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Esther

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In his first book, Arthur depicts Ahashverosh conferring with Haman dressed in gorgeous robes. In the second book, Szyk portrays a clear message that the Jews will always emerge as the winners in their fight with their enemies to stay alive. He portrays Haman and Hitler as a part of a chain, thousands of years long, of the enemies of the Jews. He also brings out the idea that the only way to break the chain of the enemies was to see them for who they were. His own version of triumph over their enemies was with on military strength, which would guarantee their future as a state. The Hamanic foes would never triumph over the Jews, as they have the weapons to defend their labor and lives.

According to the Book of Esther, Haman planned to kill the Jews. However, his plans were foiled by Queen Esther and Mordechai. These are the three main characters in this book. While Mordecai and Esther become heroes by saving their own people, Haman is portrayed as the villain as he ends up being killed instead of his enemy, Mordechai. Moreover, his family is also killed as punishment while Mordechai and Esther take up his place and own all of his possessions. I agree with Arthur with the fact that Jews are faced with enemies who could be equated to Haman, and the only way to eliminate them was by carefully planning and arming themselves too.p

The story of Esther in the bible is very interesting. She pleased the king who married her, however, Esther was a Jew, whose people had been exiled in Persia at the time. Mordecai, Esther’s uncle and the leader of the Jews, encouraged her to conceal her faith from the king and everyone around him. Haman, now a very powerful man after the King, had ordered everyone in the land to bow down to him. Everyone obeyed his orders except Mordecai, which got Haman very angry. As punishment, he asked the King to authorize a royal decree that would annihilate all the Jews in Persia. Haman even went ahead to cast lost so as to determine the day this would happen. It then followed that in the Adar of the next year, on the thirteenth day of the month, all the Jews in the land would be killed.

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Esther is portrayed by Szyk as sitting with her uncle in state. The symbols of state are present around Esther’s figure. She is holding a royal scepter as a tapestry displays the symbols that depict the Jewish sovereignty. It is true that Esther experiences a moment of truth that sees her called upon to respond to a certain situation, in this case saving the Jews. It is a moment that came suddenly and unplanned, which demanded a moral decision upon her. If she had decided to do the otherwise, it is clear that the consequences could have haunted her for a long time. Mordechai, her uncle came to her aid.

Everyone knew the consequences of going to see the king without any kind of invitation. She could have been killed, but her life was equally important as those of the Jews’, which meant she had to risk her life so as to save those of her people. Notably, some of Esther’s objectives were to set the King against Haman and remove Haman from the picture in any possible way. She had to cancel the edict that all her people were to be annihilated. Thirdly, she had to establish herself and her uncle as Jewish leaders and court leaders as well. Moreover, she had to educate the Jews to defend themselves as they showed solidarity. Lastly, she had to create an alternative model for politics different from one in Persia at the time.

Mordechai is a catalyst for Esther

He guided her throughout for her to make the correct decision that would benefit everyone; that is herself and the Jews at large. He demanded that she make a decision that would avert the danger that Mordechai and her people faced. He also made her objective clear, that she was an instrument sent by God to save all the Jews; no one was in a position to save them other than her.

The story of Mordecai is of a champion who rose up during the Babylon captivity of Judah to courageously defend the Jews. He happened to be an intelligent man with a heart that could be equated to gold, and a true servant leader who loved his God and his people very much. However, there is not an indication that he was married, he took on the role of a single father when he adopted the daughter of his uncle, Hadassah (known as Esther by her Babylonian name). Arthur paints Mordechai as a hero right next his niece. I agree with Arthur’s views that individuals could rise to become heroes in their community as Mordechai did.

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Notably, Mordechai had an office in the king’s court and after Esther had become queen, he hatched a plot to assassinate the king. While the perpetrators were hanged, Mordechai was never rewarded; however, the event was recorded in the King’s chronicles. Still in the king’s courts, there was a man named Haman who had risen to become a very powerful man. However, Mordechai never bowed to him as Haman had requested that everybody do. This made Haman very angry and looked for a way that he could destroy Mordechai together with all the Jews. The king endorsed the plan not knowing that his wife was a Jew. Haman sent letters to the rest of the governors alerting them of the day they would annihilate all the Jews.

Mordechai learnt of this plan and sat himself before the king’s gate in sackcloth and ashes, wailing. Esther noticed her uncle’s condition and knew of Haman’s conspiracy to kill all the Jews. The two agreed that Esther would try and reveal this plan to the King, who organized a banquet for the king and Haman. During the night, the king could not sleep and ordered that the chronicles be read to him, where he discovered the assassination attempt by Mordechai, who had never been honored. It ended up that Haman guided Mordechai through the town in a horse and clothed in an expensive robe. He thought that the treat had been directed to him. 

During the banquet organized by Esther, she revealed the plot by Haman to exterminate all the Jews, her people. Haman was hanged on the gallows that was meant for Mordechai. After getting to know the relationship between them, Mordechai was elevated to the position that had been held by Haman, inheriting all his property. He used his new powerful position to unite all the Jews, to arm and defend themselves against their enemies. His position was important in empowering the Jews.

Notably, Mordechai’s excellence in saving the Jews was recorded in the chronicles. He was a courageous man and full of commitment. He was wise and sensitive to God, serving Him in all ways. He loved his God and his people very much, risking his life to save those of his people. In the end, he earned a good reputation and was widely respected by his people and in the whole of Persia. I support the view that he is the hero as he is dedicated to serve his fellow men and God. He trains his only daughter, Esther, to grow up and become a respectable figure in the whole of Persia. It is also evident that God rewards him all the time by protecting him from his enemies.    

Arthur Szyk has interpreted the Book of Esther twice, describing how individual who want to wipe out the Jews in modern times would perish just like Haman. He acts like a witness who responds to injustices in his time with action. In the first of his work, Arthur has stressed on the ability of Esther to incorporate two different cultures as she stays true to her people. As an example, Esther has costumes and hairstyle depicting her following of the Persian culture. On the other hand, her attention is shown towards Mordechai and her people, in addition to faith. Just as Haman wanted to kill all the Jews, Arthur confirms the existing need to deal with evil in every generation and every place. Szyk also portrays the fact that the Jewish will triumph over their enemies with the correct vigilance. I also agree with his depictions of individuals like Hitler to be on a long line of Jews’ enemies.

Haman  - antagonist in bible story

He was an advisor to the Persian king during his time and rose to be almost the most powerful man after the King. He was a descendant of Agag, who had been the king of the Amelekites. Haman and his wife plot to kill all the Jews in the ancient Persia. This is after he became annoyed when Mordecai did not bow before him as he Haman had requested. He came up with lots to determine the day upon which he would annihilate all the Jews. He also went ahead and offered the king silver if he was given the chance to hatch his plot and kill all the Jews.

He was granted the permission, and he immediately sent letters to governors all over the land to kill all the Jews on the thirteenth of Adar. However, all his plans were cut off by Esther, who invited him to a banquet to which the King had also been invited. Haman saw this as an indication of a special treat by the queen. The same night, Haman prepared gallows that he would use to hang Mordecai on the next day.

However, the same night did not go well with Haman. The king sought for his advice on what would be done to a man who had done a great deed. Haman thought this was meant to be his; however, he ended up leading Mordecai through the streets clad in royal garments and on the king’s horse. Things got worse for Haman during the banquet that had been organized by the queen, Esther. While they were dining and drinking, Esther exposed to the king the plan by Haman to finish off her people. The king became very angry and ordered Haman to be hanged on the gallows he had made for Mordechai. Mordecai took over his office as Haman’s house was bestowed upon Esther.

Notably, despite the fact that Haman had numerous counselors, he never listened to their advice. He only listened to that of his wife, Zeresh, who induced Haman to build a gallows for his main rival, Mordecai. She told him that it would be the only way he would be able to prevail over Mordecai and the Jews. However, it is evident that the just are always rescued from any death or plots to harm them. God foresaw that Haman was hanged on the gallows he had designed. In my view, Haman is the villain in the whole story. From the beginning, it is evident that Haman plans to eliminate those who stand in the way of his rise to power. However, the righteous always win in the end, while the wicked perish. It was only a matter of time before his end would come.

As a result of being saved from destruction by Haman, the Jews celebrate Purim as a holiday to commemorate their deliverance when they were in the ancient Persian Empire. The day is celebrated by the recitation of the scroll of Esther. According to the Book of Esther, Haman planned to kill the Jews. However, his plans were foiled by Queen Esther and Mordechai. These are the three main characters in this book. While Mordecai and Esther become heroes by saving their own people, Haman is portrayed as the villain as he ends up being killed instead of his enemy, Mordechai.

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