Show navigation

Why doesn't the book of Esther mention God?


Subscribe to our Question of the Week:

book Esther God
Question: "Why doesn't the book of Esther mention God?"

The book of Esther is unique in several ways. One distinguishing characteristic is that it’s the only biblical book that does not mention God by name. This fact has caused some to question its place in the biblical canon, but, in reality, the absence of God’s name fits perfectly with the theme of the book.

Here are some reasons why God’s name may not have been referenced in Esther: first, one emphasis of Esther appears to be how God works behind the scenes. The book of Esther records no miracles and no direct intervention of God at all. In Esther’s story, the Lord redeems His people through the faith and courage of one strategically placed woman and her cousin. All the while, things are happening behind the scenes to bring about the final result.

Also, it is possible God is not mentioned directly in Esther because of the circumstances of its writing. Jewish tradition claims authorship by Mordecai. If Mordecai is the author, he wrote the book in Persia while serving under King Ahasuerus (or Xerxes). Instead of directly crediting God for the victory of the Jewish people, Mordecai may have written the book to better fit the polytheistic context of Susa. This would have kept him protected from harm by the king or other enemies while still communicating the account of God’s work through Queen Esther.

Another emphasis in Esther is the theme of fasting. There are six separate feasts throughout the book, and these stand in stark contrast to Esther’s choice to fast for three days before confronting the king with the matter of saving the Jewish people. She likewise asked other Jews to join her: “Go, gather together all the Jews who are in Susa, and fast for me. Do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my attendants will fast as you do” (Esther 4:16). It is understood that fasting is done before God and to request God’s help. So, even though God’s name is not directly mentioned, Esther is involved in a religious observance meant to supplicate God’s mercy.

Finally, the book of Esther may not mention God because the emphasis is on God’s providence. Mordecai states in Esther 4:14, “If you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?” In his rhetorical question, Mordecai alludes to divine sovereignty without calling it such. The principle is that God places people in particular places at particular times to accomplish His particular plans.

The book of Esther may not directly mention God, yet it clearly reveals God at work. His name is not written in the book, but His fingerprints, as we say, are all over it. The coincidences, the amazing reversals, and the poetic justice that led to the deliverance of the Jews in Persia all proclaim the presence of God.

Recommended Resource: Esther, NIV Application Commentary by Karen Jobes

Related Topics:

Book of Esther - Bible Survey

What should we learn from the life of Esther?

Who was Haman the Agagite?

Did Esther have sex with Xerxes before they were married?

Why did Queen Vashti refuse to appear before Xerxes?

Return to:

Questions about Esther

Return to: Home

Why doesn't the book of Esther mention God?

The GQ Network