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March 16 , 2009


Three Bible Stories for Young Adults


This book contains three Bible stories written for young readers. ESTHER When a timid, sensitive foreign girl suddenly becomes the queen of the most powerful king in the world, how would she feel? This is the story of Esther, a Jewish exile in the Kingdom of Persia in the Sixth Century B.C. The story has captured the imagination of readers who are attracted to this pretty but humble girl who lived twenty-five centuries ago. The story begins when King Xerxes, ruler of the vast Persian Empire, boasts that his wife, Queen Vashti, is the most beautiful woman in the world. He is taunted to prove it by making her dance nude at one of his drunken parties. She refuses, and he exiles her. Now he must find a new queen. The most important qualification for his new queen is beauty. To find her, he decrees a beauty contest, and all the young girls in the kingdom are forced to enter. The winner is a shy, reluctant foreigner named Esther. She knows what happened to her predecessor, and she is afraid it might happen to her. But Uncle Mordecai, her guardian, insists she obey the decree, because, as he says, “Who knows? Maybe you have come to the kingdom for just such a time as this!” She wins the beauty contest and becomes queen of Persia. There must be some hidden secret to her beauty that is not disclosed in the Bible or Apocryphal stories. She obviously has some hidden beauty, some vivid enchantment, a vivacious personality, which is far more than mere physical attractiveness. She is evidently a clever girl, because she both pleases her husband and retains her honor. She is constantly surprised at the power of her position, but she does not abuse it, remaining in the background quietly. Then the time comes when Uncle Mordecai’s words come true, and she is called on to save her people. How she does that has become one of the best-loved stories in history. In the Bible and the Apocrypha, this story is simply told, and doesn’t capture the drama and excitement of what that simple shy girl must have experienced. And yet she has become one of the most popular heroines in history. Every year the Jewish people celebrate her life and tell her story during their holiday known as the Feast of Purim. This is her story. JOB The story of Job has been universally recognized as one of the greatest pieces of writing in world literature. It has been included in the Harvard Classics. For centuries, theologians and philosophers have struggled with the questions raised by this book. Questions such as: Why do the righteous suffer? What is the origin of evil? Can mortal man understand the ways of God? Can a man remain true to God, even if he is not rewarded? And others. Is it possible that a story this profound, this complicated in its theology, which has puzzled the philosophers throughout the history of mankind, can be presented to young readers in a way they can understand? Yes! This novel attempts to do just that. Children and young adults do struggle with these questions. This book, while not giving all the answers, does clarify the questions for young readers. In the story of Job, the Biblical author (or authors) uses a fascinating literary device. He presents the problem in a dialogue between God and Satan, and then in this rather bizarre setting, proceeds to discuss and interpret the philosophic aspects of the story. In this youth-oriented novel, a similar device is used, for much the same purpose. Two children, Dottie and Jimmy, have just learned about the story of Job in Sunday School. Their teacher, Mr. Henderson, presented the story in a clear and memorable way. Dottie and Jimmy, while playing in the snow in Dottie’s back yard, discusses Job’s dilemma. Dottie, the viewpoint character, struggles to understand the great themes of the book, while Jimmy plays the Devil’s Advocate. For the significance of the children’s names, see the footnote at
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