Who was the author? The book of Esther does not name its author, although some attribute it to Mordecai. We can infer from the book that the anonymous author was probably a Jew living in Persia, and that author may have used Mordecai's writings and royal records for sources.
What is the book? The book narrates God's working through Queen Esther to deliver His people from a threat by an official named Haman during the reign of Xerxes.
Where was it written? The Persian Jew who wrote the book is thought to have written it in a Persian city.
When was it written? The events of the book likely occurred around 460 B.C., and the book could have been written shortly thereafter, although more likely some time later but probably before the Greeks defeated the Persians in 331 B.C.
Why? Apparently the book was written chiefly to give the account both of God's delivering the Jews from Haman's threat and of the institution of the festival of Purim that commemorates that deliverance, although more important to us is how that deliverance and feasting points us to our deliverance through Jesus Christ and the table fellowship we have with Him.
How? The author accents Israel's conflict with the Amalekites, God's promise of rest for the people, His preserving a remnant of His chosen people, and deliverance in the context of feasting.
For further reading on the book of Esther:
- Keil, C.F. and F. Delitzsch. Biblical Commentary on the Old Testament, Volume III: I & II Kings, I & II Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther, translated by Sophia Taylor and published as two volumes in one. Grand Rapids, Michigan: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, reprinted August 1985. (This volume has 80 pages specifically on Esther.)
- Kretzmann, Paul E. Popular Commentary of the Bible: The Old Testament, Volume I, The Historical Books of the Old Testament: Genesis to Esther. St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1923. (This volume, one that is in our Grace library, has 14 pages on Esther.)