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Literary structure (chiasmus, chiasm) of Book of Esther

Chiasmus and Concentric Structure of divided by 4


4-1

1 Banquet of the king (1:1-22)
  2 Esther becomes queen (2:1-18)
  3 Contribution of Mordecai (2:19-23)
4 Haman undertakes to destroy the Jews (3:1-15)
Former halfRelationLatter half
1 Banquet of the king (1:1-22)
1:3 in the third year of his reign, he presided over a feast for all his officers and ministers: the Persian and Median aristocracy, the nobles, and the governors of the provinces. (1:3)
The governors of every province4 Haman undertakes to destroy the Jews (3:1-15)
3:12 So the royal scribes were summoned; and on the thirteenth day of the first month they wrote, at the dictation of Haman, an order to the royal satraps, the governors of every province, and the officials of every people, to each province in its own script and to each people in its own language. It was written in the name of King Ahasuerus and sealed with the royal signet ring. (3:12)
2 Esther becomes queen (2:1-18)
Day by day Mordecai would walk about in front of the court of the harem (2:11)
Mordecai in front of the the palace3 Contribution of Mordecai (2:19-23)
while Mordecai was passing his time at the king's gate (2:19)

4-2

4 Haman undertakes to destroy the Jews (3:1-15)
  5 Esther agrees to help the Jews (4:1-17)
  6 Esther's banquet (5:1-14)
7 The honor of Mordecai (6:1-14)
Former halfRelationLatter half
4 Haman undertakes to destroy the Jews (3:1-15)
3:1 After these events King Ahasuerus raised Haman, son of Hammedatha the Agagite, to high rank, seating him above all his fellow officials. (3:1)
Being honored by the king7 The honor of Mordecai (6:1-14)
6:11 So Haman took the robe and horse, clothed Mordecai, had him ride in the public square of the city, and cried out before him, "This is what is done for the man whom the king wishes to reward!" (6:11)
5 Esther agrees to help the Jews (4:1-17)
4:11 "All the servants of the king and the people of his provinces know that any man or woman who goes to the king in the inner court without being summoned, suffers the automatic penalty of death, unless the king extends to him the golden scepter, thus sparing his life. Now as for me, I have not been summoned to the king for thirty days." (4:11)
The golden scepter6 Esther's banquet (5:1-14)
5:2 He saw Queen Esther standing in the courtyard, and made her welcome by extending toward her the golden staff which he held. She came up to him, and touched the top of the staff.] (5:2)

4-3

7 The honor of Mordecai (6:1-14)
  8 Haman's downfall (7:1-10)
  9 Esther saves the Jews (8:1-8)
10 Pleasure of Jews (8:9-17)
Former halfRelationLatter half
7 The honor of Mordecai (6:1-14)
6:11 So Haman took the robe and horse, clothed Mordecai, had him ride in the public square of the city, and cried out before him, "This is what is done for the man whom the king wishes to reward!" (6:11)
The honor of Mordecai10 Pleasure of Jews (8:9-17)
8:15 Mordecai left the king's presence clothed in a royal robe of violet and of white cotton, with a large crown of gold and a cloak of crimson byssus. The city of Susa shouted with joy, (8:15)
8 Haman's downfall (7:1-10)
7:3 Queen Esther replied: "If I have found favor with you, O king, and if it pleases your majesty, I ask that my life be spared, and I beg that you spare the lives of my people. (7:3)
The wish of Esther9 Esther saves the Jews (8:1-8)
8:3 In another audience with the king, Esther fell at his feet and tearfully implored him to revoke the harm done by Haman the Agagite, and the plan he had devised against the Jews. (8:3)

4-4

10 Pleasure of Jews (8:9-17)
  11 Destruction of the Enemies of the Jews (9:1-19)
  12 The feast of Purim inaugurated (9:20-32)
13 The honor of Mordecai (10:1-3)
Former halfRelationLatter half
10 Pleasure of Jews (8:9-17)
Mordecai left the king's presence clothed in a royal robe of violet and of white cotton, with a large crown of gold and a cloak of crimson byssus. The city of Susa shouted with joy, (8:15)
Mordecai is next in rank to king13 The honor of Mordecai (10:1-3)
The Jew Mordecai was next in rank to King Ahasuerus, in high standing among the Jews (10:3)
11 Destruction of the Enemies of the Jews (9:1-19)
The Jews in Susa, however, mustered on the thirteenth and fourteenth of the month. But on the fifteenth they rested, and made it a day of feasting and rejoicing. (9:18)
Festival of Purim12 The feast of Purim inaugurated (9:20-32)
Queen Esther, daughter of Abihail and of Mordecai the Jew, wrote to confirm with full authority this second letter about Purim, (9:29)

Citations of the Bible are from New American Bible, New Revised Standard Version and New Jerusalem Bible.

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Literary Structure of the Bible by Hajime Murai is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.
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