise their husbands. And this would cause many problems in the kingdom. Therefore it would be good to depose her.
To find a new queen suitable to King Ahasuerus, it was decreed that beautiful young virgins be gathered to the palace from every province of his kingdom. Each woman underwent twelve months of beautification in his harem, after which she would go to the king. When the woman's turn came, she was given anything she wanted to take with her from the harem to the king's palace. She would then go to the king in the evening, and in the morning go to the harem where the concubines stayed. She would not return to the king unless he was pleased enough with her to summon her again by name.
For his wife and queen, King Ahasuerus chose Esther, an orphan raised by her cousin Mordecai, to replace the recalcitrant queen Vashti. Esther was originally named Hadassah, meaning myrtle, and received her name of Esther — a form of the Persian name Satarah, meaning star — when she entered the royal harem.
"Esther 2:7 And he brought up Hadassah, that is, Esther, his uncle's daughter: for she had neither father nor mother, and the maid was fair and beautiful; whom Mordecai, when her father and mother were dead, took for his own daughter." Esther was the daughter of a Benjamite, Abihail. When Cyrus gave permission for the exiles to return unto Jerusalem she stayed with Mordecai.
Shortly, when Mordecai was sitting at the king's gates, he overheard two of the king's officers guarding the gates plotting to assassinate the king. Mordecai let Esther know, and she warned the king about it, and Mordecai was given credit. The two conspirators were hanged on a gallows.
Soon after this, the king granted Haman the Agagite, one of the most prominent princes of the realm, special honours. All the people were to bow down to Haman when he rode his horse through the streets. All complied except for Mordecai, a Jew, who would bow to no one but his God. This enraged Haman, who, with his wife and advisers, plotted against the Jews, making a plan to kill and extirpate all Jews throughout the Persian empire, selecting the date for this act by the drawing of lots (Esther 3:7). After laying charges of sedition against the Jews, Haman gained the king's approval to write a decree for their destruction; offering ten thousand silver talents to the king for approval of this plan, but the king refused to take them (Esther 3:9-11).
Mordecai tore his robes and put ash on his head (signs of mourning or grieving/anguish) on hearing this news. Esther sent clean clothes to him, but he refused them, explaining that deliverance for the Jews would come from some other place, but that Esther would be killed if she did not do what she could to stop this genocide — by talking to the king. Esther was not permitted to see the king unless he had asked for her, otherwise she could be put to death. Esther was terrified of this (she had not been called to the king in 30 days), so she and her maid-servants and her people the Jews of Persia fasted earnestly for three days before she built up the courage to enter the king's presence. He held out his scepter to her, showing that he accepted her visit. Esther requested a banquet with the king and Haman. During the banquet, she requested another banquet with the king and Haman the following day.
After the banquet Haman ordered a gallows constructed, Şablon:Convert/LoffAoffDbSoff high, on which to hang Mordecai. Meanwhile, the king was having trouble sleeping, and had some histories read to him. From the reading the king remembered that Mordecai had saved him from an assassination attempt, and had received no reward in return. Early the next morning, Haman came to the king to ask permission to hang Mordecai, but before he could, the king asked him "What should be done for the man whom the king delights to honor?" Haman thought the king meant himself, so he said that the man should wear a royal robe and be led on one of the king's horses through the city streets proclaiming before him, "This is what is done for the man the king delights to honor!" The king thought this well, then asked Haman to lead Mordecai through the streets in this way, to honor him for previously telling the king of a plot against him. After doing this, Haman rushed home, full of grief. His wife said to him, "You will surely come to ruin!"
That night, during the banquet, Esther told the king of Haman's plan to massacre all Jews in the Persian Empire, and acknowledged her own Jewish ethnicity. And even worse after returning from the royal gardens he found Haman laid across the couch on Esther which further enraged him (Esther 7:8). The king was enraged and ordered Haman to be hanged on the gallows he had built for Mordecai. The king then appointed Mordecai as his prime minister, and gave the Jews the right to defend themselves against any enemy. The king also issued a second edict allowing the Jews to arm themselves, and kill not only their enemies but also their enemies' wives and children, as well as partake of the plunder (Esther 8:11). This precipitated a series of reprisals by the Jews against their enemies. This fight began on the 13th of Adar, the date the Jews were originally slated to be exterminated. The Jews went on to kill only their would-be executioners, and not their wives and children, altogether eight hundred killed in Susa alone, 75,000 in the rest of the empire. The Jews also took no plunder (Esther 9:10,9:15-16).
Jews established an annual feast, the feast of Purim, in memory of their deliverance. According to traditional rabbinic dating, this took place about fifty-two years after the start of the Babylonian Exile.
Origin and meaningEdit
According to Esther 2:7, Esther was originally named Hadassah. Hadassah means "myrtle" in Hebrew. It has been conjectured that the name Esther is derived from a reconstructed Median word astra meaning myrtle.
An alternative view is that Esther is derived from the theonym Ishtar. The Book of Daniel provides accounts of Jews in exile being assigned names relating to Babylonian gods and "Mordecai" is understood to mean servant of Marduk, a Babylonian god. "Esther" may have been a different Hebrew interpretation from the Proto-Semitic root "*?aθtar- 'morning/evening star'", which descended with the /th/ into the Ugaritic Athtiratu and Arabian Athtar. The derivation must then have been secondary for the initial ayin to be confused with an aleph (both represented by vowels in Akkadian), and the second consonant descended as a /s/ (like in the Aramaic asthr "bright star"), rather than a /sh/ as in Hebrew and most commonly in Akkadian.
Wilson, who identified Ahasuerus with Xerxes I and Vashti with Amestris, suggested that both "Amestris" and "Esther" derived from Akkadian Ammi-Ishtar or Ummi-Ishtar. Hoschander alternatively suggested Ishtar-udda-sha ("Ishtar is her light") as the origin with the possibility of -udda-sha being connected with the similarly sounding Hebrew name Hadassah. These names however remain unattested in sources, and come from the original Babylonian Empire from 2000 BCE, not the Chaldean Empire or Persian Empire of the Book of Esther.
The Targum connects the name with the Persian word for "star", ستاره setareh, explaining that Esther was so named for being as beautiful as the Morning Star. In the Talmud (Tractate Yoma 29a), Esther is compared to the "morning star", and is considered the subject of Psalm 22, because its introduction is a "song for the morning star."
Abraham Kuyper notes some "disagreeable aspects" to her character — that she should not have agreed to take Vashti's place, that she refrained from saving her nation until her own life was threatened, and that she carries out bloodthirsty vengeance.
Given the great historical link between Persian and Jewish history, modern day Persian Jews are referred to as "Esther's Children". A building known as the Tomb of Esther and Mordechai is located in Hamadan, Iran., although the village of Kfar Bar'am in northern Israel also claims to be the burial place of Queen Esther.
Şablon:Purim Footerbe:Эсфір, дачка Амінавада
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