esther, yesterday and today
BY: LAILEE M. BAKHTIAR
In October of 2000 the author, Lailee McNair Bakhtiar traveled to Persepolis, did research and through years of studying source materials came the book, Esther Entering Your Destiny, awarded by the National Federation of Press Women, for biography and history, 2021.
Along the dusty roads of history, Queen Esther, is remembered as a former historical figure in the palace of Persepolis in ancient Susa. She was a queen in 479 BCE, believed by some to be born between 500-588 BCE. There are differences in the precise facts because the library that held the historic records was burned to the ground by conquering armies of Alexander. Esther’s husband, King Xerxes, lived from486-485 BCE and was the 5th king in the line of the Achaemenid Dynasty.
In the throne room of the king, an illustration of a woman in the political society of men occurred. Esther wore her regal robes of a queen as she passed by the impressive columns to the view of her husband. The spotlight on Esther brightened the way toward peace. She informed her husband about the problems in the kingdom of which she understood. Esther’s life developed wisely. She expanded the analysis of what a woman could accomplish in the context of a physical place, her geography at the capital of the empire. In the moment of her conspicuous mission in the direction of the king, she had a singleness of purpose. Her character of positive patience, enduring hospitality, and understanding inspired her to ask the king to a banquet. There she would explain her wishes to him, allow him to digest her messages, and respond clearly. Intelligent, literate, and lovely, Esther transformed the king’s understanding. She was a bridge to truth, vigilance, and life-changing actions.
How can one relate to Esther today? In the powerful information age in which we live we acknowledge there are many choices. Esther’s decision process translated in her pinpointing problems and solutions. She was obedient to participating in politics a very specific moment, during a time of wars, and in a diverse society. The empire included 127 states that covered the landmass to India. Persevering in her historical knowledge, she advised the king differently from his chief administrator. Esther developed her ability to build communities. She faced evidence that would clarify law. While Xerxes pondered her hopes, he admired her analysis.
During the times of overwhelming expectations, she remained simple. Quickly she set aside doubt and made room for examining the facts of a case. Suspending her confidence in the crown, she momentarily asked for the king’s help and he assured her. Esther’s mother-in-law was Atossa, the daughter of Cyrus and Cassandane. Therefore, Xerxes was familiar with a literate mother with meaningful attributes. Atossa was named in history, “the ladies lady”.
Forward thinking to today, the story of Esther and Atossa, and even Atossa’s mother Cassandane, beloved by Cyrus, form a sweeping illustration of powerful women as recognized helpers in the days of an ancient empire. Given the history of these women, their lasting legacy, one can apply the straightforward wisdom of literacy, analysis, and sharing the foundational purposes of any problem with leadership. Boldness, humility, and principled thinking accorded these women the reputations they earned in ethical reasoning through the centuries. Logical approaches to problems honored their important obligations to the community, near and far. Ultimately, one can borrow from their unwavering, expeditious volunteerism for todays issues. Both yesterday, and today, these women provide courageous, studied, and authentic character.
Lailee McNair Bakhtiar’s recent book: Esther Entering Your Destiny received 2021 NFPW (National Federation of Press Women) prize for history & biography. Lailee is an active traveler and award-winning author. She has journeyed to Iran, Isfahan and the Bakhtiari Region. Her grandfather, Dr. Abol Ghassem Bakhtiar, a medical surgeon, was from Borujen. Lailee stopped at the border of the Bakhtiai province and the Quash’quai tribal areas where she lived near the tribes under the black tents. Lailee McNair Bakhtiar is the author of 9 books and the winner of over 33 awards for her writing including NFPW, National Federation of Press Women 2021 for Esther Entering Your Destiny, as well as California Media Professionals.