Wednesday Evening Bible Study

Hadassha (Esther)

Come join us as Bob Young delves into the WORD of GOD given us in the book of

 Esther. Wednesday Evenings 6:30 P.M.

Like many OT books, Esther is an anonymous work. The only hints of its origin are the references it contains to some of the key events of the story being committed to writing in either official court records (2:23; 6:1) or edicts issued by the king or his representatives (3:12–15; 8:8–14). It is possible that the author was someone like Mordecai, who had access to such material and a keen interest in Jewish affairs. His familiarity with Persian customs of the time suggests that he lived not long after the events described.

However, certain features of the book have troubled both Jewish and Christian readers: it does not mention God, it promotes a festival not prescribed in the Law of Moses, and it has an apparently vindictive spirit that some have found offensive. As late as the Reformation, Martin Luther criticized it on the grounds that it was too aggressively Jewish and had no gospel content. Nevertheless, it was recognized as Scripture by the Jews well before the time of Christ—a long tradition clearly evident in Jewish writings just after the NT. For example, Josephus says that the Jewish Scriptures were written from the time of Moses “until Artaxerxes” (Against Apion 1.40–41), and elsewhere he identifies this Artaxerxes as “Ahasuerus” in the book of Esther (Jewish Antiquities 11.184). Therefore he apparently counts Esther as the last book to be written in the Jewish canon. And the Mishnah has an entire tractate (Megillah) that discusses the time and manner of reading Esther publicly on the Feast of Purim. The Jewish scholar Aquila included Esther in his translation of the Hebrew Bible into Greek around A.D. 130. In the Christian church, Esther was listed among the books of the OT canon at the Council of Carthage in A.D. 397 but was widely and perhaps universally accepted in the Western church before that time (though doubts about its canonicity had persisted among some in the Eastern church).

Crossway Bibles. (2008). The ESV Study Bible (p. 849). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.



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