Home » Apocrypha Stuff » Breif Article on the Additions to Esther

Breif Article on the Additions to Esther

Introduction

It is within the second or third century, that the book of Esther was translated from Hebrew into Greek, by Lysimachus (11.1).[1] Though it was translated by one author, the additions themselves seem to come from different pens, showing different styles, though this by no means absolutely certain.[2] But for example, regarding the original language of the additions, B and E are thought for the most part to be originally Greek, while the other additions have been argued both to be originally Greek or a Semitic language.[3]

In six different places within the narrative, the Greek version had new additions, which added up to 107 verses.[4] Besides the major additions to the text, the Greek version of Esther also has in it various small, though important additions.[5] It should also be noted that the Greek version of Esther is found in two different recessions (one of the few books of the LXX to be so), although both forms of it contain the additions.[6] Of the two recessions, it is the o´ text which is considered canonical (i.e. by Roman Catholics, Eastern Orthodox), against that of the AT text.[7] The Greek version passed into the Old Latin, and Jerome attached the Old Latin additions to his translation.[8]

The Additions to the text, are quite clearly additions, even in the Greek version, for example they contradict the Hebrew portion in several points.[9] Above all, however, these additions take the Hebrew tale of Esther and transform it from a more unique story to a story which is more typical, i.e. divine interventions, and Jewish piety beyond measures.[10] The heroes of the original story were Mordecai and Esther, but the addition, shifts the role of hero to Yahweh.[11]

The additions of A and F, bookend the Esther, with F giving answers to A, and likely due to their nature these two additions were attached to the book of Esther together, and likely did not circulate by themselves.[12] Like additions A and F, additions B and E seem likely to have been written together, these two as noted above, likely were written in Greek.[13] Addition C, may have been written in Hebrew/Aramaic, or it may be Greek written like a Semitic translation,   Of all the additions, D stands apart, the other additions are set into the story with little if any addition in the surrounding text, but D is mixed right into the text.[14] Moreover, of all the additions, D is also the most likely to have originally been written in Hebrew or Aramaic.[15]

Story

Addition A (11.2-12.6) details Mordecai having a dream, which will lead him to discovering the two eunuchs’ plot to kill the king.  Mordecai earns the King’s respect, but Haman’s anger.  Addition B (13.1-7) Claims to be the letter which was sent throughout the land that commanded the death of the Jews.  Addition C (13.8-14.19) Details the prayers of Mordecai and Esther, imploring Yahweh for his help in their distress.  Addition D (15.1-16), this addition replaces Esther 5.1-2, which gives greater detail to Esther’s approach to the King.  Addition E (16.1-24) details the letter sent through the land which allows the Jews to fight back against their would be killers.  Finally, Addition F (10.4-11.1) explains the dream which Mordecai had at the beginning of the book, as well as ending with a post script to the book.

Theology:

It should be readily noted that the Hebrew version of the Book of Esther, strangely has an absence from God, something probably deliberate by the author, however the additions fill the book of Esther with God.[16] The author of the additions, seems to have not been pleased with the absence of God,   For the most part, the additions are from a conservative Palestinian type,[17]

Whereas the original book, allowed in some manner, Gentile friendship, the additions to the book, make it a very anti-Gentile work.[18]

C Shows a God who is the Omniscient Creation (C.3, C.5,26-27).[19] He is seen naturally as all powerful (13.9, 11; 14.12; 16.16, 18).[20] Naturally God is Holy and Righteous (C.17, 18). [21] He is the Redeemer (13.16). [22] Yet he is a God who punishes Sin, but still has mercy (C 17, E 18, C 10).[23] The book shows that God is the true and only god of Israel, who was the chooser of Israel (C.14; E.21). [24] Additions A  (11,12) and F (10.4-11.1) shows the author’s view that God cares for people though the world is rather hostile to them.  D 8, E 16 show God’s providence.   That he hears prayers and helps the trouble (F6, 9 and C 14, 24, 30) [25]“There is no mention of the Law or of a future life; the temple and the altar are only mentioned metaphorically (C 21). There is one reference to angels (D 13).” [26]


[1] Metzger, 55.

[2]Gregg, 1:669.

[3] K.H. Jobes, “Esther 4: Additions,” in IVP Dictionary of Wisdom, Poetry & Writings, eds. Tremper Long III, Peter Enns (Downer’s Grove: Intervarsity Press, 2008), 182.

[4] Metzger, 55-6.

[5] NOAB, 53.

[6] K.H. Jobes, “Esther 5: Greek Version,” in IVP Dictionary of Wisdom, Poetry & Writings, eds. Tremper Long III, Peter Enns (Downer’s Grove: Intervarsity Press, 2008), 184-185.

[7] Jobes, “Esther 5: Greek Version,” 185.

[8] Metzger, 56.

[9] NOAB, 53.

[10] NOAB, 53.

[11] Dumm, 576.

[12] Jobes, “Esther 4: Additions,” 182.

[13] Ibid., 183.

[14] Ibid., 184.

[15] Ibid., 184.

[16] Metzger, 62

[17] Gregg, 1: 607

[18] Dumm, 577.

[19] Gregg, 1:670

[20] Metzger, 62.

[21] Gregg, 1:670

[22] Metzger, 62.

[23] Gregg, 1:670

[24] Gregg, 1:670

[25] Gregg, 1:670

[26] Gregg, 1:670

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2 Comments

  1. hi le bel inconnu (the beautiful unknown?),
    your link popped up on my astrology website (auto generated by WP). lucky for me!

    you have a very scholarly site that is quite eclectic using the apocrypha. very impressive!

    good luck and God bless.
    jeri

  2. Le Bel Inconnu says:

    Well hey thanks for the comment. I’ll have to check out your site at some point as well.

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