Heidegger's Bible Handbook: Esther: Inscription

1. The inscription of the Book. Who was Esther? הֲדַסָּה/Hadassah. אֶסְתֵּר/ Esther. Was she Amestris, wife of Xerxes?


This Book is called מגלת אסתר, the Megillah, or Book, of Esther, ἐπειδὰν καὶ τὴν περὶ τῆς Ἐσθὴρ ἱστορίαν περιέχει· πῶς ὁ Θεὸς δι᾽ αὐτῆς μέλλοντας ἀπόλλυσθαι παγγενῆ τοὺς Ἰουδαίους· αὐτοὺς μὲν διέσωσε, τὸν Ἁμὰν τὸν θελήσαντα ἐπιβουλεῦσαι, ἐπάταξε, because it covers the history of Esther, how through her God preserved the whole race of the Jews on the verge of perishing, and smote Haman, who insidiously plotted its destruction, says Saint Athanasius in his Synopsi. Now, she was either the granddaughter of the brother of Mordecai, or his adopted daughter, also called by her Hebrew name הֲדַסָּה/ Hadassah, that is, myrtle (just as אֶסְתֵּר/Esther signifies star in the Persian dialect), a woman of extraordinary beauty and virtue, Esther 2:7. But whether she was Amestris, whom the Greek writers make the wife of Xerxes, as it seemed to Scaliger, or rather Artystone, which was the name of the second wife of Darius, as it pleased Ussher of Armagh, we leave undecided here.

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