A month or so ago 18-year-old Beaulieu student Lucy O’Sullivan was chosen to be Miss Jersey Battle of Flowers 2009 – continuing a 57-year-old tradition in Jersey. But beauty parade traditions go back much further – see bold text above. And appeal to all cultures – again, see above.
One that was very different from Miss Battle is recorded in that section of the Christian Bible that was originally accumulated by the Jewish nation as their principal national archives. The ancient Jewish book of Esther records that Esther “had a beautiful figure and was lovely to look at.” In short, see bold above, Esther was chosen for the harem and later became Queen in place of the former Queen Vashti who was displaced because she did not appear before King Ahasuerus when summoned.
Other very different beauty parades seem to have been taking place regularly in Italy in recent months both in Rome and in Sardinia where Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi gathered together many Italian beauties. Indeed, one of these, Patrizia D’Addario described it all as a harem.
Most ladies are convinced that a harem is a hot bed of strife. Indeed, this Bible book, Esther, is a fantastic study in human nature amongst the powerful and the beautiful. (See the note below regarding this year’s Jersey Keswick.)
This amazingly beautiful young lady, so long ago, had a secret: she was Jewish and an orphan and being brought up by her Jewish uncle. Why was this a problem? Well, the Jews were aliens - in Susa and in Persia as a whole – captured a few decades earlier, assigned to slavery and, in general, treated despicably as displaced conquered people.
Worse, no sooner had Esther become Queen that senior civil servants in the court of King Ahasuerus hatched a plot for a holocaust. (Yes, history does repeat itself.) As with the WWII holocaust, all Jews were to be exterminated. And the planning was for this to take place throughout the 127 provinces of the Persian Empire on one single day.......
Reverting to the Italian harem parties, it was reported that Patrizia ‘engaged’ with the Prime Minister so as to receive support from him for a stalled hotel development. Because of the mutual trust that such an engagement would imply, one might suppose she was happy to leave the outcome with Mr Berlusconi. Actually, no. She used mobile phone cameras and recordings so as to ensure that that this kind of mutual trust could be trusted.... But even that did not work and she refused a further engagement.
What about Esther? Skipping over some very interesting detail, Esther feared for her life if she decided to approach the King about the holocaust decree – it was signed and published. Had not Queen Vashti a short time earlier been banished forever for disobedience? Shall she go into the King’s presence, uninvited, and ask him to lose face throughout his Empire?
There is something markedly different between Patrizia D’Addario and Esther: Patrizia was seemingly intent on her own agenda; Esther’s on the plight of others. She could save the lives of all Jewish men, women and children – but might well lose her own. In the hereafter Esther will be good company.
She decided to risk her own life – for others. Like another man, Jesus of Nazareth, save that, in his case the decision was not risky – he faced certain death. But he did it – for his people, like Esther.
No, that’s not quite right: he did it for his enemies.