In Persia in the fifth century BC, the Jews were threatened with genocide. The book of Esther describes how this crisis was averted through the bravery of Esther, the wisdom of Mordecai and the unity of the Jewish people.
However, Esther is a rather strange book to find in the Bible. It is set entirely outside the Promised Land, and shows no interest in it. Furthermore, it is the only book in the Bible that definitely does not mention God, and it avoids any obviously religious language.
Nevertheless, the book does have a developed theology. David Firth brings this out as he engages insightfully with the narrative. He shows how it invites us to reflect on what it is to know God within this world, where the miraculous is rare and yet in which the faithful continue to experience the reality of God’s presence. This is of particular importance for those living out their faith within post–Christendom.
God’s saving purpose in Christ is richer than Esther imagines; but Esther asks us how we continue to see God’s work this side of the cross of Christ, and what our own part is within the ongoing story of his deliverance.
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