Image above: Esther, Jean Francois Portaels, 1869


-Why we wanted to talk about Esther


-What have you been taught about Esther in the past? How have you always regarded this book? Is it a favorite, or something that you haven’t spent much time with?

-Literary structure of the book and textual issues with Esther (including theories that it’s myth/fiction; the alternative Greek version that adds in all kinds of references to God; the unknown author etc.)

-How Esther connects to other Bible books

-Brief plot summary of the book of Esther


-This book is called Esther, but if you look at where the author places focus, it could just as easily have been called Mordecai. Why then do you think it only gets taught to women? What lessons does this book hold for men?

-Feminist reactions to this book over time have been mixed. In The Woman’s Bible, Elizabeth Cady Stanton commended both Vashti and Esther. More recent interpreters, like Alice Laffey, have contrasted Vashti’s “[refusal] to be men’s sexual object” (Jobes 70)[1] with Esther’s apparent “full compliance with patriarchy” (70). Which view do you take? Or do you take another view entirely of this book and the women in it?

-What lessons can we take from a book that never mentions God? What do you see as the main theme of Esther? And what can we learn from her?

Passing On

Katie: NIV Application Commentary: Esther by Karen Jobes

Ilia: The Bible Project Video on Esther

Leah: The Women’s Bible Commentary edited by Carol A Newsom and Sharon H Ringe
Other Source:

[1] Karen H. Jobes, The NIV Application Commentary: Esther. Zondervan, 1999.

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