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Esther Interpretation (Interpretation: A Bible Commentary for Teaching and Preaching) Paperback – 29 Dec 2011

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Product details

  • Paperback: 112 pages
  • Publisher: Westminster John Knox Press; Reprint edition (29 Dec. 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0664238629
  • ISBN-13: 978-0664238629
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 0.7 x 22.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 65,441 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

About the Author

Carol M. Bechtel is Professor of Old Testament at Western Theological Seminary in Holland, Michigan. She is the author of Life After Grace, Glimpses of Glory, and Esther in the Interpretation commentary series, all published by WJK.

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First Sentence
Soon after historian Deborah Lipstadt won a court victory over Holocaust denier David Irving, she went to hear the scroll of Esther read at her local synagogue's celebration of Purim. Read the first page
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Inspirational! We have decided to use this as the basis for our pre Lent Bible Study Group meetings. What a message 'For this was the purpose that you were put on earth at this time!' I found the comparisons between the Protestant Canon and the Apocrypha narratives fascinating. This has led to some really good conversations.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4 reviews
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
A fresh look at a book Luther despised 2 Mar. 2003
By Charles S. Houser - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The John Knox Press INTERPETATION COMMENTARY series provides thoughtful but highly readable insights into the various books of the Bible. I haven't picked up a volume yet which disappointed me. But Carol Bechtel's commentary on ESTHER really goes the extra mile. It's chock full of fresh perspectives well stated. (Although she borrows many of these insights from the recently published commentaries of Adele Berlin and Jon Levenson, she is quick to credit her sources. And she is very selective about what she restates.)
The commentary is directed primarily to Christians, and to Protestants specifically. She raises an interesting point that Christians who "get their Scripture" solely from the lessons that are read aloud as part of Sunday services, are only exposed to a reading from Esther once every three years: Esther 7:1-6,9-10; 9:20-22. This clearly is not the best way to experience a book of the Bible that is a cleverly constructed "novella" with exciting characters, court intrigues, and dizzying plot reversals. She encourages Christians to imitate Jews by reading the book repeatedly, aloud, and in its entirety. As Bechtel points out, "It is a book, after all, about the struggle to be faithful in the midst of an increasingly unfaithful culture. It is a story of courage, faith, and deliverance. It is the story of men and women working together with a God who is not always obvious, but who is always gracious."
To use this commentary most effectively, you need to have a copy of the New Revised Standard Version Bible (preferrably with the Apocrypal/Deuterocanonical books) since the biblical text is not printed in the commentary. You do not need any knowledge of Hebrew (or Greek), however. Where an understanding of the Hebrew is essential, Bechtel provides clear explanations. One example, her explanation of how the Hebrew words for "enslavement" and "destruction" are homophones, serves as a very plausible explanation of why the King could have been so easily duped into signing a death warrant for the Jewish people.
Although Bechtel presents the shorter, Hebrew version of Esther as the "best text," she does examine the Additions to Esther (those passages that are found only in the Greek and Latin versions of the text) in a brief Appendix.
EXcellent 11 Mar. 2015
By Amazon Customer - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Excellent help in understanding the book of Esther in the Old Testament/Hebrew Bible.
Great Commentary 28 Oct. 2014
By L. M. Smith - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Excellent commentary - easy to read and use - insightful and illuminating.
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
More lightweight than I expected 10 Dec. 2010
By Ruth Smith - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I have used Interpretation copmmentaries before and this is rather less scholarly than I am accustomed to. The author treats the book of Esther in a rather flippant manner. Even if she considers the story to be overly dramatic and exaggerated, she could have treated the subject with more respect.
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