Did You Know Esther Was a Tramp? Yes, That Esther.

This according to Mark Driscoll, whose list of silly things to say about the book of Esther doesn’t end with accusing her of sexual immorality:

She’s simply a person without any character until her own neck is on the line, and then we see her rise up to save the life of her people when she is converted to a real faith in God.

Sarah Moon sees the story the other way around:

The book of Esther contains a powerful message. Women disobeying men and saving the world. Women asserting their bodily autonomy. Women who are brave and strong and active and anything but submissive. It’s a message so powerful that some male Christian leaders have to undermine it because it threatens the control that they have over women.

It’s fun to think of Esther and Vashti (the queen dethroned to make way for Esther) as feminist heroes, but Rachel Held Evans quite correctly dismantles both lines of thinking:

Like it or not, this story is not about sex, it’s not about gender roles, and it’s not about marriage (though these themes are present and should certainly be discussed). At the end of the day, this is a story about Jewish identity and heritage. It’s a story about what it means to be Jewish in the context of diaspora. It’s a story about God’s preservation and providence to a scattered people.

This is why it’s so important to learn not only the text of the Bible but the history and culture behind it as well. Viewing Esther through a modern—or feminist—lens may feel satisfying or meaningful, but when we do this we’re really just putting words in God’s mouth.