The Book of Esther is a novel more real than many historical books. Even if the events are fictitious, they express the anguish, the resentment and the hopes which, for centuries, were those of the dispersed Jews. Fear of the pagans, contempt for those who do not know God; constant attempts to obtain the favor of the authorities; persistent pleas to God who cannot allow his people to disappear; hope for the day when they can take revenge on their enemies for the greater glory of God.
At a time when the gospel is not yet known, the Book of Esther emphasizes God’s fidelity to his word: the Jewish people had to survive until the final redemption of the world.
The Jews had the custom of exchanging presents and celebrating a feast during the time of Purim. The novel supports this custom and justifies the feast by relating the story of a persecution during which the Jews were saved this same day by the intervention of Esther and Mordecai. It is interesting to note that Mac 12:36 speaks of the day of Mordecai: there is certainly a connection between the Jewish victory and what is related in the Book of Esther.
As we see, the Book of Esther is very Jewish, but it is also relevant for the Christians of today, persecuted or barely tolerated in many places.
The Book of Esther
In the Greek Bible the Book of Esther includes important passages – the most beautiful – not found in the Hebrew Bible. Some believe that these sections were added in the Greek Bible. Others, however, think that the Greek text is closer to the primitive one, and that later some passages were taken out for the Hebrew Bible.
We put the additional texts found in the Greek Bible in italics.