This fourth volume of the six-volume Unusual Bible Interpretations series explores the biblical books Ruth and Esther and the apocryphal book Judith, which Jews and Protestants did not include in the Bible. Similar to Joshua and Judges, neither Ruth nor Esther shows any familiarity with the laws in the Five Books of Moses. Remarkably, Judith contains more religious expressions than either Ruth or Esther. Why, then, did the rabbis exclude it from the Bible?
After a detailed analysis of the story, this book offers an answer to this age-old question. The volume contains a plethora of unexpected and thought provoking facts, such as: Although many rabbis suggest that Ruth converted to Judaism, the story stresses repeatedly – even at the end – that Ruth is a Moabite. No mention is made that she converted. Indeed, the practice of conversion most likely did not exist prior to 125 BCE.
Mordecai is the hero of Purim. It is he, not Esther, whom the book praises in its conclusion. According to II Maccabees 15:36, Adar 14 was called the “Day of Mordecai.” Both Esther and Mordecai’s names, although considered Jewish names today, are Persian names most likely based on the idols Ishtar and Marduk.
In the book of Judith, the Judeans prayerfully wait for God to save them from the Assyrian siege. In contrast, Judith devises a plan to kill the general and save her people.
- Provides a clear, unbiased analysis of Ruth, Esther, and Judith.
- Brings knowledge of ancient Near East practices to inform the discussions.
- Introduces readers to the little-known book of Judith.
- Includes a fascinating comparison of apocryphal Judith with biblical Ruth and Esther.
- Compellingly explains the exclusion of Judith from the biblical canon.
- Page count: 200
Unusual Bible Interpretations: Ruth, Esther and Judith
Dr. Israel Drazin served for thirty-one years in the US military and attained the rank of Brigadier General. He has two Masters, in both psychology and Hebrew literature, a PhD in Judaic Studies, and is an attorney and a rabbi.
He developed the legal strategy that saved the military chaplaincy when its constitutionality was attacked in court, and he received the Legion of Merit for his service.
Dr. Drazin is the author of twenty-five books, including a series of five volumes on the Aramaic translation of the Hebrew Bible, which he co-authored with Dr. Stanley M. Wagner, and a series of three books on the twelfth-century philosopher Moses Maimonides, the latest being Maimonides: Reason Above All.