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Who wrote the book of Esther? Who was the author of Esther?

author of Esther

The author of the book of Esther is not revealed in Scripture. The book distinguishes itself by its lack of any mention of God or any communication between God and the characters of the book. In a world where Christians sometimes grapple with God’s apparent absence, this unique feature of Esther underscores God’s providence implicitly. Additionally, as one of the few biblical texts spotlighting a female protagonist, Esther stands out. The conflict, tension, and situational irony captivate readers as the story of Esther unfolds. Through it all, God rescues the Jews who remained in Persia after the initial wave of Jews returned to Judah.

Traditionally, Jewish commentators have attributed the book to Mordecai, Esther’s uncle. Esther 9:20 says that “Mordecai recorded these events” as he was preparing to send letters to the Jews throughout the Persian Empire. The ancient historian Josephus believed that Mordecai was the author of Esther (Antiquities XI.6.1). However, the effusive praise of Mordecai in Esther 10:3 suggests that the book was written by someone else. If Mordecai was not the primary author of Esther, then his written records were certainly source material for the author.

Some conservative scholars have suggested Ezra or Nehemiah as the author of Esther. Nehemiah, who worked in the Persian court before his journey to Jerusalem, would certainly have known of Mordecai and possibly even knew him personally. Nehemiah also had access to official records; however, the writing style of the book of Esther differs from the meticulous style of Ezra-Nehemiah.

Another possibility is that the book of Esther was written by another Jew who had returned to Judah under Zerubbabel’s leadership. Yet another suggestion is that Esther herself wrote or co-wrote the book bearing her name. This theory is based on Esther 9:29, which says that “Queen Esther, daughter of Abihail, along with Mordecai the Jew, wrote with full authority” a letter establishing the official observance of the new Feast of Purim.

While the author of Esther remains a mystery, we can be fairly certain that the author was a Jew who had an in-depth knowledge of Persian customs and the situation of the palace in Susa. Details in the book suggest an eyewitness to the events. And the author of Esther was a master storyteller. The book is skillfully written, much like the book of Ruth. The chiastic structure and deliberate use of irony and suspense come together to record the history of God’s sovereign care for His children and His behind-the-scenes working even in the midst of trouble.

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Who wrote the book of Esther? Who was the author of Esther?
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This page last updated: March 6, 2024