Monday, November 23, 2009

The paparazzi would totally follow her

Frequently I’m dismayed when I read the Bible. Not necessarily because of what’s written (though often that perplexes me) but because of what’s left out. For example, in John 1:38-40, two men begin following Jesus. They ask him where he’s staying and Jesus says, “Come and you will see.”

The verses go on to say, “So they came and saw where he was staying, and they stayed with him that day for it was the tenth hour…”

It is clear a woman did not write The Gospel of John because if she had, we’d know where he stayed, what it looked like, who was there, what they were wearing, where the closest bathrooms were and what food was served. But no, all we get is, “…they came and saw where he was staying…” John, come on! Would it really have cramped your style to include a few details?

Please, before you get all cranky with me, know I am well aware the Holy Spirit inspired the authors of the Bible and I know God has included and excluded everything he saw fit. I get that, but I do crave some details, especially with stories that leave so many questions left unanswered. Like Esther.

I’ve read Esther many times, but honestly, now when I think about her story I picture the king as a giant pickle, Mordecai as a grape and Esther as a green onion with a strand of hair constantly in her eyes (thanks, VeggieTales). Desiring to eradicate the vegetable images from my mind I began reading Esther again last week. It only took me until chapter two to have lots of questions.

In the middle of the second chapter we find the king looking for a new queen. He had all the virgins of the land brought to him; Esther was included in this cattle call. He had been with many other young girls before Esther. But when it was her turn we learn, “And when Esther was taken to King Ahasuerus, into his royal palace … the king loved Esther more than all the women, and she won grace and favor in his sight more than all the virgins, so that he set the royal crown on her head and made her queen instead of Vashti. Then the king gave a great feast for all his officials and servants; it was Esther’s feast. He also granted a remission of taxes to the provinces and gave gifts with royal generosity.”

One night with Esther and the king makes her the queen, throws a soiree in her honor and puts the kibosh on taxes? Questions abound! What the heck did she do in there? She must have been pretty darn amazing to have the king put tax-gathering on hold. If a woman had written the book of Esther we’d have details, details, details! Like what Esther wore. And what the year-long beautifying ritual entailed. And what she ate. And didn’t eat. And what she said. And didn’t say. And other stuff I can't put in this family-friendly blog.

In our day and age of those is power writing memoirs can’t you just see the spin some publisher would put on Esther’s? “Read the words of the girl who became queen after one night with the king. Find out her beauty secrets and what really happened between the sheets!”

It would sell like hot cakes.

Again, please know I’m well aware God included exactly what he wanted. But questions about Esther certainly goes on my list of, “Things I’m going to ask when I get to Heaven.” Right next to, “What’s up with the dinosaurs?” and, “Why didn’t you miraculously incinerate all of Paul Crouch’s clothes and Jan Crouch’s wigs?”