- "A Soviet Jew was recently asked by a Westerner what he thought would be
the outcome if the USSR stepped up its anti-Semitic policies. 'Oh,
probably a feast!' Asked for an explanation, the Jewish man said, 'Pharaoh
tried to wipe out the Hebrews and the result was Passover; Haman tried to
exterminate our people and the result was Purim; Antiochus Epiphanes tried
to do us in, and the result was Hanukkah!" (Believer's Bible Commentary)
- "Esther explains the origin of the Feast of Purim, a colorful Jewish holiday
that today features noisemakers sounding off every time Haman's name occurs
in the annual public reading of the book." (Believer's Bible Commentary)
- "Esther is unique in several ways. It tells the story of non-observant Jews
who preferred prosperity in Persia to the rigors of the small remnant that
returned to Jerusalem under Zerubbabel (Ezra 2). All reference to religion
other than fasting is lacking in Esther." (Believer's Bible Commentary)
- Another very interesting feature of Esther is that the name of God is not
found in it. It is the only book in the Bible that does not mention the
name of God, and this fact has caused some to question Esther's right to
a place in Scripture. In addition to containg no explicit mention of God,
there is also no explicit mention of worship, prayer, or sacrifice. Esther
can be viewed as a very secular book.
- Even though God's name is not explicitly found, His presence and power are
clearly manifested as He provides deliverance for His people. How does God
work in Esther? Through a series of "coincidences." Even though the characters
in this book are Jews who did not return to Jerusalem, God's protection is
seen on them. They were still His people, and he would protect them from
the anti-Semitism which sought to exterminate them.
- "Esther is not quoted in the New Testament, and so far no fragment has been
found in the Dead Sea Scrolls. For these and other reasons, some (even a few
Jews) have questioned the canonicity of Esther. However, the book has
wonderful lessons on the faithfullness of God even when His people are
disobedient." (Believer's Bible Commentary)
- The writer of Esther was undoubtedly a Jew who knew Persian customs and
the details of the palace. Some have suggested taht Ezra or Nehemiah is
the author. Jewish tradition points to Mordecai as author. We really don't
know who wrote Esther.
- We know the author was a Jew, both because of his emphasis on the origin
of a Jewish festival and from the Jewish nationalism that permeates the
- Some people view Esther as a historical novel or short story, similar to
Jesus' parables. Others insist on the historical truth of every detail,
pointing to Esther 10:2, e.g.
- The events of Esther take place during the reign of King Xerxes of Persia.
This would be between chapters six and seven of Ezra.
- The book is concerned with the Jews who did not return to Jersualem with
Zerubbabel (Ezra 2) and instead chose to remain in Persia.
- The author's central purpose was to record the institution of the annual
festival of Purim and to keep alive for later generations the memory of
the great deliverance of the Jewish people during the reign of Xerxes.
- Feasting is a prominent theme in Esther. Banquets provide the setting for
important plot developments. There are ten banquets - make note of them
as we study the book.
- Esther overwhelmingly points to the theme of justice.