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In die Skriflig

versão On-line ISSN 2305-0853
versão impressa ISSN 1018-6441

In Skriflig (Online) vol.43 no.3 Cape Town Jan. 2009

 

ORIGINAL RESEARCH

 

Teaching an old dog new tricks: Herodotus confirms Xerxes' anger in The Persian wars, and the Book of Esther provides insights on anger management

 

Leer 'n ou hond nuwe truuks: Herodotus bevestig Xerxes se woedetemperament in The Persian wars en die boek Ester verleen insig ten opsigte van die hantering van woede

 

 

R.G. Branch

Faculty of Theology, Potchefstroom Campus. North-West University. Potchefstroom. E-mail: rgbranch@crichton.edu

 

 


ABSTRACT

The Book of Esther describes Xerxes, king of Persia and Media, as an angry man. It highlights the king's ups (Esther, 1:12; 7:7) and downs (Esther, 2:1; 7:10). Surprisingly, Herodotus in "The Persian wars " likewise emphasises the king's anger and wrath. This classic Greek tale possibly fills in a time gap between Esther 1 and 2: Xerxes travels west from his capital, Susa, and loses a war in Sparta. "The Persian wars" chronicles Xerxes' international humiliation and the despot's rages along the way. Xerxes bullies and blames subordinates; destroys property and cuts a swathe from Persia to Sparta; acts pompously; and exhibits angry outbursts when crossed or thwarted. Herodotus confirms that generals, enemies, and aides tiptoe around this international bully. One, however, does not. Artemisia, a woman ship commander, earns Xerxes' respect. When the battlefield of his life switches from Sparta back to Susa, the Bible presents a second model of courage, Esther, Xerxes' new queen. Walking confidently in the halls of power, this lovely "general" in regal robes comes gracefully yet forcefully before the king, time and time again. Modeling anger management techniques with a blend of wisdom and femininity, Esther faces Xerxes' anger -and neutralises it.


OPSOMMING

Die boek Ester beskryf Xerxes, koning van Mede en Perse, as 'n driftige man. Dit lig die koning se hoogte- (Ester, 1:12; 7:7) en laagtepunte (Ester, 2:1; 7:10) uit. Dit is verrassend dat Herodotus in "The Persian wars" ook die koning se gramskap en woede op 'n soortgelyke manier beklemtoon. Sy klassieke Griekse verhaal vul moontlik die tydsgaping tussen Ester 1 en 2: Xerxes reis in 'n westelike rigting vanaf sy hoofstad Susa, en verloor 'n oorlog in Sparta. "The Persian wars" stel Xerxes se internasionale vernedering sowel as die tiran se uitbarstings onderweg te boek. Xerxes tiranniseer en blameer ondergeskiktes; vernietig eiendom en lewens vanaf Persië tot by Sparta; tree verwaand op; en openbaar woedeuitbarstings wanneer hy teëgegaan of gedwarsboom word. Herodotus bevestig dat onderdane, vyande en adjudante lig loop vir hierdie internasionale tiran. Daar is egter een persoon wat dit nie doen nie. Artemisia, die vroulike bevelvoerder van 'n skip, verdien Xerxes se respek. Wanneer die gevegsterrein van sy lewe terugskuif vanaf Sparta na Susa, presenteer die Bybel 'n tweede model van waagmoed: Ester, Xerxes se nuwe koningin. Hierdie pragtige "generaal" in koninklike gewaad, loop met selfvertroue in die koning se magsetel. Sy verskyn telkens grasieus dog kragdadig voor die koning. Deur gebruik te maak van woedebestuurstegnieke, met 'n vermenging van wysheid en vroulikheid, trotseer Ester Xerxes se woede - en neutraliseer dit.


 

 

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1 A shortened version of this article was presented in June 2009 in Stellenbosch, South Africa, at a conference in a colloquium of societies that included SASNES (South African Society of Near Eastern Studies).

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