Esther and God: wisdom from Steven C. Walker
The following quote comes from Steven Walker's excellent forthcoming book on humour in the Bible. The book is a well-written and engaging revelation of just how much humour there is in the Bible. It shows that without appreciating the humour we will miss the meaning of the texts. Anyway, this quote is not funny but it is good:
That may answer the most persistent question about the book of
Esther: Where is God here? A kind of never-say-die religious tenaciousness makes the God who is never mentioned in Esther very much present. He is present not merely peripherally, by implication in the fasting and religious feasting, in the sense of providence, in the miraculous salvation of the good guys. He is present centrally, at the core of the book’s concerns. When we wonder where God is between the lines of Esther’s narrative, we are doing precisely what the writer invites us to do, reading God into the text. This artful author is in the same breath inviting us to do the same reading-in of God in our own lives: “He is teaching a theology of possibility.” Teaching is too pompous a term. The writer of Esther is cajoling by gentle joke, suggesting by artful surprise that anything might be possible. The amused theology of Esther here reflects Yogi Berra’s immortal mortal insight—it’s not over til it’s over. There is always, in the infinite economy of God, hope that things—all things, the worst things and even the best things—could change for the better.
Steven C. Walker, Illuminating Humor of the Bible. Eugene, OR: Cascade, 2012 (forthcoming), p. 70.