Judaism
Tanakh and Talmud

What is the Jewish tradition concerning Esther?

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2018-02-07 18:52:00
2018-02-07 18:52:00

Esther was the heroine and central figure in the Biblical book of Esther, which is the source of the Jewish festival of Purim. She was crowned about 55 years after the destruction of the First Temple, and fifteen years before the Second Temple was built. The Jews were in the Babylonian exile. A few of them, such as Nehemiah, Mordecai and Daniel, rose to positions of prominence under the Babylonian kings.

The last of the Prophets of the Tanakh (Hebrew Bible) were still living.

King Cyrus had recently made his famous proclamation (2 Chronicles 36:22-23) allowing the Jews to resettle Judea (Israel), and some had gone up with Zerubavel, but the enemies of the Jews had then slandered them (Ezra ch.4), causing the Babylonian king to put a stop to the rebuilding and resettlement of Judea. This last event was around the same time that Esther became Queen.

When she became orphaned, she was adopted by her cousin Mordecai. Later, when Queen Vashti refused to appear before Ahasuerus (in Esther ch.1), Memuchan, a Persian royal adviser, advised King Ahasuerus (Xerxes I) to remove Vashti from being Queen of Persia, and King Ahasuerus agreed to his advice. In Esther Chapter 2, royal eunuchs advised Ahasuerus to look for a new queen. Esther was the best-looking woman, and Ahasuerus picked her to replace Vashti as Queen.

Esther and her cousin Mordecai (who had once saved the king's life) later persuaded the king to cancel an order for the extermination of the Jews in his vast realm, which had been plotted by the king's chief minister, Haman. Instead, Haman was hanged on the gallows he had built for Mordecai, and the Jews were given permission to destroy their enemies. The Jewish festival of Purim celebrates this event.

According to tradition, the book of Esther was written in the mid-4th century BCE, and was made part of the Hebrew Bible canon which was sealed a couple of decades after.

Esther was queen for about 11 years.

The name of Mordecai is the Judaised pronunciation of Marduka, which is attested in the Persepolis Texts as the name of officials in the Persian court during the period of Xerxes I. One of these officials was the biblical Mordecai. The grave of Mordecai and Esther still stands in Hamadan; and the Jews of Iran, to this day, are referred to as "the children of Esther."

For the name of Esther, a number of etymologies are possible.

1) Esther comes from the Persian "setareh," meaning "star".

2) Esther comes from the Aramaic "istahar," meaning "moon." Beautiful as the moon (Talmud, Megillah 13a).

3) Esther comes from the Semitic root ath-tar, "morning star." There is support for this too in the Talmud (Yoma 29a).

4) Esther comes from the Median "astra," meaning "myrtle." The book of Esther (2:7) states that she had both names, Esther and Myrtle (Hadassah in Hebrew).

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2015-01-11 17:28:09
2015-01-11 17:28:09

Esther was the heroine and central figure in the Biblical book of Esther, which is the source of the Jewish festival of Purim.
The Jews were in the Babylonian exile.
When Esther became orphaned, she was adopted by her cousin Mordecai.
Later, when Queen Vashti refused to appear before Ahasuerus (in Esther ch.1), Memuchan, a Persian royal adviser, advised King Ahasuerus (Xerxes I) to remove Vashti from being Queen of Persia, and King Ahasuerus agreed to his advice.
In Esther Chapter 2, royal eunuchs advised Ahasuerus to look for a new queen. Esther was the best-looking woman, and Ahasuerus picked her to replace Vashti as Queen.

Esther and her cousin Mordecai (who had once saved the king's life) later persuaded the king to cancel an order for the extermination of the Jews in his vast realm, which had been plotted by the king's chief minister, Haman. Instead, Haman was hanged on the gallows he had built for Mordecai, and the Jews were given permission to destroy their enemies. The Jewish festival of Purim celebrates this event.

See also the Related Links.

Link: More about the Hebrew Bible

Link: Jewish festivals

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Jewish tradition states that Esther had no choice but to present herself when the women were called up in the king's search for a new queen (Talmud, Megillah 12b and 15a).See also the Related Link.More about Esther


A:The only information we have on Queen Esther comes from the Book of Esther, which scholars regard as a second-century-BCE Jewish novel. The Book of Esther concludes before the death of Esther, so we can never say how or when she died. A:Jewish tradition states that Esther was a historical person. An entire volume of the Talmud is dedicated to explaining the Book of Esther and the observance of Purim. The Bible (Book of Esther) does not say how she died. We may surmise that she passed away peacefully. The grave-site of Mordecai and Esther is located in Hamadan, Iran.


Esther was born in Persia.She is from Jewish descent.



Tradition states that the second King Darius was the son of Esther and Achashverosh.


Jewish tradition was preserved by the Jewish Prophets, Sages, Torah-commentators and codifiers. Jewish tradition is preserved by learning and keeping the Torah.


According to Jewish tradition, yes; and this is referred to when the scroll of Esther identifies him as The Aggagite. Agag was a king of Amalek in 1 Samuel ch.15.


She Queen Esther saved the Jews, from certain death.


Esther became a hero to the Jewish people through saving them from being killed by the King's order. Esther revealed Hamon as an enemy and Esther told the King whom loved her that she was Jewish. She risked her life in revealing these.


Esther Levy has written: 'The first Jewish-American cookbook (1871)' -- subject(s): Jewish Cookery 'Jewish cookery book, on principles of economy' -- subject(s): Jewish Cookery


According to tradition, she had one son.


According to Jewish tradition, the following books were written during or immediately after the Babylonian exile: Ezekiel, Esther, Daniel, Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi, Lamentations, Ezra, and Nehemiah.


There is no mention of Jewish eunichs in the Book of Esther.


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She was an Israelite from Judea, of the Jewish tribe of Benjamin.


A:History books record events known to have happened, along with interpretations of those events. When historians look at the Book of Esther, they realise that this is not a book of history, as there are far too many historical errors. Among other things, the chronology of Persian history is wrong and there is no historical record of Esther or of her predecessor, Vashti. Furthermore, Queen Amestris is accepted by historians as Xerxes' only wife for the first several years of his reign. The consensus is that the Book of Esther is a second-century-BCE novel, written centuries after the events portrayed, and therefore not directly relevant to Jewish history.Even if the events portrayed in Esther really occurred, they ocurred in Babylon and would have had no effect in the Jewish homeland, Judah. However, the Book of Esther has had considerable impact on Jewish tradition and Jewish religious practice. The annual celebration of Purim is based on the book, which actually calls for a celebration of the events portrayed (Esther 9:26-32).Jewish answer:The importance of the Book of Esther is that its events show that God is with us even in times of Hester (Divine concealment during exile).


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A:History books record events known to have happened, along with interpretations of those events. When historians look at the Book of Esther, they realise that this is not a book of history, as there are far too many historical errors. Among other things, the chronology of Persian history is wrong and there is no historical record of Esther or of her predecessor, Vashti. Furthermore, Queen Amestris is accepted by historians as Xerxes' only wife for the first several years of his reign. The consensus is that the Book of Esther is a second-century-BCE novel, written centuries after the events portrayed, and therefore Queen Esther is not directly relevant to the history of Judaism. However, the Book of Esther has had considerable impact on Jewish tradition and Jewish religious practice. The annual celebration of Purim is based on the book, which actually calls for a celebration of the events portrayed (Esther 9:26-32).


There is no Jewish tradition of breaking a plate during a wedding ceremony. The tradition is for the groom to break a glass.


King Ahausuerus married a Jewish girl Esther.


On the Jewish festival of Purim, there is a widespread custom to put on costumes and/or masks. The Esther mask is part of this custom.


The book of Esther tells the story. The Persian king Ahasuerus marries Esther.


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