INTRODUCTION TO ESTHER
BEFORE READING PLEASE CLICK HERE TO READ AN OUTLINE OF ESTHER.
AFTER READING PLEASE CLICK HERE TO ANSWER THE QUESTIONS TO STUDY ONE.
BEFORE READING PLEASECLICK HERE FOR MAPS OF THE BABYLONIAN EMPIRE
BEFORE READING PLEASE CLICK HERE TO READ ABOUT ISRAEL'S HISTORY.
BEFORE READING PLEASE CLICK HERE FOR A LIST OF MAJOR EVENTS FROM BABYLON TIMES TO ROMAN OCCUPATION OF JUDAH.
BEFORE READING PLEASE CLICK HERE TO VIEW OLD TESTAMENT BOOKS TIMELINE.
Before analyzing the test of any book of the Bible, it is well to learn the historical background.
Also, it is best to make a "skyscraper" view of its general contents. Accordingly, this introduction is divided into two parts: background and survey.
- The Author is unknown. Some candidates include Esther or Mordecai, her uncle. Other possible candidates are the prophets Haggai, Zechariah, or Malachi who lived around this time.
- Date and Place of Writing
- The exact date cannot be easily determined from the text. However, it is believed to have been written sometime before the Jews returned from captivity in Babylon to Judea.
- The book of Esther is an historical account addressed in general to the exiles in Babylon and to their descendants so that they may remember God's work for his people even though they were not in the Promised Land.
- Occasion and Purpose
- The occasion is the salvation of the seemingly powerless alien Jewish exiles from genocide.
- The purpose is not clear from the reading of the book. However, three purposes can be considered; the mystery of election, the salvation of the Jewish exiles and the meaning behind the Festival of Purim.
- Form and Style
Esther is an historical account.
Esther is written from a passive third person view of historical events.
- Place Among the Old Testament Books
- Esther, Song of Solomon, Ruth, Ecclesiastes, and Lamentations were placed on one scroll called the "Meghilloth" and was used for festival readings.
Esther starts with an explanation of the background events before Esther enters the story. This is followed by the entry of a two faithful Jews, Esther and Mordecai. Then enters an enemy of God's people bend on eliminating them. The conclusion consists of Esther's faith and courage to follow Mordecai's advice and thus save her people.
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