Coke's Commentary on the Holy Bible Coke's Commentary
by Thomas Coke
THE Book of ESTHER.
IT is uncertain who was the author of this book. Some ascribe it to Ezra; others to Mordecai; (see on ch. Esther 9:20; Esther 9:23.) and others, again, to the joint labours of the great synagogue; who, from the time of Ezra to Simon the Just, superintended the edition and canon of Scripture. That the book is genuine, whoever was the author, appears from the institution and continued observation of the annual festival of פורים Purim; (see ch. 9) since it is not to be conceived, that a wise nation should at first appoint and afterwards continue the celebration of this solemn time of feasting and rejoicing every year, merely because a certain man among them had once the good fortune to write an agreeable romance; much less can we conceive from what motive a whole assembly of learned doctors should receive a writing of no better character into the canon of their scriptures; or, to make it of more universal use, should honour it with a Greek translation. The book contains the history of Esther, a Jewish captive; who, for her remarkable beauty, was espoused to Ahasuerus, and raised to the throne of Persia. By her extraordinary interest with the king, she rescued the Jewish nation from a general massacre, to which they were devoted by Haman, one of the king's favourites; in memory of which the feast of Purim was appointed. In the course of our remarks, we shall obviate such objections as have been made against the authenticity of this book. See Huet. Demonstr. prop. 4: and Calmet.