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date: 19 February 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter examines Esther’s canonical location in the Writings and the way this context frames the book’s main characters and theology. In particular, Lamentations and Daniel flank the book on either side. This context highlights, through thematic connections and narrative analogy, Mordecai and Esther’s lack of religious character. In both Lamentations and Daniel 1–6, the LORD’s reign over kings and kingdoms is strongly affirmed. This theme frames God’s absence in Esther. In this canonical context, God works behind the scenes in Esther but is hidden because Esther and Mordecai have forgotten the God of Israel. God’s promises are not dependent on the faithfulness of his people; instead, through his providential hand he keeps his promises, both to preserve his people and destroy his enemies. This reading finds support in the two primary ways in which Esther has been understood, which divide over whether to interpret the characters of Esther and Mordecai negatively or positively.

Keywords: Esther, Mordecai, canon, the Writings, God

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