In their churches, both my daughters-in-law, Jyl and Sheri, have done Beth Moore Bible studies. They recommend them highly and now I can as well. Just this week women in my church completed Beth’s study on the book of Esther.
If you aren’t familiar with Beth Moore let me enlighten you. She’s an evangelist, author, Bible study writer and teacher from Houston, Texas. Her Esther study titled, “It’s Tough Being a Woman,” presents a beautiful profile of courage. Esther’s life is a captivating story of threat and deliverance and it showed all of us gals how very applicable her story is to our lives today. It was tough being a woman in Esther’s day and goodness knows it’s sometimes tough being a woman today.
Sarah Buescher, one of our pastor’s wives, did a beautiful job of facilitating Beth’s video study for us.
The book of Esther is only 10 chapters long. You might want to check it out.
Here it is in a nutshell: There’s this guy named Haman, an egotistical advisor to King Xerxes who hated the Jews. Haman and his wife, Zeresh, instigated a plot to kill all the Jews of ancient Persia. Haman tried to convince King Xerxes to carrying out his plot starting with killing a Jew named Mordecai and then all the Jews in the lands the king ruled. But, Queen Esther, the king’s new wife (and Mordecai’s cousin) also a Jew, foiled the plot and Haman is hanged on the gallows he had built for Mordecai.
How’s that for a story of how God preserves people in the face of danger and opposition?
Throughout the book of Esther, which Beth sometimes referred to as the “Book of Estrogen,” themes considered included:
It’s tough being a woman:
· In another woman’s shadow
· In a world where beauty is a treatment
· In a mean world
· In the tight fist of fear
· Who can balance passion with patience
· Who feels responsible for the “how.”
In our study we also learned about the joyous holiday of Purim where Jews celebrate the saving of their people from wicked Haman through Queen Esther and Mordecai.
And for that holiday they make wonderful treats. One they call, “Haman’s Ears,” also known as “Hamantashen.” They are filled-pocket cookies with a three-corner shape.
Beth Moore included the recipe in the back of our study guide so guess what I did? I came home right after the last session and got busy making them. Here’s the recipe:
- 2 sticks butter or margarine (softened)
- 2 cups sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 4 teaspoons baking powder
- 4 cups wheat flour OR 2 cups white all-purpose flour and 2 cups wheat (All white works well too)
For the filling you can use apricot preserves, any fruit butters, jam or pie fillings. Traditional fillings are poppy seed and prune
1. Cut butter into sugar. Blend thoroughly. Add eggs and vanilla, blending thoroughly. Add baking powder and then flour, ½ cup at a time, blending thoroughly between each.
2. Put batter in refrigerator overnight or at least a few hours
3. Roll it out to about ¼-inch thickness and then cut circles with a cookie cutter or drinking glass. Make them at least three inches in diameter so you have room to fill and fold them over.
4. Put a tablespoon of filling in the middle of each circle. Fold up the sides to make a triangle, overlapping the sides as much as possible so only a little filling shows through the middle.
5. Bake at 375 degrees for about 10-15 minutes until golden brown.
I filled mine with raspberry jam and here are a couple tips I would pass along. Remove the dough a while before you plan to roll it out. It’s easier to work with when not so cold. And I found mine needed to be baked longer than 15 minutes.
Some of mine turned our prettier than others, but I must say, big, bad Haman had mighty delicious ears.
Notice the round cookie in the middle of the plate? That was the last bit of dough I had left so I made it into a thumbprint. I like to think of it as the thumbprint of God squashing Haman.
Beth Moore brought out a lot of “bottom lines,” in Esther’s story. My two favorite: Ladies — We have a God who thinks we are good enough to be a queen, and we have a God who can turn our lives around.