My Top Six OT Commentaries: Esther (Dr. Chloe T. Sun)

My Top Six OT Commentaries: Esther (Dr. Chloe T. Sun) February 3, 2022


(Wanna get caught up on all our previous guest posts and their commentary recommendations? Here is the index link to this series.)

Today we have Dr. Chloe T. Sun, professor of Old Testament at Logos Evangelical Seminary. Her publications include The Ethics of Violence in the Story of Aqhat (Gorgias), Attempt Great Things for God: Theological Education in Diaspora (Eerdmans) and Conspicuous in His Absence: Studies in the Song of Songs and Esther (IVP Academic). Currently, she is working on Exodus, Asia Bible Commentary series.


Carey A. Moore, Esther: Introduction, Translation, and Notes. The Anchor Bible. Garden City, New York: Doubleday & Company, Inc. 1971.

This is a classic commentary on Esther which includes a lengthy introduction on canonicity, the absence of religious elements, the reception history of Esther and the Greek versions of Esther. The footnotes in the commentary section provide textual variants and draw on both primary and secondary resources to illuminate the meaning of each verse. The list of illustrations (photos) and maps are helpful in visualizing the context of the book.

Lewis Bayles Paton, The Book of Esther: A Critical and Exegetical Commentary. International Critical Commentary. T & T Clark, 1976.

This is another classic commentary on Esther. It covers extensive discussions of different versions of the book of Esther including both Hebrew and Greek texts and their respective history of recension. Readers will also find helpful Esther’s history of interpretation from earliest Jewish exegesis to the modern critical period.

Frederic W. Bush, Ruth/Esther. Word Biblical Commentary 9. Waco, Tex. Word Books, 1996.

In this commentary series, each chapter starts with a bibliography, author’s translation of the text, critical notes followed by form/structure/setting, comments of the verses, and ends with explanations. I find this commentary, though technical, full of theological insights.


Adele Berlin, The JPS Bible Commentary: Esther. Philadelphia: The Jewish Publication Society, 2001.

This commentary juxtaposes the Hebrew text along with its English translation and then provides exegetical insights. The discussion of the genre of the book of Esther is helpful, especially in light of the author’s sensitivity to literary artistry of the text.


Jon D. Levenson, Esther: A Commentary. Old Testament Library. Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 1997.

After a succinct introduction addressing key aspects of the book of Esther, the commentary section includes the Septuagint version of Esther. The literary structure of Esther (Figure 2, p. 8) has shaped later commentators’ interpretation of the book. I also like the theological insights of this commentary.


Karen H. Jobes, Esther. The NIV Application Commentary. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Zondervan, 1999.

This commentary series aims to bridge the ancient context with that of the contemporary one. Each chapter is divided by Esther’s literary unit, from stating its original meaning to bridging context to contemporary significance. The annotated bibliography on Esther (pp. 52-55) is helpful in providing the secondary literature on the book of Esther.

Thank you, Dr. Sun! Definitely check out her 2021 book Conspicuous in His Absence: Studies in the Song of Songs and Esther.

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