The Bible is a story of God’s relationship with mankind, and most books put God front and center. For example: The prophets are God’s mouthpieces: the last 17 books of the Old Testament are mostly words straight from God.
The Gospels focus on Jesus’ life and ministry. Jesus, the God-man, is the main character in all four books. The Law of Moses is about God’s covenant with and rules for Israel..
But as it turns out, two books of the Bible don’t talk about God at all . Weird, right?
Esther is the kind of story you could make into a movie again and again and again. This book focuses on two Jews in Susa, the capital of the Persian Empire: Esther, a girl who becomes queen, and her relative Mordecai, a member of King Ahaseurus’ guard.
If you’re not familiar with the story of Esther, you can get the big picture here. In short, Esther risked her life to prevent an act of genocide against her people. It’s the history of the Jewish feast of Purim.
And there’s no mention of God. So, that’s one down.
Song of Solomon might be the most awkward book to read. It’s a celebration of love, beauty, sex, and marriage. The main characters are a bride and bridegroom, who sing back and forth to one another and to their community. You’ll find a lot of poetic references to the human anatomy, but you won’t see any mention of God as a person…
This one isn’t as cut-and-dry as Esther. There’s one passage of Song of Solomon in which the bride describes the strength and intensity of true love. She compares this love to a fire, but what kind of fire? Our English Bible translations tend to differ on how Song of Solomon 8:6 should end.
Why don’t these books mention God? There are a few reasons these books don’t mention God: There are no direct words from God. Most books of the Old Testament mention prophets, who speak on God’s behalf; neither of these stories, however, include any spokespersonh for God.
There are no overt miracles. When God does something completely out of the ordinary, the Bible credits Him for it. But Esther is a story of human action, and Song of Solomon focuses on human love.
What are these books even doing in the Bible, then? These books don’t stand alone. We should read them in context of God’s covenant with Israel. And when we take that into account, it’s clear that there’s a lot going on below the surface.
For example, Esther and Mordecai are placing their faith in something beyond themselves: Esther and Mordecai fast in times of troub Mordecai is confident that the Jews will be delivered. Mordecai and Esther act in faith throughout the book. Mordecai is a man of integrity, and Esther is a self-sacrificial heroine. We don’t know for sure if Mordecai had God’s promises to Abraham and David in mind when he claimed that the Jews would be delivered ( Es 4:14 ). But words from God would make a good foundation for those beliefs. Esther gives me an idea of what faith looks like when it’s played out, and leaves me with the question: is my faith as evident as Esther’s and Mordecai’s?.
And Song of Solomon describes the bliss of married love. God sees His relationship to Israel as one of marriage, even though Israel is a terrible bride to Him. Jeremiah , Ezekiel , and Hosea all use marriage to describe God’s covenant to Israel—usually to paint a picture of Israel’s sin ( Jer 3:1 ; Eze 16 ; Hos 1).
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