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YMMV / Book of Esther

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  • Alternate Character Interpretation: One Bible study published online suggests that the book doesn't mention God because Esther and Mordecai are examples of non-religious Jewish People who save the day doing morally questionable acts. (Examples given include the protagonists not relying on God but trickery and the Jewish people using the plot against them as an excuse to murder their enemies and seize their property and then having a really big drunken party to celebrate it)
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  • "Common Knowledge": Some popular interpretations take "Haman the Agagite" as meaning he was descended from Agag the Amalekite, a sworn enemy of the Jews whose kingdom Saul failed to wipe out in the Books of Samuel, making Haman's backstory a Genocide Backfire. This hits the slight snag that 1 Samuel 15:33 seems to indicate that Agag was the last of his house; also, why wouldn't they just call his descendant "the Amalekite?" A more recent archaeological discovery clears it up: Agag (or Agazi) is listed as the name of a territory next to Media that was conquered and assimilated by the Persian empire.
  • Complete Monster: Haman the Agagite, one of the archetypal anti-Semites in Jewish folklore, is a vizier under Emperor Ahasuerus (Xerxes) whose ambition and ego know no bounds. Haman is introduced forcing citizens to bow to him; when a fellow advisor, Mordecai the Judean, refuses to bow to him—possibly on account of Haman embroidering a graven image into his clothing—Haman plots a genocide against Persian Jewry as a whole, manipulating the emperor into giving him his signet so that he may write it into law. When Mordecai still refuses to bow to him, Haman builds a gallows on which he intends to hang the latter.
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  • Ensemble Dark Horse: Esther is one for the Bible as a whole. She's only mentioned in this book, but the story of her heroism is very memorable, and even people with a casual knowledge of Jewish holidays can probably tell you who she was.
  • Spoiled by the Format: There's a Beauty Contest in chapter 2, only a fifth of the way into the story, and the title isn't "The Book Of Some Other Random Young Woman"... who do you think is going to win?
  • Woolseyism: The name for the Persian king used in the story is "Ahasuerus", which is a Hebrew equivalent to the name "Xerxes". Later translation have thus replaced the former name with the latter. Others, however, translate it as "Artaxerxes", who was Xerxes I's son.


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