in discussion Readings Discussion Questions / Discussion for Articles » Purim!
Between the fun, the costumes, and the audience participation in a story being told, it all sounds a bit like a showing of the Rocky Horror Picture Show.
Between the fun, the costumes, and the audience participation in a story being told, it all sounds a bit like a showing of the Rocky Horror Picture Show.
Saturday, February 27th. Drink until you cannot hear the difference between "Cursed be Haman" and "Blessed by Mordecai."
Here's a costume worn on Purim on the streets of Jerusalem:
Once again, this class has opened my eyes to another Bible passage I did not know existed. It just again proves how women have always been viewed as a possession; they are supposed to be beautiful virgins they will take care of the house and bear children. For the king to simply banish his wife the queen because she did not come to him is crazy. Esther was different from women in her time because she took a stand against a male, which was very uncommon in that time…probably even unheard of.
I am also interested as to why this story is actually in the Bible…like someone else said, there is no mention of God, Jesus…etc.
I, too, was unfamiliar with the book of Esther. I can see where this story would fit into the discussion of this class and patriarchy perfectly. Specifically the king telling all men that they must rule their households. I believe that Esther did a courageous act as well as being the mastermind behind saving her people. It was nice to see a woman be the hero, despite this it's still frustrating that the female hero had to answer to a man in order for her plan to succeed. So what does this story tell young women or little girls? You can succeed, but only if you obey the man's rules in the process?
It's actually from a book I have at home that is about the life of Esther.
the story of esther is a good example of how women suffer from patriarchy. back then, if a woman disobeyed her husband, the husband will banished her and replaced in a new one. love wasnt the reason for a marriage to occur. the king obviously does not love his wife queen vashti or esther. he only marry them because of their attractiveness. that is probably the reason why they didnt obey him. if the king would have treated his wife better, would that change her perspective toward him? anyway, i thought esther was a very brave women. she knew that she could get kill for begging the king to let her people live but still have the courage to tell him. this reveal that women are as brave and strong as men. not in a physical way, but mentally.
What I found really interesting about the story of Esther was how King Ahasuerus ordered Queen Vashti to be brought before the people so her beauty could be viewed by everyone. It was not as though he was having her brought to him because he loved her. Instead, it was Queen Vashti’s beauty that mattered more to King Ahasuerus which is reflected in today’s society with the pressure for women to be society’s definition of beautiful. What I really liked about this story is how Queen Vashti refused to come at King Ahasuerus’ command. I really liked how she stood up for herself in the story even though the consequence of her actions abolished any freedom women had. Not only was Queen Vashti banished from King Ahasuerus, but a written law was passed by the king in which every man was the master of his house. This story definitely can be seen as being roots of patriarchy because one woman rebelled against male authority and as a result a written law was made in which women must obey men. This story is similar to Adam and Eve in that, it is essentially the woman’s fault. But the idea that it is the woman’s fault stems from the independence of one woman. For example, Eve challenged male authority and ate from the tree of knowledge as Queen Vashti challenged male authority and refused to present herself to King Ahasuerus. This story of Queen Vashti is fascinating when comparing it to patriarchy because it illustrates that if women try to defy man then women will be punished and suppressed even further than before their act of defiance. The story of Esther also illustrates males’ irrationality and aggression towards human kind as King Ahasuerus made it a written law that all men should rule their women and then Ahasuerus order the annihilation of all the Jews. Women may be trying to defy male authority, but males do not always exert their authority very well as demonstrated by King Ahasuerus’s inability to rule over his people rationally and fairly.
I think that we have to keep in mind the historical context of the story. Sure, it's patriarchal, but you can't expect an ancient story about a Jewish woman, living in diaspora under the Persian king, to end with a victory for feminism/egalitarianism.
We shouldn't disregard the book of Esther, though, as I think Esther serves as a model for both Jewish women and Jewish men (Eilberg-Schwartz points out that Jewish men collectively identify as female). Look how much that one woman accomplished, even though she had to work through the traditional role of the female. It always makes for a great story when a low member of society gains influence over a king and is able to change the course of historical events, and I think the author is telling a story both to entertain and teach a lesson. As an aside, the author also seeks to justify the origins of the Jewish holiday Purim that still exists today.
What I find controversial about the story (as my Bible's introduction points out) is that this story justifies coercion, murder, and warfare, and also never mentions God even once.
In the beginning of this story it talked about a King and Queen Vashti, would disobeyed the king and therefore she was no longer queen. The king searched for a new queen and found Esther and married her. Once he found her he made a law that said that all women were to have respect for their husbands. How was this made possible? Is this due to patriarchy ruling? I was just curious how the king made this happen just like that. Throughout the rest of the story Esther finally reveals her true self to the king and tells him not to harm anyone and that she is a jew herself. Although she revealed that she was a jew, the king did not get as mad, because he loved her and promised her that he would not hurt any jews. I believe Esther was seen as a strong woman for revealing herself, because she could have been hung right on the spot because she was a jew. Esther overcame everything and just let God handle it all. I found this story really interesting. However, I was wondering what connection it had to women and religion? If the king did not love Esther as much as he did would her circumstances and the outcome of the story be different? I think it would be interesting to talk about this in class.
I too had trouble opening this article. I did find it with this link though. http://unbound.biola.edu/index.cfm?method=searchResults.doSearch
I thought this was very interesting on part specifically was the one where they did not want other women to know that Queen Vashti did not obey the king because they thought all women would start to rebel. I also found it absurd that they they looked all through out the country to find a virgin to make the king happy. And who ever made him the happiest would replace Vashti. I also found it interesting that they pampered Esther for 6 months with oil, spices and cosmetics before she could see the king. I found it interesting that Mordecai also, disobeyed the king just as Vashti did. And now Haman was there to take care of all the kings dirty work. Im glad to see that Queen Ester did stand up for her people and Haman was hung on the his own gallows he made. And I totally agree with Sarah.. Be an obedient women and you will succeed.
I can't figure out what the linking problem is from my end, but you can use the previous Unbound Bible etext link or just type "unbound bible" into your browser.
Moodle and I are having a fight, I guess.
So like most others the link told me that it could not be found. So I went to to site we used previously in class and found the story of esther to read. Patriarchy can be seen clearly within this story. In this story Esther lies (well she doesn't really even lie she withholds information) and doesn't tell her king that she is a jew. When there is a plot to kill all of the jews Esther jumps into action and makes a plan to save them and takes a role of authority. The king (Haman, I believe) wanted to get rid of the Jews because they all did not worship him and bow before his feet (aka they were not submissive). Which is surprising because especially in these ancient times women were not allowed to have these roles or it was extremely frowned upon, because of course, it's a woman and what do we know? Nothing right? Housework and childbearing.
One thing of note was that when the King chose Esther to be his new wife she was a virgin. Does this have a significance? We have discussed in class before that men liked to have virgin wives, if they were not virgins in this time they were a disgrace and seen as damaged goods, just like a used car. So with her being a virgin she seems to be following every law and be very obedient. Geesh did Esther prove everyone wrong by attempting to save all of her fellow Jews.
The book of Esther is about the king Ahasuerus becoming upset with his wife Vashti. She would not come before everyone as he had asked which enrages him and his subordinates. This leads to Ahasuerus setting out for someone else to take the crown, someone who is young, beautiful and a virgin. He gets many girls who come to see him, but only one wins his love, Esther. Esther is there due to her cousin Mordecai bringing her and telling her to hide her true self, a Jew. Esther is the perfect fit it seems because she is young, a virgin, and once going through the year of beauty treatment, the whole package. The story relays her as a hero for saving her people, the Jews, from a mass killing. I am curious as to why Vashit was not submissive to her husband? Is it because she held power and felt she did not need to follow the king’s command?
Considering that the historicity of the story at all is debated, along with whether Esther is Ishtar, or the whole thing is really a Mithrian story adopted by the Hebrew… it seems overly speculative to suggest that Vashti was pregnant. I am curious, though, as to what sources and which version of the story this detail comes from.
So the king didn't like his queen not agreeing to do anything, dumped her and got himself a new girl. A gorgeous virgin with no parents (no in-laws). The perfect woman in other words. Too bad the part about her being an orphan and not knowing her past wasn'tf ully true, she was a jew, and hid it from him. So when the one guy (i'm really bad at remembering names) says they should kill all the jews, esther comes up with a plan to save them all and asks the king to save them and bam… instant hero. So all in all, women should remember to answer to the men or risk being hanged, and that rather come up with a plan to rescue them ask the man in power (which would be any man compared to the woman) to help (or rather beg or use your girlish charm or whatever you want to call it). moral of this story… don't be a woman? or just be a really obedient one.
I don't know if anyone else was having problems, but I am unable to open the reading.
What I find notable, and probably most relevant to the class, is the the lack of God acting or being mentioned in the story. Which, in addition to not being in the Dead Sea Scrolls, sets the Book of Esther apart from the rest of the Tanakh. Which apparently was disconcerting to some set of Jews, seeing as prayers to God were added when the story was transcribed to Greek.
Why this matters, is that if the Bible conveys morality through the opinions of God, and no one in this story is judged, it is amoral. Without God to take favor of a character, the book isn't saying that that character's actions are right. And without God being angered by a character, the book isn't saying that that character's actions are wrong. Any patriarchy in the story, then, is neither model nor warning. Simply history.
I also had trouble with the link so i just read it out of the Bible. And i definetly agree that this is highly patriarchal. Even the Queen is pushed aside and replaced for not coming when the king bids it. And even gives a royal decree that women are to be subject to the men in their lives, which i might add is never repealed. Even after the Jews take their revenge this decree is still considred to be law, and nobody challanges it. I cannot say i view Esther as a hero, because she only did what she was told to do by her uncle and only when her life was also at stake. Would she have acted the same if her life was to be spared? All and all i dont think this story puts women in a good light at all. Also as a side note, whats with the king? For the leader of the country he seems to get manulipulated alot. Through the whole story he does everything that anyone asks him to. Might be time to grow a backbone!!
I have always been surprised by the book of esther. The first thing was that it was a women taking a role of authority. In that time women didn't do much more didn't have a opinion about anything. In the era women were more or less stoned to death or hung for having such opinion. Now esther took that one step further going against a king. Now again in that time you were killed if you went to the king with out being announced and, what she do, yes she went and not only came unannounced she voiced a strong point, about her native people. This blows my mind, especially, because of the culture was taken place in. I see her as a person who was called by God and believed that God would protect her. I think that is why it got in the bible, it is kinda of a stab at women saying even a women is protected by our God. I am sure in that day i bet that was huge. But looking at the story you learn so much about her character. You see she is strong willed, dedicated to her family, and has a desire to full fill Gods plan for her people. This will always be a story that has been a inspiration to me. I think it tells you no matter the odds you are facing or how disadvantage you are you can over come them with God. I like it
Thanks for some more information to add to the stories of Esther. I had never read the book of Esther before so it was interesting to be able to read a new part of the Bible. I also think it was interesting how Esther went from having nothing when she was picked by the king as a virgin to saving the lives of other Jews. I thought it was important because she had hidden her past until Haman wanted to get rid of the Jews because they lived by different rules and didn't bow down to him like the kingdom was supposed to do. Mordecai had told Esther to keep her past a secret because he didn't want her heritage to cause the King not to think she was acceptable and pleasing to him.
While reading these stories, I was interested to see how much it seemed patriarchy was connected in the stories. This book even mentions how wives must be submissive and the man should be the head of the household. This really connects to what we have talked about many times in the class with women being submissive in many writings, including the Bible.