Esther Healing Oil
Esther Healing Oil described in all versions of the Book of Esther as the Jewish queen of a Persian king Ahasuerus. In the narrative, Ahasuerus seeks a new wife after his queen, Vashti, refuses to obey him, and Esther is chosen for her beauty. The king’s chief adviser, Haman, offended by Esther’s cousin and guardian. Mordecai, and gets permission from the king to have all the Jews in the kingdom killed.
Abraham Yahuda conjectured in 1946 that, particularly in light of the Persian setting, the first syllable of ‘Esther’ (es-) must reflect the Persian word for myrtle, ās (سآ)), and therefore her name was the Persian equivalent of “Hadassah” with both meaning myrtle. This required him to hypothesize that behind ās lay an earlier old Iranian word, *aça (as(s)a) meaning ‘myrtle’. Which would reproduced in a conjectural Medic form *astra, preserved in the Hebrew name. Persian-speakers.
In 1986 Ran Zadok dismissed the etymological correlation between Babylonian Ishtar and Esther on two grounds. One regards the principles governing phonological shifts in Semitic loanwords. The Hebrew form ‘str in Esther cannot represent Akkadian Ištar for neo-Akkadian. Borrowings into Aramaic conserve the original rather than altering it to. As would the case here the two linked. Secondly, Ishtar is a theonym, never an anthroponym unless modified significantly.
In the narrative, King Ahasuerus drunk at a celebration of the third year of his reign, and orders his queen, Vashti, to appear before him and his guests wearing the royal crown, to display her beauty. When she refuses to appear, he has her banished and seeks a new queen. Beautiful maidens gather together at the harem in the citadel of Susa under the authority of the eunuch Hegai.
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