acrostic in Esther?

Rolf Furuli furuli at
Sat Aug 21 12:35:28 EDT 1999

Don A. Elbourne Jr wrote:

>I have made a habit of allowing my Sunday School class to ask me any
>question and we will use it as the topic for discussion or I will attempt to
>simply provide the answer. I just noticed that last week I was slipped a
>note inquiring about an acrostic in the Book of Esther. I'm looking in my
>BHS here and I don't seem to see any alphabetic acrostic. Does anyone know
>what she might be referring to? Is there any other possible acrostic there?
>Don A. Elbourne Jr.

Dear Don,

The tetragrammaton does not occur in the book of Esther and neither is God
directly mentioned. The Masoretes, however, claimed that there were five
acrostics in the book, four for the tetragrammaton and one for the first
word in the formula )HYH )$R )HYH in Exodus 3:14.  There are three ancient
Hebrew manuscripts that give the letters of the divine name in the four
instances in acrostic in majuscule letters. The Massora in a rubric or in
red letters call attention to this as well.

1:20 , in reverse order: Hy)  Wcl  H-nn$ym  Ytnw.
5:4, Ybw)  Hmmlk  Whmn  Hyyom.
5:13, wkl-zH  )ynnW $wH  lY
7:7, kY  kltH  )lyW  hr(H

In 7:5 is a possible acrostic with an allusion to Exodus 3:14
hw)  zH  w)Y  zH


Rolf Furuli
University of Oslo

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