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Thread: Why No Esther in the Dead Sea Scrolls?

  1. #1
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    Why No Esther in the Dead Sea Scrolls?

    Nice article Taken From Bibleplaces blog

    Probably every tour guide who visits the site of Qumran makes note of the fact that a portion of every Old Testament book was discovered in the nearby caves with the exception of Esther (given that Ezra-Nehemiah were a single book). You may have heard a suggestion or two offered for this lack, but I found helpful a summary of possibilities given by Sidnie White Crawford in her article on the Book of Esther in the Encyclopedia of the Dead Sea Scrolls (1: 269).



    1. The fact that no fragments have been preserved is simply owing to accident or chance. The book is relatively short and may have been in existence in the community but simply not preserved or discovered.


    2. The male community at Qumran was not interested in a book in which the hero was a female.


    3. The Qumran community was opposed to the book which describes a Jewish woman marrying a Gentile king and not following the Jewish laws.


    4. The book of Esther was not known in the land of Israel in the first century.


    5. The book was written too late to be included in the body of sacred scrolls.


    I would be inclined to believe that because of #2 and #3, #1 is true. It may also be observed that the book of Esther is never quoted in the New Testament, nor is Purim mentioned.


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    Re: Why No Esther in the Dead Sea Scrolls?

    God is never mentioned in the book of Ester. The book of Ester was almost taken out of the Tanakh(Old Testament) during the Council of Javneh around 90 AD, which created what we now call Rabbinic Judaism. Perhaps the Essenes, like the first century Rabbis, put less importance in a book that never mentions Adonai.
    Baruch hata Adonai, elo-henu malech ha-olam, ha'tov, va-ha'me-tev.

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    Re: Why No Esther in the Dead Sea Scrolls?

    Quote Originally Posted by Nobunaga View Post
    5. The book was written too late to be included in the body of sacred scrolls.
    I'm no expert but this is probably wrong. The Book of Esther contains plenty of Persian loan-words which probably dates it to earlier than the first century. Heck, the word "Purim" that the holiday is named after is a Persian word for "lottery".

    I'd say any of 1,2, or 3 are all equally plausible.

    like the first century Rabbis, put less importance in a book that never mentions [God]
    Also, I think, incorrect. The value of Esther in Rabbinic Judaism is that it's all about Jewish survival in a post-temple and post-land of Israel period. Where God's presence is hidden, yet His hand is present in history.
    For the LORD your God is a merciful God; he will not abandon or destroy you or forget the covenant with your ancestors, which he confirmed to them by oath.

    Deuteronomy 4:31

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    Re: Why No Esther in the Dead Sea Scrolls?

    Quote Originally Posted by Fenris View Post
    I'm no expert but this is probably wrong. The Book of Esther contains plenty of Persian loan-words which probably dates it to earlier than the first century. Heck, the word "Purim" that the holiday is named after is a Persian word for "lottery".

    I'd say any of 1,2, or 3 are all equally plausible.

    Also, I think, incorrect. The value of Esther in Rabbinic Judaism is that it's all about Jewish survival in a post-temple and post-land of Israel period. Where God's presence is hidden, yet His hand is present in history.
    These are Cindie White Crawfords suggestions as to why the book was not found in the scrolls. Glad your here to throw some objections to them.

    I agree with you #1 is always a logical possibility and cannot be proven false, to say othewise would be trying to prove a negative. It's not found now but its a small book and could have been there at some point.

    I personally like #2 and #3 as it would seem to follow the mindset of the time, given what we know.

    But who knows there may be another explanation out there waiting to be discovered. But untill then i think if i was asked the question i would go with #2 & #3, and mention #1 as it cannot be ruled out. But i'll probably forget this info in a day or so to be honest.


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    Re: Why No Esther in the Dead Sea Scrolls?

    We will probably never know for certain....
    For the LORD your God is a merciful God; he will not abandon or destroy you or forget the covenant with your ancestors, which he confirmed to them by oath.

    Deuteronomy 4:31

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    Re: Why No Esther in the Dead Sea Scrolls?

    It might have been too new to them. Or maybe they doubted its canonicity. I believe the book of Esther is inspired though.

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    Re: Why No Esther in the Dead Sea Scrolls?

    Quote Originally Posted by Fenris View Post
    I'm no expert but this is probably wrong. The Book of Esther contains plenty of Persian loan-words which probably dates it to earlier than the first century. Heck, the word "Purim" that the holiday is named after is a Persian word for "lottery".

    I'd say any of 1,2, or 3 are all equally plausible.

    Also, I think, incorrect. The value of Esther in Rabbinic Judaism is that it's all about Jewish survival in a post-temple and post-land of Israel period. Where God's presence is hidden, yet His hand is present in history.
    If the Dead Sea Scrolls are Essene texts, which most scholars believe they are, then it wouldn't be strange to find books missing. In fact, it wouldn't be strange to find books missing from, or added to, any collection of ancient writings. Esther wasn't the only book debated at the Council of Javneh. Daniel and Ezekiel were questioned because of their visions, Song of Songs because of it's sexual character, and Ecclesiastes because of it's depressing viewpoints. The Rabbis agreed in the end to include the books; my point is that there was never a real consensus, even among the 1st century Rabbis. The Essenes were an altogether different group, with many sects denying the Laws of Moses and never offering sacrifices. Since most of the Essenes were considered to be Mystics, I don't think they would have shared the same opinion about the book of Esther as later Jews.
    Baruch hata Adonai, elo-henu malech ha-olam, ha'tov, va-ha'me-tev.

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    Re: Why No Esther in the Dead Sea Scrolls?

    Quote Originally Posted by HoboTone View Post
    If the Dead Sea Scrolls are Essene texts, which most scholars believe they are, then it wouldn't be strange to find books missing.
    I agree, and I think reasons 1,2,or 3 from the OP are equally plausible.

    But I don't think "the first century Rabbis, put less importance in a book that never mentions [God}". If they did, Esther wouldn't be in the bible.
    For the LORD your God is a merciful God; he will not abandon or destroy you or forget the covenant with your ancestors, which he confirmed to them by oath.

    Deuteronomy 4:31

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    Re: Why No Esther in the Dead Sea Scrolls?

    Quote Originally Posted by Fenris View Post
    I agree, and I think reasons 1,2,or 3 from the OP are equally plausible.

    But I don't think "the first century Rabbis, put less importance in a book that never mentions [God}". If they did, Esther wouldn't be in the bible.
    The fact that the book of Esther doesn't mention God would seem to indicate that it was from God rather than something made up by man. If you wanted your writing to be accepted you would mention the names of God strategically throughout your writing to gain acceptance. The bible is written in manner that does not conform to man's logic, and is a partial reason for its acceptance as God's Word.

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    Re: Why No Esther in the Dead Sea Scrolls?

    Quote Originally Posted by rejoice44 View Post
    The fact that the book of Esther doesn't mention God would seem to indicate that it was from God rather than something made up by man.
    I'm not following this logic.
    For the LORD your God is a merciful God; he will not abandon or destroy you or forget the covenant with your ancestors, which he confirmed to them by oath.

    Deuteronomy 4:31

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    Re: Why No Esther in the Dead Sea Scrolls?

    Quote Originally Posted by Fenris View Post
    I'm not following this logic.
    If you believe that the bible is the inspired word of God then God is responsible for what is written. That would mean God left out any mention of himself, in the book of Esther, intentionally. Man wouldn't write a whole book that is centered around God, without mentioning God, unless he was inspired to do so. I believe God has a sense of humor, after all, he made us.

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    Re: Why No Esther in the Dead Sea Scrolls?

    Quote Originally Posted by rejoice44 View Post
    If you believe that the bible is the inspired word of God then God is responsible for what is written. That would mean God left out any mention of himself, in the book of Esther, intentionally.
    Oh, I see.

    To quote my own post:
    The value of Esther in Rabbinic Judaism is that it's all about Jewish survival in a post-temple and post-land of Israel period. Where God's presence is hidden, yet His hand is present in history.
    So I guess I'm inclined to agree with your thinking.
    For the LORD your God is a merciful God; he will not abandon or destroy you or forget the covenant with your ancestors, which he confirmed to them by oath.

    Deuteronomy 4:31

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    Re: Why No Esther in the Dead Sea Scrolls?

    Quote Originally Posted by Fenris View Post
    I agree, and I think reasons 1,2,or 3 from the OP are equally plausible.

    But I don't think "the first century Rabbis, put less importance in a book that never mentions [God}". If they did, Esther wouldn't be in the bible.
    You are right. I was implying that since the Canon was debated even among the Rabbis, than there would be no reason to expect a collection of Essene texts to contain what we would consider today to be a complete Tanakh.
    Baruch hata Adonai, elo-henu malech ha-olam, ha'tov, va-ha'me-tev.

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    Re: Why No Esther in the Dead Sea Scrolls?

    Quote Originally Posted by HoboTone View Post
    I was implying that since the Canon was debated even among the Rabbis, than there would be no reason to expect a collection of Essene texts to contain what we would consider today to be a complete Tanakh.
    Oh, ok. Well said, in that case.
    For the LORD your God is a merciful God; he will not abandon or destroy you or forget the covenant with your ancestors, which he confirmed to them by oath.

    Deuteronomy 4:31

  15. #15

    Re: Why No Esther in the Dead Sea Scrolls?

    In Esther,the Apocrypha - God is mentioned.

    http://www.sacred-texts.com/bib/apo/aes.htm

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