Brief Notes on the “Rest of Esther”

The “Rest of Esther” is sometimes considered an apocryphal book of the Hebrew Bible. It is a series of six chapters taken from Esther, by Jerome, and placed at the end of the Book of the Esther when Jerome completed his Latin Vulgate. It was Martin Luther who later fully removed these chapters entirely from the canon, and placed them in the apocrypha, thus removing all mention of prayer, God, and miracles in the remaining text of Esther from the Hebrew Bible. This process of removal has caused considerable consternation for biblical scholars throughout the ages.

The book, insofar as it may be called so, is a confusing but brief chronicle of Queen Esther, King Ataxerxes, and their seer Mardocheus who prevents an assassination attempt on the king after having a dream of dragons and a river, among other things. Esther becomes fearful for her life, and the bulk of the chapters are devoted to an extended prayer of Esther, before she collapses causing sorrow for the King and his people.

Many contemporary Catholic and Protestant Bibles include the “Rest of Esther” directly within the text, in order to mirror the Greek Septuagint. However, the Church of England lists the chapters as apocryphal.

For this reading I used an internet-based Project Gutenberg translation.

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