Top 5 Commentaries on the Book of Esther
In the Hebrew Bible, the book of Esther is found in the third section of the canon, the Writings. It is the last of the five “scrolls” (Ruth, Song of Songs, Ecclesiastes, Lamentations, and Esther), and is read at the Feast of Purim. It is a deeply profound and moving narrative of historical events that displayed the providence of God. The following are five of the most helpful commentaries on this book of Scripture.
1. Karen Jobes — Esther (NIV Application Commentary, 1999).
Karen Jobes has written the most engaging, interesting, and helpful commentary on the book of Esther presently available. Her knowledge of the text is extensive, and her insights into current application are valuable. The commentary is accessible to laymen, but should be useful to pastors and scholars as well.
2. Joyce Baldwin — Esther (Tyndale Old Testament Commentaries, 1984).
Joyce Baldwin was among the most consistent commentators of the previous generation. This commentary on Esther in the Tyndale series is a perfect example of the value of her work. Clear, concise, and to the point — always an asset in commentaries.
3. Iain Duguid. — Esther and Ruth (Reformed Expository Commentary, 2005).
Duguid’s commentary would be a good addition to the library of any pastor or teacher. His exposition of the text is careful and clear. There is also a very helpful focus on contemporary application.
4. Frederic Bush — Ruth/Esther (Word Biblical Commentary, 1996).
For those seeking a more extensive commentary on the book of Esther, Frederic Bush’s work in the WBC series is a good place to start. Although a bit too technical for most readers, it will be of benefit to seminary students and others doing in-depth study of the text.
5. Mervin Breneman — Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther (New American Commentary, 1993).
I have already mentioned Breneman’s commentary in my post on the top five Ezra-Nehemiah commentaries. The same evaluation applies here. A very helpful work.
Runners Up: There are a number of other helpful commentaries on the book of Esther. Among them are the introductory level commentary by J.G. McConville. Seminary students will also want to consult the work of David J.A. Clines.
Other “Top 5 Commentaries” blog posts:
OLD TESTAMENT: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel, 1 & 2 Kings, 1 & 2 Chronicles, Ezra & Nehemiah, Esther, Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Songs, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Lamentations, Ezekiel, Daniel, Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi
NEW TESTAMENT: The Gospel of Matthew, The Gospel of Mark, The Gospel of Luke, The Gospel of John, Acts, Romans, 1 Corinthians, 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians & Philemon, 1 & 2 Thessalonians, The Pastoral Epistles, Hebrews, James, 1 Peter, 2 Peter & Jude, The Epistles of John, Revelation