Collective Punishment in the Old Testament

From The Holocaust in American Life, by Peter Novick (1999):

“In the Jewish tradition, some memories are very long lasting… Some memories, once functional, become dysfunctional. The concluding chapters of the Book of Esther tell of the queen’s soliciting permission to slaughter not just the Jews’ armed enemies but the enemies’ wives and children—with a final death toll of seventy-five thousand. These ‘memories’ provided gratifying revenge fantasies to the Jews of medieval Europe; in the present era of ecumenism these chapters have simply disappeared from Purim commemoration; most American Jews today are probably unaware that they exist.”

I was unaware. I used to wind my noisemaker around everytime the hated name Haman was said, Haman who plotted to kill all the Jews throughout the Persian kingdom, from Ethiopia to India…

From the Book of Esther:

[T]he king granted the Jews who were in every city to gather themselves together, and to defend their life, to destroy, to kill, and to cause to perish, all the power of the people and province that would assault them, their little ones and women… The other Jews who were in the king’s provinces gathered themselves together, defended their lives, had rest from their enemies, and killed seventy-five thousand of those who hated them; but they didn’t lay their hand on the plunder.