1Now it came to pass in the days of Ahasuerus, (this is Ahasuerus which reigned, from India even unto Ethiopia, over an hundred and seven and twenty provinces:)Next Verse 2
The Book of Esther, also known in Hebrew as "the Scroll" (Megillah), is a book in the third section (Ketuvim, "Writings") of the Jewish Tanakh (the Hebrew Bible) and in the Christian Old Testament. It relates the story of a Hebrew woman in Persia, born as Hadassah but known as Esther, who becomes queen of Persia and thwarts a genocide of her people. The story forms the core of the Jewish festival of Purim, during which it is read aloud twice: once in the evening and again the following morning. Esther is the only book in the Bible that does not explicitly mention God.
The Book of Esther consists of an introduction (or exposition) in chapters 1 and 2; the main action (complication and resolution) in chapters 3 to 9:19; and a conclusion in 9:20–10:3.
The plot is structured around banquets (mishteh), a word that occurs twenty times in Esther and only 24 times in the rest of the Hebrew bible. This is appropriate given that Esther describes the origin of a Jewish feast, the feast of Purim, but Purim itself is not the subject and no individual feast in the book is commemorated by Purim. The book's theme, rather, is the reversal of destiny through a sudden and unexpected turn of events: the Jews seem destined to be destroyed, but instead are saved. In literary criticism such a reversal is termed "peripety", and while on one level its use in Esther is simply a literary or aesthetic device, on another it is structural to the author's theme, suggesting that the power of God is at work behind human events.
We rejoice in the election of our new Holy Father, Pope Francis I. What a wonderful gift you have bestowed upon us in this courageous leader!
We thank you for your continued guidance of our Most Holy Church, and we pray you continue to extend your blessings to our Church Fathers and all your faithful.
We ask that you be with Francis now, as he embarks on a great undertaking, shepherding, stewarding, and renewing the flock.
We pledge to you, our Lord, our most true and humble obedience to your will through our Holy Father who guides and fosters us through these turbulent times.