Friday, September 04, 2009

esther 9

oh boy.  we've reached chapter 9, and in what should have been a chapter of happy endings and celebrations of peace and restoration, we instead find a brutal bloody story of violence and revenge.  having received mercy, the jews in this story fail to see the benefit in extending it, and instead resort to violence, killing "seventy five thousand."  scholars who have argued for a less literal interpretation of the story of esther argue that this mass killing is not found in the recorded history of these times and places.  but regardless of whether it is 'true' or not, it raises a poignant question for us about what we do with mercy when its been given to us: hoard it?  or share it?  the chapter ends with a detailed prescription for celebrating purim, a holy day still celebrated by jews who remember the story we've been recounting these last 9 days.  if you have the stomach for it, here's chapter 9. 
esther 9
paper collage on vinyl lp; paper collage on album cover
gregory a. milinovich

esther (nine)
(what kind of story is this?)
death, death, death.
in this topsy turvy turn,
the murdered become murderers.
blood is all over the dust.
thick chunks of blood fill the world.
the blood of the jews, no!
the blood shed by the jews.
when the tables are turned,
who are we?
when the masks come off,
do we start again?
do we just trade masks?
we will make a day to remember.
we will make a time to never forget.
we will celebrate our freedom,
but never mention the blood we shed.
when the world turns over,
who will we be?
the hangers or the hanged?
the high, high, high,
or the sigh, sigh, sigh?

1 comment:

Greg C. said...

This study just keeps getting better and better greg.
When it's all said and done, you should think about packaging it (other than the way it is now, of course).
Thanks again for embarking on this journey through Esther. I'm learning a lot. I've reached the point where I can't wait for the next installment!