Wednesday, January 20, 2016

The St. John's Bible - Esther

Esther 5:9-16:7
Donald Jackson
Scribe: Sue Hufton
Vellum, with ink, paint and gold

"In the Jewish tradition, 
Esther is a redeemer figure.
The near brush with extinction, 
which the Jews in the story 
underwent at Haman's hand, 
has made this story the lens through
 which may interpret the Holocaust.
As Queen, Esther's access to King Ahasuerus 
allowed her to be the savior and protector 
of the Jews in the face of the evil conspiracies
of Haman. In one conspiracy, Haman expects
 that the gallows ordered will be used for Mordecai 
(a Jewish man who offended him).
 In a reversal of events, however, Haman's evil schemes 
cause him to be hanged from
 that very same gibbet instead.

This illustration aims to show the duality
 of Esther and her two different lives.
 On the one hand is her life as a beautiful 
young Jewish woman, 
as faithful to her heritage 
as she is to her consign Mordecai. 
O the other hand is her life of power 
as the Queen of Persia arrayed in all 
her regal trappings and surrounded
 by ancient Persian gold artifacts. 
This tension between the two conflicting identities 
of Esther can be seen in the different
 emotional cast to the eyes. 
The Empress is confident in her world of position, 
whereas the humble Jewish woman betrays fear, 
apprehension, wisdom and bravery."

Esther's full plat of roles
 is certainly a role model
 for the women of this time and age too.

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