Addition To The Sum Of Revelation, Found In The Book Of Esther -- By: George O. Little

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 071:281 (Jan 1914)
Article: Addition To The Sum Of Revelation, Found In The Book Of Esther
Author: George O. Little

Addition To The Sum Of Revelation, Found In The Book Of Esther

George O. Little, D.D.

In his “Seven Puzzling Bible Books,” Dr. Gladden, commenting on the Book of Esther, quotes approvingly the words of “the learned, judicious Professor Sanday “: “It has often been pointed out that it does not even mention the name of God and it adds nothing to the sum of revelation.” Professor Paton1 says: “The book is so conspicuously lacking in religion, that it never should have been included in the Canon of the Old Testament. The author believes that there is a God, but he has no consciousness of his nearness. He alone of all writers in the Old Testament ascribes deliverance to men.” Against these and similar negative views, I wish to present a positive one, putting the word something in the place of Professor Sanday’s nothing, and to affirm that it adds to the sum of revelation something most practical and helpful, both in what is taught and in the unique way of teaching it. If I succeed in upholding this positive view, I feel sure that it will also become apparent, that the omission of even the name of God is so in accord with, and essential to, the purpose and plan of the book, that it is to be commended and not condemned.

Professor Moulton, in his “Literary Study of the Bible”

(p. 236), says in his opening sentence about Esther, that it is “the most elaborate of these Epic Histories.” “This, in addition to every other element of interest, has what may be called a double plot: two distinct trains of events, centring around Esther herself and Mordecai respectively, are woven together into a complex story.”

I fully agree in the idea of the double plot, so generally overlooked, for it coincides with an interpretation which I had given many years ago, but I disagree in regard to the two persons named. Instead of Esther and Mordecai, I put Haman and Mordecai.

In the first two chapters, we have a graphic portrayal of King Ahasuerus, and of Esther the cousin of a certain Jew Mordecai, by whom she had been brought up, who was made queen in the place of the deposed Queen Vashti, and who, in obedience to Mordecai, had not made known her people or her kindred. The complex story of this epic begins with the third chapter. We see, first, Haman suddenly promoted and advanced to a seat above all the princes, and all the king’s servants commanded to bow down unto him and to do him reverence. We see, next, the Jew Mordecai, alone of all, refusing to do this, not only at the first, but persisting daily in the refusal, in spite of the warning of the king’s servants, se...

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