The NIVAC commentary series has successfully found a niche as a resource to pick up after you’ve studied the major exegetical commentaries and now need to think about application and contemporary significance. This commentary on Esther by Karen Jobes fulfills the aims of the series effectively.
In the Introduction the author begins with a somewhat subversive illustration to turn our minds toward the subject of the Book of Esther, but becomes much more helpful when she discusses the Book of Esther itself. The style is more succinct, and even breezy, than in some other series, yet the main points are still well covered. The historical background, as well as authorship and date, are all well covered before the author asked the question: is Esther reliable history? I appreciated, especially after having read as many commentaries on Esther as I have, her saying that the objections raised against the historicity of Esther are not “beyond explanation”. She approaches genre in a section about ancient storytelling and argues that Esther has great value whether it’s historically accurate or not. I’m a firm believer in the historicity of Esther, but love seeing her say that the relationship between biblical narrative and history “consciously rests on the concept that God has in fact worked in history through events that really happened”.
Her love of Esther’s story becomes clear in the section on literary structure. Again, this section is not as lengthy as in some of the larger commentaries, but the bases are still well covered. The same could be said of the section on the theology of Esther. Even more in line with the design of this series is the final section on contemporary significance. You will gain some helpful insights.
After a bibliography, she jumps right into the commentary itself. As with every volume in this series, it is divided into original meaning, bridging contexts, and contemporary significance. That design can’t help but have some repetition, but the author did a good job with it. I rate this volume as a success and a worthy addition to your library.
I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.