The book of Esther is a fascinating story that has a lot of stuff going on that isn't readily apparent to the reader. Even the name of the book, Esther, is significant because that name when translated from the Persian means "something hidden". In my research of this book, I have found a lot of hidden things that I never expected. Ever since, I have felt compelled to share these discoveries. The Lord has indeed hidden something very important in this book which has tremendous significance for people today! Therefore, it is not my intention to write about things which you will encounter in a bible study, commentary or handbook. But, before I begin to share what I have found, I would like to encourage you to read this book and use these tools to increase your understanding of what you have read.1
One of the things that I have discovered about this book is that it has been a topic of controversy for various different reasons through out the ages. In my opinion, these controversies are important because they have had the effect of bringing this book to the forefront of religious thought at different times through out history. Therefore, I would like to begin here by briefly discussing these various controversies and then providing you with some resources should you desire to inquire into them further.
The very first controversy around this book occurred back in the days when Esther was still living and the Hebrew sages didn't want to record these events in their Writings. In their very legalistic way of thinking, they had to find a "loophole" in their traditional law in order to fulfill Queen Esther's request for them to memorialize it.2 To this day, many Jewish rabbis debate the proper procedure for physically handling this particular scroll3 and some even question whether it was divinely inspired. Martin Luther, the prestigous church father, mirrored their feelings about this book and objected to its inclusion in the Christian Bible. Martin Luther's biggest concern was the fact that the Lord is never mentioned at all in the entire book even though it is quite evident that He is orchestrating events behind the scenes to achieve His means.
The historicity of this book is also debated as scholars disagree about the actual identities of King Ahasuerus and Queen Vashti. It has been argued that Ahasuerus' true identity is that of King Xerxes I, or his son Artaxerxes I.4 Both of these identifications have problems although it is more generally accepted that the identity of Ahasuerus is actually King Xerxes I. Some translations of the Bible even use this name instead of King Ahasuerus. But, there are problems with that identity as King Xerxes I had Queen Amestris as his consort and she was never deposed. Amestris remained in power well into the reign of Artaxerxes I. Identifying King Ahasuerus with Artaxerxes I is even more problematic to religious scholars as in the KJV version of Ezra 4:6-7 both the reigns of King Ahasuerus and King Artaxerxes are listed separately5. It is curious to note, however, that Ahasuerus is mentioned as being the father of Darius the Mede in Daniel 9:1 and it is a historical fact that Darius was the Father of Xerxes I.
The main point that I am trying to make is that this book has been a topic of controversy at various times through out history and in my opinion, that fact should pique our curiousity. Why would the Lord keep bringing attention to this book through out history? Why would the Adversary try so hard to have the book omitted from the canon? In light of these questions, there is only one possible answer for both. This book must have significance for God's people and therefore it is deserving of very deep inquiry. Just as the titile suggests, there must be something very important hidden in this book!
Well, in my next discussion, I will share with you what I discovered when I decided to delve a little deeper and read the scripture more thoughtfully. Please read the next section: