Tapestry of Esther, made in Brussels, 1510-1520

This tapestry was made on the theme from the Book of Esther. (see more below). In this tapestry note King Ahasuerus, top middle, Queen Esther (being touched by his scepter), behind Esther, in a turban, probably Mordecai. Standing in the right foreground, probably Haman.

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The Book of Esther is an important story to the history of the Jewish people, dealing with survival under times of persecution. It is referred to as the “Megillah” (the scroll), and is part of the Tanakh (the Hebrew Bible) in the Ketuvim, the book of writings. The story was written around Xerxes I [(485–465 BC[E]. he events of Esther occurred during the wider time span between the first return of the Jews after the 70 year captivity in Babylon (Dan. 9:1–19) under Zerubbabel ca. 538 B.C. (Ezra 1–6) and the second return led by Ezra ca. 458 B.C. (Ezra 7–10).

The historical genesis for the story of Esther comes from a conflict with Israel’s ancient enemy, the Amalekites. Mordecai (a Benjamite descendant of Saul—2:5) and Haman (an Agagite—3:1, 10; 8:3, 5; 9:24) goes back almost 1,000 years when the Jews exited from Egypt (ca. 1445 B.C.) and were attacked by the Amalekites (Ex. 17:8–16), whose lineage began with Amalek, son of Esau (Gen. 36:12). God pronounced His curse on the Amalekites, which resulted in their total elimination as a people (Ex. 17:14; Deut. 25:17–19). Although Saul (ca. 1030 B.C.) received orders to kill all the Amalekites, including their king Agag (1 Sam. 15:2, 3), he disobeyed (1 Sam. 15:7–9) and incurred God’s displeasure (1 Sam. 15:11,26; 28:18). Samuel finally hacked Agag into pieces (1 Sam. 15:32, 33). Because of his lineage from Agag, Haman carried deep hostility toward the Jews.

In the story, King Ahasuerus of Persia (possibly Xerxes), executes his insubordinate Queen Vashti and replaces her with a stranger, Esther, who has been brought into his kingdom along with many other women in a beauty contest, which Esther wins. Esther like her uncle, Mordecai, is a Jew. Haman, the Agagite, and a minister of Ahasuerus, hates Mordecai and plots a genocidal revenge against the entire Jewish population, but Esther reveals the cruel machinations of Haman and Haman is instead killed, in the story sparing the Persian Jews of a day marked for their genocide.

About kinneret

Hello, and welcome. I'm writing this blog under an alias. Why an alias? I started to write what may be described as an "American Gothic" novel (sort of Henry James/ Franz Kafka with violence) with some autobiographical details. ..when I started this blog I just decided to use the alias. This blog is about art and art history, but my interests also include literature, film analysis, psychology, forensic psychology, faerie tale analysis, cognitive therapy, cognitive linguistics, classical theater, World War II, and Russian and British history. My favorite writers include Kafka, the Brontes, and Philip K Dick. Thank you for reading this blog and I will happily reply to any comments.
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