The Bible: Esther
So Esther and her cousin Mordecai are living in the Persian capital of Susa
of the Jewish population that was exiled by the Babylonians.
And it just so happens that the King of Persia is looking for a new queen.
But he's looking for some pretty specific things…
he wants a wife who's beautiful, a virgin, likes long walks on the beach, and shares
his love of squashed faced cats… if only he could figure out what to name them…
Enter Esther. Not only is she a beautiful virgin partial to beach-side strolls,
she happens to be a pro at naming cats.
So the King is like, "yup, she's a keeper," and Esther becomes part of his harem,
and eventually, his queen.
Oh, and just a little aside, probably won't ever come up or have any importance in this
story, but just in case…
Esther has been hiding the fact that she's Jewish.
So one day, Mordecai is hanging out by the palace gates, when he hears two eunuchs talking
about assassinating the king.
It's sort of comforting to know that all bad guys like loudly discussing their bad-guy
plots for anyone to hear. Helps me sleep soundly at night.
Anyway, Mordecai's like, "Hey, Esther, hope all is well with the King, how're the cats,
oh and by the way, someone's plotting to off your husband."
Esther's tells the king, and he's like, "How nice of him to inquire about my cats!
Also, that last part sounded bad, let's make sure that doesn't happen."
So the plot is foiled and Mordecai’s good deed is recorded in the king’s annals,
but that’s about all the thanks he gets.
That, and a personalized greeting card featuring the King's cat, Purrsia, saying,
"Thank mew purry meowch fur saving me from acattination!"
…Take that part with a grain of salt ...or a full silo of it.
So time goes by, and one day, the king’s head counselor, Haman
is taking a stroll through the city.
Everyone is supposed to bow to him, but Mordecai doesn’t because he's Jewish.
Haman is super understanding about it though...
He's just like, "Hey no problem, don't bow, that's totally fine.
I'll just have all the Jews in the kingdom executed and their wealth plundered."
And Mordecai is like, "I'm not sure you understand the meaning of the words "totally fine"…"
So Haman runs his plan by the king, and the king is like,
"Yeah, totally, man, I'm with you. Let's do it."
I like to think that his cats distracted him and he wasn't really listening to the plan…
I also like to think he had a bunch of Persian cats, but again, grains of salt.
Either way, the plan goes into effect.
On the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, every Jew is to be executed.
Mordecai is pretty upset when he hears the news, and is like, "I feel like this situation
went from zero to a hundred pretty quickly…can't I just do some pushups or something?"
So he goes to Esther and is like, "You're in a pretty good position to stop this whole
genocide thing, right? Maybe you could have a word with your husband?"
Esther is reluctant, but after some fasting and buying a bunch of new cat toys at Petco
to get on his good side, she goes to see the king.
He's super excited about the squeaky mice, and asks her what she wants.
She requests a banquet with him and Haman, and the king agrees.
They have a pretty swell time, and the king asks her if she wants anything else,
so she asks for another banquet the next night.
If you only take one thing away from this book, let it be this:
Esther was a lady who loved her banquets.
As for Haman, he leaves feeling pretty stoked. The banquet had those mini hotdog things,
and he's a sucker for those mini hotdog things.
Unfortunately, he runs into Mordecai again, who still refuses to bow to him.
Haman's like, "Okay, totally fine, your call,"
then orders a huge gallows built so he can execute Mordecai.
Mordecai is like, "Still don't think you get what "totally fine" means…"
Let’s leave that cliff hanger hanging for a second and check in on the king.
He's having trouble sleeping, so he has his servants make him some warm milk,
tuck him in with his plush kitten, and read to him from his annals.
They end up picking the story of Mordecai saving his life, and the king remembers that
he never really did anything nice to thank Mordecai.
Besides that super pawsome card, of course.
So the king is like, “Maybe the card wasn’t pawsome enough…”
and he decides to ask for a little guidance.
He finds Haman and asks what he should do for a person he wants to honor.
Haman's a real humble guy, and he figures the king must be talking about him…
So he spouts off some elaborate stuff about robes and leading him around on a horse and
making him mini hotdogs…
The king is like, "Perfect, got it. Now go do all of that for Mordecai.”
Presumably Haman is upset, but I’m sure the king made him a nice sympathy card.
Something like, “Pawdon me, nothing purrsonal.”
…Grain of salt.
So the second banquet rolls around, and remember that totally unimportant thing from earlier?
Well Esther finally decides to reveal all.
She tells the king that she’s Jewish, and asks him to save her people.
The king is like, “You buy cat treats and laugh at my cat puns, so sure!
No purrsuasion necessary, I’ll refurse the decree.”
And, for good measure, he executes Haman on the very same gallows Haman built to kill Mordecai.
Poetic justice if I’ve ever seen it.
Esther also asks the king if the Jewish people can take revenge on their enemies,
because it turns out…she’s pretty hardcore.
The king’s like, “Sure, and wow, am I easily persuaded!”,
and on the day after the Jews were supposed to be massacred, well…
they do a little massacring of their own.
The Jewish people end up resting on the fourteenth and fifteenth days of the month, because hey,
revenge is hard work, and Mordecai decides they should keep honoring these two days.
Presumably, everyone is like, “Great, slap an extra holiday on our Google calendars!”
And yes, Google was around back then.
These retellings are obviously 100% historically accurate.
We know because we have webcams from the action.
Thus, the Jewish holiday of Purim came into existence, and thus, the book of Esther comes to an end.
Though why there was never a sequel featuring the king and his cats, I’ll never know.
…Okay, maybe 95% historically accurate. But hey, Esther probably did love banquets.
Until next time, I’m Cecil B DeShmoop, and if you thought I wouldn’t end this on a
terrible cat pun, you’d be right.
…I’m ending it on a hissterical one.