This book appears in the following featured collections.
- Favorite Commentaries for Personal Study by Jeremy Pierce (parableman)
- First Commentary Set by Brian LeStourgeon
- Tremper Longman III's 5-Star Commentaries by Tremper Longman III
- Building a Commentary Library - Old Testament by Invitation to Biblical Interpretation
- Commentaries by Female Scholars by John Dyer
I have become a collector of commentaries ever since my seminary days in the 1990s. As such, I am only going to recommend the best overall commentary for each book of the Bible on this site. For Esther, for the preacher/teacher, it is hard to beat Karen Jobes' contribution. She explains the text remarkably well and bridges its message to a contemporary context. If you only could have one commentary on Esther in your library, pick this one up.
This is the only commentary I own on Esther at the moment. But this is a solid example of what a mid-level, pastoral commentary should look like. It is not only written with expertise of the subject (Jobes did her doctoral research on the Greek text of Esther) but is done in a way which is engaging, challenging, and fun even (and how often do you get to say that about a commentary?). The introduction is not just a revisiting of the usual intro topics (date/structure/canonicity etc - though Jobes covers all of these very capably) but an exercise in hermeneutics and the doctrine of Scripture. The uniqueness of Esther presents key theological questions which Jobes brings to the fore. How is a text which doesn't mention God, the Law, Temple, worship, etc. to be understood as holy scripture? What can we say about inspiration and authority from a text like this? Throughout, Jobes is able to capture the artistry of the text and all the subtle plays which make Esther so potent.
I always appreciate it when there is clear consensus on the best commentary on any given book of the Bible. For Esther, that honor goes to Karen Jobes. Keith Mathison agrees with the other experts when he says, “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.” [Full Review]
Outstanding example of the strengths of the NIVAC series - explaining the historical background and meaning, but moving on to very interesting discussion of the theological issues raised by the text. [Full Review]
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. [Full Review]
This is an amazing little work. Clear and lucid, Jobes has not ducked the tough issues in this literary treasure. She avoids idealizing any of the characters and let's the text speak for itself. When the text is silent, Jobes argues, we should be silent. If we are not told why Esther went to the harem we should not speculate. The only weakness was Jobes's discussion of chapter 9 and the Jewish defense. She interprets their self-defense through the lens of Old Testament Holy War, an interpretation I deem unwarranted from the text itself. But judge for yourself. This is a marvelous commentary.
This is the only NIVAC on my First Commentaries list. Jobes is clearly informed by the scholarship, but is fully focused on explaining and applying the literary themes of the book.
Very useful commentary that offers theological reflection and practical applications based on solid exegesis. Evangelical. [Full Review]