First off, my novelist sister rue202 (er. Ash Digest) has had her first novel published! You can read about it (and find the link to it) on her post I’M PUBLISHED!!!.
Two weeks ago, I finished posting the Restored English Translation (RET) of Beresheet (commonly known as Genesis) with Chapter 50. Today, I introduce my RET of the Book of Esther, known in Hebrew as Megillat Ester. As usual, it contains the Hebrew names, with a glossary of them at the end.
You won’t find this chapter in most Bibles. It, along with several other sections of Esther, is commonly relegated to the “Apocrypha”. I covered this in my post The Canon of Scripture, Part 1: The Apocrypha, but I’ll recap here.
THE oldest text (that I’m aware of) to exclude the “apocryphal” portions of Esther is the Masoretic Text, which did not arise until the 7th-11th centuries AD. Two of the three oldest Biblical canons – the Greek Septuagint (3rd-2nd centuries BC) and the Aramaic Peshitta (1st century BC-1st century AD) – both include the “apocryphal” version (the other oldest canon, the Dead Sea Scrolls, didn’t include Esther). The Ethiopian Orthodox Church – THE oldest denomination in the world, dating to the 1st century AD (founded by a combination of Ethiopian visitors to Jerusalem during the outpouring of the Holy Spirit in Acts and visits by Apostles) accepts the “long” version of Esther. Josephus, the famous 1st century Jewish historian, used (and presumably accepted) the “long/apocryphal” version. The “long” version is similarly found in the Jewish Midrash. Most damningly, the Jewish Talmud directly admits that the Rabbinic/Protestant “short” Esther is an ABRIDGEMENT of Mordecai’s original book.
As James Trimm put it, ” While the ‘additional’ sections do not appear in the Masoretic Text, they do appear in the Septuagint, and our oldest copies of Esther by far are these Greek Septuagint copies. SO are these truly ‘additions’ to Esther? Or are they ‘subtractions’ from Esther.” The answer is that they are “subtractions”, that the “Apocryphal” version is the inspired original, and that the “short” version we’re familiar with is an unholy mutilation.
The canonicity of Esther has been questioned by some; the following link does a pretty sufficient job of explaining why it’s Scripture (although it’s sadly slightly tainted by an anti-Apocrypha bias):
It is commonly claimed (sometimes as an accusation) that Esther doesn’t mention God. Aside from God’s handywork being immensely obvious, it’s only the mutilated version that doesn’t mention God; the original “long/Apocryphal” version does – by His Name YEHOVAH, His titles ELOHIM, ADONAI, etc.
Here, anyway, is the TRUE first chapter of the Book of Esther (the “Chapter 1” that appears in Rabbinic, Protestant and many Messianic translations is actually chapter). (Although it’s worth noting that chapter and verse divisions vary between translations; what I count as the first 3 chapters are counted by some as one chapter, with some counting what I call chapters 1 and 2 – and the first verse of chapter 3 – as the first verse.)
1 In the second year of the reign of Achashverosh the Great, on the first of the month Nisan, Mordekai the son of Yair, the son of Shimi, the son of Kish, of the tribe of Binyamin, saw a dream. 2 This person was a Yehudi and lived in the city of Shushan, a great man, serving in the king’s house. 3 And he was from the captivity, whom Nevukadnetsar the King of Bavel captured and carried from Yerushalayim with Yekonyah the King of Yehudah. And this was his dream. 4 And behold! A noise of a tumult, thunder and earthquake, and agitation in the land. 5 And behold, two mighty dragons advanced, both ready to fight, and their cry was great. 6 And at the same cry all nations were ready for war, so that they might make war against the righteous nation. 7 And behold, a day of darkness and thick darkness, tribulation and worry, distress and great agitation on the earth. 8 And each righteous nation was disturbed, fearing themselves wicked, and were ready to be annihilated. 9 Then they cried to The ELOHIM, and from their cry a very great water was made, as it were from a small river fountain. 10 Light and the sun rose, and the lowly were exalted, and devoured the renowned. 12 Now when Mordekai, who had seen this dream, and what The ELOHIM had determined to do, was awake, he bore this dream in mind, and until night was desirous by all means to know it.
Achashverosh – Ahasuerus (variously identified as Xerxes I, or Artaxerxes I, II or III)
Nisan – alternate name for Aviv, the first month of the year
Mordekai – Mordecai
Yair – Jair
Shimi – Shimei
Binyamin – Benjamin
Yehudi – Jew
Shushan – Susa
Nevukadnetsar – Nebuchadnezzar
Bavel – Babel/Babylon
Yerushalayim – Jerusalem
Yekonyah – Jeconiah (Jehoiachin)
Yehudah – Judah
ELOHIM – God