April 2014
20

biblical otps - Ahasuerus (Xerxes) and Esther


Esther was an Israelite girl who would become the queen consort of Persian Emperor Ahasuerus (often assimilated with Persian ruler Xerxes). Esther, an orphan who had been raised being raised by her uncle Mordecai, was chosen by the emperor to be his queen for her fair beauty and humble nature.

Esther’s most famous trial as queen would occur when Haman, a member of royal court, convinced the Emperor to order the death of all Israelites in the Empire. Encouraged by her uncle to petition her husband, Esther hesitated out of fear for her own life but eventually approached the Emperor.

When the king saw “Esther the queen standing in the court”, he was pleased with her and held out his scepter to her, thus saving her from death and indicating that he accepted her visit. She came forward and touched his scepter. The king then asked Esther her will, and what her petition and request of him was, promising to grant even up to half his kingdom should she ask it. Esther pleaded her case and, although the Emperor could not overturn what he had previously made into law, he decreed a new law that stated the Israelites could arm themselves and fight back should anyone attack them.

April 2014
20

biblical otps - David and Johnathan


David and Jonathan were heroic figures of the ancient Kingdom of Israel, whose friendship is one of the most famous in the Biblical canon. Jonathan was the son of Saul, king of Israel, and David was the son of Jesse of Bethlehem, Jonathan’s presumed rival for the crown.

After David slays Goliath at the Valley of Elah, he is brought before King Saul, whilst still holding Goliath’s severed head. Here he meets Jonathan, who takes an immediate liking to David and the two form a covenant:

"Now it came about when he had finished speaking to Saul, that the soul of Jonathan was knit to the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as himself. Saul took him that day and did not let him return to his father’s house. Then Jonathan made a covenant with David because he loved him as himself."

David would later become King of Israel, and Johnathan would serve faithfully at his side until his death.

April 2014
20

biblical otps - Samson and Delilah


One of the most famous couples in the Bible, Samson and Delilah’s story is a classic parable from the book of Judges. Samson, one of the eponymous judges, was an Israelite given superhuman strength by god to perform wonderous feats and protect his people. His strength came from his hair, which he never cut out of fear of losing his power.

Eventually, Samson would fall in love with a woman named Delilah - a Philistine, who were the enemies of his people. The Philistine rulers approached Delilah and coaxed her to try to find the secret of Samson’s strength. Samson, not wanting to reveal the secret, teased her, telling her that he will lose his strength should he be bound with fresh bowstrings. She did so while he slept, but when he woke up he snapped the strings. She persisted, and he tells her he can be bound with new ropes. She ties him up with new ropes while he sleeps, and he snaps them, too. Eventually Samson tells Delilah that he will lose his strength with the loss of his hair. Delilah relays this information to the Philistines, who cut Samson’s hair and, having thus weakened him, blind him as well.

Samson would later regain his strength and tear down the columns of a Philistine temple, killing himself and many others in the process. Delilah’s fate is not known.

April 2014
20

biblical otps - King Solomon and The Queen of Sheba


Solomon was an ancient Israelite King and the son of David. He is credited with the building of the First Temple and is thought to have been a wealthy and popular ruler. The Queen of Sheba was queen regnant of the ancient kingdom of Sheba, thought to span from modern Ethiopia to Yemen. She is one of the few female rulers mentioned in the Bible.

Legend states that the Queen of Sheba (often named Makeda) visited King Solomon in ancient Jerusalem. There he introduced and then converted her to monotheism.

Further legends tell of Solomon inviting the Queen of Sheba to a banquet, serving spicy food to induce her thirst, and then allowing her to stay in his palace overnight. Solomon then presented the Queen of Sheba with a wager: if she were to take anything from his palace, they would spend the night together. The Queen, knowing that she, a wealthy monarch, would have no reason to steal anything, agreed. Later, the queen woke in the middle of the night and went in search of water to slake her thirst. Solomon, who had been waiting for her, told her that if she took water from his palace, she would be breaking her oath.

She drank the water. They spent the night together.

April 2014
14
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