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Universit degli studi di Pavia

Dipartimento di Studi Umanistici


i auea aitale i illia, letteatue e tia ellatihit

The Additions to the Book of Esther:


Historical Background
Relatore: prof. Lucio Troiani
Correlatore: prof. Elio Jucci

Tesi di Laurea magistrale di


Erica Gazzoldi

Anno Accademico 2012/2013

Traduzione del titolo: e iute al i i Ete ti

Abstract
Il lav vete ulle iette iute al i ili i Ete ei ai he mpai ella
versione greca dei Settanta e che non corrispondono ad alcun passo nel Testo Masoretico. I
contenuti di dette Aggiunte vengono calati nel contesto della Diaspora Orientale. Vengono fatte
anche considerazioni sulla possibile datazione del Libro di Ester, oltre che delle Aggiunte
medesime; le vicende raccontate dal testo biblico vengono poste a confronto con quanto narrano
della corte persiana autori come Erodoto, Ctesia e Plutarco. Immancabile la citazione degli scritti di
Giuseppe Flavio, il quale non solo offre una propria versione della storia di Ester, ma testimonia
anche le controversie e gli scontri fra Ebrei e Gentili, in particolar modo sotto i Tolemei.

To Francesco, who is my rediscovered faith.


To Ilaria, in hoc exilio.
To Jacopo Enrico, who is afraid of Prometheus.
To Silvia, who does not need this work to love Esther.

Introduction
The biblical Book of Esther tells about the young Hadassah, or Esther. She is cousin and foster
child of Mordecai, a pious Jew who lives at the court of the Persian king Ahasuerus. The story is
linked to the great Exile (586 BCE 538 BCE) which followed the fall of Jerusalem under
euhaea II pwe From Jerusalem were deported about 3000 people in 597 B. C. E. and
1500 in 586 B. C. E. Judea was left deserted, while exiled Jews in Babylon kept their identity and
their king. (1) eai i the son of Jair, the son of Shimei, the son of Kish, a Benjamite; who had
been carried away from Jerusalem with the captivity which had been carried away with Jeconiah
ki Juah, whm euhaea the ki ayl ha aie away (2) His ward Esther
maae t eme haueu wie, thu uee eia, a t ave the Jewih ppulati m
the genocide planned by the vizier Haman.
The so-called Additions are six passages in the Greek version of Esther in the Septuagint (LXX)
which are not included in the Masoretic Text (M.T.), that was codified in the 8th 10th centuries
CE. (3) The purpose of the present work is to read the Additions in the light of the historical
background of Eastern Diaspora, mainly focusing on the life of the Egyptian Jews under the last
Ptolemies.
For the Greek text of the Book of Esther, we refer to: Septuaginta, id est Vetus Testamentum graece
iuxta LXX interpretes, edidit Alfred Rahlfs, editio altera quam recognovit et emendavit Robert
Hanhart, Duo volumina in uno, Stuttgart, 2006, Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft.

(1) Mario Liverani, Antico Oriente. Storia societ economia, Roma-ai, 1 ( ilitea tia atea
first edition in 2009), Editori Laterza, pp. 680-682; Manfred Clauss, Israele nellet antica, Bologna, 2003, Il
Mulino, pp. 75-84.
(2) Est 2: 5-, ite y Ja hae, he k Ethe i the iht ity, i The Jewish Quarterly
Review, New Series, Vol. 9, No.1/2 (Jul.-Oct., 1918), p. 16.
(3) a ht te, ee aeti, i ilia Associazione laica di cultura biblica, Vademecum per il lettore
della Bibbia, Brescia, 1996, Morcelliana, p. 48.

Chapter 1: The Jews in Ptolemaic Egypt and the Septuagint


The Jewish historian Josephus (37/8 CE 95 CE) reports that there were Jews in Alexander the
eat amy (Against Apion, 1.200) and that he assigned them their quarter in Alexandria (ibidem,
2.36; 2.42; 2.72). However, the author himself, in the same work, cites Ps.-eataeu On the Jews,
stating that the Jews came in Egypt following Ptolemy Lagos ate the attle aa

(1) (Ibid.

1.186). Josephus repeats this in his Jewish Antiquities (12.7). These are the passages taken into
consideration by Gambetti (2007) while searching for clues about the origins of the Jewish
community of Alexandria. (2) he thu ut the lik etwee lexae a the Jew aival i
Alexandria, as she remarks that it is not confirmed by other sources and Josephus himself
contradicts it. (3) Gambetti (2007) also quotes the so-called Letter of Aristeas (see below, at pp. 1516), whih im the hypthei the Jew aival i lexaia a tlemy I aptive (1)
(4)

As a further document, Sandra Gambetti mentions the Satrap stela (5). It is the earliest and only

extant official document by Ptolemy Lagos in his capacity of satrap of Egypt. (6) The stela is dated
29th August 311 BCE. (7) The inscription states that Ptolemy transferred the capital from Memphis
to a fortress called Rhakotis, then renamed Alexandria (ll. 4-5). (8) According to Gambetti (2007),
this event took place on 314 BCE. (9) hakti mea plae ue tuti (10) Such a name
uet t ametti () that lexaia wa t the eult lexae yecism of villages
in the area; seventeen years after the alleged foundation it was still under construction and
unnamed. (11)
As Gambetti (2007) reports, the Satrap stela records movements of people from the Levant to
Egypt, just after the mention of the battle of Gaza. (12) Two episodes are related. The first one
e the attle ppe, i whih tlemy eie emetiu amy (13); after that, he directed
himel t the la the amea a tk them t Eypt (14) According to the inscription,
the atap uht al thei (15) he iula pit t mtheiti ppulati (16)
Gambetti (2007) points out that, within this frame, the Jews and the Samaritans jump to the
forefront. (17) She presents the literary sources which support this hypothesis. (18)
Diodorus tells that in 301 BCE Ptolemy subjugated all the cities of Coele-Syria (Historical Library,
11, 1) am them thee wa uely Jeualem i 1, ept tlemy yia
campaign in 312 BCE. Josephus tells about it in his Jewish Antiquities, stating that he brought to
Egypt a lot of Judean and Samaritan captives (12. 1-7). Jerusalem is not mentioned; it was not
6

mentioned in Diod. 19.93 either. According to this sources, Gambetti (2007) dates the deportation
back to 312 BCE. (19)
She newly takes into consideration the Letter of Aristeas, which states that Ptolemy
employed the Jewish captives partly in garrisons, while he sold the majority into slaves (12 - 14).
(20)

Gambetti (2007) links this piece of information to the political and military situation, which was

complex. (21) lexae the eat eeal iially ule ehal lexae IV, ut thei
pledge was growing weaker and weaker. (22) he ue yaty wa peively yi ut
and the generals (the Diadochi) actually ruled their respective satrapies in their own name. (23)
Their agreements produced permanent territorial divisions. When Alexander IV died in 310 BCE,
they declared themselves kings. (24)
According to such a frame, Gambetti (2007) notes that Ptolemy Lagos, then Ptolemy I Soter,
needed concrete military strength to ensure his hold on his power. (25) This would have been the
reason to enroll in his army the captives from the Syrian war in 312 BCE and to settle them
throughout the Egyptian nomes. (See: Letter of Aristeas, 13). (26) Gambetti (2007) supposes that
they must have manned also the fortress of Alexandria. (27) Philo (Against Flaccus, 172 (28) ) calls
the Alexandrian Jews , i.e. military colonists settled by the generals in their newly
conquered territories. (29) Josephus (Against Apion, 2.36; The Jewish War, 2.488 (30) ) states they
were named

, aeia, a the

eie themelve i the papyi (31)

Gambetti (2007) ascribes this t the at that i the iahi time lie m evey pveiee
were armed and trained according to Macedonian practice. (32)
We can now understand how Alexandria was the only city in the Mediterranean area in which the
Jews had lived since the time of the foundation. (33) alay () pit ut, tlemy I te
immiati pliy euae the aival eie i hi apital ity yia tlemai
conquest (which lasted from 301 BCE to 198 BCE) facilitated the migration of Jews to Egypt as
Jeualem wa ilue i yia a heiia (34)
But Mlze Modrzejewski (1995) and Gambetti (2007) remark that Egypt had seen a Jewish
presence since late Pharaonic times, when the southernmost garrison at the border with Nubia was
at Elephantine. (35) A military colony consisting of Arameans and Jews was settled there, on that
island at the first Nile cataract, near Syene (today Aswan). (36) According to Mlze Modrzejewski
(1995), the Aramaic documents concerning this colony date mostly from the 5th century BCE, but
the arrival of the soldiers certainly preceded the conquest of Egypt by the Persian Cambyses in 525
BCE. (37) Mlze Modrzejewski (1995) compares the evidence concerning Jewish troops in Egypt
with what he knows of other foreign mercenaries in the service of the last Pharaohs. (38) He refers to
Psammeticus II (595 589 BCE), who employed a good number of foreign mercenaries in his
7

army. (39) Mlze Modrzejewski (1995) reports graffiti by Greek, Carian, and Phoenician auxiliaries,
which have been found on one of the two temples of Abu Simbel, some 150 km south of Aswan. (40)
According to the scholar, their authors had participated in the expedition against Nubia in 593 BCE.
(41)

Mlze Modrzejewski (1995) points out that no Aramaic inscriptions have been found among

them. (42) But, i the

metie i the Letter of Aristeas (13) had to be identified with

Psammeticus II, this would mean that there were Jewish mercenaries in his army, too. (43) Mlze
ejewki (1) hypthei ietiiati take it ieati athe elemet
i t tw eek iipti, kw a the miute, the eek lie emplye at the
beginning of the 6th century BCE were led by Psammeticus son of Theokles. (44) The latter appears
to be one of the many Greek mercenaries who settled on the banks of the Nile from the 7th century
BCE. (45) hekle eame the mmae-in-chief of an army composed of Egyptian and
foreign elements. (46) hee ei elemet wee mmae y taimt, ai t
le ejewki (1) utati the miute (47) In Greek, they are designated as

( the ue thi w, ee al etu 1), ie me wh peak a ierent

lauae hu thee i lea iiati thei eaphial ii (48) However, if we


aepte the ietiiati

with ammetiu hekle, we ul lue

like Mlze Modrzejewski (1995)- that the beginnings of the Judean colony in Elephantine should
be placed at the end of the 7th etuy E, pehap ui Jiah time (-609 BCE) or during
the reign of his successor Jehoiakim (609 598 BCE), who chose to be faithful to the Pharaoh
Necho II. (49) Mlze Modrzejewski (1995) remembers us also that in Elephantine there was a
Jewish temple proper, a plae aiiial ite whih ul have ee ue ee Jiah
reforms (622 BCE), that imposed the unity of worship, or afterwards, in reaction to them. (50)
Between 587 BCE and 515 BCE, i.e. from the Exile until the reconstruction of the Temple in
Jerusalem, Elephantine was the only place in the world where Jewish sacrificial worship was
practiced. (51)
Mlze Modrzejewski (1995) states that the members of the colony practiced a brand of Judaism
differing from the one codified by Josiah. (52) Mlze Modrzejewski (1995) quotes oaths that the
Jew Elephatie mut have w y lal eitie uh a the ee at-Yaho and Sati.
(53)

The scholar also mentions a lengthy text concerning the poll taxes for the worship of Syenese

amea iviitie (54) But this syncretism did not save the Jews of Elephantine from contrasts
with their Egyptian neighbors, whose deity was Khnum. According to Mlze Modrzejewski
(1995), for the priests of this ram-god, the men who sacrificed lambs must have been perceived as
committing deicide. (55) The rise of Egyptian nationalism put an end to tolerance. (56) Since 414/413
BCE, a revolt against Persian conquerors had been gathering strength. (57) In the springtime of 410
8

BCE, several Egyptian regiments rebelled. (58) Several years later, their chief Amyrtaeus was to be
proclaimed Pharaoh. (59) Between mid-July and mid-August 410 BCE, with the support of Vidranga
(Waidrang), the governor of Syene, the sanctuary at Elephantine was laid waste. It was sacked and
Jewish dwellings were pillaged. (60) The Jewish colonists complained, stressing their loyalty to the
Achaemenid regime. (61) Their petition must have been received favorably, for the nationalist
rebellion had since been quelled, Governor Vidranga made destitute, the vandals punished. (62) The
Elephantine temple was rebuilt, but the high priest of Jerusalem forbade burnt-offerings and animal
sacrifice. Only vegetable offerings and incense were allowed. (63) The renewal of Egyptian
nationalism proved fatal also to this second sanctuary. It seems to have been rebuilt between 406
and 401 BCE; it was destroyed a very few years later. There was no longer a Jewish colony in
Elephantine. (64)
le ejewki (1) ememe that athe lta the wa eete i
Egypt during the reign of Ptolemy VI Philometor (185-145 BCE) and his sister-wife Cleopatra II.
(65)

i t Jephu, they ie thei whle kim t the Jew (

Against Apion 2.49). (66) Mlze Modrzejewski (1995) finds that

this statement is quite exaggerated, but he agrees in saying that Ptolemy VI surely could not neglect
Jewish support in his struggle against Antiochus IV, who had twice invaded Egypt. (67) In the
Jewish Antiquities (13.354), Ananias, a Jewish general, saves the kingdom of Alexander Jannaeus
(103-76 BCE) from being swallowed whole by the Ptolemaic empire, by threating that this
aexati wul pvke the htility the Eyptia Jew twa lepata III (

) (68)

Thus it is not strange to see the Judean high priest Onias to seek refuge in Egypt. (69) His
identification as the third or the fourth Onias of his dynasty is a still unsolved question. Josephus,
in his Jewish War (7.423), says that Onias III (Onias son of Simon) was the one who fled to
Ptolemy. But the Jewish Antiquities (12.387 ff.; 13.62 ff.) talk of his son (Onias IV), instead.
According to 2 Mac. 4: 32 ff., Onias III was slain at Daphne near Antioch. According to most
commentators, his martyrdom is probably alluded to in Dan. 9: 26. We are here referring to a note
to Jewish Antiquities 12.387, in: Josephus, Jewish Antiquities, (he e laial iay), with
an English translation by Ralph Marcus, Ph. D., London William Heinemann LTD, Cambridge
(Massachusetts) Harvard University Press, MCMLVII, vol. VII.
As it is remembered by Mlze Modrzejewski (1995) and by Chiara de Filippis Cappai (2008), the
Oniads were the descendants of Zadok, high priest in the time of Solomon. (70) They had occupied
this office since Onias I, son of Jaddus, who had, according to the legend, opened the gates of
Jerusalem to Alexander the Great. (71) hei uei wa iteupte y the avet Ja the
9

elleit, the ia III (72) The latter, after having taken refuge in a pagan temple in
Daphne, near Antioch, was probaly aaiate y e eelau, Ja ue, aut
172 BCE as we have already said. (73) Mlze Modrzejewski (1995) accepts this version, stating
that his son Onias IV was the one who fled to Egypt. (74) According to him, in 164 BCE, Onias IV
was already a high dignitary in the Ptolemaic court. (75) Josephus reports that he asked Ptolemy VI
a hi wie pemii t uil

(Jewish

Antiquities 13.63), a temple in Egypt similar to the one in Jerusalem. According to Mlze
Modrzejewski (1995), its construction might be placed in the period from December 167 BCE to
December 164 BCE, during which the Temple was desecrated by the altar of a foreign god. (76)
Onias and his troops had been very helpful in tlemy VI tule aait hi ival the, the
future Ptolemy VIII Euergetes II. (77) According to Josephus, he asked for a sanctuary suitable to
Jewish soldiers and he had detected an acceptable place in Leontopolis now Tell el-Yehoudieh- on
the remains of the fortress called after Bubastis-of-the-Fields. (78) he plae peet-day name
atually mea the kll the Jew (79)
According to Mlze Modrzejewski (1995), the temple of Leontopolis was known by the rabbis, but
they did not condemn it. (80) Priests who officiated there could not officiate in Jerusalem, but the
almu i t eem the atuay himati, ie it wa ue y a leitimate hih piet
(81)

ia temple wa le i E a le ejewki (1) explains, it was too


dangerous a symbol of Jewish independence to be tolerated by the Romans. (82)
Bickerman (1988) notes also the presence of Jewish soldiers in the Arsinoite district (Fayyum). (83)
This area was wonderfully fertile and the first Ptolemies further enlarged its productive area by
draining the marshes and instituting a system of irrigation. (84) The land was then assigned to the
ki utie a lie (85) Military settlers were obliged to report to their regiments
completely equipped, if they were summoned. (86) Bickerman (1988) underlines that they were
bound to the monarch by an oath of fealty and, moreover, by personal interest. (87) They lived side
by side with native population, as soldiers of other nationalities did. (88) However, according to
Bickerman (1988), no Jewish officer can be identified in the Ptolemaic kingdom before 174 BCE.
(89)

Of course, as Bickerman (1988) and Barclay (2004) underline, the Jews also worked in menial

occupations: they were tenants, vine-dressers, hired laborers, slaves. (90) Bickerman (1988) includes
the Jew am ellee (91) This means that they generally had higher and better paid positions
than the average natives, for they were better suited to carry out Ptolemaic plans for developing
Eypt atual eue (92) For example, the monarchs favored the culture of wheat more than
that of traditional barley and spelt. Moreover, the demand of wine was increasing in Hellenized
10

Egypt; the natives were used to the local beer and could not furnish the specialized workers needed
in the vineyards. Jewish workers were also able to use iron instruments in agriculture. (93)
As documents, Bickerman (1988) quotes papyri and inscriptions in Greek, which speak of Jewish
houses of worship in third-century Egypt. (94) hi hue whip eem t have ee athe
impressive, but they were not temples proper like the ones in Elephantine and Leontopolis. (95) They
wee alle

, [hue ] paye (96) The dedicatory inscriptions testify that the Jews

put their religion under the protection of the Ptolemies, but they avoided using the divine epithets of
the Pharaohs. (97)
In front of this situation, Bickerman (1988) indicates Alexandria as an anomalous case. (98)
Although under the rule of the Ptolemies, it was situated legally and morally outside of Egypt
proper, together with Naucratis and Ptolemais. (99) We have already said that Alexandria was the
only Mediterranean city which had seen a conspicuous Jewish presence since the time of its
foundation (p. 7). The Alexandrian Jews kept together at first, settling on the east side of the
metropolis, close to the sea. (100) From there the Jewish population eventually spilled over into the
other areas of the city. (101) Of the five city district, tw wee alle Jewih he (1)
points out that the Jews lived mainly in the so-alle elta, that i, i the uth itit (102) They
formed a united and numerous corporation, with significant political power (103), as we have already
suggested while talking of Ptolemy VI and of Cleopatra III. Hellenistic Jewish communities have
been defined in several ways, which Schrer (1986) reports. (104) He quotes a dedicatory inscription
m a

heia ea lexaia, ati t the time f Ptolemy III Euergetes (247-221

BCE). (105) It imply meti

, ie the Jewih mmuity the lality (106) The Letter

of Aristeas (310) talks of a , i.e. in later Greek- a political body which is organized like
a city commune, enjoys a measure of independent existence, has officials and can pass decrees. (107)
The Letter atually meti

(the ele) a

(the

leae the [Jewih] peple), alie the piet (1) t the time of Strabo, as Schrer
(1986) quotes (108), the Alexandrian community had also an

, a ethah, wh ve

the people and adjudicates suits and supervises contracts and ordinances, just as if he were the head
a veei tate (ee Jephus, Jewish Antiquities 14.117. Translation by Ralph Marcus).
ilial eek eiate the he eple a the tem ue al a eiati a
local community. (109)
Bickerman (1988) underlines that, when we talk of Jewish condition in Alexandria, we must
ememe that the latte wa a eek

, thu kwi the ept naturalization a

change of nationality by will and fiat. (110) The scholar finds probable that, during the first forty of
ity yea lexaias existence, naturalization was easily procured. (111) Later, in about the
11

second quarter of the 3rd century, e eee t e elle i a

(112)

wee uuit

(113) When the influx of immigrant had excessively grown, the enrollment of new citizens in

the

wa tppe (114) he ewme wee w tyle a lexaia t elle i the


(115) They did not possess full civil rights, but they were set under the jurisdiction of the

ut the eie a they indicated their origin and status when they were parties to
lawsuits. (116) All this means that the descendants of those Jews who had become citizens of
Alexandria before the reform was instituted were full citizens, whereas those who arrived after it
was instituted had but a little chance of becoming burgess. (117) Bickerman (1988) sees the
mati a autmu

a the eult uh a ituati (118) Nor the Jewish national

association was the only one of this kind in Alexandria. (119) While the Jews clamored for absolute
euality, the pivilee thei

wee tete, util a pm ante litteram exploded in

38 CE, under Caligula. (120) According to Bickerman (1988), the existence of official separate
Jewish organizations in the city made the assimilation difficult, and the other inhabitants could be
htile t the pivilee alie (121) The role of the latters in Alexandrian life was not fixed. (122)
What we have said about the unity and distinctness of the Jewish community could led us to think
that thee wa a li Jewihe t eve eve, a alay () ememe, the
elleie Jew the iapa ae uually et aait the thx Jew i aletie (123) But
the latter were not unacquainted with Hellenization. (124) The Letter of Aristeas (121) for
example- shows seventy-tw wie Jew wh

([they] ha t upeiially evte themelve t eek euati alati i

ours). Thus it is not possible to take Palestinian Judaism as a term of comparison with the one in the
Diaspora. (125) Barclay (2004) revises such concepts as orthodoxy and deviation. (126) Egyptian
Jew wee tatly ue ial peue eaue thei iveity, ut, at the same time, they
could reach eminent position at court and in the army. (127) Barclay (2004) supposes that the
solidarity of the community counterbalanced individual tendencies to an assimilation which
facilitated career. (128) What we all eviati according to Barclay (2004)- is not based on a
neutral criterion, but its definition varies according to lands, times and common habits. (129) A
eviati i te make y a patiula jumet a aially epe up ial eati
(130)

Simila plem ae pe y alay () whe emplyi uh tem a aptay a

aptate (131) l elleiati according to the scholar- could assume many forms and it
did not necessarily threaten Jewishness. (132) Barclay (2004) depicts Hellenism not as a norm, but as
the product of melted cultures. It never was still nor stable; it was not a missionary culture, nor an
intolerant one. (133)

12

Barclay (2004) also distinguishes assimilation from acculturation. (134) He links the former to
ial iteati, eii it a the l a epaate ietity a meme a ieet up
(135)

Quoting the sociologist Sharot (1976, 3), Barclay states that ethnic minorities are menaced by

assimilation, not by acculturation, which is the acquisition of certain language, education, ideology
and manners. (136)
While valui aimilati, alay () ie tat iti (137) As he points out,
relationships between Jews and Gentiles could vary in frequency and in quality. (138) Barclay (2004)
schematizes as follows:
ASSIMILATION (139)
(SOCIAL INTEGRATION)

Loss of fundamental Jewish social distinctive traits

Gymnasial education

Participation to Greek athletics and/or to Greek theater

Commercial activities with non-Jews

Social life limited to the Jewish community

He proposes a similar schema for acculturation:

13

ACCULTURATION (140)
(LANGUAGE/EDUCATION)

Erudition

Familiarity with Greek literature, rhetoric, philosophy and theology

Cognition of common ethical values

Lack of competence in Greek language


Barclay (2004) underlines that aultuati a e emplye t ympathie with the majity
culture or to oppose it. (141) So he distinguishes several levels of adaptation, i.e. use of
acculturation:
ADAPTATION (142)
(USE OF ACCULTURATION)

Annulment of Jewish cultural uniqueness

integration

Reinterpretation of Judaism which preserves


a certain uniqueness

Antagonism towards Greek-Roman culture


opposition

According to Barclay (2004), what really matters to value the assimilation degree is not how
much Jews recurred to their acculturation, but how they did it. (143)

14

As an example of full assimilation, Barclay (2004) mentions Dositheus son of Drimylus, who
became an eponymous priest of the cult of Alexander and the deified Ptolemies in 222 BCE. (144)
His name was highly spread among Jews. (145) The Third Book of the Maccabees (1, 3) says he had
a Jewish origin, but he had denied ancestral laws and customs. (146) According to Barclay (2004),
social climbers could not stand a complete observance of Judaism, which required a high grade of
isolation from Gentiles, i.e. from the royal court. (147) But he offers also examples of high-ranking
Jews who did not conceal their religious identity. (148) The Second Book of the Maccabees (1, 10)
mentions Aristobulus, wh wul have ee tlemy VI mate ut 1 E, itulu
applied Greek allegorical method of interpretation to the Bible and dedicated his explanation of the
Scriptures to the king this must be the reason for what we read in 2 Mac. (149) Barclay (2004)
includes in this list the so-called Pseudo-Aristeas, the author of that Letter of Aristeas we have
already cited and which we will consider more attentively. (150) Barclay (2004) stresses that
Pseudo-Aristeas deeply knew royal protocol and appreciated Hellenistic culture, but openly praised
Judaism and put it above Gentile wisdom. (151) Momigliano (1987) presents Demetrius, a Jewish
historian of the 3rd etuy E, wh elaate a eume hi peple pat eek eae
(152)

He also mentions Artapanus, who, in the 2nd (?) century BCE, wrote a biography of Moses,

peeti him a pheu mate a the Eyptia lawive (153) We have already talked about
those high officers mentioned by Josephus (p. 9). Last but not least, Philo (30 BCE 45 CE), as a
scholar, was deeply imbued with Greek philosophy and attended theatrical and athletic events in
Alexandria. (154) However, he was linked to the local Jewish community to the point of leading a
risky embassy to Caligula in the wake of the lexaia pm ( E) (155)
The Greek translation of the Hebrew Scriptures took place in this frame. This version of the
Bible is called Septuagint (XX) ate the evety (atually evety-two) translators
mentioned by the Letter of Aristeas (50). We have already made quotations from this literary
work. It is an epistle whose date of composition is uncertain. Calabi (2002) indicates as terminus
ante quem tlemy II hilaelphu ei mentioned in the epistle- a Jephu paraphrasis of
this work (Jewish Antiquities 12.7-118) as terminus post quem. She thus dates the Letter of Aristeas
back to a period going from the 3rd century BCE and the end of the 1st . (156) According to Calabi
(2002), the author is probably a Hellenized Jew who pretends to be Aristeas, a cultivated Gentile at
the court of Ptolemy II Philadelphus (285-247 BCE). (157) e i thu kw a eu-itea
e ept that emetiu haleeu [i!] euie a eek vei

, the

Jew law the yal liay i lexaia (1) he tlemy eie t wite t the hih
priest in Jerusalem. To obtain his benevolence, he emancipates Jewish slaves in his kingdom. The
15

high priest Eleazar answers favorably to Ptolemy, offering to envoy to Egypt seventy-two wise and
learned men as translators, together with a copy of the Hebrew Law. Pseudo-Aristeas describes the
it ee y tlemy t the emple, the the amaa viit t Jeualem e a
explanations of Jewish dietary laws, purity norms and religious beliefs. Ptolemy welcomes the
seventy-two wise men offering a feast; the author reports a long conversation between the
hilaelphu a hi uet aut a ki ehavi he the evety-two translators are
lodged on the isle of Pharus, in front of Alexandria, where they perform their work in seventy-two
ay he eek vei the ile tai the ki a the lexaia Jewih mmuity
approbation.
It is not easy to detect how much fiction and how much matter of facts there are in the Letter of
Aristeas. it all, the meti emetiu haleeu a tlemy II llaat eem t e
a aahim haleeu live at tlemy I ut havi uppte tlemy Keauu aim at
the throne, he was banished by the Philadelphus, when the latter managed to become king. (158)
Then, Pseudo-itea paie Juaim a hi unreciprocated- exaltation of it above Hellenistic
wisdom lead to suppose as we have anticipated quoting Barclay (2004)- that he was a Hellenized
Jew pretending to be a Gentile to confer an apparent objectiveness to the tale. His irenic
representation of relationships between the Jews and the Gentiles in Ptolemaic Egypt is somewhat
idealistic and did not necessarily match reality, as we have seen. The number of seventy-two or
seventy, as we find in Josephus, Jewish Antiquities 12.57- has a symbolic value. As Calabi (2002)
points out, seventy elders accompanied Moses to the Sinai (Exodus 24: 1-9); seventy elders were
coopted by God to help Moses in his relationship with the people; seventy members formed the
Sanhedrin. (159) The translators are six for every Jewish tribe and twelve tribes are listed (50), even
if according to Calabi (2002)- ten tribes had disappeared long time before. (160) The approbation of
the talati eall the peple et i Exodus Ea puli eai i Nehemiah 8.
(161)

Such details as Hanhart (1962) and Calabi (2002) detect- are not matter of fact, but are

necessary to convey a message: the Greek translation is due to Gods will. It was a prophetic
revelation addressed to Greek-speaking people. (162) The acknowledgment of the sacred character of
the LXX was exceptional, as the Jews were usually refractory to translations of the Scriptures. They
were a sort of desecration and, however, as we all know, translations are never a perfect substitute
of the original. The holy texts had to remain unaltered in every sense.(163) Pseudo-Aristeas himself
tells about the historian Theopompus (378-300 BCE), who became mentally ill for a while because
he had tried to include in his work some translated passages of the Law (314). The Letter mentions
also the tragic poet Theodektes (374-334 BCE), who was temporarily blinded for the same reason
(316). This renders ever more amazing the acceptation of a version such as the LXX is: a free
16

reinterpretation, moreover including Additions like the ones we will focus upon. The art of
translation as we conceive it now as Bickerman (1959) reminds us- has a Roman origin. (164)
Bickerman (1959) explains that, before the development of Roman literature, the contents of a
foreign work could be simply adapted for the readers of another language. (165) Official documents
were translated by professional dragomans who generally clung to the letter. (166) They used rude
end elementary vocabularies which juxtaposed in parallel columns foreign words and its two or
three equivalents. (167) Bickerman (1959) finds also likely that a dragoman standing beside the
reader translated lessons into Greek in the Alexandrian synagogue. (168) He finds again probable that
a written rendering into Greek existed for selected passages to help him. (169) But under the
conditions of book making in antiquity, Bickerman (1959) supposes that the oral rendering of the
Torah lessons into Aramaic was more spread than written translation since the time of Ezra. (170)
Marcos (2000) infers that the Septuagint was born by a series of attempts at rendering the original
text more than by a unitary translation work. (171) As Schrer (1986) remembers, the Letter of
Aristeas e jut the aw, ie the etateuh, the irst five books of the Ancient Testament.
(172)

Marcos (2000) indicates it as a sort of basic lexicon for the translation of the other books. (173)

Bickerman (1959) remarks that in orthography and accidence, the patchy vocabulary and relaxation
of syntax, the Pentateuch is vernacular. (174) He finds likely that the translators could not fail to use
the experience and the clichs of Aramaic dragomen, thus rendering the original clause in a literal
way and conserving the Hebrew word order. (175) As far as the translation of the other biblical books
i ee, a () uelie that eveal tehiue wee applie, m the ame
one to the most free ones. (176) The highest grade of freedom in translation, according to him, is
reached in the Greek version of the Book of Esther. (177)
The translation of the Torah is placed by the Letter of Aristeas in the first half of the 3rd century. (178)
The translation of the other books of the Bible prosecuted in the following centuries, probably till
the 1st century CE. (179) In the Jewish tradition, the Greek Pentateuch alone was the authorized
version. From the 2nd century CE on, Christian writers began to ascribe the translation of the whole
Bible into Greek to the original company of interpreters. (180)
As far as the origin of the Septuagint is concerned, our discourse is more complex. We have
already seen what the Letter of Aristeas tells and which fictional elements it contains.
We could say that a reason for translating the Bible is rooted in Jewish universalism itself. Marcos
(2000) reports a rabbinic tradition about the revelation on the Sinai, according to which the Law
was offered to every people in seventy languages. (181) On the other hand, Marcos (2000) points out
that the Jews in the Diaspora risked losing their cultural heritage, although they kept in touch with
their Palestinian coreligionists through pilgrimages to Jerusalem and the annual tax to the Temple.
17

(182)

a () ee i the talati the iptue i eek the iapa reaction to

Hellenism, which aimed at keeping Jewish culture alive in that world. (183) The loss of ancestral
lauae le t the all the ta the paa eemie lauae aaphai ahat
(1962), we could say that the LXX rendered the Anciet etamet piit i eek, tethe with
the Hellenistic spirit of waning ancient times. (184) However, Pseudo-itea vei the matte
is not completely rejected by Schrer (1986). Aristobulus we have kw him a tlemy VI
mate- related the main elements of the Letter aative aut hilaelphu a emetiu he
two authors probably recorded independently a common tradition. (185) Bickerman (1959) does not
find strange to see an ancient government undertaking an extensive translation work. (186) He
remembers that, under Darius I, a company of Egyptian scholars went to Persia to produce an
Egyptian law-code and its Aramaic translation. (187) He adds that, in 146 BCE, the Roman Senate
commanded a Latin version of the Punic agronomical work of Magon in twenty-eight books. (188)
Again, the Egyptian code was quoted in Greek before Ptolemaic courts and officials. (189) When the
evety puue thei tak as Bickerman (1959) notes- a Babylonian priest composed a history
of his country i eek a a hih piet a ie the ae hie Eypt mpile that
of the Pharaohs. (190) Manetho worked for Ptolemy II while the Babylonian Berossus dedicated his
compilation to Antiochus I of Syria. (191) Moreover, Bickerman (1959) underlines that tlemy II
interest in books is notorious, as the Alexandrian royal library is. (192) We have already said that the
mention of Demetrius Phalereus as librarian is probably an anachronism, as he was banished by the
Philadelphus. However, Rajak (2007) points out that the evidence for the banishment is weak; the
biographical information supplied by its source, the peripatetic author Hermippus of Smyrna (about
200 BCE), would carry limited authority. (193) In any event, Rajak (2007) finds quite conceivable for
the translation enterprise to have been set in motion still under Ptolemy I. (194) The scholar depicts
the gathering of all known literary production as a way to display Ptolemaic power on the whole
inhabited world. (195) Marcos (2000) supposes that the translation of the Jewish Law would have
allowed royal functionaries to understand it. (196) In his opinion, the Greek rendering of the Torah
would have integrated it in the Ptolemaic judicial system, making possible the knowledge of the
laws of an autonomous ethnic minority. However, this is a mere hypothesis. (197) What is certain as
Rajak (2007) notes- is that Judea was a part of Coele-Syria, a land which was crucial to the early
Ptolemies as border territory, repeatedly contested with their rivals the Seleucids. (198) We have
also told about the Jewish soldiers who were settled in cleruchies in the present-day Fayyum (p. 10).
ea ajak ay, ule eeit m kwi what he w a mething of those over
whm he ule (199) We can conclude that the enterprise of the translation was rooted in Jewish

18

eliiu, ial a apleti ee, a well a i the ama ew patie, ut that it


paly ame m tlemy ut (200)

19

(1) eataeu ay al that ate the attle aa tlemy eame mate the whle yia, a that a lt
ihaitat, wh wee ime aut tlemys gentleness and humanity, wanted to leave with him for Egypt and
t take pat i hi at (alati i u)
(2) aa ametti, he Jewih mmuity lexaia he ii, i Henoch, New Series 2005, Year XXIX
N. 2/2007, Morcelliana, pp. 213-215.
(3) Ibid., pp. 214-215.
(4) Ibid., p. 215.
(5) Ibid., pp. 216 ff.
(6) Ibid., p. 216.
(7) Ibid.
(8) Ibid.
(9) Ibid., p. 217.
(10) Ibid.
(11) Ibid.
(12) Ibid., p. 218.
(13) Ibid.
(14) Ibid.
(15) Ibid., p. 219.
(16) Ibid.
(17) Ibid.
(18) Ibid., pp. 219-221.
(19) Ibid., pp. 219-221.
(20) Quoted in ibid., p. 221.
(21) Ibid., p. 229.
(22) Ibid.
(23) Ibid.
(24) Ibid.
(25) Ibid.
(26) Ibid., pp. 229-230.
(27) Ibid., p. 230.
(28) Quoted by Gambetti in ibid., p. 230.
(29) Quoted by Gambetti in ibid., p. 230.
(30) Quoted by Gambetti in ibid., p. 231.
(31) Ibid., p. 231.
(32) Ibid.
(33) Ibid., p. 233. Cf. also John M. G. Barclay, Diaspora. I giudei nella diaspora mediterranea da Alessandro a Traiano
(323 a.C. 117 d.C.), (Introduzione allo studio della Bibbia. Supplementi 1), eia, , aieia Eitie,
pp. 41-42.
(34) John M. G. Barclay, op. cit., p. 34.

20

(35) Joseph Mlze Modrzejewski, The Jews of Egypt. From Rameses II to Emperor Hadrian, Princeton, 1995,
Princet iveity e, p aa ametti, he Jewih mmuity lexaia, i op. cit., p.
232.
(36) Joseph Mlze Modrzejewski, op. cit., p. 22.
(37) Ibid., p. 22.
(38) Ibid., p. 23.
(39) Ibid.
(40) Ibid.
(41) Ibid., p. 23.
(42) Ibid.
(43) Ibid., p. 25.
(44) Ibid., p. 23.
(45) Ibid., p. 24.
(46) Ibid.
(47) Ibid., p. 23.
(48) Ibid., pp. 24-25.
(49) Ibid., pp. 25-26.
(50) Ibid., p. 36.
(51) Ibid.
(52) Ibid., pp. 36-37.
(53) Ibid., p. 37.
(54) Ibid.
(55) Ibid., p. 39.
(56) Ibid.
(57) Ibid.
(58) Ibid.
(59) Ibid.
(60) Ibid.
(61) Ibid., pp. 39-40.
(62) Ibid., p. 40.
(63) Ibid., p. 42-43.
(64) Ibid., p. 43.
(65) Ibid., pp. 124 ff.
(66) See also Joseph Mlze Modrzejewski, op. cit., p. 121.
(67) Ibid., pp. 121-122.
(68) See also Joseph Mlze Modrzejewski, op. cit., p. 122.
(69) Ibid., p. 124.
(70) Ibid.; Chiara de Filippis Cappai, IVDAEA. Roma e la Giudea dal II secolo a.C. al II secolo d.C., (ultue atihe,
tui e teti), leaia, , Eiii ell, p 1
(71) Joseph Mlze Modrzejewski, op. cit., p. 124.

21

(72) Josephus, Jewish Antiquities 12.237; Joseph Mlze Modrzejewski, op. cit., p. 124; Chiara de Filippis Cappai, op.
cit., pp. 15 ff.
(73) Ibid., p. 124; Chiara de Filippis Cappai, op. cit., p. 18. But Josephus, Jewish War 7.423 as we have said- states
that Onias III fled to Egypt, instead.
(74) Joseph Mlze Modrzejewski, op. cit., p. 124.
(75) Ibid., p. 125.
(76) Ibid.
(77) See: Josephus, Jewish Antiquities 13.65; Josephus, Against Apion 2.49; Joseph Mlze Modrzejewski, op. cit., p.
125.
(78) Josephus, Jewish Antiquities 13.65-66. See also Joseph Mlze Modrzejewski, op. cit., p. 127.
(79) Joseph Mlze Modrzejewski, op. cit., p. 127.
(80) Ibid., p. 128.
(81) Ibid., p. 128.
(82) Ibid., p. 129.
(83) Elias Joseph Bickerman, The Jews in the Greek Age, (aetum emiae), amie (aahuett)
London (England), 1988, Harvard University Press, p. 84.
(84) Ibid.
(85) Ibid.
(86) Ibid.
(87) Ibid.
(88) Ibid.
(89) Ibid., p 85.
(90) Ibid.; John M. G. Barclay, op. cit., p. 38.
(91) Elias Joseph Bickerman, op. cit., p. 85.
(92) Ibid.; John M. G. Barclay, op. cit., p. 37.
(93) Elias Joseph Bickerman, op. cit., pp. 84-86.
(94) Ibid., p. 86.
(95) Ibid.
(96) Ibid.; John M. G. Barclay, op. cit., p. 39.
(97) Emil Schrer, The History of the Jewish People in the Age of Jesus Christ (175 B.C. A.D. 135), Edinburgh, 1986,
T. & T. Clark, pp. 46-47; Elias Joseph Bickerman, op. cit., p. 86; John M. G. Barclay, op. cit., p. 44.
(98) Elias Joseph Bickerman, op. cit., p. 87.
(99) Ibid.
(100)

See Josephus, Against Apion 2.33-35.

(101)

Elias Joseph Bickerman, op. cit., p. 87.

(102)

Emil Schrer, op. cit., p. 44.

(103)

Ibid., p. 91.

(104)

Ibid., pp. 87-91.

(105)

Ibid., p. 87.

(106)

Ibid.

(107)

See also ibid., pp. 88-89.

22

(108)

Ibid., p. 92.

(109)

Ibid., p. 89.

(110)

Elias Joseph Bickerman, op. cit., p. 87.

(111)

Ibid.

(112)

Ibid., p. 88.

(113)

Ibid.

(114)

Ibid.

(115)

Ibid.

(116)

Ibid.

(117)

Ibid.

(118)

Ibid.

(119)

Ibid.

(120)

Ibid., p. 89; Joseph Mlze Modrzejewski, op. cit., p. 170; Erich S. Gruen, Diaspora. Jews amidst Greeks and

Romans, Cambridge (Massachusetts) London (England), 2002, Harvard University Press, p. 54.
(121)

Elias Joseph Bickerman, op. cit., p. 90.

(122)

John M. G. Barclay, op. cit., p. 90.

(123)

Ibid., pp. 91 ff.

(124)

Ibid., p. 91.

(125)

Ibid.

(126)

Ibid., pp. 91 ff.

(127)

John M. G. Barclay, op. cit., p. 36; p. 45.

(128)

Ibid., p. 40.

(129)

Ibid., p. 93.

(130)

Ibid.

(131)

Ibid.

(132)

Ibid., pp. 94-95.

(133)

Ibid., pp. 95ss.

(134)

Ibid., p. 99.

(135)

Ibid., pp. 99 ff.

(136)

Ibid., p. 99.

(137)

Ibid., p. 100.

(138)

Ibid.

(139)

Ibid., p. 100.

(140)

Ibid., p. 102.

(141)

Ibid., pp. 102-103.

(142)

Ibid., 103.

(143)

Ibid., p. 103.

(144)

Ibid., p. 109.

(145)

Ibid.

(146)

Ibid., p. 109. See also: Joseph Mlze Modrzejewski, op. cit., pp. 56 ss.

(147)

John M. G. Barclay, op. cit., pp. 110-112.

23

(148)

Ibid., pp. 116-117.

(149)

Ibid., pp. 116-117. See also: Erich S. Gruen, op. cit., pp. 54 ss.

(150)

John M. G. Barclay, op. cit., p. 117.

(151)

Ibid.

(152)

Arnaldo milia, Eei e ei, i Pagine ebraiche, (ai), i, 1, iuli Eiaui Eite, p

22.
(153)

Ibid., p. 21.

(154)

John M.G. Barclay, op. cit., pp. 117-118.

(155)

John M.G. Barclay, op. cit., p. 118.

(156)

Introduction to: Lettera di Aristea a Filocrate, (laii ei e latii), a ua i aea alai, ila,

2002, BUR, p. 27.


(157)

Introduction to: Lettera di Aristea, pp. 5 ss.

(158)

Lettera di Aristea, note 12 on page 50.

(159)

Introduction to: Lettera di Aristea, p. 26.

(160)

Ibid.

(161)

Ibid.

(162)

Introduction to: Lettera di Aristea, p ee al et ahat, ae um ie Ettehu e xx, i

Vetus Testamentum, Vol. 12, Fasc. 2 (Apr., 1962), pp. 146-149.


(163)

Ibid., p. 26- ee al et ahat, ae um ie Ettehu e xx, i op. cit., p. 144.

(164)

Elia J ikema, he eptuait a a alati, i Proceedings of the American Academy for Jewish

Research, Vol. 28 (1959), p. 13.


(165)

Ibid.

(166)

Ibid., p. 14.

(167)

Ibid., pp.14-15.

(168)

Ibid., p. 8.

(169)

Ibid.

(170)

Ibid., pp. 8-9.

(171)

Natalio Fernndez Marcos, La Bibbia dei Settanta. Introduzione alle versioni greche della Bibbia,

(Ituie all tui ella iia upplemeti ), eia, , aieia Eitie, p


(172)

Emil Schrer, op. cit., p. 474.

(173)

Natalio Fernndez Marcos, op. cit., p. 36.

(174)

Elia J ikema, he eptuait a a alati, i op. cit., p. 12.

(175)

Ibid., p. 16.

(176)

Cf. Natalio Fernndez Marcos, op. cit., p. 37.

(177)

Natalio Fernndez Marcos, op. cit., p. 72.

(178)

See 12 - 13 and the notes by F. Calabi (2002), pp. 52-53 of Lettera di Aristea As the father of the king

mentioned in the epistle is identifiable with Ptolemy I Soter, the king who orders the translation must be Ptolemy II
Philadelphus (285 BCE 247 BCE). See also: Introduction to Lettera di Aristea, p. 5.
(179)

Natalio Fernndez Marcos, op. cit., p. 62. See also: Emil Schrer, op. cit., pp. 476-477.

(180)

Elia J ikema, he eptuait a a alati, i op. cit., p. 5.

(181)

Natalio Fernndez Marcos, op. cit., note 5 on p. 34.

24

(182)

Ibid., p. 49.

(183)

Ibid., p. 34.

(184)

ee et ahat, ae um ie Ettehu e xx, i op. cit., p. 158.

(185)

Emil Schrer, op. cit., pp. 474-475.

(186)

Elias J. ikema, he eptuait a a alati, i op. cit., p. 9.

(187)

Ibid.

(188)

Ibid.

(189)

Ibid.

(190)

Ibid., p. 10.

(191)

Ibid.

(192)

Ibid.

(193)

ea ajak, he Ki a the alati we a ultue i tlemai lexaia, i Henoch,

Morcelliana, New Series 2005, Year XXIX N. 2/2007, p. 245.


(194)

Ibid.

(195)

See ibid., p. 248.

(196)

See Natalio Fernndez Marcos, op. cit., p. 75.

(197)

Ibid.

(198)

ea ajak, he Ki a the alati, i op. cit., p. 249.

(199)

Ibid., p. 250.

(200)

Natalio Fernndez Marcos, op. cit., p. 76. ee al et ahat, ae um ie Ettehu e xx, i

op. cit., p. 161.

25

Chapter 2: The Book of Esther


In the previous chapter, we have resumed the Jewish condition in Hellenistic Egypt and the
aku the eptuait talati he ujet thi thei i like t Esther eek
version included in the Septuagint al alle l eek text. The purpose of Ch. 1 was to
present the basic elements we need as a frame. For the same reason, we will resume some questions
linked to the Book of Esther as such, before focusing on the Additions.
As we have anticipated in the Introduction, the Book of Esther is set in Eastern Diaspora,
under the rule of the Persian king Ahasuerus, in the town of Susa. The Hebrew version is called

( Mghillh Estr), the ll Ethe It i e the ive ( mghillth) included

in the biblical section of the

(Kthvm, he Witi) a ea the lemitie the

Hebrew calendar: the Song of Songs, Ruth, Lamentations, Qoheleth and of course- Esther. (1)
The Scroll of Esther begins with a banquet offered by Ahasuerus at court. During the feast, he
orders his wife Queen Vashti- to show her beauty to the guests. As she refuses, the king gets angry
and asks to his counselors which could be the best way to punish her. They say her disobedience
ha eaee evey hua authity a that the hatiemet mut e exempla hey
uet t epuiate Vahti a t tiy the at thuh a eit he, the ki miite
counsel to gather all the beautiful virgins in the kingdom and to lead them to Susa, to be entrusted to
the guard of the royal harem. The one who will please Ahasuerus will become his wife.
m the yu eautie thee i aaah, Ethe, a Jewih il wh i eai ui a
ward. Mordecai is a pious Jew who lives at court. He recommends his foster child not to reveal her
ethi ii a he ey Ethe i he a haueu wie eve i he i w uee
eia, he e llwi he aetal utm a eai teahi In the meanwhile, her
ui ive tw euuh plt aait the ki a he ave the latte he at i ee i
the yal hile, ut eai ewa i elaye the tay, haueu pmte t the
hihet ae at ut ama, the ammeatha, the aite, (2) and he orders to all
courtiers to do obeisance to him. But Mordecai refuses to bow down to Haman. The latter thus
decides to revenge his own pride on Mordecai and his whole people. He slanders the Jews, telling
Ahasueu that they ae a etai ati attee am the ati [] thei law ae ieet
m all the ati, a they iey the ki law that it i expeiet t the ki t
tleate them (3) Then Haman suggests that the best solution would be to exterminate all the Jews
in the kingdom. Ahasuerus trusts him with the organization of the slaughter, which will be
executed on the 13th day of the Jewish month Adar.
26

When this sentence is published, Mordecai implores Esther to intercede for he peple aety he
replies that nobody can go to the king if not summoned; transgressors will be put to death.
Mordecai insists, reminding Esther that she is in danger, too, and that maybe she has been made
uee thi time (4) Thus the woman consents and asks her cousin to gather their coreligionists
and to fast for three days. After having fasted and prayed herself together with her maids, Esther
put he ly (5) and goes unsummoned to Ahasuerus. He grants her life and asks her what
does she wish. The queen invites him and Haman to a wine party. After the feast, the invitation is
eewe the llwi ay ama w eally pu Ethe peeee him he
Queen has not summoned with the king anyone but me to the dinner. Tomorrow also I have been
ivite (6) But, in the meanwhile, he sees Mordecai in the courtyard and not bowing down to him.
His anger is renewed; he tells everything to his wife Zeresh. She suggests him to set up a pole fifty
cubits high and to ask the king to hang the Jew on it.
That night Ahasuerus cannot fall asleep. Thus he orders to bring him the royal chronicles, which are
read in front of him. When the reader recalls Mordecai and the regicide foiled by him, the king
realizes that he has not rewarded him yet he he umm ama a ak him What hul I
the pe whm I wat t extl (7). Haman takes it for granted that Ahasuerus is hinting at
him a awe the pe whm the ki wat t extl, let the ki evat i a fine
linen robe, which the king wears, and a horse upon which the king rides. And let him give to him
e the ki mt le ie, a let him e the pe whm the ki lve, a let him
mount him on the horse and proclaim through the square the ity, ayi hall it e evey
pe whm the ki extl (8) Ahasuerus agrees with this suggestion and sends Haman himself
to honor his rival in the way he has depicted. The envious courtier obeys, then he returns home
itee, with hi hea vee (9) little late, Ethe e wie paty take plae he,
the queen reveals to her husband that she is a Jewess and reminds him that her whole people will be
lauhtee ama e he ki having clearly forgot that he himself agreed with the
pime miite pjet- gets angry and goes out of the hall. In the meanwhile, Haman tries to
move Esther to pity, falling on her couch. Her husband suddenly returns and misinterprets the
ee the, yu eve vilate my wie i my w hue (10) As a result, the envious courtier is
put to death and is hanged on the very pole he meant for Mordecai. Moreover, the latter takes at
ut hi ea eemy plae ama hue i aie t Ethe, wh tut he ousin with its
administration. The queen obtains a counter-edict which allows the Jews to defend themselves from
attacks on the 13th a eai peple exult a eleate may peple he t e
circumcised and become Judeans out of fear of the Jews. Then the latter prepare their defense.
he ule the atap a the tyat a the yal eetaie (11) side with them, because of
27

eai pwe at ut he wh ty t attak the Jew ae mpletely eeate Ethe


obtains also death ama te he Juea wh live i ua meet aai the 1th Adar
to fight their enemies; they rest on the following day. The 14th and 15th Adar become a merry
anniversary for the Jews: the so-alle eat uim uim wee the lt whose casting had
fixed the date of the slaughter. (12)
Now we will focus upon several aspects of the Scroll which could help us to understand its
historical background and the themes it develops. To the Additions proper the following chapter
will be dedicated.

2.1 Three Books of Esther


The great popularity of the Book of Esther led to the proliferation of versions of this tale. (13) When
we peak Ethe ty, we mut eall at leat the mai thee e the Masoretic one (MT); the
Alpha or ucianic Text (AT); the Septuagint or Old Greek version (LXX). (14) Each of them
corresponds to a specific portrait of the eponymous character.
The MT is the Hebrew text of the Ancient Testament which was fixed by Jewish scholars
between the 8th and the 10th century CE. As Soggin (41) emi u, aeti eive m

(massreth), taiti he ave-mentioned scholars actually devoted themselves to the

textual tradition of the Scriptures, fixing an only consonantic text, giving it punctuation and vocalic
marks, and noting graphic or grammatical anomalies. There were two main Masoretic schools, the
eastern one also calle aylia hl- and the western - aletiia- one, from which
the school of Tiberias sprouted. The latter became the most authoritative; its system is still
employed in the editions of the Hebrew Bible. (15)
Fox (2003) offers a comparison among the three portraits of Esther as they appear in the
above-metie vei I the aeti text Ethe ty which is shorter than the
Septuagint one and has been resumed in the former paragraph- Fox (2003) sees the protagonist as a
young and nave beauty, who is initially passive and obedient. (16) he aeully llw eai
instructions and teachings; she becomes queen not because of her cleverness or her merits, but
simply because she is beautiful. (17) he wa liteally take [] t the ua wme (18), we
could also doubt that she was willing to present herself to Ahasuerus. However, Fox (2003)
underlines that she does not show any difficulty in adapting herself to the mindless fluff of royal
luxury, far from her community and her religion. (19) Fox (2002) states that nothing suggests that she
ul eve take he peple ate it he ha (20) Eve whe eai imple he the Jew
sake, she primarily thinks of her own safety. Her adoptive father must remind her own peril and
invoke an implicit Providence -Wh kw i thi time yu wee mae uee (21). Then Fox
28

() ee i Ethe a aial hae, a i eai ha tie up i he a latet ee


destiny. She realizes that her life might be more significant than she thought before. Thus she takes
the initiative. (22) x () emak that he al e a ey he uaia ueti he
delays the request to Ahasuerus. (23) She bides her time, flattering the king and building his
expectancy. (24) Fox (2003) supposes that she understands that a sudden plea could have opposite
effect, as her husband has lost interest in her, her enemy is one of the most powerful men in the
court and Ahasuerus himself has authorized the meant genocide. (25) Fox (2003) sees in the two wine
patie ee y Ethe a mea t ewly awake he hua eeli a t eliit m him a
repeated promise to fulfill her wishes, whatever they may be. (26) The two invitations give also to
Haman a false sense of security. The queen withholds information that could put the king on the
defensive by making him face his own culpability- and delays other information, namely, her own
Jewishness and the identity of the offender. (27) Only when she has given full momentum to the
ki uue ae e he ietiy the villai x () emi u, ama uake i
terror, as Queen Esther is no longer a frail beauty, but a force to be reckoned with. (28)
After Haman is executed for having been lacking in respect toward the ki wie, haueu
bestows power upon Mordecai and Esther. The latter now stands in the role of donor to her
guardian. Fox (2003) notes that this gives the Jews considerable economic power with which to
pursue their defensive strategy. (29) But the two heroes must devise a way to counter the irrevocable
decree. The solution is a counter decree to permit the Jews to defend themselves, and this they do
with great success as we have seen. By this device, the author allows the Jews to save themselves
by standing up for their own lives, rather than being delivered by a royal protector. At the end of the
story as we have seen- the feast of Purim is introduced in the Hebrew calendar.
the k tw ptait, Ethe eem t x () the me human character. (30)
According to him, she shows how an ordinary person, one with little initial promise, can rise to a
crisis and grow to meet its demands. (31) Through Esther, the author would link the issue of national
salvation to individual character. (32) i t x () itepetati, m upmii
beginnings, she becomes an independent, dignified, powerful woman. (33) By putting her life on the
line for her people, she earns a position of leadership, in partnership with Mordecai. (34) So, in Fox
() itepetati, the aeti vei the tale exple a aim the ptetial
human character to rise to the needs of the hour by whatever means and devices the situation
demands. (35) God the usual Savior- is not even mentioned. Fox (2003) supposes that here it is not
miracles, but inner resources intellectual as well as spiritual- that one must call upon in crisis, and
every Jew must be ready to respond to the call. (36) epite thei jetive weake i the etile
world, when national crisis strikes, a Jew can and must find the courage and ingenuity to rise to the
29

challenge, and yet must do so without the masculine devices ki a amy (37) Then, Fox
(2003) takes into consideration the Alpha Text.
As De Troyer (2003) reminds us, the Alpha or ucianic- Text i al kw a the
e eek text (38) It is actually a Greek version of the Book of Esther which is different from
the one included in the Septuagint. Fox (2003) points out that it is preserved only in five
manuscripts dating from the 10th to the 13th centuries, one of which would mix the LXX and the AT.
(39)

he emiati uiai wul me m a miattiuti i the 1th century. (40)

The story line in the AT proceeds in much the same way as in the MT until Haman arranges for the
destruction of the Jews. When Mordecai learns what has happened, he contacts Esther and
vie he t appah the ki e tiue, heee, ate alling upon God, speak on our
ehal t the ki a elive u m eath (41) When she hesitates, he tells her that if she fails to
help he peple, will e a help a alvati them, ut yu a yu athe hue will
perish; and who knows if it wa t thi vey mmet that yu ame t yal tati (42) Fox
(2003) notes that the explicit mention of God makes the promise more definite. (43)
At the second wine party with the king and Haman, Esther is tremulous and in fear of her husband,
but God gives her courage. (44)
In the AT, the deadly edict is not irrevocable and it is simply annulled by Ahasuerus. (45) The Jews
do not need to fight. (46) But the queen nevertheless asks to be allowed to punish her enemies by
slaughter. This act makes her more vindictive, as her people is no longer in peril. (47)
If the Masoretic Mghillh Estr uelie the ptait uty twa he peple, the according to Halvorson-Taylor (2012)- clearly sets palace law against family loyalties. (48) Unlike
in the MT, Esther does not keep her ethnic identity secret at court. (49) Thus Halvorson-Taylor
(2012) links her initial reluctance to intervene not to fear of breaking her secrecy, but to the fact that
her relationship to Mordecai is too tenuous. (50) Halvorson-Taylor (2012) supposes that she is not
ready to sacrifice her high rank and her own life simply on account of a relative to whom she has
such a little familial obligation. While the MT as Fox (2003) notes- depicted her as constitutionally
obedient, in the AT Mordecai knows that she is capable or even inclined- to disobey him. (51)
ee, eai plea ei hi ake a then extends to the people. (52) He reminds his
authority over her in her days of distress. (53) On the other hand, Halvorson-Taylor (2012) notes that
Ethe hallee him ietly, i he it awe Yu kw a well a aye that wheve e
t the ki uivite [] will e ujet t eath [] hw a I w, t ei ivite
(54)

The neatness of her answer would show that she cares for palace law more than for familial

obligation. (55) However, Fox (2003) points out that, when she decides to be loyal to her cousin, she
becomes a pliant tool of Mordecai. (56) He does not mean that she is inert, as she does take risks and
30

do her duty, finally obtaining her own revenge. (57) But he finds that her character does not rise far
m whee it ea he w the ki av y ei hami a he tiue i (58)
The Jews, too, are seen by Fox (2003) as more passive in the AT then they are in the MT. They do
not need to fight on their own; they simply are spectators to the working out of their fate. (59) Thus
the aim of the AT seems to trace what happens when familial connections between Jews in the
Diaspora are recognized and given new purpose in ensuring the survival of the nation, as
Halvorson-Taylor (2012) concludes. (60)
Halvorson- Taylor (2012) also remarks that the Septuagint (LXX) version of the story is
even more concerned with the keeping of Jewish pieties in the Diaspora. (61) It shows how Esther
nurtures her religious identity in secret. (62) This happens mainly in the so-called Addition C see the
following chapter- in which the queen declares that she has not given up the practice of her religion
a that he hate he peet iti pie i a heathe ut alv-Taylor
(2012) underlines, her declaration of faithfulness to Judaism is linked to the theme of secrecy,
which is necessary to keep her identity without troubles. (63) Fox (2003) stresses another aspect of
the haate i the XX vei the eek Ethe i a aitheate, eliate, euiu lay,
who faints in front of her powerful husband. (64) Fox (2003) finds it particularly evident in Addition
, whih emellihe the iumtae the uee ety t the the m (65) (We will
develop this discourse in the third chapter). Fox (2003) states that the LXX makes Esther a heroine
suitable for a Hellenistic novel. (66) The degree of pathos is heightened; the Additions include
explicit and intense explorations of thoughts and feelings. (67) While the MT Esther according to
Fox (2003)- simply describes female subservience, the LXX version would highlight the constraints
within which she must operate and the burden of social expectations she must overcome. (68) Fox
(2003) notes that, for the audience of the LXX, a young lady approaching the Great King on her
own initiative would have been not only in peril, but also behaving in an improper manner. (69) So in
the LXX Esther would have been equipped with demonstrative humility and timidity to offset any
implication of brashness or self-assertion in her actions. (70) Her loss of control of herself would
reassure the king: she is not threating his masculine control. Fox (2003) describes her behavior as a
deliberate use of feminine frailty. (71)
x () emak al that the heie weake allw the auth t uelie the role of
divine Providence (72) hae the piit the ki t etlee (73) This more pious
and less independent Esther would testify a deterministic worldview and suggest an age where the
Jews feel themselves helpless before hostile powers. (74) As far as the secrecy motif is concerned,
Halvorson-Taylor (2012) notes that it is used in the LXX Esther to assert the deceptiveness of
appearance: the surface suppression of ethnic and religious identity signals secret but constant
31

faithfulness to Judaism. (75) In contrast to AT if we exclude the Additions- in the MT and in the
LXX, Esther has a commitment to her people and, in the case of LXX, to Jewish practice. (76)

2.2 Traces of verisimilitude


The Book of Esther presents itself as a historical account. As we will see in the next chapter, two
iti ae taipti yal eit, whih ae meat t e attetati the tuthule
of the narrative. This has led scholars to face vexatissimae quaestiones about Esther hitial
verisimilitude. We will give some hints at them.
The first chapter of the Masoretic Mghillh Estr peet thi ki a uli e hue twetyeve la m Iia t Ethipia (77) As Corn underlines, the incipit of the Hebrew Book of
Esther is greatly concerned with diplayi haueu pwe a the luxuy hi ut (78) It thus
shows that he was no common monarch and that he could do whatever he wanted out of his mere
caprice. (79) i t , Vahti epie emtate all thi eve etter. The banquet
which opens the narration presents also the reality of wine parties offered by a king and a queen
Vashti too gives a feast for the women in the royal quarters (Old Greek version/AT 1: 9). (80) In
pii, the beginning of the tale has constructed the background we need to understand the
story. (81)
However, it is clear that the author of the Book is at least well-acquainted with the customs of the
eia ut paallel with Ethe ty i u i etu Histories (first half of the 5th
century BCE), in the so-called episode of Pseudo-Smerdis (3.61-69). The latter is a Magus who
extaiaily eemle mei, the eia ki amye aaiate the, a aie
also the same name. He avails himself of this fact to simulate a dynastic war and usurp the throne.
But in the eighth month of his reign his fraud is discovered: the noble and rich Otanes suspects the
uupe i auhte i e the ki uie tae ak he t tuh the au ea
when he is asleep: thus she will be able to discover if his ears are cut or not. This is the mark of a
punishment suffered by Pseudo-Smerdis under King Cyrus. The woman answers her father that she
is risking her life, but that she will obey him anyway. Her courage allows Otanes to prove the
usurpation.
, at the eat Ki ut, it wa t tae t ee mee piti y hi amilial tie with a
queen or a royal concubine, like Mordecai does. Nor it was strange to see a privileged woman
risking her poiti a he lie a elative ake eve, the au ethemet e with
the eemie maae a the ituti

, the eat he ai lauhte

(etu ) hi emi the lui Ethe ty a the ititution of Purim.

32

Such authors like Ctesias of Cnidus (second half of the 5th century BCE initial decades of
the 4th century BCE) and Plutarch (46/48 CE 125/127 CE) show us that the Persian court knew
euuh jue, whih wee ave y their closeness to the king, harem intrigues, tortures and
cruel punishments, often ordered by powerful queens.
As far as Ahasuerus is concerned, Moore (1975) connects his name to the Old Persian name
Khshayarsha, i.e. Xerxes I (485-465 BCE). (82) The reason is that this name includes the main
consonants which compose


, the ilial haueu (awr). (83) Moore (1975)

quotes ueim talet a eia iipti t pve that the ki ailue aait the eek
(battle of Salamis, 480 BCE; battle of Plataea, 479 BCE) were counterbalanced by his wartime
accomplishments against Egypt and Babylon, and his peacetime efforts at Persepolis. (84) Here a
foundation stone was discovered in the royal palace; it carried an inscription which has confirmed
the ki title a teitial laim i the k Ethe I am Xerxes, the great king, the only
king, the king of (all) countries (which speak) all kinds of languages, the king of this (entire) big
and far-reaching earth the son of King Darius, the Achaemenian, a Persian, son of a Persian, an
Aryan of Aryan descent. Thus speaks king Xerxes: These are countries in addition to Persia- over
which I am king under the shadow of Ahuramazda, over which I hold sway, which are bringing
their tribute to me whatever is commanded them by me, that they do and they abide my law(s) -:
Media, Elam, Arachosia, Urartu, Drangiana, Parthia, (H)aria, Bactria, Sogdia, Chorasmia,
Babylonia, Assyria, Sattagydia, Sardis, Egypt (Miir), the Ionians who live on the salty sea and
(those) who live beyond the salty sea, Maka, Arabia, Gandara, India, Cappadocia, Daan, the
Amyrgian Cimmerians (wearing) pointed caps, the Skudra, the Akupish, Libya, Banneshu
(Carians) (and) Kush. (85) Moore (1975) adds that this territorial claims are essentially confirmed
also by Herodotus (86) (Histories 3.97; 7.9; 7.61-80).
In Est. 1: 5-, the auth eie the ki pavili at ua the ki ave a wie paty
for the nations present in the city, for six days, in the courtyard of the house of the king. It had been
decorated with linen and cotton curtains hung on cords of linen and purple attached to gold and
silver blocks on pillars of marble and other stones. There were couches of gold and silver on a
mosaic pavement of emerald, mother-of-pearl and marble. There where gossamer throws in many
colors embroidered with roses round about. The goblets were made of gold and silver, and a
miniature cup made of ruby was on display that was worthy thirty thousand talents (87)
Moore (1975) reminds us that the pavilion, the palace and the acropolis in Susa now lie in
ruin. (88) ut he pit ut that the extavaae the palae ahitetue a the lavihe it
appointments are suggested by a foundation record found there, dating from the time of Darius,
Xexe athe This is the hadish place which at Susa I built. From afar its ornamentation was
33

brought. Deep down the earth was dug, until rock bottom I reached. When the excavation was
made, gravel was packed down, one part sixty feet, the other part thirty feet in depth. On that gravel
a palace I built. And that the earth was dug down and the gravel packed and the mud brick formed
in molds, that the Babylonians did. The cedar timber was brought from a mountain named
Lebanon; the Assyrians brought it to Susa. Teakwood was brought from Gandara and from
Carmania. The gold which was used here was brought from Sardis and Bactria. The stone lapis
lazuli and carnelian- was brought from Sogdiana. The turquoise was brought from Chorasmia. The
silver and copper was brought from Egypt. The ornamentation with which the wall was adorned
was brought from Ionia. The ivory was brought from Ethiopia, from India, and from Arachosia. The
stone pillars were brought from a place named Abiradush in Elam. The artisans who dressed the
stone were Ionians and Sardians. The goldsmiths who wrought the gold were Medes and Egyptians.
Those who worked the mud brick (with figures) were Babylonians. At Susa here a splendid work
was ordered; very splendid did it turn out. Me may Ahuramazda protect, and Hystaspes, who is my
father, and my land. (89) Moore (1975) mentions also Achaemenian gold drinking cups which
remind us of the goblets described by the author of the Book of Esther. (90)

34

From: Carey A. Moore, haely a the k Ethe, i The Biblical Archaeologist, Vol. 38, No.
3/4 (Sep.-Dec., 1975), p. 69.

,at the Ki ate (Et 1) (91)

The Hebrew version says that Mordecai sat

e (1) atually peet the imae Ki Xexe ate (92) Herodotus himself records
(3.120) that Persian officials had to stay

35

m aey e, haely, i op. cit., p. 75.

Et 11 ay that, whe mey e t the ki uivite, ly i the ki hl ut


the le t mee, will that pe e ae (93) As a proof of verisimilitude, Moore (1975)
36

offers a stone relief shows Darius and his son Xerxes giving audience at Persepolis: the figure
sitting on the throne carries a long rod. (94)

m aey e, haely, i op. cit., p.68.

ea apet wme eveyay lie, e (1) pit ut that etai iee


burners found at Hureida in Hadramaut and at Lachish and Gezer in Israel have proved to be secular
cosmetic burners. (95) Est. 2: 12 says that the virgins, before going to the king, undergo a cosmetic
treatment. The Hebrew

(bbmym) (96), ai t e (1), mea with meti

ue, t with peume, like it i uually talate (97) Like the semi-nomadic Arab women
of the eastern Sudan in 19th century, women like Esther would have fumigated themselves,
saturating their hair, skin, and pores with fumes from cosmetic burners. (98)
Other considerations have been done by scholars about hitial veiimilitue i Ethe
story. For example, Moore (1975) as we have seen- often links Ahasuerus to Xerxes. But the
Septuagint calls the king

, taxexe Jephu ietiie him with Xexe

(Jewish Antiquities 11.184 ss.) he, Xexe I wie wa t alle Ethe, ut

meti (etu, Histories 7.61, 7.114, 9.109, 9.112; Ctesias, Persica 24). Moreover,
according to Herodotus, the Achaemenid kings chose their queens within a circle of seven families,
which were those of the plotters who had helped Darius defeating Pseudo-Smerdis and obtaining
the throne (3.84). Of course, Esther would have been excluded. But Hoschander (1918) retains that
37

he ul have ee e Xexe wive, a eia ki wee plygamous. (99) Hoschander


(1918) supposes that also the famous agreement among Darius and the other plotters could have
been violated in later periods. (100) He quotes Herodotus, who reports that the Great King could do
whatever he pleased, especially when he chose a wife (3.31). (101) Gordis (1981) supposes that
Ethe ul epeet a appate m the ame meti (102) He reminds us that the
tendency to shorten foreign names, particularly when their etymology is not known, is widespread.
(103)

The Greek name "Alexander" was widely adopted as "Sander." (104) The name Meh

undoubtedly possessed a theophoric element originally, like Ahmose, Tutmose, Rameses, which was
lost or consciously dropped. (105)
Est. 2: 11 states that, while the virgin Esther was waiting for her turn to go to the king,
eai eah ay [] walke au i t the haem ut, t lea hw Ethe wul
ae (106) Hoschander (1918) notes that this statement has been often denied, because it seemed
impossible that Mordecai should have been permitted free access to the harem without being a
eunuch. (107) weve, the auth e t ay that he walke in the haem ut, ut in front of
it. (108) hae (11) uppe that eai i t ete the wmes lodging, which must
have been surrounded by a high wall, but walked outside of it, to inquire of the eunuchs about his
adopted daughter. (109) Hoschander (1918) supposes that many other Persians who had daughters
there most likely did the same. (110) Besides, he remarks that Esther at the time of this event had not
yet been in the real harem. (111) The virgins, not yet being concubines, may have enjoyed the liberty
of communicating with their relatives. (112)
As far as Ahasuerus is concerned, we will give some reasons for which that identification of
the king with Xerxes I that we find in Moore (1975) has not always been accepted. First of all, the
biblical character does not lose any of his provinces. But Hoschander (1918) underlines that Xerxes
lost a considerable part of Asia Minor, in the sixth and seventh years of his reign, as most of the
Greek territories became independent after the battles of Salamis, Plataea and Mycale. (113) Then,
Hoschander (1918) points out an interpretative problem regarding Est. 1: 2, which states:

. (114) It was translated into Greek as:

(115) Quoting Jacob

(1890), Hoschander (1918) states that this phrase contains the special Egyptian term for the
coronation festivities of the Ptolemies. (116) He thus infers that the author evidently intends to inform
us that the king of our story did not feel himself secure in the possession of his throne at the
beginning of his reign. (117) e mut have a ival wh hallee hi iht t the the
Hoschander (1918) supposes. (118) But following such an inference- in the third year of his reign,
after having defeated his rival, and being now generally recognized as legitimate ruler and thus
firmly established on his throne, the king celebrated the event in the manner described. (119) Thus
38

Hoschander (1918) sees the initial banquet of the Scroll of Esther as a coronation feast. (120) If this
interpretation is true, the king cannot be identified with Xerxes. The latter being the son of Darius
and Atossa, the daughter of Cyrus the Great as Hoschander (1918) reminds us- his right to the
throne, after his accession, was not contested. (121)
Moreover, Hoschander (1918) remarks that the events narrated in the second chapter of
Esther could haly have ue etwee the thi a eveth yea Xexe ei e wa at
that time fully occupied with his preparations for the war against Greece. The advice of the
courtiers seems to have been carried out in the sixth year. But Xerxes was at that time in Greece.
(122)

The selection of Esther took place in the seventh year (Est. 2: 16). But as Hoschander (1918)

supposes- the teti the the vii, ee Ethe tu ame, mut have late eveal
months. (123) We would have to assume that Xerxes at that time was already back from Sardis. Such
an assumption is seen by Hoschander (1918) as not impossible, but rather improbable. (124)
Whe the auth the k ept ama ealy pla, he im u that it wa elate
t the Jew ue the ule taxexe (125) Hoschander (1918) reads this limitative statement as
implying that there were Jews outside of the Persian Empire. (126) But he realizes that Herodotus
does not know anything about the Judeans, i.e. it is probable that no Jews lived at that time among
the Greeks. (127) An assumption that Jews lived among the Scythians is not to be considered,
according to Hoschander (1918). (128) As far as Carthage is concerned, he knows no record of the
existence of Jews among the Carthaginians. (129) Hence he finds highly improbable that Jews existed
outside of the Persian empire at the time of Xerxes. (130)
ama ay t the ki hee i a etai ati attee am the ati thuhut
all yu kim (131) Thus Hoschander (1918) infers that the Jews at the period of our story had
already settled in all parts of the Persian empire. (132) If those events occurred under the reign of
Xerxes, he judges it hardly credible that such a dispersion should have been accomplished in the
relatively short space of about sixty years. (133)
A debated historical question is also the decreed slaughter on ethnical bases. Hoschander
(1918) states that, in post-exilic times, the hatred against the Jews was never directed against the
Jewish race, but against the Jewish religion. (134) It was always the aim of intolerant rulers to compel
the Jews to abandon their exclusive position, and this task could not be accomplished except by
means of persecution. (135) But Hoschander (1918) underlines that the Jew who became a pagan, or
embraced Christianity or Islam, was just as safe as one of the other races. (136) He remembers that
the Judeans who abandoned their religion could also attain to the highest dignity in the Christian
hierarchy. (137) Hoschande (11) eie ama ati withut a paallel i aiet hity (138)
Hoschander (1918) admits like Littman (1975)- that Xerxes was a fanatical adherent of the
39

Zoroastrian religion and that he even removed the statue of Bel-Marduk from the Babylonian
temple. (139) Hoschander (1918) supposes that this could have been a mere political measure to
abolish the kingdom of Babylonia as an independent entity (140) hweve, he a that Xexe I
Zoroastrian faith plausibly made him hate the worship of idols. (141) According to Hoschander
(1918), this very characteristic of his religion would demonstrate that he could not be hostile to
Judaism, with which he shared the refusal of divine images and monotheism. On the other hand,
Hoschander (1918) states that the Jews were admirers of the Persian religion. (142) However, Littman
(1975) quoting Lewy (1939)- uelie that the Jew wee aete y Xexe eeati
auk temple a mpae it t euhaea etuti thei w emple (143)
We have aleay metie the eek talati the ki ame, that
whih appea i the XX we have ee, Jephu he t ietiy him with Xexe , ie
Artaxerxes I (465/4 BCE 424 BCE). He actually experienced a troubled succession, like
Ahasuerus probably did, according to the reasoning above. Xerxes was killed in a conjure and his
son obtained the throne thanks to the courtier Artapanus. The latter was the same plotter that had
aae the ki aaiati, lami Xexe aiu it tapau ha ate with the
complicity of Aspamitres, a eunuch. This are the facts recorded by Ctesias in his Persica (33). The
ame auth im u that taxee himel eame the taet tapau e plt ut
then his project was detected and the plotter was put to death; Aspamitres is condemned to an even
more cruel torment (34). All this shows how plots also by eunuchs- and bloody punishments
were a matter of fact at the Persian court, as it appears in the Book of Esther. But we can detect
eve me iteeti eemlae with the ilial aative i taxexe II ty ( E
359 BCE). According to Ctesias, he was strongly influenced by the women of the royal family,
i.e. his beloved wife Stateira and his powerful and vindictive mother Parysatis. The latter is
especially significant as an example of the kind of power that Persian queens could have in harem
intrigues and personal revenges. Parysatis was her daughter-in-law eemy eaue a l eud
(55 - 58). She finally managed to empoison her by a really ingenious mean (70). She also
obtained her revenge on the Carian who had killed her beloved son Cyrus and on the one who had
cut his head and his hand. She pursued her aim skillfully entrapping the king, just as Esther does
(66 - 1) We mut t et euuh plt a puihmet, whih tk plae al
ui taxexe II ei he euuh txae tie t eplae the ki, ut he wa eue
by his accomplice and put to death by Parysatis (54).
teia aut i epeate a iteate y lutah Life of Artaxerxes.
The questions we have presented here are still open. Several possible identifications for the main
characters of the story have been proposed. (144) We do not mean to engage ourselves in discussions
40

which do not regard the main subject of the present work. But we have seen that the author of the
Book of Esther was at least well informed about life at the Persian court and that his characters are
quite likely. We thus can say that Mghillh Estrs historical background is sound and allows us
not to abandon the search for a matter of fact beyond the veil of fiction.

2.3 An ethnical conflict, a wisdom tale or a disguised myth?


The way in which both Mordecai and Haman are presented question us about the deep roots of their
lit We have al ee that ama pjet eie i methi extaiay i aiet
hity We mut a that Ethe ituati a ehavi eak eveal paaim aithful
Jewishness in the Diaspora.
As Koller (2012) reminds us, Mordecai is introduced together with his genealogy. He is
Yai, himei, Kih, a ejamiite, wh wa exile m Jeualem with the
exilic community which was exiled, together with Jehoiachin, king of Judah, which
euhaea, ki ayl, exile (145) As we have seen in the Introduction to the present
work, this event took place in 597 BCE. Maintaining the traditional identification of Ahasuerus
with Xerxes I, Koller (2012) notes that this verse is usually quoted by scholars as an anachronism:
Xerxes came to the throne in 485 BCE, thus a hundred and twelve years after the beginning of the
Exile. (146) However, Koller (2012) points out that the Hebrew phrase is quite ambiguous: the
relative clause could refer not to Mordecai, but to his ancestor Kish. (147) The Greek versions of the
Book of Esther solve the problem by clearly stating that the originally exiled one was Mordecai
himself (see Addition A, v. 3). This interpretation would allow an interesting identification
suggested by Koller (2012): the mentioned Kish could be King Sauls father himself. (148) The first
Jewish monarch was actually a Benjaminite like Mordecai (1 Sam 9: 1-2). Koller (2012) points out
that classical rabbinic exegesis supports this identification. (149) Such an interpretation is even more
tiki i we ee al ama eealy t the eii the peet hapte, we have witte
that he wa the ammeatha, the aite (Et 3: 1). This reminds Koller (2012) of Agag,
the king of the Amalekites, who was cursed by the Jewish God and defeated by Saul (1 Sam 15, 18). So Mordecai and Haman would be the heirs of that old war. (150) The more or less allusive link of
Mordecai and Esthe t aul wul ali them with him a ppe them t avi lieae (151)
As Clauss (2003) exposes, Ki avi eame ki itea aul eeat a he
Jerusalem as a capital, after having unified through his person the two kingdoms of Israel and Judah
(2 Sam 5). (152) eai a Ethe eet m avi ppet may e a it hit at that
eami Jeueti Juaim whih we will u late a whih ha ee theie y
Laniak (2003). (153)
41

So, how must we understand the ptait ethi ietity Wette (11) pit ut that
ethnical belonging is strongly underlined in the case of Mordecai, who is qualified as (yhd),
Jew, at leat te time, i the eew vei (154) hee ae eveal the ethi make i the
introduction of this character: ancestry, historical memories, a link with a homeland. (155) Historical
memie ae aie y the ame Kih whih appea i eai eealy, a we have jut
seen. But Wetter (2011) finds another interesting ancestor in this list: Shimei. (156) Such a name
make hi it appeaae ui the eelli alm, Ki avi , aait hi w
father. Shimei pelts the king and his officials with stones, shouting that God has caused the blood of
the house of Saul to return to David (2 Sam. 16: 5-) e will e put t eath y lm, avi
a ue jut ate that, lm uei t the the will e ae (1 Ki ) himei meti i eai eealy eem to confirm what we have already said about
the latte lik with the iue Iael it ki (157)
Wetter (2011) remarks that also the recollection of the Exile builds a tie to a common Jewish
identity. (158) he eie Juah, m whih the exiles came, as a sort of symbolic home of every
Jew, more than a simple geographic region. (159) Wetter (2011) remarks that it is recorded even if the
protagonists and their community do not really wish to leave from Susa. (160) Their common identity
is not based on birthplace, but on the common experience of having been deported. (161) Wetter
(2011) describes the Book of Esther as centered on a positive appreciation of the Diaspora
community as bearers of Jewish identity. (162) The fact that the narrative explicitly refers to the
exiles taken under Jeconiah may be significant in this regard. As Wetter (2012) reminds us, that
group consisted of the educated elite and was responsible for producing and archiving the literary
inheritance of the nation. (163) We have already seen in which way the Book of Esther has
apppiate Iael pat, thuh the elleti aul a a ama, a pi,
wul epeet the malekite, wh attake the Jew ui the latte eet waei (164)
When you were weary and worn out, they met you on your journey and cut off all who were
lai ehi they ha ea (eut 1) (165) Through this action according to
Wetter (2011)- the Amalekites would have placed themselves outside of human society, and did not
deserve to be treated humanely. (166) To destroy them thus would have turned into a religious duty:
YW will e at wa aait the malekite m eeati t eeati (Ex 1 1) (167)
According to Wetter (2011), this prediction spans a bridge from Moses via Saul to Mordecai and
Esther. (168) I Wette (11) itepetati, ama i t ly a maliiu iiviual, he i the
representative of an existing ethnic group. He is Amalek and Agag resurrected and it is the duty of
ay Iaelite i eeal a a ejamiite a hei aul i patiula t ta up t him (169)
Wette (11) ee thi a the plauile ea eai eual t w w ee him (170)
42

According to her, Mordecai cannot help but defy the Agagite and the latter cannot help but conspire
against the Jews. Their identities demand it. (171)
a eve eepe a me eeal level, Wette (11) uppe that ama i t jut a
second Amalek or Agag; he is the personification of the innate fear of annihilation, of the
ultimate loss of identity. (172) And Mordecai would be the ideal Israelite who guarantees that this
identity will survive, even under the most hostile circumstances. (173) It i the iapa
community, personified in Esther and Mordecai, that proves to be the most worthy bearers of
Jewih taiti hey have t tte t lt ut malek (174) Significantly as Wetter (2011)
points out- they do so without any apparent divine intervention (175) if we do not take into
ieati the eek iti Ethe eal heel i haueu haem a m thee he
saves her people. The Encyclopedia of the Bible and Its Reception ute theat i eut 1
17-1 i that ay I will hie my peee m them I will uely hie my peee i that
ay (176) The Encyclopedia notes also that the eew ve t hie ha thi t
(177)

(sthr).

uiuly euh, it i the t Ethe, t (178) he i the e wh eal heel he

Encyclopedia sees this as one of the plausible explanations of the absence of any explicit reference
to God in the Masoretic Scroll, for He would be in fact dissimulating in faithful fulfillment of his
threat of punishment for disobedience. (179) The absence of the Holy Name would thus be the result
of a (divinely-inspired) act of literary dissimulation. (180) Ethe iimulati he w etheliiu ietity wul e al e apet the eveal i the Jew tue at the eiig,
the Judean girl must hide her Jewishness to be successful at court; in the end, a lot of Gentiles
elae themelve Jew, eaue eai eahe pwe (181)
ut whih i Ethe tue ietity Wette (1) uppe that it ha hae me than one time
during the narrative. (182) She is a born Jewess, of course. But her reclusion in the harem with the
other virgins, while waiting for her turn to go to Ahasuerus, is seen by Wetter (2012) as a passage
rite which gives her a new identity. (183) When she enters in the harem, she is a Jewish virgin. When
he me ut, he i a yal uie, havi uee al a phyial teatmet he vii
gathering has isolated them from their previous social setting, placing them within a group of peers,
under the guardianship of a stranger. (184) They have finally emerged holding a new status royal
concubine- underscored by their physical transition, via the royal chamber, to a different part of the
wme uate (Et 1) (185) Esther, too, has been completely cut off from her Jewish
background, to become Queen of Persia. (186) The Alpha Text remarks her new loyalty to palace law
as we have seen. When she chooses to side with her cousin and her people, according to Wetter
(2012), she reasserts her re-found ethnical identity through a common fast, which is the opposite of
typically Persian wine parties. (187) This would allow her to reassert control of her body, too. (188)
43

Wetter (2012) remarks that, by submitting her body to the communal fast, Esther implicitly declares
her physical context irrelevant. (189) On the surface, she is still Queen of Persia, but this does not
interfere with her ethnical identity anymore. The LXX version goes even further: it states that
Ethe ietity ha eve really changed (Addition C). (190)
As far as the Greek versions of the Book is concerned, there is another interesting feature. In
the XX a i the lpha ext, ama, the aite, eme . There have been
several explanation of this particular translation. As Wechsler (2001) notes, someone has seen a
eti with the mm u

(aat), with l eia baga () (191)

Wechsler (2001) links it to the Beja, a war-like and inimical people located in the eastern region of
present-day Sudan including parts of southeastern Egypt and northern Eritrea. (192)

occurs as denoting the Beja in a Coptic fragment of the exegetical treatise De duodecim gemmis, by
Epiphanius of Salamis (ca. 315-403 CE), as Wechsler (2001) quotes. (193) I Epiphaiu Panarion
i al attete, a pat a lit la we y ah am, the nomen regionis
(va

, [la the] eja) (194) ppaet vaiati

ae attete i the m

, epi t ee Beg (eja) i eveal iipti the kumite ki


E (th etuy E), a

, in the Adulis inscription of an unidentified Aksumite ruler. (195)

In the Classical Ethiopic version of the Book of Esther which is based upon the LXX-

eee y the ee etili Begyw, whih may e talate (m the tie) the eja (196)
uthe imati

a a ethi eiation are adduced by Wechsler (2001) from

the mati mula i whih thi tem u

(197) Wechsler (2001)

notes that this formula follows exactly the onomastic protocol established in Ptolemaic Egypt,
according to which all citizens were required to note, respectively, their given name, patronymic,
and ethnic/geographical association. (198) A loose parallel to the change in designation from
aite t

i u y Wehle (1) i the pevaive tlemai patie f changing

ethnic designation for economically and/or socially motivated reasons. (199) Finally, the
appropriateness of depicting Haman as a Beja becomes apparent in front of the consistently war-like
portrayal of the ancient Beja in historical sources, as Wechsler (2001) remarks. (200) They appeared
always as an inimical and ferocious people, liberally endowed with most devilish characteristics.
(201)

That they were so perceived in late Ptolemaic Egypt is gathered by Wechsler (2001) from

ta expliit tatemet that the eja (

) ha a ia-like penchant for attacking

defenseless individuals. (202) A similar picture of the ancient Beja is given by the Arabic historian ala (1-1442). (203) Wechsler (2001) concludes that the translator of the Book of Esther
emplye the tem

t textualie i.e., represent in an endemically familiar fashion- the

otherwise far-removed antagonist of that book. (204) According to Wechsler (2001), the appellation
44

utitute aite wul eve to effectively highlight for the Greek-speaking Jews of North
ia ama avaey a e ut y hi ile-minded, blood-thirsty pursual of both Mordecai
and his people. (205) Wechsler (2001) supposes that the same editorial motivations may also be
discerned in the alternative representation of Haman as a Macedonian in the Greek versions (AT
Add. A 17; LXX Add. E 10; LXX 9: 24). Wechsler (2001) remarks that Macedonians were
regarded by the Greeks as northern savages. (206)
We have thus seen how much ethnical lexicon is important to denote characters in the Book
of Esther and which kind of messages it conveys. We will now focus on another kind of messages:
the e tamitte y Ethe way t e Jewih
As Laniak (2003) points out, the Book of Lamentations expresses the feelings of the ones who
remained in Jerusalem after the deportation ordered by Nebuchadnezzar II (see the Introduction):
w lely it the ity that e wa ull peple! w like a wiw he ha eme, he that
was great among the nations! She that was a princess among the provinces has become a vassal. She
weeps bitterly in the night, with tears on her cheeks; among all her lovers she has no one to comfort
her; all her friends have dealt treacherously with her, they have become her enemies. Judah has
gone into exile with suffering and hard servitude; she lives now among the nations, and finds no
resting place; her pursuers have all overtaken her in the midst of her distress. The roads to Zion
mourn, for no one comes to the festivals; all her gates are desolate, her priests groan; her young
girls grieve, and her lot is bitter. Her foes have become the masters, her enemies prosper, because
the LORD has made her suffer for the multitude of her transgressions; her children have gone away,
captives before the foe. From daughter Zion has departed all her majesty. Her princes have become
like ta that i patue they le withut teth ee the puue (am 1 1-8). (207)
This is the traditional way as Laniak (2003) explains- t eie the pivtal mmet Iael
tragic story. (208) The Book of Lamentations efficaciously depicts the shock suffered by the whole
nation because of the Exile. As Laniak (2003) explains, defeat catapulted those with educational,
social and political capital into a new center one that was home to their captors. (209) There would
be different rules and different roles. A new generation would emerge with no personal memory of
Zion or the events that had displaced them from their sacred home. (210) According to Laniak (2003),
this was a precarious new beginning and a historical chapter which was not less significant than the
first one, when the Jewish community initially formed. (211) So Laniak (2003) states that the Exile
caused an identity crisis of unprecedented proportions (212): how could peoplehood be conceived
without an independent homeland? Could the Jews continue to relate to their God when Torah
assumed their and His- presence in that land? What was to become of the ancestral locus of their
worship? Could it receive a second life? Could the Jews have a unique religious identity apart from
45

the Temple? To whom would they look for human leadership? As Laniak (2003) notes, the biblical
literature of the exilic and post-exilic periods tries to answer this questions. (213) This can be said
especially of the hero stories collected in the Kthvm. (214) The protagonists of such Writings are
eie y aiak () a limial iue wh kw hw t live imultaneously in two worlds
and how to be successful in both. (215) As such they are models for Diaspora living. (216) As Laniak
(2003) underlines, they never forget their primary loyalties and their ultimate commitments. (217) In
their stories, the ancient traditions are re-engaged whether through daily prayer facing Jerusalem,
the reconstruction of its ancient walls, rereading the law and renewing the covenant with the Lord
or through repetition of the rites and holidays that had always marked Jewish distinction. (218)
Laniak (2003) sees Esther as different from such heroes. She seemingly moves away from the
traditional paradigms in unexpected and even disturbing ways. (219) In the Book of Esther, answers
to fundamental concerns are not found at the traditional center, but out on the precarious periphery.
(220)

According to Laniak (2003), the story reflects a Volkcentric faith that locates redemption in the

acts of the Jewish people, not in homeland or in institutions. (221) Or, at least, so it seems. In Laniak
() itepetati, Ethe ivite it auiee t e-engage a fundamental understanding of the
covenant that stands behind their traditions. (222) it all, ai t aiak ()
eiiti, the k i t Jeueti, ie, it es not refer to Jerusalem, if we exclude a hint at
it i eai eealy (223) Resolution takes place not through returning there, but by
remaining in Persia, in the splendor of the court. (224) In Persia, the Jewish community enjoys a state
of legitimay, ue a ppeity, tule ly y ama evil pla a ete at the
triumphant end of the story. (225) Jewish peoplehood is affirmed apart from a homeland and without
a sense of peripherality. (226) Thus, Laniak (2003) infers that the faith that is promulgated in this
Book is one that is not limited by regional or even ethnic boundaries. (227) We have seen how many
etile eame Jew ate eai ue thi ujet, aiak () lue that the
Scroll of Esther chooses to remind an ancient order of priorities: Israel is a people first, and then a
place. God is available to them anywhere. During the biblical Exodus, there was no Temple and the
Jews had not settled in their God-given homeland yet. But the Lord accompanied them through a
mile thephay, a lu (ee Ex 1 1) (228)
aiak () emak that Ethe Juaim i t eve aheti (229) Unlike the prophet
Daniel, she does not risk her life to maintain a kosher diet. (230) Nor she refuses a marriage to an
uncircumcised man. Her righteousness seen by Laniak (2003) as more akin to the Wisdom
tradition than to the cultic stipulations of the Torah. (231) What i alle Wim liteatue i a
genre represented also in the Bible, by the already mentioned section of the Kthvm. (232) Gordis
(1981) includes in this genre the Book of Ruth and as we have said at the beginning of this
46

chapter- the Book of Esther. Both these tales show wisdom in action, revealing practical sagacity.
(233)

The latter is defined by Talmon (1963) and Gordis (1981) a historicized wisdom-tale, an

enactment thi ee taa mti (234) it all, i (11) ee Ethe ty a


imbued with a sort of anthropocentrism: success or failure is attributed only to human actions. (235)
Then, the concept of an unspecified and remote deity devoid of any individual character is
prevalent. (236) Whe eai exht Ethe t iteee, he eeally meti a elewhee
from which could come an alternative alvati the Jew a he hw a etai ee
etiy whih ul iie with viee t (Et 1) (237) According to Garrett (2013),
eai exhortation demonstrates that he is endowed with an uncommon insight and gives a
patealiti uae t Wim metality (238) But afterwards his pupil and foster child shows her
levee, aai eai peept t i a ette way (239) We have already said that she
does not beg Ahasuerus directly, as her cousin wanted. Garrett (2013) notices that her behavior
supersedes the universal as a particular, and thereby the normative limitations of society so that she
acts the heroine. (240)
he k Ethe al lak ay eeee t tempay Jewy utie haueu
kingdom. It also refers to Jewish national history only allusively. According to Talmon (1963) and
Gordis (1981) who explicitly refers to Talmon (1963)- this is in conformity with the
mplita haate wim thuht whih aim at appliaility to any human situation,
irrespective of politico-national or religio-national allegiances. (241) Another characteristic of
wisdom tale pointed out by Talmon (1963)- is individualism. The Book of Esther actually stages
intriguing courtiers struggling to be personally extolled by their king. Even though their behavior
affects their families, followers and co-religionists, they essentially fight their own duel. The more
seasoned and better skilled will prevail; the rules are set by the king. (242)
As Talmon (1963) reminds us, the typical product of wisdom education is the court-scribe, the
adviser of kings, whose job may take him to foreign countries thus requiring to know foreign
cultures. (243) His loyalty is to his master; he must remain unfettered by national allegiances. (244) His
main concerns is with the proper execution of his functions, which may be very manifold. (245) He
must have acquired a thorough knowledge of court etiquette. He has to possess administrative
abilities. (246) Talmon (1963) notices that both Mordecai and Haman fit this pattern. (247) They are
eie, a eveal iue ki avie ae, th i the ile a i exta-biblical
literature of the Ancient Near East. (248) Haman knows how to flatter his master and is also a skillful
speaker. Mordecai does not equal him in such abilities, but Esther takes his place when necessary.
(249)

In her dealings with Ahasuerus and Haman she follows the directives of proverbial wisdom:

With patiee a ule may e peuae, a t peeh will eak the e (t) (v
47

15). (250) As Talmon (1963) points out, the relationship between Esther and Mordecai is exactly
another wisdom-theme. (251) it all, the me ty hw the petaula ie a etitute
pha (252), exiled in foreign lands. As Talmon (1963) notices, this motif is present also in Josephaative (e ) a i the pphet aiel ty (253) In the Book of Esther, it is combined
with the theme apti y a wie ma, that alm (1) traces to Ancient Near Eastern
Wisdom Literature. (254) In this kind of narrative production, the adoption of a child appears as a
virtue rather than a last resort for the procurement of an heir. (255) As Talmon (1963) explains, the
wise wished to be remembered by his spiritual attainments. (256) They might be better implanted in
an adopted son, chosen for his virtue, than in a legitimate child who may become a disappointment.
(257)

However, as Talmon (1963) notes, in familistic semitic society, the foster child was chosen

among kinsmen, who were better trusted than strangers. This could be also a fulfillment of the
sacred duty to stand by a needy relative. (258) Talmon (1963) notes that Esther happily proves herself
worthy of her wise foster father. (259) She adheres to the precepts which he had taught her and
carries them out (Est. 2: 10-20; Est. 4, 15-16), i.e., she shows proverbial filial piety. (260) Also the
ept eati ki as Talmon (1963) rembembers- is proverbial and it is typical of wisdom
literature, too. (261) In this genre, characters are mainly static and typified except Esther in the
Masoretic version, as we have seen in par. 2.1. As Talmon (1963) points out, they are not individual
persons, but embody virtues and vices. (262) In essence, Talmon (1963) finds in Esther three couples
who exemplify the traditional wisdom-triangle: the powerful, but witless dupe (Ahasuerus and
Vashti); the righteous wise (Mordecai and Esther); the conniving schemer (Haman and Zeresh). (263)
The characters who belong to the first or to the third type as Talmon (1963) exposes- are finally
punished. (264) Ahasuerus loses his beautiful former wife, Vashti, and risks losing a lot of faithful
subjects, together with his new queen and the courtier who has saved his life. Vashti loses her royal
piti ama uelly ie a hi wie ee he eath alm (1) explai that thee
punishments are justified by wisdom teaching, which considers lack of wit not a regrettable inborn
deficiency, but a punishable defect. (265) The power of perception can be improved by proper
training; whosoever neglected to be adequately educated must pay for his negligence. (266) Also
voluntary suffering, when it can be averted, decries the fool. (267) This is the case of Vashti, who
forfeited a kingdom for mere sentiments of propriety. (268) On the other hand, Talmon (1963)
underlines that Ahasuerus is so easily deceived that his weakness becomes the source of his
utie upti (269) He is irritable and unpredictable. Sitting at table with him is a precarious
aai that a aet e etiy (270) His anger is kindled (Est. 1: 12; Est. 7: 7), he acts with inane
haste (Est.1: 19-21; Est. 7: 9), and regrets his deeds once he returns to his senses (Est. 2: 1). Talmon
(1) eie the ehavi thi eati ki a uite immatue (271) But Esther is able to
48

pevet ham y peaki the iht w at the apppiate time ki ae i like the ael
eath, a wie ma will paiy him (v 1 1) (272)
i (1) pit ut al that, i ama ae, the ial hatiemet i al a meaue-formeasure retaliation. (273) He had prepared a pole for Mordecai and that same pole becomes his
gallows. The terms of his decree (Est. 3: 13) are reversed. Gordis (1976) sees this as an expression
of the Wisdom doctrine of retributive justice. (274)
Mordecai and his foster daughter embody a kind of wisdom which Talmon (1963) defines
euaimiti a ue-iete, athe tha lealiti, a t concerned with the spiritual
tet huma lie (275) But Talmon (1963) reminds us this kind of pragmatism, in its biblical
garb, progressively absorbs religio-moral ideas of a distinctive Israelite brand. (276) he wike
now is conceived as the vey ppite the wie (v ) wh i taitly euate with the
ihteu (v ) (277) Talmon (1963) states that the process culminates in the equation of
wisdom with Torah in the post-biblical Ben-Sira. (278) This easily explains why the Book of Esther
proposes such a model to the Jews in the Diaspora. Being happy, respected and successful among
the etile euie a etai pliaility i applyi ah m hweve, thi i t mea t
renounce righteousness. It was just necessary to find an alternative way to be righteous: one which
was as Laniak (2003) points out- less centered on ritual purity and more concerned with
discernment and honorable character. (279) Garrett (2013) supposes that, in Esther, it is the hidden
and undefined but omnipresent- Deity who defines wisdom and bestows it on His worshippers.
(280)

He states so quoting Talmon (1963), who points out as we have seen- the gradual

ietiiati wim with ihteue (281)


Laniak (2003) notices that the Book of Esther even parallels other texts included in the Torah. (282)
We have aleay metie the uee eemlae t Jeph hee ae al iteeti aalie
etwee he ty a e e hey th live at ut a ae the theat thei peple
annihilation y ekle explitati i e ae, y eie Ethe (283) They are chosen to
save the Jews and they are at first hesitant. (284) In both stories, Laniak (2003) finds a pairing of
leadership (Moses/Aaron and Esther/Mordecai), one active in public and one working behind the
scenes. (285) eve, the lpha ext vei tate that the Jew mplete aihilati wul
have take plae i the mth a ia ( ) (286) As Laniak (2003) points out, it means
that the specific date chosen for the slaughter coincided with the eve of Passover, the holiday
instituted in the Book of Exodus (Exod. 12). (287) In preparation to it, the queen calls for a radical
fast.
hu aiak () ee Ethe ty a a tiuati of Mosaic history and law. (288) According
t him, ama eiaate the aiet theat t Jewih exitee, ii y hi w itual the
49

casting of the lots- an occasion for their extermination. (289) ike the ealy hapte Exu, the
Book of Esther is a narrative of deliverance followed by a law that requires its annual reamatiati (290)
This Scroll is also unconcerned with dynastic legitimation of leadership. (291) The hero and the
heroine do not belong to a royal lineage. Their links with King Saul are only allusive (292); and,
however, the Saulide dynasty had been replaced by Davidic one long before. The savior of the Jews
is now an orphaned, female exile. (293) Laniak (2003) compares her with Gideon, a leader who is
he y hi lak peiee (Ju 1) (294) Like Deborah (Judg. 4: 4-14; 5: 1ss.),
Jael (Judg. 4: 17-22) and Judith (Book of Judith), Esther is called to rescue her people when the
expected male leader is incapable of doing so. (295) Laniak (2003) remarks that she was born in a
patriarchal world and, after her marriage, she enters another world which is oversensitive to gender
boundaries (Est. 1: 18). (296) Ethe i a ie etwee tw patiahal wl with iheite
tatu i eithe (297) She mediates life and a new order for both worlds from the margins of each.
(298)

However, Laniak (2003) remarks that the dramatic leadership of a marginal female figure lasts

just until the crisis is over. (299) Its denouement signals a return to the patriarchal norms (Est. 8: 2).
(300)

Ethe ue i eetially he te athe ue (Et 1 Et -4). (301) According

to Sidnie White Crawford, this also the reason for which the Book of Esther was finally admitted in
the Hebrew biblical canon, while the Book of Judith was not. (302) The emancipated, charming and
enterprising Judith was somewhat dangerous for the patriarchal society. (303) She was a peril not
ly he peple eemie, ut al the Jew aetal m (304) On the contrary, Esther
shows cleverness and cunning, but she never denies her submissiveness towards Mordecai and
Ahasuerus. (305) However, as Laniak (2003) notices, the Book of Esther manages to draw from the
well of sacred tradition, attaining a result which is even more enduring than the Temple or the
lineae Iael leae the hpe alvati i u i ay Jew (306)
Moreover, excluding the Greek Additions, Laniak (2003) remarks one more time that Esther brings
this hope without explicitly mentioning the God of Israel. (307) There are several possible
explanation for this; Laniak (2003) repeats what we have seen in Talmon (1963) and Gordis (1981),
i.e. that wisdom literature usually does not mention a personal or specific deity. (308) It is
nevertheless imbued with a characteristic awareness of the divine in circumstance and chance. (309)
Muted allusion to the presence of the Lord in time and space is indicated by Laniak (2203) as
characteristic of this literary tradition. (310)
Laniak (2002) concludes that the Book of Esther provides a qualifiati t the alteative
sources of identity and hope in the post-exilic period. (311) According to Corn (2012), it also
answers Lamentations, reversing them. (312) hey ae ee with the emple etuti, ut
50

Queen Esther lives in a palace which is decorated like the Temple was, together with a king who
resembles the Almighty God in his power over life and death and in his endless dominion. (313)
Jeualem ha eme a wiw (am 1 1), ut Ethe ha u a yal hua he ly ity
has been subjected (Lam. 1: 1), but Esther has become queen and Mordecai leaves with a crown on
his head (Est. 8: 15): the same crown lamented in Lam. 5: 16. (314) Jeualem ihaitat ae
desolated (Lam. 2: 10-1), ut the Jew i ua thee ae liht a lae [] a jy [] a
eat a mith (Et 1-16). (315) Jeualem ha ee aae a etaye y he lve
a ie (am 1 ), ut i eia a lt etile emae Juaim (Et 1) (1)
strongly underlines that the ly ity elati i epeete y a t ethe pie,
the Daughter Zion (Lam. 1: 6). (316) According to Corn (2012), this could be another explanation of
the choice of a female protagonist for the Book of Esther. She is no ordinary orphaned girl: she
represents Jerusalem and the Chosen People- looking for a new rise. (317) And this is no promise,
ut a atual eveal Juea elati (318) Esther shows also that this reversal does not require
a etu t the Jew hmela (319)
We would like to hint at a fascinating hypothesis which reads the Book of Esther as a Jewish
adaptation of a Babylonian myth involving the god Marduk and the goddess Ishtar. As far as the
latte i ee, aupt (1) tate that the uee ame eive m Ita, a emiie m
u ( Benignus, kily) i t him, Ethe wul e a Juea iuie a
benignant feminine deity (cf. Lat. Bona Dea). (320)
e (1) ept that the ame eai appea a Mrdk in a 5th century Aramaic
document, as well as in a variety of forms in treasury tables found at Persepolis (Mar-du-uk-ka,
Mar-duk-ka, Mar-du-kan-na-sir). (321) Littman (1975), Horbury (1991), Silverstein (2006) and
Jacobus (2008) link its derivation to an Accadian theophoric name built on the divine name
auk (322)
Ethe ame eeve a me mplex aalyi We have aleay take it ieati aupt
te e (111) lik the eivati Ethe t the eia sitareh, ta with a particular
reference to Planet Venus. (323) A similar hypothesis is supported by Moore (1975). (324) Jacobus
(2008) quotes Talmudic literature (Mghillh 13a), from would come the link between Esther and
Planet Venus. (325) he il e ame, aaah (Et. 2: 7), has posed more of a problem.
Littman (1975) refuses its supposed connection to , the eew w meai mytle (326)
hi ul e athe hit at Ethe eti t Veu, the eek a ati e wh i
homologous to Ishtar. Littman (1975) finds nevertheless more probable a derivation from the
Akkadian adaatu, ie ie (327) Thus

, aaah wul e a epithet Ethe uthe


51

Ethe the uee (

) Est. 2: 22- is read by Littman (1975) as a literal translation of the

Babylonian term Itar arratum, Ihta the uee (328)


This onomastic clues among other elements- have led Silverstein (2006) to see the Enma Elish
as a plausible model for the Book of Esther. The Enma Elish is the poem describing the
Babylonian creation myth: the god Marduk defeats the evil forces represented by the goddess
imat a he t iu (329) Just as Marduk is exalted in this poem, Mordecai proves his
wisdom and achieves a high position at court: he would thus reveal to be the real hero of the Book
of Esther. (330) While the queen is an intermediary, her cousin is the one who takes the initiative: he
uncovers and reveals the project of regicide by the two eunuchs (Est. 2: 22); (331) he refuses to bow
before Haman, thus disobeying the king and risking his life (Est. 3: 2-4; Est. 5: 9) (332); he convinces
Esther to intercede (Est. 4: 8-14). (333) His full lineage is given (Est. 2: 5-6) (334); he is aware of
ama aihilati pla, while the ueen is not, until he sends her a message (Est. 4: 4). (335)
Mordecai is willing to risk his own life for Jewish ideals (3: 2ff), while Esther is unwilling to do the
same in order to save the entire Jewish nation (Est. 4: 11). (336) He is regally rewarded for having
ave the ki lie ( -11). (337) I the atemath ama elie, haueu etut hi
signet ring to Mordecai, thereby affording him the legal authority of the monarch (8: 2). (338)
Immediately following the dispatch of the salvific edict, Mordecai is described as being paraded in
a triumphant and royal way (Est. 8: 15 ff.). (339) It is the fear of Mordecai that befalls the Gentiles at
the end (Est. 9: 3). (340) ilvetei () i t upii t ea the tem eai ay
itea uim ( a 1 ) (341) Nor he finds strange to see that the Babylonian Talmud
allw the Jew t ik uim util e e t kw the ieee etwee ue ama
a lee eai (342)
Resemblances between the Book of Esther and the Enma Elish would not involve just the
exaltation of the hero, Marduk/Mordecai. Littman (1975) notes that, in both stories, the two
protagonists are cousins. (343) Silverstein (2006) lists common pivotal scenes. (344) In both stories, an
innocent group is threatened by an evil scheme. (345) In the Babylonian myth, Apsu is irritated by the
Anunnaki, or younger gods (Enma Elish 1 ), a ama i y the Jew ieet ule (Et
3: 8). (346) Both Apsu and Haman resolve to destroy the innocent group (E.E. 1: 39; Est. 3: 6). (347)
The details of this evil scheme become known to the intended victims (E.E. 1: 55-57; Est. 3: 12 ff.).
(348)

In the Enma Elish the pre-emptive murder of Apsu by the younger gods (E.E. 1: 69) enrages

imat, wh eie t eaiate them ilvetei () mpae thi t eai eual t


w ee ama a t thi ehavi euee (349) In both stories, the reaction to the plan
ae the itee vitim ea, imay a mui (ee EE. 2: 49-50; E.E. 1: 58; Est. 3: 15; Est.
4: 1). (350) Just as it happens in the Book of Esther, the threatened group asks for the efforts of an
52

intermediary (E.E. 2: 72 ff.). (351) In both episodes the intermediary complains that approaching the
kiimat is too dangerous (see E.E. 2: 80-82; E.E. 2: 90-91; Est. 4: 11). (352) However, at the end,
not only the antagonist is defeated and killed, but his offspring is also destroyed (E.E. 4: 115-118;
4: 120; 6: 31 and: Est. 7: 10; 9: 7-10; 9: 14). (353) As Silverstein (2006) notes, the triumph of Marduk
ve imat a he t iu, a eai ve ama, epeet the etal plt the
respective stories. (354) the aylia eity i the yue avi, eai i the ame
for the Jews. (355) auk i ethe, i eae y all a iheit m iu the talet
destinies; his victory is rejoiced in celebration. (356) The same can be said of Mordecai he acquires
t the talet etiie, ut the ki iet i, whih hauerus himself had removed from
ama ie (Et ) (357) In both stories, the intended victims celebrate salvation with great
displays of mirth, even sending gifts (E.E. 4: 133-134; Est. 9: 17-22). (358) While Marduk establishes
the celestial patterns of the universe and the yearly calendar (E.E. 5: 3 ff.), Mordecai establishes the
schedule of Purim celebrations (Est. 9: 17-19, 21, 27-28, 31). (359) The Enma Elish concludes with
Marduk settling in his new temple (E.E. 6: 65); the last chapter of the Book of Esther depicts the
male ptait a ettle i haueu palae (Et 1 1-3). (360)
Silverstein (2006) notices also that the Babylonian poem and the Jewish novella share several
themes and motifs. (361) They both express mourning in physical details (E.E. 2: 49; Est. 4: 1). (362) A
e example allee y ilvetei () i the mti the ule ieveile ieitile
decree (E.E. 1: 145; 3: 63-64; Est. 8: 8). (363) Then, there is the theme of the insomnia of a ruler
(E.E. 1: 25, 37; Est. 6: 1). (364) This topos as Silverstein (2006) points out- introduces important
episodes: the initial plot to destroy the Anunnaki, or the belated rewarding of Mordecai. (365) In both
literary works, Silverstein (2006) detects a strong sense of fate: the struggles at the center of them
e aeuai a theatee up etiy (366) A closely related theme would be that of the
jet that tl etiy, amely the ki i i the k Ethe a the talet
etiie i the Enma Elish. (367) he auet mti to quote Silverstein (2006)- is also
ubiquitous in both stories. (368) In the Enma Elish the Anunnaki hold a banquet where they are told
imat iteti t ety them a at whih auk they aie the etiy (EE
8-10, and 133 ff.). (369) I the ame way, it i at a wie paty that Ethe tell the ki ama
evil scheme (Est 7: passim, esp. 4 ff.). (370) auk tiumph a the construction of Babylon are
celebrated at a banquet (E.E. 6: 71) just as the Jews celebrated their victory with a banquet (Est. 8:
17; 9: 18; etc.). (371) Other motifs and themes presented by Silverstein (2006) as common to both
tie ilue veheai a evil heme (EE 1 -57; Est. 2: 21-23); (372) mi a evil
helpet (EE 1 1 a Et 1) (373) the teeleve evil helpe that ae

53

kille i aiti t thei eat (EE 11-118; 4: 120; 6: 31; Est. 7: 10, 9: 7-10 and 9: 14) (374);
the alea mti (EE Et 1-19, 21, 27-28, 31) (375) the eveal tue (376)
The high number of resemblances between the Babylonian literary work and the Jewish novella is
indicated by Silverstein (2006) as not surprising. He points out that the Enma Elish was very
popular, especially in the 7th and 6th centuries BCE. (377) According to Silverstein (2006), literate
Jews in Achaemenid times were surely familiar with both this text and the culture that produced and
recited it. (378)
Littman (1975) followed by Jacobus (2008)- has suggested that the Book of Esther could disguise
a ituati expeiee i eia ue taxexe II ule ( E 359 BCE). (379) According
to Littman (1975) and Jacobus (2008), he officially instituted the cult of Mithra and the goddess
Anahita in Susa. (380) uti ewy (1), ittma (1) uppe that Ethe ty wul hit
at a peeuti uee y auk whippe, ially ave y Itha
Littman (1975), the phrase

(381)

According to

(the peple eai, Et ) ul e talate a

aukia (382) And thus Haman could be identified with a follower of Mithra of with Mithra
himself. (383) The Greek epithet

see p. 44- might derive from the Persian baga, , a

Littman (1975) notes following Lewy (1939) (384) ee it wul ee t the pa exellee,
Mithra. (385) But Littman (1975) finds no evidence of religion-based conflicts or persecutions during
taxexe II ei (386) a a

i ee, hi me pale ethi ii ha

been already shown. (387) ittma (1) ue Xexe I ei ( E 465 BCE), instead.
(388)

He was Zoroastrian, like his predecessors. (389) Littman (1975) defines him quite intolerant, in

comparison with them. (390) e ept a iipti m eepli alle the aeva
iipti, i whih Xexe ay A great god is Ahuramazda, who created this earth, who
created man, who created peace for man, who made Xerxes king, one king of many, one lord of
many Says Xerxes the king: When I became king there was within these lands which are written
above one which was restless. Afterward Ahuramazda brought me help. By the favor of
Ahuramazda I smote that land and put it in its place within these lands was a place where
formerly the daevas were worshipped. Afterward by the favor of Ahuramazda I destroyed that
community of daevas and proclaimed: The daevas you shall not worship. Where formerly the daevas
were worshipped, there I worshipped Ahuramazda and the holy Arta. (391) We cannot identify the
gods called daeva. (392) He supposes that they may include Mithra and other pre-Zoroastrian Aryan
gods and they could also include local gods. (393) Littman (1975) adds that Xerxes stressed that he
aw t it that huamaa wa whippe i aae with uth a ui the ppe ite
(394)

In this inscription Xerxes also emphasized the importance of Arta, who is roughly synonymous

with Righteousness. According to Littman (1975), Xerxes called his son Arta-Xerxes after that. (395)
54

What we know is that Xerxes recovered Egypt in 484 BCE; there he confiscated the property of
many temples and refused to call himself Pharaoh, perhaps as Littman (1975) supposes- because
of religious connotations of the office. (396) Littman (1975) the priests of Apis on a sarcophagus
pepae aiu, whih taie a pae aiu ue, ut htility t Xexe, let
the space blank. (397) In his campaigns in Greece, Xerxes destroyed many temples, including the first
Parthenon at Athens. (398) I E, he wa aleay alle Ki ayl (399) Littman
(1975) remembers that, within a short time of his accession, he levelled Esagila auk temple
in Babylon; other temples and sanctuaries were also destroyed. (400) The gold statue of Bel-Marduk
was removed and melted down for bullion. (401) However, as we have said in the former paragraph,
this could be a mere political act, to cancel the Babylon ki ue leitimay a pevet
anyone else from claiming the crown. (402) All this makes not so implausible a persecution against
auk whippe ui hi ei (403)
However, evidence is not so decisive. There are other explanations of the peee eai
a Ethe i the Jewih vella e (1) pit ut we have seen at p. 51- eai
was an authentic personal name. An undated text, coming probably from either the last years of
Darius I or the early years of Xerxes I, a auka i metie e eve a a autat a
inspection tour from Susa. (404) uy (11) ept that the ame auk wa e y a
Persian officer mentioned in a 5th century Aramaic letter. (405) eai i e the
companions of Zerubbabel in the Hebrew text of Ezra 2: 2 = Neh. 7: 7, and in the Greek 1 Esdras
(Vulgate 3 Ezra) v. 8 (compare Josephus, Jewish Antiquities 11.73, 118). (406) According to
uy (11), a

(a eek m eai, a we will ee in the following

chapter) is attested also on a funerary inscription coming from the necropolis of Hadra in
Alexandria. (407) It has been ascribed by Breccia (1930) quoted by Horbury (1991)- to the midPtolemaic period, probably not later than about 150 BCE. (408)
a a the ame Ethe i ee, e (11) eie it eivati m Ihta
liuiti ae Ethe t e t tai , but s. (409)
2.4 Blood, fate and humor
The Book of Esther has faced different judgments. It is one of the most popular biblical texts, but its
canonicity has been questioned, both among the Jews and the Christians. (410) It has also been
eie veeul, l-thirsty and chauvinistic in spirit (411) In his Table Talks, Martin Luther
haply wte I am so hostile to this book that I wish it did not exist, for it Judaizes too much, and
has t muh heathe auhtie (412) As far as the Hebrew canon is concerned, the main reason

55

for Esther ilui eem t e it etily a elve eat, uim Eielt (1) tate that
the Book, as Scroll of Purim, enjoyed favor from the beginning at least in the Eastern Diaspora. (413)
i t e (1) a all (1), uim eives from the Babylonian/Assyrian pru,
whih mea lt (414) me puim have uvive, a all (1) hw e them i
yia a it ate ak t almaee III ei ( E 824 BCE). (415) It is a simple little
cube, inscribed on four sides in Akkadian. It is the lot of Iahali, the grand vizier of Salmaneser III.
(416)

According to Hallo (1983), such objects were used to designate the minister or governor after

whom the current year would have been named. (417) The inscription on Iahali lt appeal t tw
the leading deities of the Assyrian pantheon, Assur and Adad. (418) They were begged to grant a
ppe yea the lt wa at i t them (419) This action had thus a sacred character
besides being connected with calendar and high administration.

From: William W. Hallo, he it uim, i The Biblical Archaeologist, Vol. 46, No. 1 (Winter, 1983), p. 19

But Hallo (1983) shows that the use of lots is documented for a variety of legal and commercial
purposes in every period of ancient Mesopotamian history. (420) Hallo (1983) points out that the
typical verb used in all these contexts, in Sumerian as well as in both dialects of Akkadian
Babylonian and Assyrian- i e the may tem t all t thw (421) Hallo (1983)
supposes that priority was established by the location in which they fell. (422) I Iahali ae,
perhaps the lot which fell closest to the statues of the gods Assur and Adad took first place. (423)
Hallo (1983) presents also another theory, which proposes that the lots were placed in a jug with a
56

long neck or spout and then shaken out one by one. (424) A third hypothesis links the
Babylonian/Assyrian word pru t a l umeia tem wl (425) Surviving examples of
such bowls are identified by this designation in their votive inscriptions. (426)

m William W all, he it uim, i op. cit., p. 21.

Regardless of the theory that may eventually carry the day, Hallo (1983) considers one thing as
certain: The technique of casting lots was well known in biblical Israel. (427) The Scriptures have
may iim the ue lt, a mt them emply e the eveal ve meai t
thw (428) Lots were cast to divide the Promised Land among the twelve tribes (Jos. 13: 7), to find
the culprit (Jon. 1: 7), to gamble for the garment of the condemned man (Psalm 22: 19). (429) The
u lt i all thee paae i ( grl), a w whih iially meat te, pele
a whih ultimately ame t iiy ate, etiy, muh like the Elih euivalet lt (430)
Grl translates ( pr) in Est. 3: 7 and 9: 24. (431) Pr obviously derives from pru. (432) As in
yia, the lt ha a eliiu meai it wa emplye t ak ivie jumet (433) We
could wonder why the Book of Esther uses an Akkadian word instead of the Hebrew equivalent. As
Eissfeldt (1982) supposes, this fact could mean that Purim has a non-Jewish origin. (434) Or as
Hallo (1983) supposes- it could be in line with later usage, which avoided employing a term - grl
- that had become too sacred. Many foreign words substituted it. (435)
As far as the Purim proper is concerned, it is also interesting to remind us of the Greek word for it:
(Et ) (436) It recalls the Favardgn/Farvardgn, the name of the Persian New Year
a ll ul ay (437) Bickerman (1967) reminds us that, according to the Babylonian view
57

aepte i the whle ea Eat, at the eii eah yea the peetemie me
destinies. (438) Whe the ixth ay ame, luky lt wee itiute y eave am the eath
inhabitants. (439) thi ea the eia alle thi ay the ay hpe (440) Eissfeldt (1982)
mpae uim al t the

, the eat the ai lauhte whih we have

mentioned at the par. 2.2 (Herodotus, History, 3.79). (441) he eat vey ame according to
Moore (1975)- could have been bestowed by Babylonian Jews on a pre-existing festival. (442) What
is sure is that Purim is celebrated in very carnival-like manners, apparently contrasting with the
mui a the uelty whih imue Ethe ty Et 1- tell they ete the
fourteenth of the same month and celebrated it as a day et with jy a lae [] ei
pti t thei ie a t the p (443) This holiday usually falls in March. (444) As Neulander
() eie, uim the ty i ea i yaue a ay meti the ame ama i
drowned out by boisterous noise-making. (445) Services are followed by folk-plays, masquerading,
consumption of alcohol and sweet desserts, and like in the Book of Esther- donations of food to
the poor. (446) We can now understand why the Babylonian Talmud allows the Jews to drink on
uim util e e t kw the ieee etwee ue ama a lee eai
(see par. 2.3). (447) In the late 16th century appeared the German Jewish Purimspiele (uim play)
(448)

They were a sort of burlesque folk play which gained wide admission among the Ashkenazim,

or Western and European, Jews. (449) They often inserted into patterns of dress, dance, speech,
gesture, song and story, politically subversive meanings transparent to the lower classes and opaque
to the upper ones. (450) According to Neulander (2003), this refers us back to the original
apppiati eptamia aival a uim eleaty mat it wa a mea to turn the
world upside down, to enjoy a triumph over ordinary oppression. This is the same theme of the
reversal of fortunes on which the Esther-narrative is based. (451)
Gruen (2004) points out that humor is present in the etiologic tale itself. (452) it all, Ethe
navet in Est. 4: 4 seems quite evident to him: when she reeive the ew eai mui
and its causes, she sends him a new set of clothes he had put on sackcloth- as if it was enough to
remove national chagrin. (453) he ut luxuy (Et 1 -), the vii itemiale pepaati
for their night with the king (2: 12) and the length of the pole ordered by Haman (Est. 5: 14) are
seen by Gruen (2004) as deliberate exaggerations. (454) haueu a hi tale ukee i
also quite comical (Est. 1: 8-10), especially when the merry king becomes disrespectful towards his
own royal wife (Est. 1: 10-11) he, a ue () uelie, the mah avi tu a
meti uael it a ave matte tate pliy, thu hwi eia hua eeal ea
their wives (Est. 1: 14 ff.). (455) Gruen (2004) remarks also that impulsiveness and extravagance
characterize the actions of the ruler, as well as those of Haman, throughout the whole tale. (456) The
58

fickle Ahasuerus, after so many proofs of his inconstancy, dares to affirm the irreversibility of his
decrees and at the same time he orders to reverse one of them (Est. 8: 8). (457) Irony touches its top
i hapte a , i whih ama ly ei t all e i pu t e ivite y the uee
to two exclusive wine parties; in the meanwhile, the reader knows that those feast are just part of a
plan to defeat him (Est. 5: 12). Then, he must bestow on his rival Mordecai the same honors he had
meant for himself (Est. 6: 6-1) ially, he all Ethe uh i a vey melamati way and
for this reason he is wrongly accused of attempting to rape the queen (Est. 7: 8). He is hanged on
the same gibbet he has prepared for his rival (Est. 7: 9-10).
Gruen (2004) supposes that this particular mixture of humor and cruelty is generated by the
awareness of the precariousness of Diaspora existence, that could at any moment end in calamity
as we have seen in the first chapter of this work. Humor was a means of alleviating Jewish
anxieties. (458)

2.5 The Book of Esther as a novella


Not only humor, but also novelistic elements are present in the Book of Esther. Lee Humphreys
(1973) has suggested its derivation from the interweaving of three source tales: the one of Queen
Vashti, the one of Esther and the one of Mordecai and Haman. (459)
As Momigliano (1987) reminds us, it is not easy to understand the importance of the Achaemenid
empire for the formation of the Jewish civilization. (460) Momigliano (1987) guesses that the Jews in
the 5th century BCE constituted a strongly national or nationalistic culture, as a reaction to Persian
cosmopolitan despotism. (461) But Jewish literature was nevertheless influenced by this political
ituati milia (1) pit ut, eia empie with ave iteatial
circulation of stories. (462) This could well explain for example- the eemlae etwee Ethe
tale and Pseudo-mei e (463) eulae () ile ut a Ethe tale type, meai
tale type a up tie that iue it a et ai t imilaitie i thei plt
(464)

Ethe tale type i eie y eulae () a llw noblewoman saves her

persecuted people by successfully opposing injustice. (465) Also in earlier Babylonian and Persian
traditions Neulander (2003) finds examples of this tale type. (466) As she notes, some scholars
uet that the ty Ethe tiumph may eive m a le taiti mmemati the
victory of the Babylonian pantheon over the rival gods of Elam. (467) The chief Babylonian gods,
Ishtar and Marduk, would have become Esther and Mordecai, while the names Vashti and Haman
would derive from Mashti and Humman, the principals of the Elamite pantheon. (468)
According to Momigliano (1987), the Jewish historian from the Persians were influenced as regards
the use of archived documents, too. (469) l the k Ethe meti the yal ahive (Et
59

2: 23). (470) Momigliano (1987) states that thi yal ahive ha t ee u, ut the eek
historian Ctesias claimed to have consulted it. (471)
Nevertheless, fictional elements seem to be outstanding, in the Book of Esther. Bickerman (1967)
remarks that it tells of a palace intrigue that could as well find a place in the Arabian Nights. (472)
As Bickerman (1967) notes, the latter actually includes the story of a rivalry between a vizier and
another courtesan, helped by a princess. Marouf, a cobbler of Cairo, lying and scheming, becomes a
son-in-law the khali he khali viie wa hi mate, ut htility towards Marouf. But
the latter overthrows his enemy with the help of his wife the princess. (473)
he itiue theme i tae ak y ikema (1) at leat t the th century BCE. (474) The
scholar mentions the so-alle hia vel, whih is preserved in its original Aramaic language.
(475)

According to Bickerman (1967), it was already read in the 5th century by the Jews at

Elephantine and it became extremely popular later. (476) hua wa the ame ive y the
amea t aeliali, a aylia wh wa the ae at the ut Eaha yia
(680 BCE - 669 BCE). (477) In the Aramaic version he is placed under Sennacherib (704 BCE - 681
BCE). (478) hie miite the yia ki, hia i uht w y hi ephew intrigues.
Condemned to death, he is saved by the executioner whom he had obliged on some occasion; he
remains hidden in the dungeon and reappears when the king is in dire need of his wisdom. His
nephew is put into the same dungeon, where he dies. (479) According to Talmon (1963), the hia
vel hae with the k Ethe al the theme eate wim a apti y a
wie ma the ptait evil ephew i al hi (uaithul) pupil (480)
Another novelistic motif detected by Bickerman (1) i the ki exeive e the
concubines. (481) The long and difficult selection of virgins (Est. 2) was even followed by a second
gathering of young women (Est. 2: 19).
Some interesting considerations are made by Bickerman (1967) also as regards Vashti. The king
wati t iplay hi wie eauty (Et 1 11) i eie y the hla a the aaulu
theme (482) I etu Histories (1.7-12), King Candaulus of Lydia praises the beauty of his
wife to everybody, and to prove his words, without her knowledge gave his friend Gyges an
opportunity to view her naked. He lost her and his life.
As far as Persian customs are concerned, Bickerman (1967) states that wives could be present at
dinners (see also Neh. 2: 6), but they left when the drinking bout was to begin. (483) At this time,
concubines and courtesans came in (cf. Dan. 5: 2). (484) Thus Bickerman (1967) infers that, by
mi t the ki wie paty, Vahti wul eae heel t the piti a uie (485)
But he eual pe a ave leal ueti ikema (1) emi u, i eia, the ki
will was the Law itself (486) cf. what we have said at p. 38. Was the queen to be allowed to violate
60

uh law? So Bickerman (1967) sees a overwhelming question in a situation that Gruen (2004)
reads as satirical. Moreover, Bickerman (1967) detects here another folklore theme: the test of a
wie eiee t he l (487) l the mti li ae i eaie, whe the ki
advisors counsel Ahasuerus not to pardon her (Est. 1: 16 ff.). (488)
Bickerman (1967) remarks that the Book of Esther is also rich in local color, a feature much in
demand especially by Hellenistic readers. (489) haueu ehavir, power and wealth is perfectly
ee y ikema (1) a peetly i lie with ietal eptim pemaet eatue he
same is said by him of court ceremonies and society. (490)
The typical Purim celebrations put the Esther-narrative in another light, too. Cohen
Ioannides (2013) reminds us that, in religious services on Purim, the audience interacts with the
storyteller. (491) The other custom as we have said also at p. 58- is to dress in costume. (492) This
eie ue () hypthei of a relationship of the Book with drama or, even better,
with satire.

2.6 Hypothesis about the time of composition


The time at which the Book of Esther was composed is not easy to detect. As we have seen above, it
collects elements already existing in the 5th century BCE or even before. Strangely enough, -as
Talmon (1995) points out- it is not represented in the hoard of scrolls and scroll fragments found at
Qumran and dated back to a period beginning in the 3rd century BCE and ending in 66-70 CE. (493)
But Talmon (1995) argues that the Book of Esther was nevertheless known, read and cited at
Qumran. (494) Moyer (2010) states that it is typically dated to sometime in the 4th through the 2nd
centuries BCE. (495) Torrey (1944) dates the Book back to the latter half of the 3rd century BCE or
the 1st half of the 2nd . (496) He nevertheless adds that, most likely, Esther had not been long in
circulation, nor become widely known, before it was expanded and transformed. (497) Torrey (1944)
indicates as the most probable date- the middle of the 2nd century BCE. (498) Talmon (1963) quotes
Stiehl (1956), who supports a collocation of Esther between 160 and 140 BCE. At this time, Persian
and Elamites would have sided with the Jewish insurrection against the Seleucids, represented by
Haman, who is a Macedonian in the LXX version. (499) Talmon (1963) lists also other hypothesis.
Willrich (1900) identified Ahasuerus with Ptolemy II. (500) Morris (1930) traces Esther back to
tihu IV it yea ei (1-172 BCE). (501) Haupt (1906) suggests Alexander Balas
(153-140 BCE) as the most probable candidate for Haman. (502) Lvi (1949) and Perowne (1956)
identify Ahasuerus and Vashti respectively with Herod the Great and his wife Mariamne. (503)
Talmon (1963) concludes that all these theories have found little general support. (504) In 1891,
communis opinio dated it back to about 130 BCE. (505) As far as the Greek translation is concerned,
61

a capital clue to detect the time of its composition is the colophon which concludes it. We will
focus on it at the end of the next chapter.
As Esther expee Juaim ea ei aihilate a the jy eeati the he
eple eemie, it ha ee ate ak t the aaea evlt (1 E-142 BCE) against the
Seleucid Antiochus IV, who tried to cancel Jewish customs. (506)
Nevertheless, we must remember what we have said at par. 2.3: 2 Mac. 15: 36 mentions
eai ay, whih viuly iie with uim hi mea that i the aaea ae
the Book of Esther or, at least, the holiday legitimized by it- was already known. Sirach (about 190
E) e t meti Ethe a eai i hi aie the athe (i -50). 2
aaee, whih ee t eai ay, a we have ee, was written about 50 BCE.
Eissfeldt (1982) is thus inclined to accept a collocation of Esther mpiti etwee 1 E
and 145 BCE. (507) This hypothesis is reinforced also by an archaeological piece of evidence we
have metie at pa a

(eai) appea i lexaia a ueay

inscription ascribed to the mid-Ptolemaic period (about 150 BCE). According to Horbury (1991),
this could mean that the hero of the Book of Esther was known and enjoyed a certain popularity.
(508)

62

(1)

See:

, in: F. Scerbo, Dizionario ebraico e caldaico del Vecchio Testamento, Firenze, 1911, Libreria

Eitie ietia ehillt, i ilia Associazione laica di cultura biblica, Vademecum per il
lettore della Bibbia, eia, 1, elliaa, p eel v ee, appy Ei Ethe,
in: Jewish Bible Quarterly, Vol. 29, No. 1, 2001, URL:
https://www.academia.edu/3482462/No_Happy_Ending_for_Esther, p. 1.
(2)

Anne Mareike-Wette, w Jewih i Ethe w i Ethe Jewih ai Ethi a eliiu


Ietity i a iapa aative, i Zeitschrift fr die Alttestamentliche Wissenschaft 123, Issue 4 (Jan.
2011), p. 600.

(3)

Est. 3: 8. Quoted from the English translation of the Old Greek version of Ethe, i Iteatial
Organization for Septuagint and Cognate Studies, A New English Translation of the Septuagint, 2007,
Oxford University Press.

(4)

Est. 4: 14. Quoted from op. cit.

(5)

Est. 5: 1. Quoted from op. cit.

(6)

Est. 5: 12. Quoted from op. cit.

(7)

Est. 6: 6. Quoted from op. cit.

(8)

Est. 6: 7-9. Quoted from op. cit.

(9)

Est. 6: 12. Quoted from op. cit.

(10)

Est. 7: 8. Quoted from op. cit.

(11)

Est. 9: 3. Quoted from op. cit.

(12)

a uik utlk Ethe ty, ee iie White aw, Ethe


<http://www.lightforcenetwork.com/sites/default/files/017%20-%20OT%20-%20Esther.pdf> , and: Sidnie
White aw, Ethe ile, i Jewish Womens Archive.
<http://jwa.org/encyclopedia/article/esther-bible> . For an introduction to the Book of Esther, see: Otto
Eissfeldt, Introduzione allAntico Testamento, (ilitea telia), edizione italiana a cura di
Vie atti, eia, 1, aieia Eitie, vl III alii ei lii ellti etameto 2, pp.
347-358; J. Alberto Soggin, Introduzione allAntico Testamento, (ilitea i ultua eliia),
Brescia, 1987, Paideia Editrice, pp. 492-494.

(13)

Charles C. Torrey (he le k Ethe, i The Harvard Theological Review, Vol. 37, No. 1 (Jan.
1944), p. 7) postulates more than one Aramaic versions commonly circulating in ancient times. Elias J.
Bickerman (te the eek k Ethe, i Proceedings of the American Academy for Jewish
Research, Vol. 20 (1951), pp. 102-104) mentions four recensions of the Greek version. Esther is present in
the Peshitta, the Syrian version of the Hebrew Bible. (Michael G. Wechsler, he uim-Passover
Connection: A Reflection of Jewish Exegetical Tradition in the Peshitta Book of Esther, i Jual
Biblical Literature, Vol. 117, No. 2 (Summer, 1998), p. 321). Berel Dov Lerner ( appy Ei
Ethe, i Jewish Bible Quarterly, Vol. 29, No. 1, 2001, pp. 3-7) quotes from the Babylonian Talmud,
the Targum Sheni and Esther Rabbah. Such Midrashim as Esther Rabbah, Aggadat Esther and Leqa
Tbh are listed by Robert Gordis (elii, Wim a ity i the k Ethe ew luti
t a iet ux, i Journal of Biblical Literature, Vol. 100, No. 3 (Sep., 1981), p. 362).

(14)

Kiti e ye, Ethe i the ext- and Literary-itial aaie, i The Book of Esther in Modern
Research, edited by Sidnie White Crawford and Leonard J. Greenspoon, London New York, 2003, T. &
lak Iteatial, p 1 ihael V x, hee Ethe, i ibid., p. 51. See also: Charles C.

63

Torrey, he le k Ethe, i op. cit., p Elia J ikema, te, i op. cit., pp. 2-5;
Natalio Fernndez Marcos, La Bibbia dei Settanta, (Ituie all tui ella iia upplemeti
), a ua i atella Zu, eia, , aieia, p 11 a pp 1-108; Ethe, i
International Organization for Septuagint and Cognate Studies, A New English Translation of the
Septuagint, 2007, Oxford University Press, pp. 424-425.
(15)

See:

, in: F. Scerbo, Dizionario; J. Alberto Soggin, Introduzione allAntico Testamento, (ilitea

i ultua eliia), eia, 1, aieia Eitie, pp - aeti, i ilia Associazione


laica di cultura biblica, Vademecum, p. 48.
(16)

ihael V x, hee Ethe, i op. cit., p. 52.

(17)

Ibid.

(18)

Est. 2: 8. Quoted from op. cit.

(19)

ihael V x, hee Ethe, i op. cit., p. 52.

(20)

Ibid.

(21)

Est. 4: 14. Quoted from op. cit.

(22)

ihael V x, hee Ethe, i op. cit., p. 52.

(23)

Ibid., pp. 52-53.

(24)

Ibid., p. 53.

(25)

Ibid.

(26)

Ibid.

(27)

Ibid.

(28)

Ibid.

(29)

Ibid.

(30)

Ibid., p. 54.

(31)

Ibid.

(32)

Ibid.

(33)

Ibid.

(34)

Ibid.

(35)

Ibid., p. 55.

(36)

Ibid.

(37)

Ibid.

(38)

Kiti e ye, Ethe i ext- and Literary-itial aaie, i op. cit., p. 31.

(39)

ihael V x, hee Ethe, i op. cit., p. 55.

(40)

Ethe, in: International Organization for Septuagint and Cognate Studies, A New English Translation of
the Septuagint, 2007, Oxford University Press, p. 424.

(41)

AT 5: 5- ute y ihael V x i hee Ethe, i op. cit., p. 56.

(42)

AT 5: 9-10. Quoted by Michael V. Fox in ibid.

(43)

ihael V x, hee Ethe, i op. cit., p. 56.

(44)

Ibid.

(45)

Ibid.

(46)

Ibid.

(47)

Ibid.

64

(48)

Martien A. Halvorson-Taylor, Secrets and Lies: Secrecy Notices (Esther 2: 10, 20) and Diasporic Identity
i the k Ethe, i Journal of Biblical Literature, Vol. 131, No. 3 (2012), p. 476.

(49)

Ibid., p. 467.

(50)

Ibid., p. 468.

(51)

Ibid., p. 477.

(52)

Ibid.

(53)

Ibid.

(54)

AT 4: (11)-8. Quoted from: Ethe, i Iteatial aiati eptuait a ate tuie, A


New English Translation of the Septuagint, 2007, Oxford University Press.

(55)

Martien A. Halvorson-Taylor, eet a ie, p

(56)

Michael V x, hee Ethe, i op. cit., p. 57.

(57)

Ibid.

(58)

Ibid.

(59)

Ibid., p. 56.

(60)

Martien A. Halvorson-Taylor, eet a ie, p

(61)

Ibid., p. 483.

(62)

Ibid.

(63)

Cf. ibid.

(64)

ihael V x, hee Ethe, i op. cit., p. 58.

(65)

Ibid.

(66)

Ibid., p. 59.

(67)

Ibid.

(68)

Ibid.

(69)

Ibid.

(70)

Ibid.

(71)

Ibid.

(72)

Ibid., p. 60.

(73)

iti ute m the l eek vei Ethe, i Iteatial aiati


Septuagint and Cognate Studies, A New English Translation

(74)

ihael V x, hee Ethe, i op. cit., p. 60.

(75)

Martien A. Halvorson-Taylor, eet a ie, p

(76)

Ibid.

(77)

1 1 ute m Ethe, i op. cit.

(78)

Ja iha , iteay a ammatial alyi Ethe ulihe Academia.edu:


https://sebts.academia.edu/jasoncorn URL:
https://www.academia.edu/1339153/A_Literary_and_Grammatical_Analysis_of_Esther_1.pdf

(79)

Ibid., p. 7.

(80)

Ibid., p. 7.

(81)

Ibid., p. 9.

(82)

aey e, haely a the k Ethe, i The Biblical Archaeologist, Vol. 38, No. 3/4
(Sep.-Dec., 1975), p. 70.

65

(83)

See
, i e, ei ei mi ppi eaii el Vehi etamet itepetaie
el iiiat etimli, i Dizionario a aey e, haely, i op. cit., p. 70.

(84)

aey e, haely, i op. cit., p. 70.

(85)

J. B. Pritchard, Ancient Near Eastern Texts [1955], pp. 316-317, emphasis added. Quoted by Carey A.
Moore, i haely, i op. cit., pp. 70-71.

(86)

aey e, haely, i op. cit., p.71.

(87)

Old Greek text of Esther, in: International Organization for Septuagint and Cognate Studies, A New
English Translation of the Septuagint, 2007, Oxford University Press.

(88)

aey e, haely, i op. cit., p. 72.

(89)

A. T. Olmstead, The History of the Persian Empire [1948], p. 168. Quoted by Carey A. Moore in
haely, i op. cit., p. 73.

(90)

Ibid., p. 69.

(91)

aul aupt, itial te Ethe, i The American Journal of Semitic Languages and Literatures,
Vol. 24, No. 2 (Jan., 1908), p. 184.

(92)

aey e, haely, i op. cit., p. 75.

(93)

A New English Translation

(94)

aey e, haely, i op. cit., p. 68.

(95)

Ibid., p. 78.

(96)

aul aupt, itial te, i op. cit., p. 184.

(97)

aey e, haely, i op. cit., p. 78.

(98)

Ibid., p. 78.

(99)

Ja hae, he k Ethe i the iht ity, i The Jewish Quarterly Review, New
Series, Vol. 9, No. 1/2 (Jul. Oct., 1918), p. 34.

(100)

Ibid.

(101)

Ibid.

(102)

Robert Gordis, elii, Wim a ity i the k Ethe ew luti t a iet


ux, i Journal of Biblical Literature, Vol. 100, No. 3 (Sep., 1981), p. 384.

(103)

Ibid.

(104)

Ibid.

(105)

Ibid.

(106)

A New English Translation

(107)

Ja hae, he k Ethe, i op. cit., p. 20.

(108)

Ibid.

(109)

Ibid.

(110)

Ibid.

(111)

Ibid., p. 21.

(112)

Ibid.

(113)

Ibid., p. 31.

(114)

aul aupt itial, i op. cit., p. 186.

66

(115)

ute m , i Septuaginta, id est Vetus Testamentum graece iuxta LXX interpretes, edidit
Alfred Rahlfs, editio altera quam recognovit et emendavit Robert Hanhart, Duo volumina in uno, Stuttgart,
2006, Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft.

(116)

Ja hae, he k Ethe, i op. cit., p. 32.

(117)

Ibid., pp. 32-33.

(118)

Ibid., p. 33.

(119)

Ibid.

(120)

Ibid.

(121)

Ibid.

(122)

Ibid.

(123)

Ibid.

(124)

Ibid.

(125)

Ibid.

(126)

Ibid., p. 34.

(127)

Ibid., pp. 34-35.

(128)

Ibid., p. 35.

(129)

Ibid.

(130)

Ibid.

(131)

Et ute m the l eek text Ethe, i A New English Translation

(132)

Ja hae, he k Ethe, i op. cit., p. 35.

(133)

Ibid.

(134)

Ibid., p. 36.

(135)

Ibid.

(136)

Ibid.

(137)

Ibid.

(138)

Ibid.

(139)

et J ittma, he eliiu liy Xexe a the k Ethe , i The Jewish Quarterly


Review. ew eie, Vl , (Ja 1), p 1 Ja hae, he k Ethe, i
op. cit., p. 36.

(140)

Ja hae, he k Ethe, i op. cit., p. 38.

(141)

Ibid., p. 39.

(142)

Ibid.

(143)

et J ittma, he eliiu liy, i op. cit., p. 155.

(144)

For a quick overview of these several hypothesis, see: Otto Eissfeldt, Introduzione allAntico Testamento,
(ilitea telia), edizione italiana a cura di Vincenzo Gatti, Brescia, 1982, Paideia Editrice, vol.
III alii ei lii ellti etamet 2, p. 353.

(145)

Est. 2:5- ute y a J Klle, he Exile Kih ytax a ity i Ethe 2: 5-, Journal
for the Study of the Old Testament, Vol. 37.1 (2012), p. 46.

(146)

a J Klle, he Exile Kih, i op. cit., pp. 45-46.

(147)

Ibid., p. 47.

(148)

Ibid., pp. 47 ff.

67

(149)

Ibid., pp. 48-51.

(150)

Ibid., p. 55.

(151)

Ibid.

(152)

Manfred Clauss, Israele nellet antica, (iveale apeak), la, , Il uli, pp 1-33.

(153)

imthy aiak, Ethe Volkcentrism and the Reframing of Post-Exili Juaim, i The Book of
Esther in Modern Research, p. 79-82.

(154)

Anne Mareike-Wetter, w Jewih i Ethe w i Ethe Jewih ai Ethi a eliiu


Ietity i a iapa aative, i Zeitschrift fr die Alttestamentliche Wissenschaft 123, Issue 4 (Jan.
2011), p. 598.

(155)

Ibid., 598.

(156)

Ibid., p. 599.

(157)

Ibid.

(158)

Ibid., p. 600.

(159)

Ibid.

(160)

Ibid.

(161)

Ibid.

(162)

Ibid.

(163)

Ibid.

(164)

Cf. ibid., p. 601.

(165)

Quoted by Anne-Mareike Wetter in ibid., p. 601.

(166)

Ibid.

(167)

Quoted by Anne-Mareike Wetter in ibid., p. 602.

(168)

Ibid.

(169)

Ibid.

(170)

Ibid.

(171)

Ibid.

(172)

Ibid.

(173)

Ibid.

(174)

Ibid.

(175)

Ibid.

(176)

Quoted in iimulati, i Encyclopedia of the Bible and Its Reception, vol. 6 [De Gruyter 2013], col.
938.

(177)

Ibid.

(178)

Ibid.

(179)

Ibid., col. 939.

(180)

Ibid.

(181)

Cf. ibid., col. 941.

(182)

Anne-Mareike Wetter, I expete lae itual a eliiu eli i the k Ethe, i


Journal for the Study of the Old Testament, Vol. 36.3 (2012), p. 322.

(183)

Ibid., pp. 322 ff.

(184)

Ibid., p. 325.

68

(185)

Ibid.

(186)

Ibid., p. 327.

(187)

Ibid., p. 330.

(188)

Ibid., p. 332.

(189)

Ibid.

(190)

Ibid., pp. 328.

(191)

Michael G. Wechsler, he ppellati

a Ethi textualiati i the eek ext

Ethe, i Vetus Testamentum, Vol. 51, Fasc. 1 (Jan., 2001), p. 109.


(192)

Ibid., p. 110.

(193)

Ibid.

(194)

Quoted in ibid.

(195)

Quoted in ibid.

(196)

Ibid.

(197)

Ibid., p. 111.

(198)

Ibid.

(199)

Ibid.

(200)

Ibid.

(201)

Ibid.

(202)

Ibid.

(203)

Ibid.

(204)

Ibid., p. 112.

(205)

Ibid.

(206)

Ibid.

(207)

ute y imthy aiak, Ethe Volkcentrism and the Reframing of Post-Exili Juaim, i The
Book of Esther in Modern Research, p. 77.

(208)

Ibid.

(209)

Ibid.

(210)

Ibid.

(211)

Ibid.

(212)

Ibid., p. 78.

(213)

Ibid.

(214)

Ibid.

(215)

Ibid.

(216)

Ibid.

(217)

Ibid., pp. 78-79.

(218)

Ibid., p. 79.

(219)

Ibid.

(220)

Ibid.

(221)

Ibid.

(222)

Ibid.

(223)

Ibid., p. 80.

69

(224)

Cf. ibid.

(225)

Cf. ibid., p. 81.

(226)

Ibid.

(227)

Ibid.

(228)

Ibid., pp. 81-82.

(229)

Ibid., p. 82.

(230)

Ibid.

(231)

Ibid., p. 83.

(232)

Robert Gordis, elii, Wim a ity i the k Ethe ew luti t a iet


ux, i Journal of Biblical Literature, Vol. 100, No. 3 (Sep., 1981), p. 365.

(233)

Ibid., p. 365.

(234)

hemaayahu alm, Wim i the k Ethe, i Vetus Testamentum, Vol. 13, Fasc. 4 (Oct.
1963), p. 426; Robert Gordis, elii, Wim, i op. cit., p. 366.

(235)

Robert Gordis, elii, Wim, i op. cit., p. 366.

(236)

Ibid.

(237)
(238)

Cf. A New English Translation


Trapper Garrett, Deconstructing Wisdom with Esther 4:14. An Exegesis Paper Presented in Fulfillment of
the Requirements for the Course OT 567: Esther (English Text), Fuller Theological Seminary, March 18,
2013, p. 5.

(239)

Ibid., p. 6.

(240)

Ibid.

(241)

hemaayahu alm, Wim, i op. cit., p. 430-1 et i, elii, Wim a


ity, i op. cit., p. 367.

(242)

hemaayahu alm, Wim, i op. cit., pp. 432-433.

(243)

Ibid., p. 434.

(244)

Ibid.

(245)

Ibid.

(246)

Ibid.

(247)

Ibid.

(248)

Ibid., p. 435.

(249)

Ibid., p. 437.

(250)

Ibid., pp. 437.

(251)

Ibid.

(252)

Ibid.

(253)

Ibid.

(254)

Ibid., p. 438.

(255)

Ibid.

(256)

Ibid.

(257)

Ibid.

(258)

Ibid.

(259)

Ibid., p. 439.

70

(260)

Ibid.

(261)

Ibid., p. 440.

(262)

Ibid.

(263)

Ibid., pp. 440-441.

(264)

Cf. ibid., p. 441.

(265)

Ibid.

(266)

Ibid.

(267)

Ibid.

(268)

Ibid.

(269)

Ibid., p. 442.

(270)

Ibid.

(271)

Ibid.

(272)

Ibid., pp. 442-443.

(273)

Robert Gordis, tuie i the Ethe aative, i Journal of Biblical Literature, Vol. 95, No. 1 (Mar.
1976), p. 50.

(274)

Ibid.

(275)

hemaayahu alm, Wim, i op. cit., p. 443.

(276)

Ibid.

(277)

Ibid.

(278)

Ibid.

(279)

imthy aiak, Ethe Volkcentrism, i op. cit., p. 84.

(280)

See: Trapper Garrett, Deconstructing Wisdom, p. 10.

(281)

hemaayahu alm, Wim, i op. cit., p. 443. and p. 448.

(282)

imthy aiak, Ethe Volkcentrism, i op. cit., p. 85.

(283)

Cf. ibid.

(284)

Ibid.

(285)

Ibid.

(286)

A New English Translation

(287)

imthy aiak, Ethe Volkcentrism, i op. cit., p. 86.

(288)

Ibid.

(289)

Ibid.

(290)

Ibid.

(291)

Ibid.

(292)

Ibid.

(293)

Ibid., p. 87.

(294)

Ibid.

(295)

Cf. ibid.

(296)

Ibid.

(297)

Ibid.

(298)

Ibid.

(299)

Ibid., pp. 87-88.

71

(300)

Ibid., p. 88.

(301)

Ibid.

(302)

iie White aw, Ethe a Juith tat i haate, i The Book of Esther in Modern
Research, pp. 61 ff. See also: Sidnie White Crawford, Ethe t Juith Why e ae It a the
the it L: http://fontes.lstc.edu/~rklein/Documents/esther.htm

(303)

iie White aw, Ethe a Juith tat i haate, i The Book of Esther in Modern
Research, p. 75.

(304)
(305)

Ibid.
Cf. ibid., pp. 72-73.

(306)

imthy aiak, Ethe Volkcentrism, i op. cit., p. 88.

(307)

Ibid.

(308)

Ibid., p. 89.

(309)

Cf. ibid.

(310)

Ibid.

(311)

Ibid., p. 90.

(312)

See: Jason Richard Corn, Answering Lamentations: Inner-Biblical Allusions as Evidence for Esther as a
Response to Lamentations. A thesis submitted to the Faculty of the Division of Biblical Studies in
candidacy for the degree of Master of Arts, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, Department of
Old Testament and Hebrew, Wake Forest, North Carolina, April 9, 2012.

(313)

Ibid., pp. 60-63.

(314)

Ibid., pp. 54-56.

(315)

A New English Translation

(316)

Jason Richard Corn, Answering Lamentations, pp. 23-29.

(317)

Ibid., p. 51; p. 64.

(318)

Ibid., pp. 52-53.

(319)

See: Jason Richard Corn, Answering Lamentations..., p. 69.

(320)

aul aupt itial te, i op. cit., pp. 100-101.

(321)

aey e, haely, i op. cit., p. 74.

(322)

et J ittma, he eliiu liy Xexe a the k Ethe , i The Jewish Quarterly


Review. ew eie, Vl , (Ja 1), p 1 William uy, he ame ahaeu i a
tlemai Iipti, i Vetus Testamentum, Vol. 41, Fasc. 2 (Apr. 1991), p. 221; Adam Silverstein,
he k Ethe a the Ema Elih , i Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies,
University of London, Vl , (), p ele Jau, he ate uim a alea i
the k Ethe, i Archaeologia Baltica 10, Klaipda, 2008, p. 115.

(323)

See

i e, ei ei mi ppi eaii, i Dizionario For the reliability of Persian

ame eew taipti, ee illa, he eia ame i Ethe a the eliaility the
eew ext, i Journal of Biblical Literature, Vol. 96, No. 4 (Dec. 1977), pp. 481-488.
(324)

aey e, haely, i op. cit., p. 77.

(325)

ele Jau, he ate uim, i op. cit., p. 115.

(326)

et J ittma, he eliiu liy, i op. cit., p. 149.

(327)

Ibid.

72

(328)

Ibid.

(329)

am ilvetei, he k Ethe a the Ema Elih , i Bulletin of the School of Oriental and
African Studies, University of London, Vol. 69, No. 2 (2006), p. 211.

(330)

Ibid., pp.211-212.

(331)

Ibid., p. 212.

(332)

Ibid.

(333)

Ibid.

(334)

Ibid.

(335)

Ibid., p. 213.

(336)

Ibid.

(337)

Ibid.

(338)

Ibid.

(339)

Ibid.

(340)

Ibid.

(341)

Ibid., p. 214.

(342)

Ibid.

(343)

et J ittma, he eliiu liy Xexe, i op. cit., p. 148.

(344)

am ilvetei, he k Ethe a the Ema Elih , i op. cit., pp. 215ff.

(345)

Ibid., p. 215.

(346)

Ibid.

(347)

Ibid.

(348)

Ibid.

(349)

Ibid.

(350)

Ibid.

(351)

Ibid.

(352)

Ibid.

(353)

Ibid., p. 216.

(354)

Ibid.

(355)

Ibid.

(356)

Ibid., pp. 216-218.

(357)

Ibid., pp. 216-217.

(358)

Ibid.

(359)

Ibid., p. 218.

(360)

Ibid.

(361)

Ibid., pp 218 ff.

(362)

Ibid., pp. 218-219.

(363)

Ibid., p. 219.

(364)

Ibid.

(365)

Ibid.

(366)

Ibid.

(367)

Ibid., p. 220.

73

(368)

Ibid..

(369)

Ibid.

(370)

Ibid.

(371)

Ibid.

(372)

Ibid.

(373)

Ibid., p. 221.

(374)

Ibid.

(375)

Ibid.

(376)

Ibid., p. 221.

(377)

Ibid., p. 214.

(378)

Ibid.

(379)

et J ittma, he eliiu liy Xexe, i op. cit., p 1 ele Jau, he ate


uim, i op. cit., p. 115.

(380)

et J ittma, he eliiu liy Xexe, i op. cit., p 1 ele Jau, he ate


uim, i op. cit., p. 115.

(381)

et J ittma, he eliiu liy Xexe, i op. cit., p. 149.

(382)

Ibid., p. 150.

(383)

Ibid.

(384)

Ibid.

(385)

Ibid., p. 151.

(386)

Ibid., p. 152.

(387)

ihael Wehle, he ppellati

(388)

et J ittma, he eliiu liy Xexe, i op. cit., p. 152.

(389)

Ibid.

(390)

Ibid., p. 153.

(391)

A. T. Olmstead, History of the Persian Empire (Chicago 1948) 231-232, quoted by Robert J. Littman,

, i op. cit., pp. 110-111.

he eliiu liy Xexe, i op. cit., p. 153.


(392)

et J ittma, he eliiu liy Xexe, i op. cit., p. 153.

(393)

Ibid.

(394)

Ibid.

(395)

Ibid.

(396)

Ibid.

(397)

Ibid., pp. 153-154.

(398)

Herodotus, Histories, 8.53- et J ittma, he eliiu liy Xexe, i op. cit., p. 154.

(399)

et J ittma, he eliiu liy Xexe, i op. cit., p. 154.

(400)

Ibid.

(401)

Ibid.

(402)

See also: ibid.

(403)

Ibid., p. 154.

(404)

aey e, haely, i op. cit., p. 74.

(405)

William uy, he ame ahaeu, i op. cit., p. 221.

74

(406)

Ibid.

(407)

Ibid., p. 220.

(408)

Ibid., p. 221.

(409)

See See

(410)

On this subject, see: Carey A. Moore, Daniel, Esther and Jeremiah: The Additions, The Anchor Bible,

i e, ei ei mi ppi eaii, i Dizionario

Garden City, New York, 1977, Doubleday & Company, pp. 14-16 e pp. 155-156; Jan Alberto Soggin,
Introduzione allAntico Testamento, (ilitea i ultua eliia), eia, 1, aieia Eitie, pp
493-494; Otto Eissfeldt, Introduzione allAntico Testamento, (ilitea telia), edizione italiana a
cura di Vincenzo Gatti, Breia, 1, aieia Eitie, vl III alii ei lii ellti etamet
2, pp. 357-358 e vol. IV: Il canone e il testo, pp. 21, 23, 31- iie White aw, Ethe a
Juith, i op. cit., pp. 69-70.
(411)

Carey A. Moore, Esther, XXX.80, quoted by Robert Gordis in tuie i the Ethe aative, i
Journal of Biblical Literature, Vol. 95, No. 1 (Mar. 1976), p. 49.

(412)

Quoted by Ja hae i he k Ethe i the iht ity, i op. cit., pp. 8-9.

(413)

Otto Eissfeldt, op. cit., vol. IV: Il canone e il testo, p. 21.

(414)

aey e, haely, i op. cit., p William W all, he it uim, i The


Biblical Archaeologist, Vol. 46, No. 1 (Winter, 1983), p. 21.

(415)

William W all, he it uim, i op. cit., p. 20.

(416)

Ibid.

(417)

Ibid.

(418)

Ibid.

(419)

Ibid.

(420)

Ibid.

(421)

Ibid.

(422)

Ibid.

(423)

Ibid.

(424)

Ibid., pp. 20-21.

(425)

Ibid., p 21.

(426)

Ibid.

(427)

Ibid.

(428)

Ibid.

(429)

Ibid.

(430)

Ibid., p. 22.

(431)

grl E, i E Jei C. Westermann, Dizionario Teologico dellAntico Testamento,


edizione italiana a cura di Gian Luigi Prato, Torino, 1978, Marietti Editori, vol. I (Italian translation of:
Theologisches Handwrterbuch zum Alten Testament, Zwei Bnde, Chr. Kaiser Verlag Mnchen,
Theologischer Verlag Zrich), p. 359, par. 3/a.

(432)

William W all, he it uim, i op. cit., p. 22.

(433)

grl E, i op. cit., p. 359, par. 4.

(434)

Otto Eissfeldt, op. cit., vol. III: Analii ei lii ellti etamet 2, pp. 352-353.

(435)

William W all, he it uim, i op. cit., p. 23.

75

(436)

For the edition of the Septuagint version, see the Introduction.

(437)

Otto Eissfeldt, op. cit., vol. III: Analisi dei libri dellti etamet 2, pp. 353-354. For the spelling
Farvardgn, ee hemaayahu alm, Wim, i op. cit., p et i, tuie,
in: op. cit., note 10 on p. 44 (Farvardigan) am ilvetei, he k Ethe a the Ema
Elih, i op. cit., note 9 on p. 210 (Farvardigan).

(438)

Elias J. Bickerman, he ll Ethe Ethe a eai, i Four Strange Books of the Bible,
New York, 1967, Schocken Books, pp. 189-190.

(439)

Ibid., p. 190.

(440)

Ibid.

(441)

Otto Eissfeldt, op. cit., vl III alii ei lii ellti etamet 2, p. 353.

(442)

aey e, haely, i op. cit., p. 76.

(443)

A New English Translation

(444)

Juith eulae, he Eumeial Ethe uee a ait i hee Wete elie ytem, i The
Book of Esther in Modern Research, p. 177.

(445)

Ibid.

(446)

Ibid.

(447)

See also William W all, he it uim, i op. cit., p. 26.

(448)

Juith eulae, he Eumeial Ethe uee a ait i hee Wete elie ytem, i op.
cit., p. 193.

(449)

Ibid.

(450)

Ibid.

(451)

Ibid., p. 194.

(452)

Erich S. Gruen, Jews amidst Greeks and Romans, (iapa), amie (aahuett) London
(England), 2004, Harvard University Press, p. 141.

(453)

Ibid., p. 142.

(454)

Ibid., pp. 140-143.

(455)

Ibid., p. 141.

(456)

Ibid.

(457)

Ibid., p. 143.

(458)

Erich S. Gruen, Jews amidst Greeks and Romans, (iapa), amie (aahuett) London
(England), 2004, Harvard University Press, pp. 146-147.

(459)

W ee umphey, ie-tyle iapa tuy the ale Ethe a aiel, Journal of


Biblical Literature, Vol. 92, No. 2 (Jun., 1973), p. 214.

(460)

al milia, atti ietali ella tiaia eaia pteilia e ella tiaia ea, i
Storia e storiografia antica, (lleie i teti e i tui tia), la, 1, Il uli, p

(461)

Cf. ibid.

(462)

Ibid., p. 28.

(463)

Ibid.

(464)

Juith eulae, he Eumeial Ethe uee a ait i hee Wete elie ytem, i The
Book of Esther in Modern Research, p. 177.

(465)

Ibid.

76

(466)

Ibid.

(467)

Ibid.

(468)

Ibid.

(469)

al milia, atti ietali, i op. cit., p. 38.

(470)

A New English Translation

(471)

al milia, atti ietali, i op. cit., p. 31.

(472)

Elias J. Bickerman, he ll Ethe, i op. cit., p. 172.

(473)

Ibid., pp. 172-177.

(474)

Ibid., p. 177.

(475)

Ibid. ee al alm, Wim, in: op. cit., p. 426.

(476)

Elias J. Bickerman, he ll Ethe, i op. cit., p. 177.

(477)

Ibid.

(478)

Ibid.

(479)

Ibid.

(480)

alm, Wim, i op. cit., pp. 426-427 and pp. 438 ff.

(481)

Elias J. Bickerman, he ll Ethe, in: op. cit., p. 179.

(482)

Ibid., p. 185.

(483)

Ibid.

(484)

Ibid.

(485)

Ibid., p. 186.

(486)

Ibid.

(487)

Ibid.

(488)

Elia J ikema, he ll Ethe, i op. cit., p. 186.

(489)

Ibid., p. 206.

(490)

Ibid.

(491)

Mara W. Cohen Ioannides, alat a tytelle tuy the k Ethe, i Journal of


Translation, Vol. 9, No. 1 (2013), p. 25.

(492)

Ibid.

(493)

hemaayahu alm, Wa the k Ethe Kw at uma, i Dead Sea Discoveries, Vol. 2,


No. 3 (Nov. 1995), p. 249. the ati the ll a amet, ee uma, i ilia
Associazione laica di cultura biblica, Vademecum per il lettore della Bibbia, Brescia, 1996, Morcelliana,
p. 62.

(494)

hemaayahu alm, Wa the k Ethe Kw at uma, in: op. cit., pp. 266-267.

(495)

Clinton J. Moyer, he eautiul utie eplae the uee mpu p i Ethe 1-2 and
k a hait Chereas and Callirhoe, i Vetus Testamentum, Vol. 60 (2010), p. 602.

(496)

Charles C. Torrey, he le k Ethe, i op. cit., p. 40.

(497)

Ibid.

(498)

Ibid.

(499)

hemaayahu alm, Wim, i op. cit., p. 421.

(500)

Ibid., pp. 420-421.

(501)

Ibid.

77

(502)

Ibid.

(503)

Ibid.

(504)

Ibid.

(505)

The Literature of the Old Testament Arranged Chronologically, according to the Generally Accepted
View vae hla, i The Old and New Testament Student, Vol. 13, No. 5 (Nov., 1891), p.
304.

(506)

hemaayahu alm, Wim, i op. cit., p. 421; Otto Eissfeldt, op. cit., vol. III: Analisi dei
lii ellti etamet 2, p. 355.

(507)

Otto Eissfeldt, Introduzione, p. 355.

(508)

William uy, he ame ahaeu, i op. cit., pp. 220-225.

78

Chapter 3: The Additions


As we have anticipated, the Septuagint version of the Book of Esther and the Alpha Text include six
extended passages (107 verses) which have no counterpart in the Hebrew text. As Moore (1977)
notes, they are usually called Additions and they are indicated by letters: A, B, C, D, E, F. (1)
Moore (1977) lists them as follows: Addition A contain a dream of Mordecai which foreshadows
the events of the story (vss. 1-11) and his uncovering of a conspiracy against the king (vss. 12-17).
Additions B and E purport to be verbatim copies of the royal edicts dictated by Haman and
Mordecai, respectively, which were only summarized in the Masoretic text (Est. 3: 13 and 8: 1112). Addition C contains the prayers of Mordecai (vss. 1-11) and Esther (vss. 12-30), uttered prior
to her going unsummoned to the king, while Addition D is a very dramatic and expanded account of
that audience described so briefly in 5: 1-2 of the Masoretic version. And, finally, Addition F
provides a detailed explanati eai eam (2) At the end of the LXX-Esther, there is a
colophon that is very important to detect the time at which the Book was translated into Greek, as
we will see.
Although some of these extended passages are survivals, i.e. witnesses to no longer extant
Semitic originals as Moore (1977) notes- none of the standard Semitic translations based on the
Hebrew text has them. (3) ae iti a peet i Jephu paaphae Esther in his
Jewish Antiquities (11.184-296), about 93-94 CE. (4) Neither the Additions nor even canonical
portions of Esther are found in the Greek versions by Aquila, Symmachus, or Theodotion, which
are later than the Septuagint. (5)
Moore (1977) describes the short Masoretic version as an intelligible and consistent whole,
while the Additions contradict it at a number of points that we will see. (6) Moreover, Adds. B and E
are written in a style which is openly diverging from that of the rest of the book. (7) Moore (1977)
supposes that they are Greek in origin, while A, C, D and F plausibly have a Semitic Vorlage. Such
a view is shared also by Eissfeldt (1984). (8)
a a the ept iti i ee, thee paae ae eie a uh y
Zsengellr (2010) on three bases: their position, their language and their function. (9) In the
Septuagint, they are involved into the main text; but Jerome (347 CE 420 CE), in his Latin
version of the Scriptures, separated them and pasted them at the end of the Book; so many modern
translators have done. (10)
As regards language, we have seen that at least a minority of the Additions was originally
composed in Greek. According to Zsengellr (2010), a more detailed view reveals that A 1-11, C
and F 1-10 have been translated from an Aramaic text. (11) Finally, their function seems to be
79

interpretation of Scripture. (12) In the case of the Book of Esther, we can say quoting Zsengellr
(2010)- that the Additions reshape the theological background and also the main story line. They
have different literary genres, as we have seen. (13)
In the first chapter, we have said that the Septuagint is a very free and heterogeneous
translation if we compare it to the text fixed in the Masoretic version. This kind of interpolations
which we find in Esther and in other biblical books are seen by Zsengellr (2010) as the results of
editorial processes revising the whole texts not simply adding some passages. (14) He suggests that
the k taii iti mut e teate a iepeet a uiie text, twithtanding
the marks of separation carried by the interpolations. (15)
Such Additions as Moore (1977) reminds us- are also considered apocryphal or
deuterocanonical. (16) This means first of all- that they are not included in the Jewish canon of
the Scriptures. (17) The latter was completed just in the 2nd century CE. (18) The Book of Esther was
finally accepted mainly because of its popularity and the attachment to Purim, as we have said in
the previous chapter at par. 2.4. In the 1st and in the 2nd centuries CE according to Eissfeldt (1984)it was still struggling to be recognized as a sacred text by the Jews, together with other books like
the Song of Songs, Sirach, Proverbs and Ezekiel. (19) A significant contribution to their acceptation
was the Council of Jamnia (90 CE or 100 CE). (20) According to Eissfeldt (1984), it considered its
own task the safeguard of Jewish cultural heritage, which was threatened by apocalyptic syncretistic
movements and by Christianity. (21) The situation required the composition of a normative canon of
the Scriptures. (22) According to Eissfeldt (1984), the complete collection of the five Mghillth (see
the beginning of Chapter 2) regularly appears from the 6th century CE. Their order (Song of Songs,
Book of Ruth, Book of Lamentations, Qoheleth, Book of Esther) became permanent only in 12th
century.

(23)

The Septuagint includes more books than the canon established at Jamnia. In fact, as
Eissfeldt (1984) reminds us, the former includes also the so-alle pypha a the euepiaph (24) This situation caused intense discussions among the Christians about the
composition of their canon. In the Council of Jerusalem (1672), the Greek Church canonized four
books of the Septuagint in addition to the canon of Jamnia: Wisdom, Sirach, Tobias, and Judith. (25)
As far as the Catholic Church is concerned, the Council of Trento in 1546 recognized as canonical
the Additions to Daniel and Esther, Baruch ilui the Epitle Jeemiah, 1-2 Maccabees,
Judith, Tobias, Sirach, Wisdom. (26) As White Crawford (2003) remembers, they are defined as
euteaial (27) Eissfeldt (1984) reminds us that Protestantism accepted as authoritative the
writings of the Hebrew canon, giving less importance to the others. (28) In 1534, Martin Luther
ilue the latte i hi mplete talati the iptue, alli them pypha (29)
80

Eissfeldt (1984) underlines that they must not be mistaken for the Pseudo-epigraphs, i.e. those
books which are usually but wrongly- ascribed to a character of the Old Testament. (30)
As Moore (1977) remembers, we do not know why the Additions to Esther were rejected
from the Hebrew canon. (31) This was perhaps due to the controversial canonicity of Esther itself. (32)
Moore (1977) states that, as late as the 3rd and 4th centuries CE there were still Jews who contested
the k authitativee (33) Moore (1977) supposes that the Council of Jamnia preferred a
shorter version of the book because the rabbis knew that the iti wee late, ie puiu,
because they were too pious to be read on a boisterous and exuberant feast as Purim was. (34)
Now we will report the text of the Additions as it appears in the edition of the Septuagint which we
have mentioned in the Introduction, together with the English translation by the International
Organization for Septuagint and Cognate Studies (A New English Translation of the Septuagint,
2007, Oxford University Press). It will be followed by a description of the historically interesting
elements. We will begin from Adds. B and E, the ones who were originally composed in Greek;
then, we will prosecute with A and F. Add. C, Add. D, and the colophon will follow.

3.1 Additions B and E


Add. B, vss. 1-7 (Est. 3: 13a - 13g of the LXX version):

81

hi i a py the lette he eat Ki taxexe wite a llw t the ulers of the one
hundred twenty-seven lands from India to Ethiopia and to the officials under them:
ei the ule may ati a mate the whle wl, I have etemie (t
high-mindedly with presumption of authority but always acting in moderation and with kindness) to
secure lasting tranquility in the lives of my subjects and, in order to make my kingdom peaceable
and open to travel throughout all its extent, to restore the peace desired by all people.
Whe I ake my uel hw thi miht be accomplished, Haman who excels among
us in sound judgment and is distinguished for his unchanging goodwill and steadfast fidelity and
has attained the second place in the kingdom- pointed out to us that among all the tribes in the
world there is scattered a certain hostile people, who have laws contrary to those of every nations
and continually disregard the ordinances of kings so that the joint administration of the kingdom
that we honorably intend cannot be achieved. Therefore, whereas we understand that, since this
nation stands constantly all alone in opposition to all humanity, perversely following an estranging
manner of life due to their laws and since it is ill-disposed to our interest, doing the worst harm and
in order that our kingdom may not attain stability.
We theee have ee that yu uttely ety the iiate t yu i the lette
written by Haman, who is in charge of the affairs of state and is our second Father including
women and children- by the daggers of their enemies, without any compassion and restraint, on the
fourteenth day of the twelfth month, Adar, of this present year, so that those who have long been
hostile and so remain, when they in one day have gone down to Hades by force, may in the time
hereafter render the matte tate mpletely tauil a utule u
Add. E, vss. 1-24 (Est. 8: 12a 12x of the LXX version):

82

83

What i witte elw i a py the lette

he eat Ki taxexe, t the ule the la m Iia t Ethipia, the e


hundred twenty-seven satrapies, and to those who are loyal to our interests, greetings.
ay peple, wh ae euetly he with the eatet kie thei eeat,
become the more ambitious and not only seek to harm those subject to us, but not being able to deal
with prosperity, they even undertake to scheme against their own benefactors. They not only abolish
gratitude from among people, but also, carried away by the boasts of those who are inexperienced in
goodness, they even presume to escape the evil-hating divine justice, who always observes
everything. Furthermore, many times encouragement has implicated many of those appointed to
places of authority, those entrusted to administer the affairs of friends, making them partly
responsible for the shedding of innocent blood, and has brought about irremediable calamities by
the malicious lie of an evil disposition of people who misconstrue the sincere goodwill of their
sovereigns.
it i pile t ee thi t muh m the me aiet e a we hae them
down, as it is right at your feet, when you examine things impiously perpetrated by the pestilent
behavior of those who hold power unworthily. And it is possible to look out hereafter in order that
we may render the kingdom quiet for all people, with peace, utilizing changes and always
discerning what comes to our attention with a rather considerate response. For whereas Haman son
of Hamadathos (a Macedonian who was in truth a foreigner to the blood of the Persians and quite
devoid of our kindness), when he was entertained by us as our guest, obtained the goodwill that we
have for every nation to such an extent that he was publicly proclaimed our Father and was
continually done obeisance to by all as the person second to the royal throne, but being unable to
restrain his arrogance, he made it his business to deprive us of our rule and our breath and by the
crafty deceit of ruses asked to destroy Mardochaios (35), our savior and constant benefactor, and
Esther, the innocent companion of our kingdom, together with their whole nation. For when by
these methods he had caught us undefended he thought that he would transfer the power of the
Persians to the Macedonians.
ut we i that the Juea, wh wee ie t aihilati y thi thie-accursed
man, are not criminals but are governed by most righteous laws and are children of the most high,
most great, living God, who has directed the kingdom for us and for our ancestors in the most
excellent order.
Yu will theee well t t ay ut the lette et by Haman son of Hamadathos,
because he who did these things has been crucified at the gates of Susa with his whole household,
since the God who prevails over all things has recompensed him quickly with the deserved
judgment.
84

yu will well t pt a copy of this letter publicly in every place and to allow the
Judeans to live in accordance with their own precepts and to join in helping them in order that they
might defend themselves against those who attack in the time of oppression, on the thirteenth day of
the twelfth month, Adar, on that same day. For God, who rules over all things, has made this day to
be a joy for his chosen race instead of a day of destruction for them.
heee, yu al hall eleate thi with all hee a a holiday among your
commemorative feasts so that both now and hereafter it may be deliverance for us and for the welldisposed Persians, but for those who plot against us, a memorial of destruction.
Evey ity a uty, withut exepti, that e t do according to this by spear and
fire shall be consumed with wrath. It shall be made not only impassable for people, but also most
htile t wil aimal a i all time
he it thi we tie i that haueu ha eme taxexe We have already
hinted at the possible reasons for this in Ch. 2, par. 2.2.
As Moore (1973) observes, Adds. B and E lend an additional dramatic interest and a greater sense
of authenticity to the story. (36) Add. E also supplies some explicit religious elements which are
lacking in the Masoretic version. (37) We have said that they were plausibly composed in Greek
from the beginning and not translations of Semitic texts. Such a conclusion is suggested to Moore
(1973) by the external evidence: those versions based on the Hebrew do not have these additions;
the versions based on the Greek do have them; both Origen (185? 254) and Jerome (347 420)
state that these two letters were lacking in the Hebrew texts of their day. (38) As far as the internal
evidence is concerned according to Moore (1973)- their style is free of all Hebraisms and is quite
unlike Greek translations of other Semitic decrees in the Bible and their grammatical constructions
ae haateiti eek (39) In terms of their literary style, Moore (1973) finds them most
similar to the Greek of the Third Book of Maccabees. (40) hi i a elleiti hitial vel
set in the Egypt ruled by Ptolemy IV Philopator (222 BCE 205 BCE). In spite of the title, it has
nothing in common with the Maccabean revolt, except the theme of narrow escape from mortal
danger, through the intervention of divine providence. The plot is resumed by Mlze
Modrzejewski (1995) as follows. In the last quarter of the 3rd century BCE, the Seleucid Antiochus
III embarks upon the conquest of Palestine; Ptolemy IV wards off the attack. On the 23rd June 217
BCE, the Egyptian ruler wins a brilliant victory near Raphia, near the Egyptian frontier. He
reconquers his former dominion, where he is joyously acclaimed by the population. Ptolemy thus
begins his triumphant march on Jerusalem. There he expresses the desire to visit the Temple,
including the Holy of Holies, whose access is limited to the yearly visit by the high priest. The
85

faithful begin to weep and to disapprove loudly, but the king does not listen to them. The high priest
Simeon implores God to spare the Temple from profanation and his prayer is answered: Ptolemy is
suddenly stricken with paralysis. On his return to Egypt, he decides to take revenge on the Jews. He
orders his Jewish subjects to offer a sacrifice to Dionysus before entering the synagogues; the
Alexandrian Jews are deprived of their legal status and branded by a red-hot iron with the sign of
ivy, the emblem of Dionysus; however, those who voluntarily embrace the worship of that god are
to be spared and be granted Alexandrian citizenship. The great majority refuses. So Ptolemy
extends the anti-Jewish measures to the entire Egypt. He has the support of some of his subjects,
who have already accused the Jews of particularism. The king decrees that all the Jews of Egypt are
to be conveyed in the capital city, there to suffer the supreme punishment. They are accused of
fomenting a plot against the throne. All the prisoners are then transported to Schedia where one of
the earliest consecrations of a synagogue had taken place. They are crowded into the hippodrome.
There begins the endless registration of the prisoners; it is interrupted by lack of papyrus and
calami, due to Providence. Then the king calls upon a man named Hermon, who is in charge of the
war elephants. The latter are to be worked up to a pitch of frenzy and loosed upon the Jews in the
hippodrome. But, when Hermon comes to the king to announce that all was ready for the execution,
he finds Ptolemy plunged into a deep sleep. The next day, the monarch completely forgets his own
orders. At the third day, however, the execution takes place. While the elephants are launching
themselves upon the captives, an aged man called Eleazar, of priestly lineage, prays to the Lord for
salvation and he is satisfied. The beasts turn back on the armed hosts that follow them. Witnessing
the Jew mile, tlemy wath i tue t pity he pie ae et ee the hae atiyal plt i w uht aait the utie wh ha almt eee the ki epile
the massacre of his most faithful servants. Like the Book of Esther, it ends with the introduction of
a holiday to commemorate the rescue. Moreover, Ptolemy states that anyone capable of betraying
his own God might also betray his sovereign and grants the Jews the right to take revenge upon the
renegades. (41) hi plt imilaitie with Ethe ty ae lea hey ae singled out by Hacham
(2007): the number of people reportedly killed at the end is identical in both narratives (Est. 9: 15; 3
Mac. 7: 14-15) (42); like in Esther (9: 15-18), the Jews living in the capital city are differentiated
from the remaining ones (3 Mac. 4: 12-13) (43) the ki wie play a al le ( a 1 -5) (44);
maipulate the ki leep (XX Et 1 a 11-12) (45) the villai ae all i
confrontation with the king (Est. 7: 8; 3 Mac. 5: 31-33) (46). Hacham (2007) points out also that both
Esther and 3 Maccabees are stories of reversal. (47) Furthermore, they both incorporate royal letters
(48)

: one concerning the eradication of the Jews (3 Mac. 3: 12-29; Est., Add. B) and the second, a

decree canceling the first (3 Mac. 7: 1-9; Est., Add. E). (49) Hacham (2007) remarks also that both
86

Greek Esther and 3 Maccabees ilue paye eaiahai a Ethe e (Et,


) e ie a the hih piet im a Eleaa e ( a -20; 6: 2-15) on the
other. (50) According to Hacham (2007), such story lines are not unique to these two works and
appear elsewhere in Second Temple Jewish literature. (51) As regards LXX Esther and 3 Maccabees,
Hacham (2007) finds also other shared elements: they consist in words whose earliest occurrence is
attested in the LXX, and in expressions that appears nowhere else in ancient literature. (52) A
majority of the examples of linguistic affinity between them are concentrated in Adds. B and E. (53)
Hacham (2007) infers that B and E were probably composed after, and influenced by, 3 Maccabees
in its entirety and that they were also born in the same historical background. (54) The scholar finds it
possible that the Greek translation of Esther (without the letters) preceded 3 Maccabees. (55)
Hacham (2007) detects also substantial differences between the two works. In Est., the relationship
between the king and the Jews is placed in a generally favorable light and the hostile decree is born
by a regrettable mistake. In 3 Mac., the persecution starts from a profound Jewish-Gentile tension,
instead. (56) Est. freely recounts that Jews kill non-Jews (9: 2 ff.); in 3 Mac., the Jews kill only
renegade Jews (7: 14-15). (57) The edict calling for the eradication of the Jews in Est. is the result of
eai eual t w t ama a i itvetile i a, the peeuti i ue
in Jewish refusal to participate in the Dionysian rites, but those who join the cult are not subject to
the decree. (58) In other words as Hacham (2007) resumes- in Est. the decree is directed against the
Jews; in 3 Mac., against Judaism. (59) As the scholar goes on underlining, in Est., feasts are a
manifestation of the non-Jew tupiity a mateialim, ut the Jewih queen nevertheless sits at
table with Ahasuerus and Haman, -and this is a turning point in the story. In 3 Mac., feasts
symbolize idolatry and the Jews never participate in them. (60) In summation, the author of Est.
apparently experiences a certain security in Diaspora existence, while 3 Mac. expresses a
threatening alienation. (61) It is in the view of Diaspora in 3 Maccabees that Hacham (2007) seeks
the rationale for the incorporation of B and E in Greek Esther. They introduce a new, hostile
attitude to the book. (62) Quoting DeSilva, Hacham (2007) states that this Additions mainly Add. Egive voice also to the hope that the blamelessness of the Jews conduct among the Gentiles would
e eie a value, athe tha thei ieete (63)
Moore (1973) supposes that the same individual wrote B and E. (64) The scholar finds it
unlikely that he was the same who translated the rest of the book, for stylistic reasons. (65) These two
Additions surely existed by 94 CE, for a paraphrased version of them appears in Josephus, Jewish
Antiquities, 11.216-220; 273-283. (66)
According to Bickerman (1951 and 1967), Adds. B and E are an example of a fashion that had been
introduced in Greek historiography since the half of the 3rd century BCE: to quote documents
87

verbatim. The scholar remembers that exercises in writing letters expressing some historical
situations were part of the school program. The student, for instance, had to write a letter which
Alexander the Great could have dispatched to the defeated Persian king. (67) Bickerman (1967)
observes that, in Adds. B and E, the translator skillfully imitates the heavy bureaucratic prose of his
time, with its long sentences, use of rare words, and the high moralizing tone. (68) According to him,
Haman bears the title the eleui a viie (

, E) (69)

taxexe ue w the iula, w the plual, the latte whe eei t the w
Bickerman (1951) notes that this was the style of Hellenistic monarchs in the 3rd century BCE. (70)
In Add. B, the date of slaughter is changed, to conform Purim to Hellenic habit of celebrating the
anniversary day of a battle not the following day I , we atually i the uteeth ay
a itea the thiteeth ay (71)
Gordis (1981) compares B and E show also to the Letter of Aristeas (see pp. 15-16): they
express a Jewish point of view pretending to be written by a Gentile a sympathetic but definitely
outside observer of Judaism. This is said especially of E. (72)
Bickerman (1967) observes that the two edicts are composed symmetrically. The first one
begins like the traditional Persian edicts which everybody knew from Herodotus and Thucidides, as
ikema (1) uelie he eat Ki taxexe wite a llw he e e i
uhe i the m elleiti lette patet he eat Ki taxexe [], eeti
Writing against the Jews, the king uses the style of the Persian despot. Intervening on behalf of
them, he emply the plite lauae elleiti haelleie Yu will theee well t
t ay ut the lette et y ama amaath (73)
It is even more interesting to analyze the reasons initially alleged by the king to exterminate
the Jew am all the tie i the wl thee i attee a etai htile peple, wh have
laws contrary to those of every nations and continually disregard the ordinances of kings so that the
joint administration of the kingdom that we honorably intend cannot be achieved. Therefore,
whereas we understand that, since this nation stands constantly all alone in opposition to all
humanity, perversely following an estranging manner of life due to their laws and since it is illdisposed to our interest, doing the worst harm and in order that our kingdom may not attain
taility hee w may elihte the ea that htility am Jew a etile
depicted in 3 Maccabees. They focus on Jewish exclusiveness, which as Bickerman (1951) notessurprised and irritated the Greeks from the beginning.(74) We must not be surprised if the Jewish
historian Josephus wa vey ee with hi peple aply i Jewish War (75 CE 79
CE) ei tati that me hitia have aliie the at
88

, ut

hate twa the Jew (1) he mplai the Jew mitue a eate tha the all the
the peple (11) a exlaim

( hitial tuth hall e he y u, a it i elete y the eek!,


11) Jephu Against Apion (93 CE - 96 CE) is even more detailed in depicting anti-Judaic
charges. First of all, Greek histia aue the Jew t e a peple eetly me and not
ancient and venerable as Josephus had described it in his Jewish Antiquities (Against Apion, 1.1-5).
Then, the author reports a slander found in the work of the Egyptian historian Manetho (beginning
of the 3rd century BCE): the Jews would have originally been lepers destined to be expelled (1.227250). The version told by Chaeremon (1st century CE) is not very different from this (1.288-292).
Also Lysimachus (2nd century BCE) re-wrote this narrative (1.304-311). Together with the Third
Book of Maccabees, such tales document deeply-rooted tensions between Jews and Gentiles. We
have already seen what happened in Elephantine in 410 BCE (pp. 8-9). We have also said that the
Jewish community on that isle practiced a worship that was seen as sacrilegious by their Egyptian
neighbors and that the Jews of Elephantine sided with Persian lords. (p. 9) All over Egypt, the Jews
were however considered as strangers and military colonists (cf. pp. 8-9 and p. 12). Their
separateness, autonomy and their preferential relationship with the first Ptolemies the Macedonian
conquerors- did not lead the autochthonous inhabitants to feel favorably towards the Jews. Also the
relationship of the latter with the Hellenes later got worst, as 3 Maccabees and Josephus show. As
far as Ptolemy IV is concerned, Mlze Modrzejewski (1995) reminds us that toward the end of the
3rd century BCE the Ptolemies were to lose their hegemony over Judea. (75) Antiochus III at first
sought to assure himself of the loyalty of his Jewish subject. (76) Toward 200 BCE, he issued a
charter which confirmed their religious and national autonomy. (77) But under Antiochus IV, the
revolt of the Maccabees brought the Jews squarely up against the Seleucid regime. (78) In the
meanwhile, in Egypt, a lesser conflict arose between the Jewish community and the Ptolemaic
rulers: this is the one shaded in 3 Maccabees. Mlze Modrzejewski (1995) supposes that Ptolemy
IV had decided to treat the Jews as a Dionysian sect. (79) In spite of their completely diverging
theologies, Judaism and Dionysian religion could be seen as similar because of their mysterious
rites and the invisibility of their deities. (80) Judaic monotheism seemed also akin to Orphism, a
mystical and sectarian religion with manifold ties to Dionysian rites. (81) However, being treated as a
Dionysian sect would have meant being subject to measures of control; Jewish leaders would have
had to present their sacred texts to the Alexandrian authorities. (82) According to Mlze
Modrzejewski (1995), this could have led to public protests; to disperse the crowd, the king may
have ordered out his elephants. Ptolemy IV could have managed to avoid the spilling of blood at the
last minute. (83)
89

Were one to accept this reconstruction, it would follow that the episode of the elephants was
due to the political clumsiness of those at the helm, and is not to be construed as an overtly antiJewish act on the part of the Ptolemaic monarchy. (84) Nevertheless, it could have been sufficient to
make the Jews loose many of their illusions. Their loyalty to the Ptolemies must have been sorely
tried. Within the limits imposed by their faithfulness to the laws of their forbearers, they had been
prepared to serve their king with all the devotion of which they were capable, as Mlze
ejewki (1) ememe y ewai thei ujet lyalty with meaue haamet
that they also perceived as a mortal danger, the royal regime was to prove itself guilty at once of
ingratitude and outrageous behavior. (85)
weve, i Jephu Against Apion there are even more interesting testimonies of the
relationships between the Jews and the Ptolemies. He writes that Ptolemy III gave offers to the
Temple in Jerusalem (2.48) but we have no confirmation from other sources. Then, Josephus
reports that Ptolemy VI Philometor (181 BCE 145 BCE) and his sister-wife Cleopatra II entrusted
the Jew with

, thei whle kim (2.49). Then he goes on

remembering the struggle for power when Philometor died. Cleopatra II proclaimed king her son,
but her brother Ptolemy Physcon then Ptolemy VIII- came from Cyrene, probably invited by the
Alexandrians, killed the young king and seized the throne. The Jewish community had sided with
lepata II he ha ha the uppt ia tp (cf. p. 9). (86) When Ptolemy VIII managed to
eme ki, the Jewih mmuity ha t pay that tea (87) The Egyptian Jews had
shown that they were a political and military force to be reckoned with. In Ch. 1, we have seen the
eeal aia avii lepata III t t aex lexae Jaaeu kim a ei
obeyed (cf. p. 9). We can thus understand the meaning of what Add. B to Esther says: even if the
Jew wee t htile, ieae yal law, they wee hweve a t epaate
political body, capable of siding with or against the Egyptian monarchs. Add. B and Add. E are thus
to be read quoting Bickerman (1967)- as the presentation of the views of both conflicting
parties, the pro-Jewish one and the anti-Judaic one. (88)
As regards Ptolemy VIII and his revenge, Josephus ascribes to him the execution in the
hippodrome that 3 Maccabees et ue tlemy IV ule (Against Apion 2.53-) he Jew
alvati i hee ue t tlemy avite uie, wh mve him t pity hi vei lealy
el t the Ethe tale type (h , pa ) i t le ejewki (1), it
also shades historical truth: Ptolemy VIII was reconciled with his sister Cleopatra II and even
married her; this solution avoided any revenge. (89)
Other historical situations are shaded in Greek Esther. In Add. E: 10-1, the aeia ama
is depicted as a foreigner who wants to subject the Persian king. According to Eissfeldt (1984), this
90

is easier to explain if we suppose that the Septuagint version of the Book is earlier than the advent
of the Arsacid king Mithridates I. (90) In the 3rd century BCE, Media and Persia were included in
the Seleucid kingdom. The dynasty that ruled it had Macedonian origins, as his founder was one of
the iahi, lexae the eat ue ikema (1) expe, i E, l
and Alexandros two brothers who jointly exercised the general-governorship of the upper regions
in the Seleucid Empire- rebelled against Antiochus III. (91) They commanded troops in Media and
Persia respectively. (92) Molon proclaimed himself king. (93) While he reigned for a limited time in
the East, Antiochus III waged war in Syria against Ptolemy IV (221 BCE). (94) In 212 BCE, the
Seleucid king began reconquest of his lost satrapies. (95) In 209 BCE he reached Hecatompylae. The
Parthian king fled, but the akwlee tihu III upemay (96)
he eeat the eleui mah i the ma wa (1 E) ee hi yaty tl
Outer Iran. (97) Yet Antiochus IV tried to regain Farther East (165 BCE). (98) He reestablished
suzerainty over Armenia, went down to Mesopotamia, Persia and, perhaps, the Persian Gulf. (99)
Then he marched on the main road to Ecbatana, probably to challenge the Arsacids of Parthia, who
had captured the northern part of Media. (100)
te tihu IV eath, the truggle between two branches of the Seleucid house Demetrius I,
the lat ki the, a tihu V, the lat ki - enabled Timarchus, satrap of Media
and vice-roy of the East, to seize the crown. (101) Afterwards, Mithridates I of Parthia conquered
Media, then Mesopotamia (141 BCE). (102) He managed to eclipse Seleucid power in the East until
the last decades of the 2nd century BCE.
he athia Empie iiteate ly ate tihu VII ampai (1-129 BCE): the
Seleucid king was helped by the defection of Oriental kings and by the Greek cities. (103) Antiochus
VII regained Mesopotamia and Persia. (104) He demanded the evacuation of all territories outside
Parthia proper and the payment of tribute. (105) He fell in battle with the Parthians (129 BCE). The
results of victory were hard to maintain. (106)
Before the emergence of the Parthians, the Persians and the Elamites had joined the Jews in their
tule aait tihu IV velhip I thi liht as we have said in Ch. 2, par. 2.6Haman

ul al epeet thi eleui l aletie the the ha, the

Jewish protagonists and the Persian Ahasuerus/Artaxerxes could represent the previously mentioned
alliance. (107)
We also underline that the Jews, at firt epite a a htile peple ( ), i E
eme hile the mt hih, mt eat, livi , wh ha iete the kim [] i
the mt exellet e I the liht thi, -as Bickerman (1951) observes- Haman is a traitor not
only eaue he ha tie t tae the pwe the eia t the aeia, ut al
91

because he has tried to break the alliance between the monarch and the guarantors of his power.
(108)

We must remember again the episode of Ananias and Cleopatra III the Jew uppt ul e

decisive for a Ptolemaic monarch at the end of the 2nd century BCE. Add. E provides a theological
explanation for this matter of fact. As Bickerman (1951) recognizes, neither Add. E nor the author
of 3 Maccabees belittles or denies Jewish particularism. (109) For them it is a self-evident truth that
God has chosen Israel from among all the nations. (110) This awareness caused a cohesion in the
Diaspora that surprised and astonished the Hellenes, as it was not common to the other ethnic
minorities. (111) Also the events that had taken place in Palestine between the first and the second
half of the century had influenced the situation of the Egyptian Jewry. We are referring to the
profanation of the Temple of Jerusalem, dedicated to Zeus the Olympian by the Seleucid
Antiochus IV, and to the Maccabean revolt against the latter (169 BCE -142 BCE). (112) As
Barclay (2004) underlines, such traumas and new immigrations from Judea to Egypt had arisen
Eyptia Jew plitial awaee (113) Barclay (2004) reports that part of the Egyptian Diaspora
had supported the Hasmonean dynasty who reigned in Judea after the Seleucid rule- and had
apte the eat aukkah, whih ememee the emple e-consecration. (114) In this
context as we have seen in Ch. 1- the foundation of the Jewish temple in Leontopolis had taken
place. Barclay (2004) observes that the allowance to build a worship place had been a cunning
political choice by Ptolemy VI Philometor: it had meant to grant asylum to a significant antiSeleucid faction, which could also give military help. (115) The Judean colony in Leontopolis
ptete Eypt wete e, whih wa vey expe t ivai (116) We have already
meant what these troops had meant to Cleopatra II. This contraposition between Jews and Gentiles
is lessened in Josephus vei Ethe ty (Jewish Antiquities 11.184-296), for the reasons
we will see in the next paragraph. Especially in his version of Add. E (Jewish Antiquities 11.273283), Josephus cancels hints at Hellenistic political situation. Haman is not described as a Macedon
conqueror, but he remains

, the malekite ae (Jewish Antiquities

11.277). Josephus stresses another theme of Add. E: the silly use of prosperity. As Feldman (1970)
notes, in the Jewish Antiquities ama eeve hi puihmet t eaue he i a ae i.e.
pro-Seleucid- ut eaue he ha t [] e hi tue wiely (Jewish Antiquities
11.277-278). (117) Feldman (1970) points out that this was a theme cherished by Greek tragedy. (118)
Josephus not only belittles nationalism and anti-Seleucid hints, but also reshapes the tale according
t hi eae liteay eiility

92

3.2 Additions A and F


Add. A, vss. 1-17 (Est. 1: 1a 1s of the LXX version):

I the e yea whe taxexe the eat wa ki, the it ay ia, ahai the
son of Iairos son of Semeias son of Kisaios, from the tribe of Beniamin, saw a dream. He was a
Judean man dwelling in the city of Susa, a great man, serving in the court of the king. Now he was
of the group of exiles which Nabouchodonosor, king of Babylon, took captives from Ierousalem
with Iechonias, the king of Judea. And this was the dream: Look! Shouts and confusion! Thunder
93

and earthquake! Chaos upon the earth! Look! Two great dragons came forward, both ready to fight,
and a great noise arose from them! And at their sound every nation prepared for war, to fight
against a nation of righteous people. Look! A day of darkness and gloom! Affliction and anguish!
Oppression and great chaos upon the earth! And the whole righteous nation was in chaos, fearing
the evils that threatened themselves, and they were ready to perish. Then they cried out to God, and
from their cry, as though from a small spring, there came a great river, abundant water; light, and
the sun rose, and the lowly were exalted and devoured those held in esteem. Then when
Mardochaios, who had seen this dream and what God had determined to do, awoke, he had it on his
heart and sought until nightfall to understand it in every detail.
And Mardochaios took his rest in the court with Gabatha and Tharra, the two eunuchs of the
king who guarded the courtyard. He both overheard their deliberations and inquired into their
ambitions, and learned that they were preparing to lay hands on Artaxerxes the king, and he told the
king about them. Then the king interrogated the two eunuchs, and when they confessed, they were
led away. And the king wrote these things in the record, and Mardochaios wrote concerning these
things. And the king ordered Mardochaios to serve in the court and gave to him gifts for these
things. But Haman son of Hamadathos, a Bougean, was highly esteemed by the king, and he sought
to harm Mardochaios and his people because of the two eunuchs of the king. Now it happened after
these things in the days of Artaxerxes this Artaxerxes controlled one hundred twenty-seven lands
from India
Add. F, vss. 1-10 (Est. 10: 3a 3k of the LXX version):
K

94

ahai ai, m thee thi have me I ememe aut the eam that I
saw concerning these matters, for not even a word of them has failed to be fulfilled. There was the
little spring that became a river, and there was light and sun and abundant water; Esther is the river,
whom the king married and made queen. The two dragons are myself and Haman. The nations are
those that gathered to destroy the name of the Judeans. And my nation, this is Israel, who cried out
to God and were saved. The Lord has saved his people, and the Lord has rescued us from all these
evils, and God has done signs and great wonders that have not happened among the nations. For this
purpose he made two lots, one for the people of God and one for all the nations, and these two lots
came to the hour and the right time and to the day of decision before God, and for all the nations.
And God remembered his people and vindicated his own inheritance.
thee ay i the mth a, the uteeth a the iteeth that ame
month, will be observed by them with a gathering and joy and rejoicing before God, from
generation to generation forever am hi peple Iael
Addition A is know as ordecais Dream and Addition F as we can see presently- is its
itepetati y eai ( ahai) himel he eae i ime m the eii
the ivie ii the vii (
ime y the explaati (

) the imati i the

As Bickerman (1967) shows, mantic dreams are to be met everywhere. (119) Like Mordecai,
the Nubian king Tanutamon (663 BCE) saw two serpents in a dream. His soothsayers immediately
interpreted the vision as promising him dominion over the North as well as the South of Egypt. The
retarded interpretation, given post-factum, nullifies the prophetic value of a vision. (120) In Greek
literature, as Bickerman (1967) notes, it was the fashion to describe allegoric dreams, even if they
remained without effect on the action. (121) Here according to Bickerman (1967)- the vision is only
a liteay meth timulati the eae uiity (122) In the poem of Apollonius of Rhodes,
Medea in a dream sees her own future in symbols. (123) She is unable to understand their meaning.
The reader, however, recognizes the fulfillment of the prophecy in the forthcoming events. (124) In a
play of Diphilus, the slave Daemones relates a dream the significance of which is hidden from him.
The development of the action enlightens him and, like Mordecai, he is then able to interpret his
vision. (125)

95

As we can see from its own incipit, eai eam take plae e year earlier then the
opening scene of the Masoretic version (cf. Est. 1: 3), and five years before Esther became queen
(cf. Est. 2: 16).
ive eai eealy, a like Moore (1977) notes- this is his first mention in the
LXX version. (126) This Additions clearly states that Mordecai is the one who was exiled, and not his
ancestor Kisaios aeie m Kih (ee p. 41). He is defined as

, a eat

ma like i the aeti vei, he es not have to wait for the development of his career at
court. According to Moore (1977), this is also a touch of historical verisimilitude: Jews could and
did attain position of prominence and great wealth in the days of Artaxerxes I (465/4 BCE 424
BCE) and Darius II (424 BCE 405/4 BCE). (127) ay that he i

, evi i the ut the ki he eew k Ethe plae him at the Ki

ate, itea and we have seen archaeological proofs of its existence (pp. 35-36). This
discrepancy according to Moore (1977)- i paly ue t a eeu eai
a

(ate)

(ut, hall) (128) a a the eek eam Vorlage is concerned, we have already

said that it is probably Semitic. A proof alleged by Moore (1977) is the frequently repeated term

(k!) it peuppe the eew

(whinnh) or the Aramaic waa r, a word used

in the Masoretic Text to introduce a dream in general (cf. Gen. 37: 7 and 9) or various components
within the same dream (cf. Gen. 41: 2, 3 and 5; Dan. 7: 2, 5, 6 and 7). (129) Moore (1977) detects also
athe eaim i eai eam the euet ue (a) at the eii a
sentence, which is modeled on the use of (w) to connect phrases. (130)
Mordecai/Mardochaios sees two
Moore (1977)-

, hee eee a a I the XX according to

ilue a wie ae teiyi eat the wl (Je 11 [1]) iah

1: 8); the snake (Deut. 32: 33; Ps. 90 [91]: 13); the large land reptiles (Job 40: 20 [25]) and sea
eatue ( 1 [1] ) mai epet (Ex ) ivie ake (el a the ake,
Addition to Daniel, vs. 23); mythical creatures like Rahab (Job 26: 13), Leviathan (Ps. 74: 13; Isa.
27: 1), and Yam (Job 7: 12). (131) A dragon is sometimes the symbol for a pagan ruler. (132) Moore
(1977) indicates it as a major figure in apocalyptic literature. (133) palypti i a w
generically denominating movements who were born at the decline of biblical prophetic charisma
whose complete extinction dates back to 3rd 2nd century BCE). They will last till the end of 1st
century CE. (134) palypti i a me tem mele

(evelati), which is a

word famous for entitling the last book of the Christian canon. (135) The movements marked by such
a definition were actually focused on revelations about history, the origins of evil, theodicy and
eschatological destiny of mankind. (136) They later got also a messianic character, i.e. they expected
that himel wul etut a eputy (a ael a a) with wai the wa aait
96

the pwe ake whih miate the peet (137) This was both a way to read human
history and an escape from it. (138) What is distinctive about apocalypticism is its answer to the
problem of evil: this answer appeals to supernatural agency, giving to human intervention a minor
role. (139)
Apocalyptic movements developed a literary production characterized by erudition, as they got
inspiration by biblical prophets like Ezekiel metime ememee like apalypti liteatue
athe pheti k eame ue m peiti (140) The Book of Ezekiel provided
apocalyptic literature with its peculiar style of expression, full of visions, symbols, enigmatic and
imaginative allegories. (141)
In this kind of literary production as Moore (1977) underlines- the dragon is actually a symbol of
evil. (142) Additions A and F are exceptional in this sense, as one of the two dragons represents not
evil (embodied by the second dragon/Haman), but good (Mordecai/Mardochaios). Moore (1973)
had already remarked this inappropriateness. (143) He also pointed out the discrepancies between
Add. F in the LXX and in the Alpha Text: (1) the river is seen as a symbol of Queen Esther in the
XX, ut i the it i the eemy ati () liht, a the u ae peumaly ymli
well-being in the LXX, but are manifestations of God in the AT. (144) But the really interesting
element comes after. The battle is not only between the two courtiers now representing huge and
cosmic forces- ut al etwee the

(a ati ihteu peple) a

(evey ati) iti learly explains, this means that Israel the Chosen People- fights
against all the other nations. A regrettable incident born by a rivalry between two courtiers has now
become a universal struggle. As Moore (1977) points out, darkness, gloom, affliction and anguish
belong to biblical imagery connected to eschatological salvation (cf.: Joel 2: 2, 10-11). (145) This
explains also the marked religious character of these Additions, in which God is explicitly and
repeatedly mentioned. As Soggin (4 1987) remarks, they also turn the Book of Esther into an antiGentile manifesto proper. (146) According to Feldman (1970), this is the plausible reason of their
absence in the Jewish Antiquities: Josephus surely did not want to hurt his Gentile readers. (147) He
was als ee with hi peple aply, a we have ee he ilui a i
his paraphrase of Esther would have been counter-acting. He nevertheless knew Add. A, as he
writes that the king commanded Mordecai to wait upon him in the palace, thus repeating a
statement included in Add. A (Jewish Antiquities 11.208). (148) The tension they depict is even
greater than the one expressed by the Masoretic version of the story. The situation is more similar to
the one described in the Third Book of Maccabees (see par. 3.1).
Bickerman (1967) supposes that this Greek version has been composed under the reign of
Alexander Jannaeus (103 BCE 76 BCE). (149) The faction opposed to the Hasmonean king called
97

in Demetrius III, a Seleucid, and the civil war in Judea lasted about six years (Josephus, Jewish
Antiquities, 13.372-378). (150) According to Bickerman (1967), Additions A and F may express a
nationalistic point of view: the fight between the supporters of the local dynasty and the foreign
king would be here seen as a struggle between good and evil. (151)
The struggle ends with the triumph of the lowly, wh ae, ue, the ati
ihteu peple he eat ive born from their cry- is actually a symbol of irresistible power,
as in Astyages eam i etu, Histories, 1.107 ememee y e (1) iht, a
the u according to Moore (1977)- mean happiness (cf. Wisd. 5: 6). They may also symbolize
the morning, i.e. the time of deliverance. (152)
eai eam especially as regards the two dragons- reminds Moore (1977) of the
Enma Elish, the Babylonian poem which we have already indicated as a probable model for the
Book of Esther (pp. 51 ff.). (153) I at, al the evil e imat slain by Marduk- is defined
a a ea a (154)
According to Moore (1973 and 1977), the Dream is probably a separate entity, then inserted
at the beginning of the Book of Esther, with which it shares the male protagonist and the setting.
(155)

The reasons for such a hypothesis are: the contradictions in the interpretations of the Dream

(ee ave), the iaeuay the a a a yml eaiahai the at that


lt ae aet i , ut they ae itue it , with a meai uite ieet
from that in canonical portions of Esther. (156) An Egyptian origin has been suggested for it by
e (1), a the eat ive, like the ile, i the emlem lie a the ue all the
blessings; the sun can typify the Pharaoh and the god Re, the source of life and joy. (157) But Moore
(1977) also detects a Persian influence and coloring. (158) According to him, the themes of light and
strife are reminiscent of the struggle between the fire god Ahura Mazda and the evil Ahriman often
represented by a dragon. (159) The river reminds Moore (1977) of the Persian water goddess Anahita.
(160)

We have already spoken of the plausible Babylonian influences. According to Moore (1977),

either Egyptian or Mesopotamian provenance is possible, but neither is necessary. (161) Palestinians
also knew the power and importance of a swollen stream, and the appropriateness of light and sun
as symbols of joy. (162) e (1) tie that the eam imaey a liteay tyle ae t
unlike second-century BCE visions such as those found in the Book of Daniel. (163)
lv () emak, iti iet al a ulet the aative the
regicide. (164) I the aeti vei, eai uvei the tw euuh plt i tl at
Est. 2: 21-23, after Ethe wei a ati Eve i thi epie i vey imila t the e
in Add. A, Frolov (2002) still underlines some differences:

98

1. he aeti vei im the liteeeae aut the piay exitee


before mentioning its discovey y eai peet the euuh pla a
eaiahai ivey
2. Add. A has Mordecai/Mardochaios overhear the eunuchs; this detail is missing from
the Masoretic version;
3. he aeti vei meti the euuh ae with the king; there is no such
mention in Add. A.
4. meti eaiahai w ivetiati the aeti vei
is silent about it;
5. I the aeti vei, Ethe i eai meae t the ki i ,
he personally warns the monarch;
6. The Masoretic version limits itself to say that the affair was investigated; Add. A
specifies that the king has interrogated the eunuchs;
7. Add. A maintains that the eunuchs have confessed; the Masoretic version is silent on
the matter;
8. he aeti vei e t peiy what aai, thi w wa
ivee y the ki ivetiati paly ietiie it with
eaiahai w, i a appaet eeee t hi ept t the ki
9. The Masoretic version claims that both eunuchs were executed immediately after the
ivetiati ha them imply le away, t meti thei exeuti ly
at the very end of the narrative.
10. According to Add. A, the king personally compiles a record of the incident; these
details are lacking in the Masoretic version;
11. In Add. A, the king invites Mordecai/Mardochaios to serve at the court and rewards
him; moreover, the disclosure of the conspiracy angers Haman. (165)
According to Frolov (2002), such differences cannot be random. (166) While the Masoretic version of
the botched regicide is often vague as he notices- Addition A is very detailed in telling it. (167)
Moreover, the latter changes the light in which Mordecai/Mardochaios further actions have to be
ea i wa itemaiae w lk like a leve peauti aait ama uy athe tha
a gratuitous violation of the biblical injunction against such unions. (168) Furthermore,
eaiahai eual t eiae t ama appea th justified and
inconsequential. (169) I at, eve i thee wee aetal ea eai ieiee
(pp. 41 ff.), it at ul e ee a ilet a epile hi peple peil (170) Thanks to
99

Add. A as Frolov (2002) remarks- the Jews and Mordecai/Mardochaios become not victims of
their own disobedience, but of their very loyalty to the king. (171)
Differences between the two versions of the botched regicide (Add. A, vss. 11-17 and Est. 2: 21-23)
according to Frolov (2002) are probably meant to prevent the two narratives from looking like a
doublet. (172)
al maae t ive a eve ake uae t ama ptait he i epite a
traitor and a schemer from the beginning, thus justifying the charges against him in Add. E.

As far as Add. F is concerned, Moore (1973 and 1977) supposes that its Vorlage is Semitic,
too. (173) p ul e the tem (i

(1973 and 1977), behind it would seem to be the Hebrew

) ai t e
( dvrm), which means either

w thi (174) Thus, the author would be referring, not to the words of the dream, but to
all the events narrated in the Greek Esther, including the Additions. (175) This would mean that the
auth i aii t will the whle ty (176) The author of the Masoretic version allows
hi eae t ie themelve exteive ivlvemet, itea (177)
i t , the ati wat t ety the ame the Juea, ie t ly
the Jewish people as such, but even their very memory. (178) We are not witnessing an attack
directed against the Jews, but against Judaism like in the Third Book of Maccabees (par. 3.1).
he, Iael ie ut According to Moore (1977), this is not just a cry of animal fear or pain, but
a cry of faith and repentance imila t the itial Eleaa e i t tlemy IV
elephants (p. 86). (179) What has been narrated in the Greek Esther is here seen as
[]

[]

, i a eat we mpaale t the miale at the hippme (pa

3.1).
ee t Iael eemie a
and reserves the warm, emotion-filled word

(eew , gm tae, etile) (180),


(eew

, am, peple) Iael itel (181)

According to Moore (1977), this recalls Joel 3[4]: 2, in which the distinction between the gm and
am is preserved. (182)
l the theme lt eu ( h , pa ) he eek tem

mea

pti i thi ae, ai t e (1), it i ue i the iuative ee etiy


(183)

The contraposition between

, tw lt, eie the dualism of Adds. A and F,

which are so concerned with the struggle etwee ( peple) a evil (the etile)
(184)

Significantly, Moore (1977) remarks that the terrible darkness of Add. A is not even
metie i , ly

(liht a u) (185)
100

he tw lt

[]

(ame t the hu

a the iht time a t the ay eii) he phae iit the ept iht time,
a specific moment which is the decisive one in the struggle for destruction or salvation of Israel. (186)
This could recall the Book of Daniel (Dan. 7: 25), where

translates the Hebrew

. It means

time iee t a uative, ut a a determined, recognizable and decisive moment. It


iiate al a mmet he y i w itevetin or a time suitable for an event.
In English,

may e talate a ai, uee, pptuity, ituati

The word can refer to the events which take place at a certain time, as it is clear in Dan. 9: 25
(time will w a). (187)
e with a wai the evet aate i eek Ethe mut e eleate

(m eeati t eeati eve am hi

[] peple Iael) he phae hw the auth eat ncern that Purim be forever
observed. (188) This leads us to think that Purim was knowing a strong revival at the time of
Esther talati a the iti mpiti ai t a , it wa al hae
with a generally anti-Gentile spirit unknown to the Hebrew version. The events in the Egyptian
Diaspora could have contributed to such a change; but according to Moore (1977)- it seems more
probable that this sort of nationalism was stronger in Palestine. (189) Actually, at this paragraph and
at the former one, we have spoken of the military and political situations in Palestine which could
have fed such an anti-Gentile spirit. Thus we can suggest a Palestinian provenance for Adds. A
and F.

3.3 Addition C
Add. C, vss. 1-30 (Est. 4: 17a 17z of the LXX version):
[

, o

o ,

101


, o

o
,

, o

K E

o
o

102

he he [ardochaios] petitioned the Lord, remembering all the works of the Lord. And he
ai , , Ki all pwe, the uivee i ujet t yu authity, a thee i
one who can oppose you when it is your will to save Israel, because you have made heaven and
earth and every wonderful thing in it under heaven. You are Lord of all, and there is no one who can
withstand you, the Lord. You know all things; you know, O Lord, that it was not in insolence nor
pride nor for any love of glory that I did this, namely, to refuse to do obeisance to this prideful
ama, I wul have ee willi t ki the le hi eet Iael aety! ut I i thi
so that I might not set human glory above divine glory, and I will not do obeisance to anyone but
you, my Lord, and I will not do these things in pride. And now, O Lord, God, King, God of
Abraam, spare your people, for they are looking to ruin us, and they desired to destroy the
inheritance that has been yours from the beginning. Do not neglect your portion, which you
redeemed for yourself out of the land of Egypt. Hear my petition, and have mercy upon your
allotment; turn our mourning into feasting, that we may live and sing hymns to your name, O Lord;
do not silence the mouth of those who praise yu
And all Israel cried out from their strength, because their death was before their eyes.
Then Esther the queen fled to the Lord, seized with the agony of death. Taking off the
garments of her glory, she put on the garments of distress and mourning, and instead of costly
perfumes she covered her head with ashes and dung, and she utterly humbled her body; every part
that she loved to adorn she covered with her tangled hair. Then she petitioned the Lord, God of
Iael, a ai my , yu ale ae our king; help me, I who am alone and have no helper
except you, because my danger is in my hand. I have heard from my birth in the tribe of my family
that you, O Lord, took Israel out of all the nations and our fathers from among all their forebears, to
be an everlasting inheritance, and you did for them all that you said. And now we have sinned
before you, and you have delivered us into the hand of our enemies, because we honored their gods.
You are righteous, O Lord! And now they were not satisfied that we are in bitter slavery, but they
have put their hands into the hands of their idols, to annul the stipulation of your mouth and to
destroy your inheritance and to stop the mouths of those who praise you and to extinguish the glory
of your house and your altar, to open the mouth of the nations for the mighty deeds of vain things,
and that a mortal king be admired forever.
, t uee yu epte t the wh t exit, a t let them lauh at
our downfall, but turn their plan against them, and make a public example of him who began this
against us. Remember, O Lord; make yourself known in a time of our affliction, and embolden me,
O King of the gods and Master of all dominion! Put eloquent speech in my mouth before the lion,
and turn his heart to hate the one who fights against us so that there may be an end of him and those
103

who agree with him. But save us by your hand, and help me, who are alone and have no one except
you, O Lord. You have knowledge of everything, and you know that I hate the glory of the lawless
and abhor the bed of the uncircumcised and of any foreigner. You know my predicament that I
abhor the sign of my proud position that is upon my head on days when I appear in public. I abhor it
like a menstrual cloth, and I do not wear it on the days when I am in private. And your slave has not
eate at ama tale, a I have t he the ki auet uk the wie the
libations. Your slave has not rejoiced since the day of my change until now, except in you, O Lord,
God of Abraam. O God who has power over all things, hear the voice of those who despair, and
ave u m the ha evile ave me m my ea!
eaiahai a Ethe aye ae t ilate ae alm (1)
reminds us, throughout the Bible recur occasions when in times of distress the nation or the
individual appeal to God for help, confessing their sins in past times and in the present and
euti ee i ay l, t emi him, a it wee, the mecy and grace he had
shown the ancients. (190) uh paye wee etpetive uvey Iael hly hity
Talmon (1963) reports, by and by they became fairly standardized and attained a fixed place in the
cultic life of the Jews. (191) Talmon (1963) notes that the historical recitation was especially enjoyed
in late biblical writings (Ezra-Nehemiah and Chronicles), as well in post-biblical books (Tobit,
Maccabees and Judith). (192) In Jud. 5: 5-22, even the Ammonite Achior tries his hand at such a
recitation. (193) Thus Addition C perfectly fits this literary sensibility. The first interesting thing we
may te i that it ive a expliit explaati eaiahai eue t w w t
Haman. The Masoretic version invites the reader to infer such causes which are probably rooted in
ancestral/ethnic history (pp. 41 ff.). The Old Greek text, instead, makes Mardochaios say:
,

, o

(I i this so that I might not set human glory above divine glory, and I will not do

eiae t aye ut yu, my ) e (1) pit ut that thi e t elet the


actual practice in either the Persian or Hellenistic periods, inasmuch as Jews, like everyone else
then, did obeisance. (194) Bowing down to a high-ranking person was part of the Persian way of
behaving, as Herodotus testifies (Histories 1.134). Thus it is not surprising that the proskynesis as
Ego (2010) states- was also an integral part of the Persian court ceremonial. (195) It had a mere social
meaning, not a cultic one. However, this ritual seems to have caused specific problems between
Persians and Greeks, as according to Ego (2010)- it contradicted the reek ideal of mans
freedom. (196) Herodotus (Histories 7.135) tells that Hydarnes, the commander of all those living on
the coast of Asia Minor, welcomes a delegation of Lacedaemonians, who are on a diplomatic
104

mission from Greece to the Persian king. He encourages them to become ie the ki a
to bow to him. The Greeks answer that only he who does not know his freedom can give such
advice. In front of the king himself, they say that it is not their custom to do obeisance to a mortal
man (7.136). Ego (2010) also refers to Plutarch and his Life of Themistocles ( 27). (197) The context
thi paae i hemitle euet a auiee with the eia ki hi will e ate
if he honors the king as the image of that god who is the preserver of all things. It thus becomes
evident that the proskynesis, according to the Greek understanding, also implied a theological
dimension. (198) According to Ego (2010), such a conception cannot be drawn from Persian sources,
however. (199) These references rather show a clear distance between deity and king. (200) The idea
that the Persian king claimed a divine status through the proskynesis as Ego (2010) infers- arose
from an intercultural misunderstanding. (201)
The fact that for the Greek, the proskynesis meant not only an expression of human bondage
in general but was interpreted specifically as a religious act, is also pointed out by Xenophon in his
Anabasis (3.2). (202) He states that the greatest trophy of the triumph over Xerxes I is freedom, i.e.
not being compelled to pay homage to humans, but to the gods alone. The most famous refuse in
this sense is Callisthenes e hi epie el t the lexae taiti I hi Life of
Alexander ( 54), Plutarch reports that Alexander handed over the bowl to his friend, after he had
drunk from it at a banquet in Baktra in the spring of 327 BCE, and that the latter took it, rose and
stepped to the altar, drank and was the first to perform the proskynesis, then he kissed Alexander
and lay down again. Whilst one by one everyone else followed suit, Callisthenes took the bowl and
whilst the king was deep in conversation- drank and directly stepped forward to Alexander to kiss
him. But a certain Demetrius called out: Do not kiss him, king! For this one is the only one to have
failed in doing the prostration before you, Alexander avoided the kiss. After that, Callisthenes
merely exclaimed loudly: Thus, I go and was one kiss short. (203) Arrian (4.10-12) refers to the
religious implications of this accident. According to him, the sophist Anaxarchos had argued in
favor of Alexander being worshipped like a god. But the Macedonians were displeased and
Callisthenes argued that this custom was worthy of the gods alone; only barbarians, not Greeks,
rendered a reverence like this to people. He insistently advises against confounding those customs,
due to the gods, with those due to heroes, as the gods would be angry with those who claim divine
honors for themselves. (204) A very similar narration is told by Curtius Rufus (8.5): here Callisthenes
advocates Alexander to be adored like a god not until after his death. (205)
In any case, it becomes evident that numerous Greek texts provide evidence that the
proskynesis as a prostration before the king plays an important role in Persian court ceremonies.
(206)

Ego (2010) resumes that this custom was strange to the Greeks inasmuch as it seemed like an
105

expression of deepest despotism to them, which was deeply hated by their own notion of liberty.
(207)

As far as Add. C is concerned, does it operate a synthesis of Jewish and Greek motifs? Is
thi a elleiati eai ty It eem like t the Hellenistic king ideologies,
instead. As Ego (2010) notes, the Ptolemaic and Seleucid rulers claimed divine kingship and were
worshipped like gods. (208) Since Ptolemy II and Arsinoe, every Ptolemaic ruler adopted a divine
surname when taking office. (209) Seleucid rulers who claimed divine honors for themselves in the
course of their lives include Antioch III, Antioch IV and Demetrius III. (210) The foundations for this
development were laid by Alexander the Great (211) as we have seen. He had also been worshipped
like a deity in the attendance of the Pharaoh since his stay at the oasis of Siwa. (212) Against this
aku, E (1) ea eai explaati hi eual the pkyei a a subtle
examination of the Hellenistic ruler cult: there is a definite separation of God and man, which
should always be regarded when dealing with rulers. (213) Thus, Greek conceptions are included, but
in the context at hand, they aim to formulate a clear dissociation of the Hellenistic world and its
king ideologies. (214)
eve, a E (1) tie, eai aye awe alo to two possible
reproaches: the refusal to bow down could be understood as an expression of pride; furthermore,
he could be accused of inconsiderately having endangered his whole people. (215) To both

hypothetical reproaches, this is the answer: o


, o

(it wa t i ilee pie ay lve ly that I i thi, amely, t eue t


obeisance to this prideful Haman, for I would have been willing to kiss the soles of his feet for
Israel aety! ut I i thi that I miht t et huma ly ave ivie ly, a I will t
eiae t aye ut yu, my , a I will t thee thi i pie) We have
already discussed the religious implications of bowing down. There is another interesting element to
te eai i awae that up a iiviual ehavi a whle mmuity etiy ul
depend. This has been defined as minority complex by Bickerman (1951 and 1967).
Mordecai/Mardochaios speaks as a Jew of the Diaspora where the whole group is judged after the
ehavi ay it meme e peak like a meti i a eek

, wh ha t e i awe

the meanest of the citizens, as he has not full citizenship rights. (216)
We will now take into consideratio Ethe aye like the aeti vei,
i eeply ee with the haate eeli a killully epit them ee, Ethe i
106

(eie with the ay eath) e peitee i iay e

she covers her head not only with ashes, but also with dung, which as Moore (1977) points outwas obviously a more extreme gesture. (217) hee i a utle pu he wh i
uppte y aye at ut) ivke , wh i

(ale, ie t

(ale, ie the ly eal eity a the

only ruler of Israel, as we will soon see). (218) he atually tate K

( my , yu ale ae u ki) he thu eie taxexe yal tatu itel,


after that Mordecai/Mahai ha eie ama iviity a ai

, o

(Yu ae all, a thee i e wh a withta

yu, the ) (219) This is an attack directed against human royalty as such. Or, at least,
mortal rulers are lessened in front of the Divine Ruler of Israel. The worship of foreign deities is
hihly timatie a iiate a the aue Iael l iepeee (

) eve, the eek Ethe hw a e with the loss of the Temple and of the

ancestral heritage which was quite unknown to the Masoretic version (p. 46):

(they have put thei ha

into the hands of their idols, to annul the stipulation of your mouth and to destroy your inheritance
and to stop the mouths of those who praise you and to extinguish the glory of your house and your
altar, to open the mouth of the nations for the mighty deeds of vain things, and that a mortal king be
amie eve) we have ee i 3 Maccabees and in Adds. A and F, the attack is no more
directed against the Jews, but against Judaism. The Septuagint does not present a personal conflict
ue t a uties ambition, but the Gentiles struggle to defeat the Chosen People. As Moore
(1) uelie, the paa ki i a li, the um ay eaul haateiti ae, teth,
ferocity, inescapable judgment. (220) This basic enmity between Jews and Gentiles is even more

evident when Esther claims:


(I hate the ly the

lawless and abhor the bed of the uncircumcised and of any foreigner. You know my predicament
that I abhor the sign of my proud position that is upon my head on days when I appear in public. I
abhor it like a menstrual cloth, and I do not wear it on the days when I am in private. And your
107

lave ha t eate at ama tale, a I have t he the ki auet uk the wie


of the libations. Your slave has not rejoiced since the day of my change until now, except in you, O
, aam) ive the Jewih ta metuati ( ev 1 1-24), as Moore
(1977) points out, Esther could hardly have found a worse comparison then that with a

he yal tua (221) As she will soon offer a banquet to the king and to Haman, it

is strange to see her claiming that she has avoided to share their meals and their wine. However,
Moore (1977) supposes that the mentioned libations must be those to the gods, not simple wine
parties (cf. Deut. 32: 38). (222)
This shows that such a heroine like Esther was i.e. married to a Gentile and not showing
any difficulty in living like a heathen- could not be easily accepted by the readers of the Old Greek
version. As Bickerman (1951) remembers, the iteei Iael alvati ha t e uttee
y a aitly pe Ethe aye emtate that he i wth he le, twithtai he
condition. (223) As Halvorson-Taylor (2012) observes, Add. C also underlines a feature which is
characteristic of Greek Esther: the link between faithfulness to the Torah and secrecy, to avoid
troubles in keeping Jewish identity, and the deceptiveness of appearance in this sense (see also pp.
31-32). (224)
ee (1) pit ut, Ethe aye, uh a eaiahai e, hw
that absolute commitment to God emaie Juaim raison dtre, even when the Jews are
compelled to live among Gentiles. No consideration, not even the physical safety of the Jewish
people, comes before dedication to God. (225) But this is that very separateness which irritated the
Greeks (cf. p. 88) Ethe a eaiahai ituati hw, Jewih uvival i the
Diaspora depended on the tolerance and liberality of the powers that be here on Artaxerxe e
(226)

But as Lerner (2001) notes- the demands of Jewish law and the threat of assimilation required

that the Jews remained somewhat illiberal towards their gentile neighbors and rulers. (227) So how
could Esther remain true to her religious identity while genuinely loving the gentile Artaxerxes? In
her Prayer, she openly abhors sexual intercourse with her husband. Ironically enough as Lerner
(2001) notes- the ki pae the Jew eaue hi uee petee lve (228) She is the
iet mpai hi kim ( E) i t , he i t iet, a he
skillfully conceals her abhorrence towards her heathen husband. Lerner (2001) remarks that this
also means that her personal piety has been sacrificed to the needs of her community. (229) She
has been made queen for their salvation (Est. 4: 14): she thus endures the isolation from her beloved
community and a lifestyle that her religious feelings cannot accept. In the end, the Jews joyfully
celebrates the end of the persecuti ut Ethe iti e t hae ee (1)
says, she remains trapped in the palace and bedroom of a drunken Persian king. (230) This victim
108

whose rape is necessary for the precarious survival of her people- struggles under the crashing
weight of the Diaspora paradoxes. (231) In this sense paraphrasing Peters- she faces suffering for
a greater goods sake. (232)
he tw aye al uelie ieee i eaiahai a Ethe piety
They have different manners to live their religious feelings in the Diaspora and they are linked to
their gender according to an interesting article by Scorch (2010). (233)
As Scorch (2010) notes, the two Prayers are inserted at a dramatic peak of the story and are
parallel in several ways. (234) He points out that they both consist of passages in the 1st person plural
interchanging with passages in the 1st person singular. (235) The plural sections are composed in
poetic parallelismus membrorum, while the singular sections are written in prose. (236) Are the
Prayers synchronically coherent literary compositions? Or do they exhibit a transparent diachronic
dimension? Schorch (2010) chooses a synchronic approach. He notes that:
1. he I-sections those in the 1st person singular- of both Prayers have very strong
tie with the uui text the k the the ha, the We-sections
are lacking such specific links;
2. he I-passages are not only closely connected with the story, but equally well with
thei immeiately eihi We-passages;
3. hi mea that the wi a well a the aaemet the We-passages are
lealy epeet up the I-passages. Thus, Scorch (2010) concludes that both
Prayers are probably original and synchronically coherent literary compositions. (237)
Both Prayers are shaped in accordance with the basis structure of a communal lament, but
this basis structure is contaminated with elements of a personal prayer. (238) This leads
Scorch (2010) to a further observation: the location of the personal elements within the basic
structure is significantly different. (239) I th text, the epetive mai I-sections are
itue y the mula Yu kw all thi [] yu kw that [] weve, while
in the case of eaiahai aye thi peal expai i ae t the
pei eti the liteay tutue, a hymi mmemati attiute a
ee, it i ete with the li eti i Ethe aye, ei pat the euet
for rescue. In this way, the two Prayers mirror each other from the perspective of literary
structure. (240) According to Scorch (2010), it seems that the two texts were composed as
corresponding and complementary. (241) They may, therefore, well be regarded as forming
one literary unit. (242) This observation attributes special importance to those elements of the
two Prayers which appear in only one of them. (243)

109

I we lk at We-sections as Schorch (2010) observes- i aee a ki


(

) a (

) i th text (244) Moreover, both Prayers address God as

the e wh ha he Iael a hi iheitae (


(245)

) a eeeme it m Eypt

However, Mordecai/Mardochaios addresses God as the creator (


), while Ethe

invocations exhibit a more restricted and particular perspective, insofar she focuses on
the alvati hity the Jewih peple (

) (246) According to Schorch (2010), the most striking feature

without correspondent in the other text, however, is the confession of sins which is
taie i the We-eti Ethe aye

( w we have ie ee yu, a yu have elivee u it the

ha u eemie, eaue we he thei Yu ae ihteu, !) (247)


Schorch (2010) confronts these words with the personal negative confession of Esther
heel

o
o

(Yu have kwlee eveythi, a yu kw that I hate the lory of

the lawless and abhor the bed of the uncircumcised and of any foreigner. You know my
predicament that I abhor the sign of my proud position that is upon my head on days when
I appear in public. I abhor it like a menstrual cloth, and I do not wear it on the days when I
am i pivate yu lave ha t eate at ama tale, a I have t he the
ki auet uk the wie the liati Yu lave ha t ejie ie the ay
of my change until now, except in you, O Lord, God aam) (248) We have already
ee hw Ethe ituati -as the Jewish wife of a foreign king- is somewhat delicate. As
we have said, this statement reveals her faithfulness to the Torah in a situation which is
shaped by circumstances beyond her own power. (249) The passage also reveals that the
uee ehavi a a piu Jewe i etite t the private moments of her life: as
Schorch (2010) points out, her

(uiete) i ppe t the ay he

(appeaae), whe he ha to live in conformity with non-Jewish laws and manners. (250)
110

Since Esther can put into practice her Jewish identity only in a private setting, she feels
alone and without support. (251) We have aleay metie the pu whih at the
(ale) uee with the

(ale, ly) hh (1) itepet thi a

llw Ethe mtheim i methi he expeiee i he everyday life. (252)


On the other hand, Mordecai/Mardochaios appears not as being dependent on the
circumstances. As Schorch (2010) remarks, he acts independently and in public, and he is

presented as being active, even when he is not acting: o

(it wa t i

insolence nor pride nor for any love of glory that I did this, namely, to refuse to do
eiae t thi pieul ama) (253) In a certain sense, Mordecai/Mardochaios is a
public Jew, while Esther is a private Jewess. (254) According to Schorch (2010), this issue
of the different spheres in which the two protagonists live as Jews is to some extent related
to the different fields in which their identity manifests itself. (255) he wma evae i
focused on basic issues of everyday life, while the man uphold his Jewishness by relating to
nothing less than the first commandment: o

(256) According to Schorch (2010), this means that he is more concerned with
theology than his cousin is. (257)
As Schorch (2010) notices, Esther seems to refer to some kind of Jewish education
she received in her childhood:

(258)

i t hh (1), he ee t meti the ue Iael alvati hity


denotes some degree of uncertainty. (259) The woman appears as feeling not entirely at home
on this field. (260) Mordecai/Mardochaios is himself part of the Jewish tradition, while
Esther has some distance. She is in contact with the Jewish tradition, but she herself is no
part of it. She heard what others told her, not what she herself explored. Schorch (2010)
concludes that Esther is the antitype of a Jewish scholar. (261)
One further observation should be mentioned. Schorch (2010) observes that,
although Mordecai/Mahai imae i viuly male ia it i hape i
accordance with a certain social standard, it has no sexual overtones. (262) Ethe imae,
the other hand, is highly sexualized. (263) The text openly refers to her physical intercourse
with the uiumie ki (
t he metuati (

) a

) i t hh

(1), thi mea that malee i aiate with culture, emalee with nature.
(264)

111

The two Prayers thus show that the conception of Jewish identity and of an observant
way of life during the Late Second Temple period reflects also the gender specific difference
of private versus public. (265)
Addition C is paraphrased in Josephus vei Ethe ty the one we have often
metie he tw aye paaphae (Jewish Antiquities 11.229-233) omit some passages. For
example, Mordecai/Mardochaios does not expose his credo in an only God who is king and creator;
he is more concerned with explaining the reasons of his refusal to bow to Haman. They are the
same as in the Septuagint: the separation between human obeisance and divine honors. As Feldman
(1970) points out, Josephus clearly underlines a theme which was dear to Greek readers. (266) The
cultic meaning of proskynesis i eve me eviet i Jephu vei eaiahai
eual i pely ete t the evae

, aait whih ama ae i

directed (Jewish Antiquities 11.230). As Feldman (1970) quoting Bickerman (1968)- notes, there
was no such Jewish law; but this explanation would make a particular appeal to a Greek audience,
for the reasons we have seen. (pp. 104 ff.) (267)
As far as Esther is concerned, in Josephus she omits her declaration of hidden
faithfulness to Jewish purity norms and her scorn towards idols. As Feldman (1970) observes,
he atul hate twa the uiumie me e a tale wul t have it Jephu
aim at conciliation between the Jews and the Gentiles. (268) I eaiahai
iuiati ul e aeptale ai t eek value a allithee wa- Ethe
separateness could not. It would have been also a false note in a version which generally protects
the Gentile ki eputati (269) Josephus also departs from the Septuagint in his adherence to
novelistic elements: his Esther asks God to make her more beautiful then ever before (Jewish
Antiquities 11.232-233), to seduce her powerful husband. This element is added to her request for
eloquence, which comes from the Septuagintal Addition C. (270)

3.4 Addition D
Add. D, vss. 1-11 (Est. 5: 1 2b of the LXX version):
K

,
112

,E

[I the ute paae, al tw -ae vee are included: Est. 5: 1 and 5: 2 , which are
present also in the Masoretic version].
it happee the thi ay, a he eae payi, he tk the amet
service and put on her glory. Then, when she had become majestic, after calling upon the all-seeing
God and savior, she took along two of her attendants; on one she leaned gently for support, while
the other followed, holding her train. She was radiant with the full flush of her beauty, and her face
looked happy as if she were cheerful, but her heart was in anguish from fear. When she had gone
through all the doors, she stood before the king. He was seated on the throne of his kingdom,
clothed in the full array of his splendor, all covered with gold and precious stones. And he was most
terrifying.
And when he raised his face inflamed with glory, he gazed at her in the full flush of anger.
The queen staggered, her color turned pale from faintness, and she collapsed on the head of the
attendant who went before her. Then God changed the spirit of the king to gentleness, and alarmed,
he jumped from his throne and took her in his arms until she was quieted. He kept comforting her
with thi w a ai t he, What i it, Ethe I am yu the ake heat! Yu hall
not die, for our oiae i ly the mm pe me hee
he he lite the le a plae it he ek he welme he a ai, peak t
me he ai t him, I aw yu, , like a ivie ael, a my heat wa hake m ea
113

your glory. yu ae mavelu, l, a yu ae i ull ae while he wa


speaking, she fell from faintness. Then the king and all his servants were troubled, and he reassured
he
As we have always noted, the Septuagint version of Esther shows an increased number of novelistic
elements (cf. p. 31). This is particularly evident in the case of Addition D. Moore (1977) defines it
a imaiative a hihly amati expai (271) Moore (1977) analyzes the way in which
Ethe pe i peete he

, ie he leae etly uppt

e (1) ee i thi ehavi a elemet aeei with the ay epti the eliate,
well-bred woman of the harem. (272) he auth e t exlue will t ueline the
uee aite ate he at (273) But he keeps with the former lines whih eie Ethe
beautifying- to exclude this second interpretation. According to him, the heroine is relying on her
eauty athe tha up the ki pity (274) This sticks to the line of Fox (2003), who sees in the
eptuait Ethe a haate wh elieately ue he w emiie ailty t tai the ki
favor towards her people. (275)
he llwi eipti the uee lk i iteeti ather reason. Add. D states
a llw

(he ae lke happy a i he wee heeul, ut he heat wa i auih m ea)

This leads us to remember the theme of dissimulation, which we have seen as typical of Esther (pp.
31-32; p. 108; p. 110). (276) hi paae a a etail t Ethe le the e wh eal
heel- extending her secrecy to her feelings. (277)
I , the uee apet i eie a
to

, the appearance of a divine being.

(278)

e (1) te that thi tem i like


He quotes several passages of 2 Maccabees (2:

1 1 1 1 1 ), i whih

uppt the wh tule

against the enemies of Judaism. (279) Esther, who is similar to God in concealing herself (280), is also
a sort of

im i ati aait the Jew eemie

Ethe epiphay i llwe y the ki appeaae he meet

(the ull aay hi ple) iiiatly euh, thi i a


, t taxexe

(mt teiyi), meve e (1) lik thi ptait t Herodotus

description of Xerxes in Histories 7.187. (281) he ki imae i haateie th y


(eauty) a

(pwe) imilaly, i taxexe i

(all vee with l a peiu te) a

a we have ee he ki ae i

(mt teiyi),

(ilame with ly) a he

(ae at he [Ethe] i the ull luh ae)


114

Ethe w i t the vey eee yalty i t uexplaiale e (1) te,


she had been weakened by her prolonged fast and she was aware of her perilous position, as she
wa elieately vilati ut law (282) Fox (2003) sees in her reaction a way to conform her to
the Hellenistic stereotypes of femininity. (283) According to him, the Septuagint version of Esther
hw eveal haateiti elleiti liteatue, uh a a iteet i the heie eeli
(284)

The swoon could be a theatrical way to express them. Fox (2003) adds that Esther needed to be

excused for a behavior which woul have ee imppe i elleiti eae pii (285)
According to him, the Jewish readers of the Alexandrian Diaspora could see her unexpected visit to
the king as a too forward and self-assured act. (286) In their opinion, for a young lady to approach the
Great King on her own initiative could be not merely dangerous, it was improper. (287) So
according to Fox (2003)- Esther was equipped with demonstrative humility and timidity to offset
any implication of brashness or self-assertion in her actions. (288) He goes on stating that the queen
in Add. D- reassures the king by virtually losing control of herself. (289) Fox (2003) says that her
w emve ay ueti theat t taxexe maulie tl (290) He attributes to Add.
D the purpose to highlight the constraints within which the queen young lady must operate and the
burden of social expectations that she must overcome as she steps into the breach. (291) Fox sees the
LXX version as wanting Esther to observe these constraints as a matter of propriety. (292)
Ethe epeate eati al pave the way what me ate that the event that Moore
defines as the only miracle of the Greek version. (293)

( hae the piit the ki t etlee) i t e, thi i the

culminating point of the LXX Esther, while the Masoretic version was more concerned with the
establishment of Purim. (294) Here God Himself intervenes and determines a decisive change in the
kin attitue twa Ethe (295) This leads Fox (2003) to see in the LXX version a deterministic
worldview (296) : they would depict history as a drama staged in advance, a testing ground for
human faith. Human agency and initiative would recede in favor of piety and divine governance.
(297)

Fox (2003) sees such a world picture as the expression of an age in where the Jews felt

themselves helpless before the juggernauts of hostile powers. (298) i evati aut Ethe
character in the LXX have been quoted also at p. 31.
he (iviely ipie) ki eati make x () ay that play up
Artaxerxe leie aua a hi aiu eitivity, i lie with hi imae i iti a E
(299)

he ki eaue hi wie

(thi w) e (1) uelie the

occurrences of this term particularly in the First Book of Maccabees (300), where it is employed in
diplomatic correspondence (1: 30; 5: 48; 7: 10, 15, 27; 10: 3, 47) (301). While reassuring Esther, the
king says her:

(I am yu the) hi ha ee te ee a a elleiti
115

Egyptian touch: Ptolemai ki atually maie thei w ite peaki taxexe


tatemet, ikema (11) ay ay elleiti lve-etiquette here penetrates into a
eali (302) I a te, he ememe that ite wa a title ive t the uee i Hellenistic
monarchies (also by the Seleucids). (303) But Moore (1977) opts for another explanation. He sees the
ki w a mii a temily u i aletiia wk, e the w ite i
of Songs 4: 9-10 and 5: 1-2. (304)

Another expression is more problematic. Artaxerxes says to Esther: o

(Yu hall t ie, u iae i ly the mm pe)

Moore (1977) underlines the dramatic character of such a misunderstanding. he ki tatemet


comes to relieve his frightened queen, thus solving narrative tension. But as Moore (1977) notesof such ignorance and courage is great drama made. (305) Fox (2003) goes beyond, affirming even
that the mah w vilate the li the aative they make the ki iitial ae
unjustified; moreover, the author of Add. D does not explain why neither Esther nor
Mordecai/Mardochaios knew that the queen was an exception. (306) Fox (2003) links such (apparent)
incongruence with that peculiar portrait of Esther that he reads in the LXX version as we have
seen. (307) I lie with thi eai, he epit a a uh lattey the uee llwi awe
,

,
,

,
,

(I aw yu, , like a ivie ael,

and my heart was shaken from fear of your glory. For you are marvelous, lord, and your face is full
ae) (308) e (1) explaatin whih i atei t x e- is not satisfied with
such a view. (309) e ee Ethe awe a a elemet he ptait i iti (a i
Addition C), which is characterized by a very flash-and-blood representation of the protagonist. (310)
Moore (1977) states that comparing taxexe with a ivie ael i a way t expe hw
harrowing had been the experience for the young lady. (311) the the ha, auth
himel ha eie the ki appeaae a a

as we have seen on p. 114. This

mea that Ethe w ae i lie with a upehuma eipti the mah, wh atually
may eie aut the the lie a eath a up whm a peple ate epe ly ha
proved able to change his mind.
Moore (1977) presents several occurrences of the comparison between a men and an angel of God.
(312)

He finds it applied to David (1 Sam. 29: 9; 2 Sam. 14: 17, 20 and 19: 27). (313) In this cases, the

comparison is employed in ambiguous contexts, in which it may be both a praise and flattery. In 1
am , it i eee t avi militay val i the the ae, t hi iemet I Esther,
the comparison seems to express the ambiguous character of the Persian king who is endowed
with th the

we have ee al i etu (Histories 7.187). Moore quotes


116

Eiht (11) a wlee (1), wh aue that the title i a expei the ivie
yalty (314)
Moore (1977) links Add. D to Add. C, as their combined effect would alter appreciably the image
of Queen Esther from that presented in the Masoretic version. (315) In the latter, Mordecai would be
the greater hero, mapping out the strategy while his ward merely follows his orders. (316) In the
eptuait, itea, Ethe rayer widely display her feelings and thoughts, together with her
piety. (317) As far as Addition D is concerned, Moore (1977) states that this dramatic account of her
audience with the king steals the spotlight from Mordecai/Mardochaios. (318)
Fox (2003) is more concerned with the links between the Greek Esther and Hellenistic novels. He
tate eve that the atmphee iti i tly elet ee m them (319)
Moyer (2010) remarks such a resemblance, but extending it to the whole Book of Esther. He is
eei t hait Chaereas and Callirhoe. (320) He also notice that the so-called reek
romances ae put the ealy mm Ea, the ealiet ei hait wk (1st century
BCE). (321) The Book of Esther is clearly anterior (see Ch. 2, par. 2.6). (322) However, Moyer (2010)
refers to former works uh a awee Will (1) - to state that the span of time that
separates the Book of Esther from Chaereas and Callirhoe is not sufficient to render comparative
observations meaningless or unpersuasive. (323) His comparison is focused on topoi and
predetermined motifs, which are phenomena common to biblical and Hellenic literatures. (324)
ye (1) mpai ivlve tw wk whih tae a haate the eian king and his
wife namely, Artaxerxes and Stateira. (325) The common topos is the Beautiful Outsider: a noneia wma wi the ki av thak t he w eauty (326) Moyer (2010) thus compare
Esther with Callirhoe, whose arrival puts the entire Persian capital in an uproar, finally infatuating
Artaxerxes himself. (327) In both cases Ethe a allihe- the Beautiful Outsider faces the
Great King, a character whose behavior is rendered in a somewhat burlesque way, but who enjoys
an immense personal power and the audience is never allowed to forget it. (328) The female
ptait allw thu t uelie y tat the aai haate eia iviliati (329);
she is also an expression of individual over against tyrannical power. (330) Moyer (2010) remarks
that the Beautiful Outsider, in a foreign court where her status as an outsider seems insurmountable,
she is able to exercise control over the greatest of imperial powers simply by virtue of her personal
qualities. (331) If according to him- allihe may emy the eeal ee eek upeiity,
Esther could be the symbol of the Jewish crisis of identity under the Persian Empire. (332) Moyer
(1) ee he a emyi the Jew hpe t uvive a ejy a ueul life in the Diaspora.
(333)

117

Such as Additions B, C and E, Addition D has been paraphrased by Josephus (Jewish


Antiquities 11.234-243). Feldman (1970) remarks that the drama staged in this passaged had been
prepared by the author before. (334) Josephus ha aleay ae that au taxexe the t
men with axes to punish those who approached the throne without being summoned (Jewish
Antiquities 11) elma (1) lik thi etail t the eeity t uelie Ethe uae
in her unexpected audience. (335) He also points out that Josephus manages to depict a warmer and
more picturesque Esther. (336) Feldman (1970) underlines the richness of details enjoyed by the
hitia ptait the uee (337) Her face is covered with blushes, adorned with a sweet
(

) a iiie (

) eauty (

) (338) In Feldman (1970), we find also another

uelii eai ieae ama i Jephu vei taxexe ehavi ai Ethe


swoon. (339) J. A. 11.237 makes the king fear that his wife might have suffered some very serious
ijuy a aie he i hi am, emai (
(

) he a peaki t he eeaily

) (340) Feldman (1970) connects such a detailed narration to the generally

romantic a wam haate Jephu vei (341) On the other hand, the queen, in J. A.
111, peak with iiulty (
anguish (

) a weakly (

), while taxexe i eie y

) a alam ( ) (342) In spite of the increased melodramatic character of this

vei, elma (1) emak that thee i meti Ethe mpai her husband
with a ivie ael (Jewish Antiquities 11) e lik uh a mii t Jephu will t
belittle or cancel supernatural elements, particularly any mentions of angels, which could be
difficult to believe for his rationalistic readers. (343)
hu elma (1) aie the peuliaitie Jephu vei t a peii eah the
author for romance, drama and rationalism. Such peculiarities are to be summed with those
mentioned in the previous paragraphs. Bickerman (1951) adopts another explanation for their
exitee e e t aie the peuliaitie Jephu vei t the hitia will, ut t a
pre-existing version popular among the Jews in Rome at the end of the 1st century CE and now lost.
(344)

3.5 The Colophon

The LXX Esther ends with a meaningful colophon which we have mentioned (Ch. 2, par. 2.6) as a
source to date the Greek translation.
Add. F, v. 11 (Est. 10: 3l of the LXX version):

118

I the uth yea the ei tlemy a Klepata, ithe, wh ai he wa a


priest and a Leuite, and Ptolemy his son brought the above letter about Phrourai, which they said
existed, and Lysimachus son of tlemy, e the i Ieualem, talate it
Bickerman (1944) classifies this colophon as one of those editorial notes which
characterized Greek and Roman books. (345) They were usually meant to attest the completeness of
the copy. (346) Likewise, the publisher or the editor added his name to the title of the book in the
colophon in order to mark the quality of the exemplar. (347) Such a concern with the pedigree of a
mauipt wa jutiie y the hih ume vula pie (ie t based on any critical work)
in circulation, or of copies made privately. (348) Bickerman (1944) connects the influence of the
Greek philology to the rise of a desire for authentic texts among the Jews. (349) He remembers the
Letter of Aristeas as an example of such a concern. (350) Of course, its claims for the authenticity of
the LXX were challenged in a city of carping critics as Alexandria. (351) These challenges were not
without reasons, given what we have seen in Ch. 1 about the translation method employed by the
Septuagint.
Bickerman (1944) remembers that colophons similar to the present one were used in the
Alexandrian Library to note the provenance of newly acquired manuscripts. (352) Also the
manuscripts purchased from vessels entering the harbor of Alexandria bore the entry recording their
provenance. (353) ikewie me eeti pie wee laiie i lexaia ai t the
place of acquisition. (354) Bickerman (1944) concludes that the postscript to Esther is such a
bibliographical record settling the provenance of a new acquisition. He states that the libraries and
archives of the Jewish communities in the Diaspora were most likely organized on the pattern of the
Greek collections. (355)
Of course, the mention of the monarch and the queen is the first element useful to date the
translation. Torrey (1944) remarks that this clue is ambiguous, as the colophon may refer to quite a
number of Ptolemies. (356) He quotes Jacob (1890), who showed strong reasons for choosing the
reign of Ptolemy Soter II (Lathyrus), whose fourth year would be 114 BCE. (357) Moore (1977)
points out that Schildenberger would have chosen Ptolemy XIV and the year 48 BCE, instead. (358)
However, Moore prefers the identification with Ptolemy VIII Soter II (ca. 114 BCE). (359) So does
Torrey (1944). (360) But Bickerman (1951) opts for another hypothesis. He prefers to date Greek
119

Esther back to 78-77 BCE. (361) e uppt thi hypthei i a atile eiate t it, he
lph the eek k Ethe (i Journal of Biblical Literature, Vol. 63, No. 4 (Dec.,
1944), pp. 339-362). Bickerman (1944) remarks that there were only three Ptolemies associated
with a Cleopatra in the fourth year of their reign. (362) But in the fourth year of Ptolemy IX Soter II
Lathyrus (114-3 BCE) and in the fourth year of the Cleopatra VII and Ptolemy XIII (49-8 BCE), the
queen acted as regent for her son or brother, respectively. (363) Consequently as Bickerman (1944)
underlines- thee ate the ve t ei wa plual i the yal tyle (

) a the

name of the queen preceded that of the king in the protocols of documents. (364) But in the postscript
to Esther we find the singular number,

a the ame tlemy ta ee that

Cleopatra. Bickerman (1944) thus concludes that the date of the colophon cannot be 114-3 BCE nor
49-8 BCE. (365) Then he takes into consideration the fourth year of Ptolemy XII Auletes and
Cleopatra V, his sister and wife. (366) As a matter of fact as Bickerman (1944) notes- beginning
with the second year of his reign the name of Cleopatra follows that of her husband in all public or
private documents. (367) These considerations have led Bickerman (1944) to the above-mentioned
date for Esther lph 12th September 78 BCE 11th September 77 BCE. (368) This would
lead to other interesting considerations. The same Bickerman (1967) reminds us that Ptolemy XII
was not recognized by the Romans. (369) Moreover, he risked to be deposed not only by them, but
also by the mob of Alexandria or by the local garrison. (370) At this juncture, Esther talat as
well as the author of 3 Maccabees- between the lines suggested a road to success. Like Cleopatra
III a generation before, like her mother Cleopatra II, the monarch would have had to ally himself to
his Jewish subjects, wh wee hile the Ki Kim a wh eve vaillate i
their loyalty. (371) However, Ptolemy XII was unable or unwilling to follow such a political line. He
was expelled in 58 BCE. (372)
a a itheu i ee, e (1) emi u that it wa a vey mm
Hellenistic name. (373) He quotes 2 Mac. 12: 19, 24-25 (a captain under Judas Maccabeus), 2 Mac.
12: 35 (a cavalryman) and 3 Mac. 1: 3 (a general under Ptolemy IV Philopator). (374) itheu
ualiiati a a a piet a a euite i uite me plemati it all, the lph
specifies that he , ai t e a piet a a evite e (1) emi u, this verb
could have two meanings. (375) Such a term might have been employed by the colophonist to attest
in a routine but formal way as to who Dositheus was and from where the particular translation
came. (376) But ul al mea (he) laime, ie. the author of the colophon affirmed this in
an emphatic way because it was doubted or suspected by him of being untrue. (377) Moore (1977)
subscribes to the second view. According to him, if the colophonist knew anything about Judaism
of that general period, he would have known that it was impossible for Dositheus to be a priest and
120

a Levite. (378) Bickerman (1944) remarks that every priest was a Levite ipso facto, because the
pietly la (the a) wa a la the evitial tie (379) On the other hand, he
reminds us that late Judaism, in Egypt as well as in Palestine, drew a sharp demarcation between the
official character of the priest and of a non-Aaronic Levite. (380) Bickerman (1944) opts for the

solution of Professor Saul Lieberma

wul e hee t a u ut a peal ame It

was borne also by a Palestinian rabbi of the second century CE, Levitas of Jabne. (381) The cautious
formula

according to Bickerman (1944)- would thus be applied only to his sacerdotal

qualification. (382) The formula belonged to the legal style and as Bickerman (1944) notes- was
employed when the public officer was unable to verify the pertinent assertion of a party. (383)
the priesthood was a hereditary distinction with important privileges and emoluments even in the
Diaspora, and as nobody could claim the sacerdotal title who failed to produce a proof of his
lieae, the eeve the auth the lph i uite leitimate (ikema 1) (384)
Nevertheless, Moore (1977) refue the itepetati

a a peal ame the u

au (1) euttal it (385) Marcus (1945) said that the example of a rabbi of the 2nd
etuy alle evita wa t meaiul t pve that

wa aleay a peonal name

in the 1st half of the 1st century BCE. (386) He added that, unlike the other names in the colophon,

wul have ee the ly e whih wa t eek i ii (387) Marcus (1945) prefers to

suppose that the formula

uld have been meant to emphasize the legitimacy of

itheu iial piti (188) He remarked that in the 2nd century BCE (and later) even some of
the high priests were appointed to office by the Seleucids (and later by Herod) though they were not
Aaronites. (389) Thus, it was not necessarily true that every priest was a Levite ipso facto at the time
of Ptolemy XII. (390) Marcus (1945) consequently gave another kind of importance to the phrase

he itepet it a ue t itheu will t underline his connection with the Levitical

priesthood. (391)
he lph all uim We have metie thi ame eemlae t the
Persian Favardgn/Farvardgn. (p. 56). But Torrey (1944) interprets it as the transliteration of
( Prayy ), the Aramaic plural of . (392) Bickerman (1944) remarks that, since the language
of the Jews in Palestine was Aramaic at that time, they used an Aramaic form to designate the feast.
(393)

He states that the fact that the Alexandrian author of the colophon used the Aramaic form in

Greek, without any explanation, shows that the word and, consequently, the feast were already
known in Alexandria in 78-77 BCE. (394)
To return to the whole phrase in which i ilue, the lph peak

(the ave lette aut huai) ikema (1)

reminds us that the Jews of the Diaspora often received dispatches from Jerusalem inviting to
121

celebrate a holiday. (395) He mentions such a festal letter, with regard to Hanukkah of 124 BCE,
which has been preserved as a preface to 2 Maccabees (1: 1-10). (396) The Book of Esther itself
quotes messages sent by Mordecai and Esther unto all the Jews in the Persian kingdom to celebrate
Purim (Est. 9: 20-32). Thus the

ppe wul e jut eai a Ethe

festal message. Bickerman actually states that the Jewish commentators distinguished such letters
from the Scroll of Esther itself. (397) The expression

i ue i the Greek

Ethe with ea t eai etal meae (Et ) (398) Bickerman (1944) notes that,
reproducing the same formula, the author of the colophon shows that the Book of Esther as a whole
was regarded in Alexandria, in 78-77 BCE, as a festal letter requiring common acceptance of Purim.
(399)

l e (1) uppt thi itepetati

wul ee t the whle k Ethe, t jut t the uee a eai meae(400)


Now another phrase comes into consideration:

( whih they ai exite, a yimahu [] talate it) e (1) ee i

the expei me eevati aut eithe the authetiity the auay thi

particular text, for reasons which are similar to those we have seen about the meaning of
a ea itheu ualiiati (401) ikema(1) ue the llwi
is not simple to give it a definite meaning in this context.

(402)

, a it

He quotes Paton (1908) and Gregg,

whih itepete it a t e euie (403) Then, Bickerman (1944) mentions Swete (1914),
Willih (1) a ey (1), wh eae the eitive

a vee y the ve

a talate ette uim a they alle it (404) But Bickerman (1944) rejects this
hypthei, tati that the itaitive ve

a haly ve a jetive eitive a that

the word-e eiely uet that the euee

i a unity depending on

I eality as Bickerman (1944) remarks- that the volume concerned Purim was a fact
iepeet itheu ayi (405) What was solely based on his statement was the origin of the
volume he brought. (406) Bickerman (1944) goes on showing that this statement is quoted in oratio
indirecta and forms a coordinate sentence consisting of two accusatives with the infinitive. (407) The
relative

, ei the ujet the it iiitive, i take, the, a the jet the end one.

ammatially the ve
exit, t eally e

(408)

ta hee withut ay peiative a euetly mea t

ikema (1) ee liteally he lette uim whih they ai

exit a (whih) ha ee talate y yimahu (409) As regards the interpretation of such a


phrase, Bickerman (1944) reminds us that there were in circulation too many writings pretending to
be the work of ancient sages or purporting to reveal divine secrets and powers. (410) In order to
determine the authenticity of such a work, the compiler used to refer to the archives where the
original could be found. (411) With reference to sacred writings presented in a version of an
122

otherwise unknown text, the authentication was doubly wanted. (412) In such a case, the author
obligingly indicated the whereabouts of the original. (413) Thus Bickerman (1944) concludes that the
writer of the colophon to the Greek Esther used the same technique of verification: he noted the
name of the translator and received his statement that the original is extant. (414) He remarks that
the ve

i almt tehial i uh a eti (415) Bickerman (1944) adds that, as the Book

Ethe wa uppe t e the ette uim, a iula meae et ut i umeu copies,


it was unnecessary to precise where the translator had found the text. (416) But it was necessary to
state, on the authority of the persons who brought this version, that the original text really existed
and was used by Lysimachus in Jerusalem. (417) Bickerman (1944) concludes that the caution of the
Alexandrian Jews with regard to the alleged original of Esther proves that the Hebrew version was
still unknown in Alexandria in 78-77 BCE. (418) According to Hacham (2007), the mention of
eai ay i a 1 a the paallel etwee Esther and 3 Maccabees suggest that
the story of the biblical heroine and the feast of Purim could be known in Egypt prior to the arrival
of the Greek translation. (419) But his statement is dubitative and Hacham (2007) himself reminds us
that this by no means would imply knowledge of a Greek version. (420) ikema (1)
observation is still plausible. Bickerman (1944) also supposes that the Hebrew Esther had been
published shortly before the Greek translation was made let us say about 100 BCE- as he finds
improbable that a book relating the origins of a festival and the triumph of the Chosen People
should remain unnoticed for a long time. (421)
a a yimahu, the talat, i ee, ore (1977) reminds us that this was
a popular Hellenistic name like itheu (422) He mentions Lysimachus, the brother of
Menelaus (2 Mac. 4: 29). Menelaus was the usurper who obtained to be recognized as high priest by
Antiochus IV and put an end to the legitimate priestly dynasty in 171 BCE. (423)
yimahu i iiate y the lph a

tlemy, e the i Ieualem) hi i a e eealy whih ikema (1)


points out as typical of the Jews. (224) the eek, the iiati athela wa a
indispensable part of any identification, and the Greek administration introduced this requirement in
the East. (425) But as Bickerman (1944) remarks- the native continued to be regarded as a member
of a local group to which he was bound. (426) The Seleucid administration regarded Jerusalem as a
a it ihaitat a ative villae (427) They were styled, in official documents in 163
E,

(428) As regards Lysimahu athe, he ea a Eyptia ame

Moore notes, this suggests that the translator had an Egyptian father. (429) Moore (1977) explains
that Lysimachus needed not have been born in Jerusalem; he may have moved there from Egypt and
have Greek rather than Hebrew as his first language. (430)
123

Bickerman (1944) goes further, trying to detect why such a bibliographical record was
copied with the text of the Greek Esther. He connects the question to the whole problem of
scriptural canon. (431) As he notes, there was no unanimity as to a catalogue of the sacred books at
the time plausibly indicated by the colophon. (432) Until the fall of the Temple in 70 CE, truly
ai (ie, eeally a iially akwlee a taa aith a lie) wee ly the
Law, the Prophets, and the Psalms, these being the books read (or sung) in the divine service. (433)
For the rest, anyone could use freely or authoritative other books which could provide instruction
and wisdom anyway. (434) ue it eek, ai k i t ee ay authetiati,
being used liturgically in Hebrew and Greek. (435) On the other hand, all other works claiming
inspired authorship, like Enoch, Ecclesiastes, Sirach etc., did not require any ecclesiastical approval
because they were not used in the public worship. (436) Bickerman (1944) points out that only the
Greek Esther was an anomaly: a non-canonical book claiming a liturgical status. (437) He explains
that it belongs to a small group of Hellenistic writings designed to explain and to hallow a nonbiblical festival instituted among the Jews. (438) He mentions the feast instituted at the end of 3
Maccabees, referring also to Josephus (Against Apion 2.52), and to Hanukkah, glorified by 2
Maccabees. (439) But he notes that both these holy days were established (or at least so regarded) by
a public ordinance of Jewry on the occasion of a recent well known event. On the contrary, the
Book of Esther celebrated a new spontaneous feast, and even appeared to be its festal message. (440)
Bickerman (1944) supposes that, when scribes began to copy the scroll brought by Dositheus, they
were naturally eager to transcribe, together with the message concerning Purim, the note attesting
the origin of the volume. (441) Later copyists would have mechanically retained the postscript found
in their sources. (442) Bickerman (1944) concludes that this postscript proves objectively that the
Greek Esther descends directly in the LXX from the manuscript of Dositheus. (443) But Moore
(1977) underlines another crux, i.e. to which Greek version did the colophon originally apply, since
it could not have been appended to both the LXX and the Alpha Text, they being independent
translations. (444) Inasmuch, as all the LXX manuscripts have the colophon, while two of the three
extant Alpha Text manuscripts do not, Moore (1977) feels justified in concluding that the
bibliographic note originally applied to the LXX and that its presence at the end of one of the A. T.
manuscripts is to be explained as contamination.

(445)

The preservation of the colophon leads Bickerman (1944) to take into consideration a very
important feature of Purim as well Ethe ll th the eat a the etal umet lake
liturgical prescription and official sanction. (446) Bickerman (1944) defines the spread of Purim as
plausibly a work of private propaganda. (247) He underlines that Dositheus and his companions came
to Egypt without credentials from Queen Alexandra and the Synedrion. (448) He indicates as a matter
124

of fact that there are indications that the Jewish authorities in Palestine continued for a long time to
be opposed to the celebration of Purim and to the canonicity of the Book of Esther. (449) Bickerman
(1944) links such objections to the mainly secular character of the festival. (450) However, it must be
noted also that the author of Esther uelie the Jew ati a mui ui the crisis (Est.
4: 1, 16). Torrey (1944) opts for the hypothesis according to which all designations of God would
be studiously avoided. (451) Such a supposition has also been proposed in Ch. 2, par. 2.3 (p. 43).
Torrey (1944) underlines one significant phrase, which has been noticed as he says- by all
mmetat ut haly ive it ull value e ee t Et 1 eaue eve i yu keep
silent at this time, from elsewhere help and protection will come t the Juea (452) Here
Mordecai is speaking to Esther. As Torrey (1944) notices, she acts upon it fasting for three days: a
purely religious act. (453) hi lea the hla t tate that eai w ae a impliit
expression of faith and that Esther shares it. (454)
But this did not avoid the fact that Lysimachus inserted openly religious Additions.
Bickerman (1944) remarks that his adaptation furnished the Book of Esther with pious formulas and
rites, like the two Prayers. (455) At the same time as Bickerman (1944) notes- the translator
elaborated the motif of anti-Judaism (see Adds. A and F), barely mentioned in the Hebrew text (3:
8). (456) The scholar states even that Lysimachus made of the Greek Esther a document stressing
mutual hatred between the Jews and the Gentiles. (457) In his version, the Jews are a people

, tatly all ale i ppiti t all

humaity ( ) (458) And as Bickerman (1944) points out- the interpretation of


eaiahai eam at the e the k im ama iea m the Jewih
standpoint: there were two lots, one for the Chosen People and another for all the nations assembled
to destroy it. (459)
Bickerman (1944) sees as significant that the Greek Esther was brought to Egypt not
accidentally, but by a mission of more than one envoys, and that it was deposited in the Jewish
archives. (460) He notes that it seems that Dositheus and his backers in Jerusalem were eager for the
diffusion of Purim and of the pamphlet designated to explain to the Diaspora the anti-alien meaning
of the new festival. (461) Bickerman (1944) links such eagerness to the historical facts occurring at
the date he has detected as indicated by the colophon: 78-77 BCE. About the same time, Apollonios
Molon published the first Greek pamphlet Against the Jews, underlining their cruelty, effrontery,
impiety and hatred of mankind. (462) Ten years before (88-87 BCE) had occurred the first antiJewish riots in Alexandria and Antioch. (463) As the same Bickerman will write later (1967), the
Alexandrian mob, which had twice driven out Ptolemy X Alexander I, had rioted also against the
Jews, while the deposed king attacked the Alexandrians with the help of Jewish troops. (464) As far
125

as the riot in Antioch is concerned, it was probably related to a new outburst of dynastic strife
between Philip I and Demetrius III and to the latter iteveti i the ivil wa in Judea on the
request of Pharisees, hostile to King Alexander Jannaeus. (465) Bickerman (1967) reminds us of
another riot (87- E) the Jew evlt i yee, uppee y the ma uullu (lutah,
Life of Lucullus, 2.3-4). (466) The latter had also to suppress the revolt of the Jews in Cyrene: as
Bickerman (1967) points out, this is the first Jewish rebellion in the Diaspora of which we have
knowledge. (467)
All this show how the above-mentioned period saw strong contrasts between Hellenes and
Jews. The translation of the Book of Esther was a sort of answer to such a situation. Bickerman
(1944) remembers that the historical background of this kind of literature was the war between the
Maccabees and the Greek cities in Palestine, which developed since c. 110 BCE. (468) Both parties
sought to gain the sympathy of the Hellenistic world by means of propaganda. (469) As Bickerman
(1944) reminds us, the Jewish victory led to the imposition of Jewish modes of life. (470) The war
and the hatred it provoked necessarily placed the Jew and the Hellene as such face to face. (471)
While the Diaspora quite naturally opposed attacks on the Jewish kingdom (Josephus, Jewish
Antiquities 13.354), the Greeks expressed their ill-feeling against the compatriots of Alexander
Jannaeus who had laid waste the Macedonian colony of Pella because its inhabitants resisted
conversion to Judaism (ibid., 13.397). (472) According to Bickerman (1944), the colophon which
underlines that the translator came from Jerusalem- may show that the mutual dislike was fostered
in Palestine and was intentionally spread out from there. (473) So it is not surprising to read
hae (11) tatemet he k Esther became popular with them [the Jews] under
the rule of Antiochus Epiphanes (175-1 E) (474)

126

(1) Carey A. Moore, Daniel, Esther and Jeremiah: The Additions, The Anchor Bible, Garden City, New
York, 1977, Doubleday & Company, p. 153
(2) Ibid.
(3) Ibid.
(4) Ibid., p. 154.
(5) Ibid.
(6) Ibid.
(7) Ibid., p. 154.
(8) aey e, the ii the XX iti t the k Ethe, i Journal of Biblical
Literature, Vol. 92, No. 3 (Sep., 1973), pp. 382-393; Carey A. Moore, Daniel, Esther and Jeremiah, p.
155; Otto Eissfeldt, Introduzione allAntico Testamento, (ilitea telia), edizione italiana a cura
di Vincenzo Gatti, Brescia, 1984, Paideia Editrice, vol. IV: Il canone e il testo, p. 60.
(9) Je Zeell, iti Eiti etuti the ept iti, i Deuterocanonical
Additions of the Old Testament Books, (euteaial a ate iteatue tuie), eite y
Gza G. Xeravits and Jzsef Zsengellr, Berlin/New York, 2010, De Gruyter, p. 3.
(10) Carey A. Moore, Daniel, Esther and Jeremiah, p 1 Je Zeell, iti Eiti
etuti, i op. cit., p. 4.
(11) Jzsef Zsengell, iti Eiti etuti, i op. cit., p. 5.
(12) Ibid., p. 6.
(13) Ibid.
(14) Ibid., p. 9.
(15) Ibid., p. 11.
(16) Carey A. Moore, Daniel, Esther and Jeremiah, p. 3.
(17) Ibid., p. 3; p. 14; Otto Eissfeldt, op. cit., p. 31.
(18) Cf. Otto Eissfeldt, op. cit., p. 23.
(19) Ibid.
(20) Cf. Carey A. Moore, Daniel, Esther and Jeremiah, p. 5 with Otto Eissfeldt, op. cit., p. 23.
(21) Otto Eissfeldt, op. cit., pp. 23-24.
(22) Ibid., p. 24.
(23) Ibid., pp. 11-26.
(24) Ibid., p. 31.
(25) Ibid.
(26) Ibid.
(27) iie White aw, Ethe a Juith tat i haate, i The Book of Esther in Modern
Research, edited by Sidnie White Crawford and Leonard J. Greenspoon, London New York, 2003, T. &
T. Clark International, p. 62.
(28) Otto Eissfeldt, op. cit., p. 31.
(29) Ibid., p. 32.
(30) Ibid.
(31) Carey A. Moore, Daniel, Esther and Jeremiah, p. 14.
(32) Ibid., p. 15.

127

(33) Ibid.
(34) Ibid., pp. 15-16.
(35) aeie m eai
(36) Carey A. Moore, the ii, i op. cit., p. 383.
(37) Ibid., p. 384.
(38) Ibid.
(39) Ibid.
(40) Ibid.
(41) Joseph Mlze Modrzejewski, The Jews of Egypt. From Rameses II to Emperor Hadrian, Princeton, 1995,
Princeton University Press, pp. 141-146.
(42) ah aham, aaee a Ethe aallel, Itetextuality, a iapa Ietity, i Journal of
Biblical Literature, Vol. 126, No. 4 (Winter, 2007), p. 767.
(43) Ibid.
(44) Ibid., pp.767-768.
(45) Ibid., p. 768.
(46) Ibid.
(47) Ibid.
(48) Ibid.
(49) Ibid., p. 769.
(50) Ibid.
(51) Ibid.
(52) Ibid., pp. 772-780.
(53) Ibid., p. 778.
(54) Ibid., p. 779.
(55) Ibid., p. 780.
(56) Ibid., p. 782.
(57) Ibid., pp. 782-783.
(58) Ibid., p. 783.
(59) Ibid.
(60) Ibid.
(61) Ibid.
(62) Ibid.
(63) Ibid., p. 784.
(64) aey e, the ii, i op. cit., p. 385.
(65) Ibid.
(66) See also: ibid., p. 386.
(67) Elias J. Bickerman, te the eek k Ethe, i Proceedings of the American Academy for
Jewish Research, Vol. 20 (1951), p. 119; Elia J ikema, he ll Ethe or Esther and
eai, i Four Strange Books of the Bible, New York, 1967, Schocken Books, p. 222.
(68) Elias J. Bickerman, te, i op. cit., p. 114.
(69) Ibid., pp. 114-115.

128

(70) Ibid., note 41 on pp. 114-115.


(71) Ibid., p. 116.
(72) et i, elii, Wim a ity i the k Ethe ew luti t a iet
ux, i Journal of Biblical Literature, Vol. 100, No. 3 (Sep., 1981), p. 382.
(73) Elias J. Bickerman, op. cit., pp. 222-223.
(74) Elia J ikema, te, i op. cit., p. 127.
(75) Joseph Mlze Modrzejewski, op. cit., p. 141.
(76) Ibid.
(77) Ibid.
(78) Ibid.
(79) Ibid., p. 151.
(80) Ibid.
(81) Ibid.
(82) Ibid., p. 152.
(83) Ibid.
(84) Cf. ibid.
(85) Joseph Mlze Modrzejewski, op. cit., p. 152.
(86) Josephus, Against Apion, 2.49-52; Joseph Mlze Modrzejewski, op. cit., p. 147.
(87) Joseph Mlze Modrzejewski, op. cit., p. 147.
(88) Elias J. Bickerman, op. cit., p. 223.
(89) Joseph Mlze Modrzejewski, op. cit., p 1 ut the Jew uppt to Cleopatra II, see also: Elias J.
ikema, te, i op. cit., p. 130.
(90) Otto Eissfeldt, Introduzione allAntico Testamento, (ilitea telia), edizione italiana a cura di
Vincenzo Gatti, Brescia, 1984, Paideia Editrice, vol. IV: Il canone e il testo, p. 60.
(91) Elia J ikema, he eleui a the haemei, i Religions and Politics in the Hellenistic
and Roman Periods, (ilitea i theaeum), eite y Emili aa a t mith, m,
1985, Edizioni New Press, p. 497.
(92) Ibid.
(93) Ibid.
(94) Ibid.
(95) Ibid., p. 498.
(96) Ibid.
(97) Ibid.
(98) Ibid.
(99) Ibid.
(100)

Ibid., p. 499.

(101)

Ibid.

(102)

Ibid.

(103)

Ibid.

(104)

Ibid., p. 500.

(105)

Ibid.

129

(106)

Ibid.

(107)

Shemarayahu Talmon, Wim i the k Ethe, i Vetus Testamentum, Vol. 13, Fasc. 4

(t 1), p 1 ut ithiate I a the eleui, ee al a ltheim, akie u


aaie, in: Historia Mundi, Bern, 1956, Francke Verlag, vol. IV: Rmisches Weltreich und
Christentum, pp. 516-519.
(108)

Elia J ikema, te, i op. cit., p. 129.

(109)

Ibid., p. 128.

(110)

Ibid.

(111)

Ibid., p. 130.

(112)

Manfred Clauss, Israele nellet antica, (iveale apeak), la, , Il uli, pp 1-

1 iuli ip, Il tet ti, i iueppe apat (a ua i), Quarto libro dei Maccabei,
(ilia), Brescia, 2006, Paideia Editrice, pp. 14-46; Chiara de Filippis Cappai, IUDAEA. Roma e la
Giudea dal II secolo a.C. al II secolo d.C., (ultue atihe, tui e teti), leaia, , Eiii
ell, pp 1-44.
(113)

John M.G. Barclay, Diaspora. I giudei nella diaspora mediterranea da Alessandro a Traiano (323

a.C. 117 d.C.), (Ituie all tui ella iia Supplementi 1), eia, , aieia
Editrice, p. 47.
(114)

Ibid.

(115)

Ibid., p. 48.

(116)

Ibid., pp. 48-49.

(117)

Louis H. Feldman, elleiati i Jephu Vei Ethe, i Transactions and Proceedings

of the American Philological Association, Vol. 101 (1970), p. 160.


(118)

Ibid.

(119)

Elia J ikema, he ll Ethe, i op. cit., p. 224.

(120)

Ibid.

(121)

Ibid.

(122)

Ibid.

(123)

Ibid.

(124)

Ibid.

(125)

Ibid.

(126)

Carey A. Moore, Daniel, Esther and Jeremiah, p. 175.

(127)

Ibid.

(128)

Ibid.

(129)

Ibid., p. 176.

(130)

Ibid.

(131)

Ibid.

(132)

Ibid.

(133)

Ibid.

(134)

Otto Eissfeldt, op. cit., p. 13 and J. Alberto Soggin, Introduzione allAntico Testamento, (ilitea

i ultua eliia), eia, 1, aieia Eitie, p

130

(135)

VV, a a ppit i apalittia, i Henoch, XX, 1 Marzo 1998, Paul Kahle

Library, University of Turin, p. 91.


(136)

Cf.: J. Alberto Soggin, op. cit., p a p VV, a a ppit, i op. cit., p. 98.

(137)

Elias J. Bickerman, The Jews in the Greek Age, (aetum emiae), amie (aahuett)

London (England), 1988, Harvard University Press, p. 278.


(138)

Cf. J. Alberto Soggin, op. cit., p. 502.

(139)

Cf. ibid. a VV, a a ppit, i op. cit., p. 98.

(140)

Cf.: Otto Eissfeldt, op. cit., p. 13, and J. Alberto Soggin, op. cit., p. 388.

(141)

J. Alberto Soggin, op. cit., pp. 382-384.

(142)

Carey A. Moore, Daniel, Esther and Jeremiah, p. 176.

(143)

aey e, the ii, i op. cit., p. 389.

(144)

Ibid. See also note 32 on p. 389.

(145)

Carey A. Moore, Daniel, Esther and Jeremiah, p. 177.

(146)

J. Alberto Soggin, op. cit., p. 533.

(147)

Cf. Louis H. Feldman, elleiati, i op. cit., p. 164-165.

(148)

Ibid., pp. 164-165.

(149)

Elia J ikema, he ll Ethe, i op. cit., p. 227.

(150)

Elia J ikema, he ll Ethe, i op. cit., p. 227. For the civil war between Alexander

Jannaeus and Demetrius III, see also: Chiara de Filippis Cappai, op. cit., pp.60-61.
(151)

Elia J ikema, he ll Ethe, i op. cit., p. 227.

(152)

Carey A. Moore, Daniel, Esther and Jeremiah, p. 177.

(153)

Ibid., p. 180.

(154)

Adam Silverstein, he k Ethe a the Ema Elih , i Bulletin of the School of Oriental

and African Studies, University of London, Vol. 69, No. 2 (2006), p. 221.
(155)

aey e, the ii, i op. cit., p. 389; Carey A. Moore, Daniel, Esther and

Jeremiah, p. 180.
(156)

aey e, the ii, i op. cit., p. 389.

(157)

Carey A. Moore, Daniel, Esther and Jeremiah, p. 180.

(158)

Ibid.

(159)

Ibid.

(160)

Ibid.

(161)

Ibid.

(162)

Ibid.

(163)

Ibid., p. 181.

(164)

Serge Frolov, w Euuh, w piaie, a e yal Jew he aative the

Regicide in Esther as Text- and Redaction-itial et ae, i Vetus Testamentum, Vol. 52, Fasc. 3
(Jul. 2002), pp. 304-325.
(165)

Ibid., pp. 318-319.

(166)

Ibid., p. 319.

(167)

Ibid., pp. 319-320.

(168)

Ibid., p. 322.

131

(169)

Ibid.

(170)

Ibid., p. 321.

(171)

Ibid., p. 322.

(172)

Ibid., pp. 323-324.

(173)

aey e, the ii, i op. cit., p. 388; Carey A. Moore, Daniel, Esther and

Jeremiah, p. 246.
(174)

aey e, the ii, i op. cit., p. 388; Carey A. Moore, Daniel, Esther and

Jeremiah, p. 246.
(175)

Carey A. Moore, Daniel, Esther and Jeremiah, p. 246.

(176)

Cf. ibid.

(177)

Ibid.

(178)

Ibid., p. 247.

(179)

Cf. ibid.

(180)

Cf. ibid.

(181)

Ibid.

(182)

Ibid.

(183)

Ibid.

(184)

Ibid.

(185)

Ibid., pp.247-248.

(186)

Ibid., p. 248.

(187)

ee

t E in: Jenni, Ernst Westmann, Claus, Dizionario teologico dellAntico

Testamento, Casale Monferrato (AL), 1982, Casa Editrice Marietti, vol. 2, pp. 334-346.
(188)

Carey A. Moore, Daniel, Esther and Jeremiah, p. 248.

(189)

Ibid., p. 249.

(190)

alm, Wim i the k Ethe, i Vetus Testamentum, Vol. 13, Fasc. 4 (Oct. 1963),

p. 430.
(191)

Ibid.

(192)

Ibid.

(193)

Cf. ibid., pp. 430-431.

(194)

Carey A. Moore, Daniel, Esther and Jeremiah, p. 204.

(195)

eate E, eai eual kyei ee ama i t the eptuait aiti-

hitial a iteal pet, i Deuterocanonical Additions of the Old Testament Books,


(euteaial a ate iteatue tuie), eite y a Xeavit a Je Zeell,
Berlin/New York, 2010, De Gruyter, p. 20.
(196)

Ibid.

(197)

Ibid., p. 21.

(198)

Cf. ibid.

(199)

Ibid.

(200)

Ibid.

(201)

Ibid.

(202)

Quoted ibid., pp. 21-22.

132

(203)

Quoted ibid., p. 22.

(204)

Quoted ibid., pp. 22-23.

(205)

Ibid., p. 23.

(206)

Ibid.

(207)

Ibid.

(208)

Ibid., p. 24.

(209)

Ibid.

(210)

Ibid.

(211)

Ibid.

(212)

Ibid.

(213)

Ibid.

(214)

Ibid., p. 24.

(215)

Ibid., p. 19.

(216)

Elia J ikema, te, i op. cit., p 1 Elia J ikema, he ll Ethe, i

op. cit., p. 226.


(217)

Carey A. Moore, Daniel, Esther and Jeremiah, p. 210.

(218)

Cf. ibid.

(219)

Cf. ibid.

(220)

Ibid., p. 212.

(221)

Ibid.

(222)

Ibid.

(223)

Elia J ikema, te, i op. cit., p. 118.

(224)

Martien A. Halvorson Taylor, Secrets and Lies: Secrecy Notices (Esther 2: 10, 20) and Diasporic

Ietity i the k Ethe, i Journal of Biblical Literature, Vol. 131, No. 3 (2012), p. 484.
(225)

Berel Dov Lerner, appy Ei Ethe, i Jewish Bible Quarterly, Vol. 29, No. 1, 2001,

URL: https://wgalil.academia.edu/BerelDovLerner, p. 4.
(226)

Cf. ibid., p. 5.

(227)

Ibid.

(228)

Cf. ibid., p. 6.

(229)

Cf. ibid., p. 7.

(230)

Ibid., p. 8.

(231)

Ibid., pp. 7-8.

(232)

ee Jaelle ete, uei the , pulihe https://chicago.academia.edu/JanellePeters,

pp. 2-3.
(233)

tea hh, eeii iety he aye eai a Ethe i mpai, i

Deuterocanonical Additions of the Old Testament Books, (euteaial a ate iteatue


tuie), eite y a Xeavit a Je Zsengellr, Berlin/New York, 2010, De Gruyter, pp. 3042.
(234)

Ibid., p. 31.

(235)

Ibid., p. 32.

(236)

Ibid.

133

(237)

Ibid., pp. 32-34.

(238)

Ibid., p. 34.

(239)

Ibid.

(240)

Ibid.

(241)

Ibid., p. 35.

(242)

Ibid.

(243)

Ibid.

(244)

Ibid.

(245)

Ibid.

(246)

Ibid.

(247)

Ibid.

(248)

Ibid., p. 36.

(249)

Cf. ibid.

(250)

Ibid.

(251)

Ibid.

(252)

Ibid., p. 37.

(253)

Ibid.

(254)

Ibid.

(255)

Ibid.

(256)

Cf. ibid.

(257)

Cf. ibid., p. 38.

(258)

Cf. ibid.

(259)

Ibid., p. 39.

(260)

Ibid.

(261)

Ibid.

(262)

Ibid.

(263)

Ibid.

(264)

Ibid.

(265)

Ibid., p. 40.

(266)

ui elma, elleiati, i op. cit., p. 148.

(267)

Ibid.

(268)

Ibid., p. 165; 167.

(269)

See: ibid., p. 162.

(270)

Ibid., p. 149.

(271)

Carey A. Moore, Daniel, Esther and Jeremiah, p. 217.

(272)

Ibid., pp. 217-218.

(273)

Ibid., p. 218.

(274)

Ibid.

(275)

ihael V x, hee Ethe, i The Book of Esther in Modern Research, edited by Sidnie White

Crawford and Leonard J. Greenspoon, London New York, 2003, T. & T. Clark International, p. 59.
(276)

iimulati, i Encyclopedia of the Bible and Its Reception, vol. 6 [De Gruyter 2013], p. 939.

134

(277)

Carey A. Moore, Daniel, Esther and Jeremiah, p. 218.

(278)

Ibid.

(279)

Ibid.

(280)

iimulati, i op. cit., p. 939.

(281)

Carey A. Moore, Daniel, Esther and Jeremiah, p. 218.

(282)

Ibid.

(283)

ihael V x, hee Ethe, i op. cit., p. 59.

(284)

Ibid.

(285)

Ibid.

(286)

Ibid.

(287)

Ibid.

(288)

Ibid.

(289)

Ibid.

(290)

Ibid.

(291)

Ibid.

(292)

Ibid.

(293)

Carey A. Moore, Daniel, Esther and Jeremiah, p. 218.

(294)

Ibid.

(295)

Ibid.

(296)

ihael V x, hee Ethe, i op. cit., p. 60.

(297)

Ibid.

(298)

Ibid.

(299)

Ibid., p. 58.

(300)

Carey A. Moore, Daniel, Esther and Jeremiah, p. 218.

(301)

Quoted by Carey A. Moore in Daniel, Esther and Jeremiah, p. 218.

(302)

Elia J ikema, te, i op. cit., p. 117.

(303)

Ibid., note 46 on p. 117.

(304)

Carey A. Moore, Daniel, Esther and Jeremiah, p. 218.

(305)

Ibid., p. 219.

(306)

ihael V x, hee Ethe, i op. cit., p. 58.

(307)

Ibid., pp. 59-60.

(308)

Ibid., p. 58.

(309)

Carey A. Moore, Daniel, Esther and Jeremiah, pp. 219-220.

(310)

Ibid., p. 220.

(311)

Ibid., p. 219.

(312)

Ibid.

(313)

Ibid.

(314)

Ibid.

(315)

Ibid., p. 220.

(316)

Ibid.

(317)

Ibid.

135

(318)

Ibid.

(319)

ihael V x, hee Ethe, i op. cit., p. 59.

(320)

Clinton J. Moyer, he eautiul utie eplae the uee mpu p i Ethe 1-2

a k a hait Chereas and Callirhoe, i Vetus Testamentum, Vol. 60 (2010), pp. 601620.
(321)

Ibid., p. 602.

(322)

See also ibid. Clinton J. Moyer dates the Book of Esther to sometime in the 4 th through the 2nd

centuries BCE.
(323)

Ibid.

(324)

Ibid., p. 603.

(325)

Ibid., p. 606.

(326)

Ibid., p. 607.

(327)

Ibid., p. 608.

(328)

Ibid., p. 617.

(329)

Ibid.

(330)

Ibid.

(331)

Ibid., pp. 617-618.

(332)

Ibid., p. 618.

(333)

Ibid.

(334)

ui elma, elleiati, i op. cit., p. 147.

(335)

Ibid.

(336)

Ibid., p. 149.

(337)

Ibid.

(338)

Jewish Antiquities 11 ui elma, elleiati, i op. cit., p. 149.

(339)

ui elma, elleiati, i op. cit., p. 153.

(340)

See also ibid., p. 153.

(341)

Ibid.

(342)

Ibid., p. 154.

(343)

Ibid., pp. 168-169.

(344)

Elia J ikema, te, in: op. cit., p. 104.

(345)

Elia J ikema, he lph the eek k Ethe, i Journal of Biblical Literature,

Vol. 63, No. 4 (Dec., 1944), p. 340.


(346)

Ibid.

(347)

Ibid.

(348)

Ibid., pp. 341-342.

(349)

Ibid., p. 343.

(350)

Ibid.

(351)

Ibid., p. 344.

(352)

Ibid.

(353)

Ibid.

(354)

Ibid.

136

(355)

Ibid., p. 345.

(356)

hale ey, he le k Ethe, i The Harvard Theological Review, Vol. 37, No. 1

(Jan. 1944), p. 26.


(357)

Ibid.

(358)

Carey A. Moore, Daniel, Esther and Jeremiah, p. 250.

(359)

Ibid.

(360)

hale ey, he le k Ethe, i op. cit., p. 26.

(361)

Elia J ikema, te, i op. cit., p. 108.

(362)

Elia J ikema, he lph the eek k Ethe, i Journal of Biblical Literature,

Vol. 63, No. 4 (Dec., 1944), p. 346.


(363)

Ibid.

(364)

Ibid.

(365)

Ibid., pp. 346-347.

(366)

Ibid., p. 347.

(367)

Ibid.

(368)

Ibid.

(369)

Elia J ikema, he ll Ethe, i op. cit., p. 233.

(370)

Ibid.

(371)

Ibid.

(372)

Ibid.

(373)

Carey A. Moore, Daniel, Esther and Jeremiah, p. 250.

(374)

Ibid.

(375)

Ibid.

(376)

Ibid.

(377)

Ibid.

(378)

Ibid., pp. 250-251.

(379)

Elia J ikema, he lph, i op. cit., p. 348.

(380)

Ibid.

(381)

Ibid.

(382)

Ibid., p. 349.

(383)

Ibid.

(384)

Ibid.

(385)

Carey A. Moore, Daniel, Esther and Jeremiah, p. 251.

(386)

alph au, itheu, iet a evite, i Journal of Biblical Literature, Vol. 64, No. 2 (Jun.,

1945), p. 270.
(387)

Ibid.

(388)

Ibid.

(389)

Ibid.

(390)

Ibid.

(391)

Ibid.

(392)

Charles C. Torrey, he le k Ethe, i op. cit., p. 6.

137

(393)

Elia J ikema, he lph, i op. cit., p. 349.

(394)

Ibid., pp. 349-350.

(395)

Ibid., p. 350.

(396)

Ibid.

(397)

Ibid.

(398)

See also ibid.

(399)

Ibid.

(400)

Carey A. Moore, Daniel, Esther and Jeremiah, p. 251.

(401)

Ibid.

(402)

Elia J ikema, he lph, i op. cit., p. 351.

(403)

Ibid.

(404)

Ibid.

(405)

Ibid.

(406)

Ibid.

(407)

Ibid., p. 352.

(408)

Ibid.

(409)

Ibid.

(410)

Ibid.

(411)

Ibid.

(412)

Ibid.

(413)

Ibid., pp. 352-353.

(414)

Ibid., p. 354.

(415)

Ibid.

(416)

Ibid., p. 355.

(417)

Ibid.

(418)

Ibid.

(419)

Noah Hacham, aaee a Ethe, i op. cit., pp. 771-772.

(420)

Ibid., p. 772.

(421)

Elia J ikema, he lph, i op. cit., p. 355.

(422)

Carey A. Moore, Daniel, Esther and Jeremiah, p. 251.

(423)

Ibid. See also: Josephus, Jewish Antiquities 12.237-1 iuli ip, Il tet ti, i op. cit.,

pp. 27-29; Chiara De Filippis Cappai, op. cit., pp. 18-19. When we say that Menelaus put an end to the
legitimate priestly dynasty, we follow the version that can be found in 2 Mac. 4: 23 ff. According to it,
Menelaus was the brother of Simon of Bilgah, who was the superintendent of the Temple in Jerusalem (2
Mac. 3: 4). Josephus depicts him as the youngest brother of Onias III, instead (Jewish Antiquities 12.237238).
(424)

Elia J ikema, he lph, i op. cit., p. 355.

(425)

Ibid., pp. 355-356.

(426)

Ibid., p. 356.

(427)

Ibid.

(428)

Ibid.

138

(429)

Carey A. Moore, Daniel, Esther and Jeremiah, p. 252.

(430)

Ibid.

(431)

Elia J ikema, he lph, i op. cit., p. 357.

(432)

Ibid., p. 358.

(433)

Ibid.

(434)

Ibid.

(435)

Ibid.

(436)

Ibid.

(437)

Ibid.

(438)

Ibid.

(439)

Ibid., p. 359.

(440)

Ibid.

(441)

Ibid.

(442)

Ibid.

(443)

Ibid.

(444)

Carey A. Moore, Daniel, Esther and Jeremiah, p. 252.

(445)

Ibid.

(446)

Elia J ikema, he lph, i op. cit., p. 359.

(447)

Ibid.

(448)

Ibid.

(449)

Ibid.

(450)

Ibid.

(451)

hale ey, he le k Ethe, i op. cit., p. 10.

(452)

Ibid. The quotation from Esther comes from the translation of the Old Greek text in: International

Organization for Septuagint and Cognate Studies, A New English Translation of the Septuagint, 2007,
Oxford University Press.
(453)

hale ey, he le k Ethe, i op. cit., p. 10.

(454)

Ibid.

(455)

Elia J ikema, he lph, i op. cit., p. 360.

(456)

Ibid.

(457)

Ibid.

(458)

Ibid.

(459)

Ibid., pp. 360-361.

(460)

Ibid., p. 361.

(461)

Ibid.

(462)

Ibid.

(463)

Ibid.

(464)

Elia J ikema, he ll Ethe, i op. cit., p. 232.

(465)

Ibid. See also: Josephus, Jewish Antiquities 13.369 ff. and Chiara de Filippis Cappai, IVDAEA, pp.

60-61.

139

(466)

This is the edition of Plutah Lucullus included in the Perseus Digital Library:

http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/text?doc=Perseus:text:2008.01.0046:chapter=2&highlight=
(467)

Elia J ikema, he ll Ethe, i op. cit., p. 232.

(468)

Elias J. Bikema, he lph, i op. cit., p. 361.

(469)

Ibid.

(470)

Ibid., pp. 361-362.

(471)

Ibid., p. 362.

(472)

Ibid.

(473)

Ibid.

(474)

Ja hae, he k Ethe i the iht ity, i The Jewish Quarterly Review,

New Series, Vol. 9, No. 1/2 (Jul. Oct., 1918), p. 13.

140

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Acknowledgments
I warmly thank Professor Lucio Troiani for his patience and punctuality in revising the present
work. I am heartily grateful towards Professor Elio Jucci, who has given me fundamental pieces of
advice for my bibliographical researches.
I thank my fianc, Dr. Francesco Genovese, for his psychological support and his patience in
being neglected during the most intense phase of thesis-writing. I take such a compliance as a
manifestation of the purest love.
I aetiately thak my the almella, who has kept me company during my
iliaphial eeahe i ila e ha ee th a lvi ele the a a healthy
evil avate aait the peil sancta simplicitas.
Of course, I am dutifully grateful to my family, who has partly financed the present work. I
maily thak my paet, wh have ejye the aktae apet my uiveity ativitie
stress, fits of nerves, and so on.
I thank Collegio Universitario S. Caterina da Siena, which has been my home in Pavia. I
thank Scuola Superiore IUSS for its scholarships, which have made my years at university quite
more comfortable than they could have been. But it is equally important to remember my
classmates at IUSS and even more- my college mates, who have tolerated me in the ups and downs
of everyday life. They have filled my mental bag with histories. Some are sweet; some others are a
little more bitter; all are precious.
I am ateul t my ite the Veerabilis Ordo Damae Loggiae, the university sorority
thanks to which I have said: Incipit vita nova. I thak u hami a wie the ali
lli Zeu, wh eeve hi aweme liai ame I thank la meglio giovent in Pavia:
epui, iitiu, ahiavelliu, Vla, lei, ia, Vemiellu, the ae
Augustus Regnum Langobardorum. As I must be kind on this day, I remember also the Ordo Clavis
Universalis.
I thank Carmina Burana, Enya, Celtic Folk, Gothic and Finnish Metal, Melodic Death, the
hymns of the Llibre Vermell de Montserrat, Celtic Woman, Futhark, Folkstone, Gothic Rock, Hevia
and Nanowar of Steel for having relieved me in the most critical moments of my work. I thank my
auhte y-ha, he yie, ara A. and Erika C., who have satisfied such musical needs.
I thank my colleagues in the editorial staff of Inchiostro, who have given me precious
occasions to meet people and to take an interest in up-to-date matters. They have also encouraged
me to pursue an ideal of journalism which abhors censure, but also intellectual dishonesty. They
have shown me that pluralism and tolerance in editorial work are possible.
149

I thank Beatrice Barnab, Davide Castiglione and Dario Bertini, who have introduced me in
the wl iepeet pety i avia I eet il I Via aua a teia
Letteraria Sottovento, which have been among the first places in Pavia to shelter my poetry. I thank
Coordinamento per il diritto allo studio UDU, for their work at the side of students.
I thak iueppe, il (ala tai), avie, Elia, aaa, leaa, ila,
ua, athaiel, elly am, lauia wie, helly ataia al, ia Jlie
and everyone who has made my life look like a rainbow during the last years.
I emae ea Via, my avite ppet a my lvely ele the e ha
mae me the haw-lie my tet itelletual pejuie We ae atually me aki
then we should have suspected a year and a half ago.
I am grateful towards Lorenzo Nicola R., for his discretion and compliance in helping me recontacting a person who has warmed up my university life.
heatily ememae e t a el a, my ek-mate and my Muse for the
last five years. The Atlantic Ocean cannot wash away what he has (unwittingly) given me.
I ewly thak my auhte y-ha, he plymphi talet a he uae he i a
little stella splendens he mthe and so are my othe weul hile e a
avii I ememe al Veve, my -in-law, a my tw ie ahile,
eai a aia
I testify my gratefulness towards mein Blumchen, who has helped me solving existential
problems during the drawing up of the present work.
I thank Professor Guglielmino Cajani for his wise and heartily monologues about life,
university, times and all.
I greet Professor Danilo Valla, whom I have not met since a long time ago. I hope he will be
pleased by the present work.
Now, I cannot help but being a bit melancholic. I die as a student; I hope to be newly born as
something else something of which I can have just a slight idea. But as Hope is the last goddessI conclude:

Gaudeamus igitur!

150

Index
Abtatp
Itutip
hapte 1 he Jew i tlemai Eypt a the eptuait p
hapte he k Ethe p
2.1 Three Books of Esther ..p. 28
2.2 Traces of verisimilitude p. 32
2.3 An ethnical conflict, a wisdom tale or a disguised myth? ..p. 41
2.4 Blood, fate and humor ..p. 55
2.5 The Book of Esther as a novella .p. 59
2.6 Hypothesis about the time of composition p. 61
hapte he iti p
3.1 Additions B and E .p. 81
3.2 Additions A and F .p. 93
3.3 Addition C. p. 101
3.4 Addition D .p. 112
3.5 The Colophon ...p. 118
iliaphy p 11
kwlemet p 1

151