How date was chosen in Esther 3:7

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Kenneth Greifer
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How date was chosen in Esther 3:7

Postby Kenneth Greifer » Tue Oct 01, 2019 10:05 pm

I have showed this idea before, but no one answered and since there are new people, I want to try again to see what people think of it.

I would like to suggest an explanation for Esther 3:7 that I think is interesting, and I was wondering if anyone has ever seen it in any commentary.

Usually, Esther 3:7 is translated as someone cast lots "from day to day and from month ['to month] to the twelfth month" with the words "to month" added to the quote.

I think Esther 3:7 says the king cast lots "from the day to the day, and from the month to the twelfth month." Instead of meaning he cast a lot for every day for a year, maybe it means he put the lot on the number of that day and he caused it to fall onto the same number, and then he put the lot on the number of that month and he caused it to fall onto the twelfth month.

Esther 3:12-13 says on the thirteenth day of the first month, a decree was sent out to kill the Jews on the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, so the king might have picked the date of the destruction of the Jews by putting a lot on the number 13 and causing it to fall onto the number 13 again, then he put it on the number one for the month and made it fall onto the number 12 for the twelfth month. This way he cast the lot from the day (13) to the day (13) and from the month (1) to the twelfth month (12) and got the date, the thirteenth day of the twelfth month.

I think this idea makes more sense and explains how the date was chosen better than the usual explanation that he cast lots for every date of the year.

Kenneth Greifer

Schubert
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Re: How date was chosen in Esther 3:7

Postby Schubert » Tue Oct 01, 2019 11:27 pm

Hi Kenneth, are you able post the Hebrew for us? It would facilitate the discussion. Thanks.
John McKinnon

Kenneth Greifer
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Re: How date was chosen in Esther 3:7

Postby Kenneth Greifer » Wed Oct 02, 2019 12:03 am

בַּחֹ֤דֶשׁ הָֽרִאשׁוֹן֙ הוּא־חֹ֣דֶשׁ נִיסָ֔ן בִּשְׁנַת֙ שְׁתֵּ֣ים עֶשְׂרֵ֔ה לַמֶּ֖לֶךְ אֲחַשְׁוֵר֑וֹשׁ הִפִּ֣יל פּוּר֩ ה֨וּא הַגּוֹרָ֜ל לִפְנֵ֣י הָמָ֗ן מִיּ֧וֹם ׀ לְי֛וֹם וּמֵחֹ֛דֶשׁ לְחֹ֥דֶשׁ שְׁנֵים־עָשָׂ֖ר הוּא־חֹ֥דֶשׁ אֲדָֽר

This is Ester 3:7.

ducky
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Re: How date was chosen in Esther 3:7

Postby ducky » Wed Oct 02, 2019 1:00 am

Nissan was the month in which at that time, a lot was cast for each person so he would know his faith for the next year, and what day would be the "good and blessed day".

And so Haman did it at that time also to know which day is the right day for his intentions.

I think that the thing that it is known about the casting lots is that the lot was written on, and the magician would throw it into a bowl, and then reads the revealed side
(something as we do today with cubes)

And if so, it means that the magician threw the lot each time with an intention of a specific day (or month). And the lot, each time, didn't give him the "right sign". Until he got to month 12.

Notice that the MT doesn't write the day - but only the month.
So according to that, no day gave him a "right sign"
and then, when he moved to the months - only the last month gave him the sign
And it is interesting to see that as a hint that he should have seen
at first - no day is right
and later - month after month after month - and he didn't get the clue
And so eventually - it is as God "said" to him: "You want it so much, I'll give you the "right time", but eventually this "right time" will be on you.
(There is a nice Midrash about it)

Anyway, It really seems to me that the lot was cast over and over - each time referring to a specific day, and later to a specific month.

Because if I got you right, I don't think it was like a big calendar that you throw the lot on it.
But the lot was thrown into a bowl by a "magician" which each time he askes another question.
David Hunter

Kenneth Greifer
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Re: How date was chosen in Esther 3:7

Postby Kenneth Greifer » Wed Oct 02, 2019 8:27 am

David,
How many times would the person have to cast lots to find the right day or the right month the way you are describing? I guess 30 times for the day and 12 times for the month or 360 or 365 times? I don't know how they did it. I think it was done twice. Once for the day and once for the month by putting the date it was first and then casting it from there to the new date and then from that month to the new month. It is impossible to know how they did it specifically.

Still, I am curious if you think it makes sense if you don't add the words "to month" like I said most translations do?

Someone cast the lots "from day to day and from month [to month] to the twelfth month."

Kenneth Greifer

ducky
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Re: How date was chosen in Esther 3:7

Postby ducky » Wed Oct 02, 2019 8:35 am

I also don't know how they did it.
But My reason tells me that it was cast first about what day
and later was cast about what month.

But I can't really know
Maybe it was cast about what day in each specific month.

As for
from day to day and from month [to month] to the twelfth month

I don't see any difference between this and that.
If it is said "from month to month" - then it is each and every month
and if it is said "from month to the twelfth month" - it is the same thing (because there are twelve months)
David Hunter

Kenneth Greifer
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Re: How date was chosen in Esther 3:7

Postby Kenneth Greifer » Wed Oct 02, 2019 8:54 am

So, would you say that my explanation is within the realm of possibilities or not? Could it also mean that he put the lot on the date (13) and caused it to fall onto the same date (13) and then on the month (1) and caused it to fall onto the month (12), so he caused the lot to fall from the day to the day and from the month to the twelfth month? Or is my explanation just wrong? Is it just a coincidence that it was the 13th day of the first month and it ended up on the 13th day of the 12th month?

Kenneth Greifer

ducky
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Joined: Mon Aug 05, 2019 4:01 pm

Re: How date was chosen in Esther 3:7

Postby ducky » Wed Oct 02, 2019 1:54 pm

I don't really understand your words

Because I don't think it was something like "throwing the lot ON a specific day (as if there was a big calendar to throw on)

But who knows?
Since I really don't know about this whole lot casting process, I can't really tell you what is reasonable or not.

Maybe it is better for you, since you are interested in that process, to look for an article or a book that writes about the lots way in Babylon (and Persia and so on...), and you might get a sense of that process.

As far as I know, it was like a little rock (let's say a cube) that was thrown inside a bowl.
But I don't know exactly how does the "reading" process was
Last edited by ducky on Wed Oct 02, 2019 3:11 pm, edited 1 time in total.
David Hunter

Kenneth Greifer
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Joined: Mon Feb 09, 2015 3:05 pm

Re: How date was chosen in Esther 3:7

Postby Kenneth Greifer » Wed Oct 02, 2019 2:25 pm

I tried to look up articles on ancient divination and lot casting, but I can't read scholarly articles because they are locked up like the gold in Fort Knox in Jstor, where they are being guarded so that knowledge won't fall into the wrong hands. (Fort Knox is where America's government keeps a lot of gold.) It is also hard for me to find a book on this subject because I would have to do inter-library loans and I don't know which book to look at. There are a bunch of them. I am just going by common sense and what the quote sounds like to me.

ducky
Posts: 230
Joined: Mon Aug 05, 2019 4:01 pm

Re: How date was chosen in Esther 3:7

Postby ducky » Wed Oct 02, 2019 3:10 pm

You can read in Jstor by signing in with your email account (Gmail)
just click on the "login with Gmail" (there are other options too)

then, you can read for free up to 6 articles a month (If I remember right)
David Hunter


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