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Bible Dictionaries

People's Dictionary of the Bible

Esther (2)

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Esther, the Book of. This book is so termed because Esther is the principal character in it, and not from any notion that she wrote it. It has generally been held in high estimation among the Jews, who class it with Ruth, Ecclesiastes, Solomon's Song, and the Lamentations, as the five megilloth or rolls, and solemnly read it at the feast of Purim. Its literary character is fully equal to the best of the other historical books of the Bible. The style is lively and almost dramatic. But the peculiarity of the book is that the name of God does not occur in any form. The omission was probably intentional, and in order to permit the reading of Esther at the joyous, even hilarious, festival of Purim, without irreverence. The language of the book contains several Persian words, translated "satrap," "post," "edict," "royal" (not "camel;" 8:10, and 14 read "swift steeds that were used in the king's service, bred of the stud," R. V.), "cotton," "crown," "nobles," "a copy," and "lot." The circumstantial minuteness of detail, the vividness of the portraits, the Persian words, and the whole tone of the book indicate that the author was a Jew who lived about the time of the events recorded, at the court of Persia, where he had access to the official documents of the kingdom. Rawlinson assigns the book to a period from 20 to 30 years after Xerxes's death, b.c. 444-434.

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These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of Used by Permission.

Bibliography Information
Rice, Edwin Wilbur, DD. Entry for 'Esther (2)'. People's Dictionary of the Bible. 1893.

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