Today our study of the Megillah began. In Hebrew, megillah means a scroll containing religious writings. To the Jews it refers to the biblical narrative of the book of Esther which is read publicly in its entirety during the festival of Purim. Still colloquially, megillah means a long, boring tediously detailed or embroidered account.
We listened to Beth Moore (BM) give the introductory spiel. Basically she described the uniqueness of the book compared to the other books in the bible.
1) absence of any reference to God The entire book of Esther make no mention of God. BM spent a big chunk of the hour trying to make her point that there are times in someone's life (herself as example) when God is absent. BM seemed to indicate that when God came back to her she was all energized and bouncing again. The fact that God is not mentioned in the book does not mean that God was not present. He was standing from a distance waiting for the right time to intervene. Mother Theresa once described a time of "spiritual dryness" in her own life, when God seemed distant. It is interesting to find out that she only had a brief period when she felt that God was always very close to her yet she carried out all her ministries just the same till she died.
2) title bears a woman's name BM contrasted Esther with the book of Ruth by the type of cross-cultural marriage in the story. Ruth was a Moabitess (gentile) who married a Boaz, who was a Jew. The case of Esther was the other way around. Esther was a Jew, who lived incognito in Persia, married to Xerxes, a Persian king. In this section, BM talked or joked a lot about "hormones, and "estrogen" (which I didn't particularly appreciate). I wished that she emphasized the roles of the male characters in the story in bringing out the true character of the woman Esther. There was Mordecai, Xerxes, Memucan(Haman) who made all the drama in the story. Esther did what she did, not because of her fluctuating hormones but because she was triggered by the evil deeds of one man (Haman). She was placed in high position not because of her estrogen level but due to the pride of another man (Xerxes). She choose to risk her life because she trusted her wise guardian (Mordecai) and she cared for her own people. I guess BM will discuss all of these during the course of the study.
3) God-ordained emphasis on human responsibility I didn't seem get a lot from her third point. BM was quoting the Word Biblical Commentary a lot that she lost me.
I look forward to doing this bible study and listening to BM some more. She indicated that "we are going to be dangerous women for the kingdom of God" by the time we're done with this megillah. Hmmm... I wonder what she means.