I love word plays, which are often hidden in the English translations but found everywhere in the Hebrew. Word plays are a literary device used used to give greater insight into the intention behind the Author’s words and can also be used for emphasis. A common place where word plays are found are in proper names and so today, in honor of one of my favorite Biblical holidays, I’m going to share a word play from the book of Esther.
Purim is one of the most joyous Biblical holidays. It commemorates a time when the Jewish people were saved from extermination. I love reading Esther this time of the year and today I was reminded of a word play in Esther 2:7 He was bringing up Hadassah, that is Esther, his uncle’s daughter, for she had no father or mother. Now the young lady was beautiful of form and face, and when her father and her mother died, Mordecai took her as his own daughter. As I read this verse I wondered what her two names meant and if there was a connection between the two, since everything God does and is involved with, always has purpose and intention. Here is what I found:
Hadassah: הדסה, with its root word: הדס – Myrtle tree
Esther: אסתר – A Persian word for star
So what’s the relationship? Well one is that the flower of the Myrtle tree (Haddasah) is star shaped (Esther). For me, it says that though they had to assimilate into the Persian culture, they never lost sight of their Jewish roots. Just as we are not to conform to this world… Romans 2:12 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect. Also, we too should be reminded not to forget our Jewish roots. Do you see another relationship between the two? If so please leave your thoughts in the comments section…we read and love each one!
Esther (a proper name) has no root word. However when you look up the word spelled the same way, סתר, you find that this word means to hide/conceal with the intent to protect…fitting for this Heroine! I felt led to look at the letters individually and saw this:
ר -will take a turning point
Esoterically the letters of Esther’s name mean: That the truth of Esther’s purpose is concealed for a time but there will be a turning point where it will be revealed…and as we know, God’s people were saved from the plots of the enemy!
Though our lives might be hidden for a season…we were all born with God’s intention and design to accomplish His purposes and in order for Him to bless us with His love and faithfulness. Happy Purim Eveyone!