Photo courtesy Scala/Art Resource, New York, NY

ON THE COVER: Esther, King Ahasuerus and Haman dine together in a painting by Herri met de Bles (c. 1480–c. 1550). Following the instructions of her uncle Mordecai, Esther is about to denounce Haman for plotting to kill her people. In the upper left corner, the painter has telescoped the very next incident: the king, who had angrily stalked out of the room following Esther’s revelation, returns to find Haman on Esther’s bed. Michael Heltzer examines “The Book of Esther—Where Does Fiction Start and History End?”