Reply To: Question about 4:3

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Avatar photoJane Johnson

Hi Amy! Sorry, I should have prefaced that section with the fact that this is entirely my conjecture. And, you’re right, it likely wasn’t a wide-spread response. But it could have been the response of some families. What we do know factually from the text is that the day after the news dropped was Passover. If I were a parent when that happened, I imagine that is how I would have reacted. I wouldn’t have told my children, and if they were old enough to know, I would have held the tradition of the Passover anyway. As well as I could, at least.

When we lived on Maui, back in 2018, Josh and I were sitting on the couch drinking coffee on a Saturday morning with our one-year-old playing on the floor beside us when I glanced down to my phone and saw an emergency alert on the screen: “BALLISTIC MISSILE THREAT INBOUND TO HAWAII. SEEK IMMEDIATE SHELTER. THIS IS NOT A DRILL.”

I looked at my husband, my blood cold with fear, glanced to our son. Tensions between the U.S. and North Korea had been high with back-and-forth tauntings from both leaders sparking conversations about the possibility of nuclear war. Because Hawaii is the closest U.S. territory to Korea with a military base on Oahu, it was the most obvious target. There had been news reports about what to do if a nuclear missile is launched. We talked about an emergency plan. We knew the approximate amount of time between a hit on Oahu and when that nuclear cloud would carry over to affect Maui. In a matter of seconds, I thought of the two weeks we would have to stay sheltered in our home, windows, doors, and vents taped closed. (Did we have enough tape? Did we have enough formula? I knew for sure we didn’t have two weeks’ worth of food.) I instantly began to panic and my husband grabbed our son and threw him in the air, playing and acting as if everything was normal so he wouldn’t sense the panic in us. Six minutes later, the alert was cancelled and retracted. It was the longest six minutes of my life. Having lived through that, I can see how it would be important to some of the Jewish mothers to maintain a sense of normalcy amid the chaos. And, if the meal itself was set aside (because who could really eat at a time like that, and Esther 4:3 does explicitly say many were fasting), they could have still told the story of Passover and the most incredible story of deliverance God had done for His people to date.

Again, it’s all my conjecture. But I love that you asked the question and made me look harder at the implications of the text! I will probably revise that post to include this conversation!