THE PSEUDO-BIBLICAL BOOK OF ESTHER --
By Rev. Ted Pike
20 Nov 13
Editor's note: This is a reprint of my April 5, 2011 article. For a much fuller discussion
of this issue, listen to our Bible Study, "Esther,
the book that shouldn't be in the Bible."
Every book in the Bible condemns the violent racism of modern Zionism… except
one: the book of Esther. The source of the annual feast of Purim, Esther
celebrates the Jews' slaughter of more than 75,000 Gentiles (which
included women and children). No Biblical book has so influenced evangelical
attitudes toward Israel, especially in approving Israel's brutality
against Arabs. Esther thus plays a pivotal role for both Jews and Christians
in their unconditional defense of the state of Israel.
For nearly 2,000 years, a minority of Christian scholars have been
troubled by the book's omission of anything truly spiritual. Athanasius,
some of the church fathers, and Martin Luther rejected it as apocryphal.
The book never mentions God; nor do its protagonists, Esther and Mordecai.
The Jewish people are delivered from annihilation yet never resort
to prayer or thanking God afterward.
Instead, this book exalts and appeals to racist Jewish tribalism and
appetite for revenge. It began the now familiar Zionist theme: long-suffering
Jews as victims of irrational hatred from murderous Gentiles. It celebrates
the triumph of Jews who obtain peace not by faith in God but by slaughter.
Ancient as it is, Esther’s message is current. It echoes the
cries of Jewish protesters in Israel last month who shouted, “Kill
Arabs! Kill those who want to destroy Israel! Kill them before they
kill us! "
Is Esther a Jewish Fable?
The story begins with King Ahasuerus (possibly Xerxes) around 450
B.C. desiring a new wife to replace rebellious Queen Vashti. But the
names of the book's hero and heroine, Mordecai and Esther, are derived
from "Marduk" and "Ishtar," the head male and female
deities of Babylon! This should sound alarm bells to Christians.
Why would supposedly pious Jews accept the names of the chief gods
of Babylon, the moral cesspool of antiquity? Why is God’s name
never mentioned, yet these names of Babylonian arch-deities are constantly
At the time of its writing (perhaps 150 years after Jewish exile under
Nebuchadnezzar) Jews were rapidly reflecting Babylonian/Persian culture.
The Jewish Encyclopedia indicates that by that time lay teachers,
the "Sopherim," forerunners of the scribes and Pharisees,
were already absorbing the theology, customs, and superstitions of
Babylon. Much of this would be included in the later Babylonian Talmud.
At that time it was highly popular to name children after Marduk and
Ishtar. In revealing that Jews were doing the same, Esther reflects
an increasing Babylonian influence on Jewish theology and culture.
chapter 3 the king promotes a Hitler persona, Haman, above all princes
in his kingdom. Did this really happen? The meticulous chronicles
of Persia record no such person or, for that matter, "Queen Esther" or
Haman hates the Jewish Mordecai and seeks to destroy all Jews. This
is the classic Jewish stereotype: Gentiles inexplicably infected with
the satanic "disease of anti-Semitism," compelled to destroy
God’s chosen people.
The king, responding to a proposal made by Haman, thinks genocide
of Jews in his kingdom is a good idea. Really? The record of the Persian
kings was general respect for subdued peoples, not capricious annihilation.
Mordecai, hearing of the "Holocaust" to come, laments but
does not cry to God. Instead, he utters a loud and bitter wail, not
unlike the "Never forget!" litany of modern Judaism. Esther
takes action but with no reference to the Almighty. Fasting is commanded,
but without even lip service to the God who could give such deprivation
meaning and power. (Fasting is not uniquely Biblical or intrinsically
demonstrative of faith in God. Ezekiel, in fact, reveals that apostate
Jewish women wept in mourning for Tammuz, goddess of Babylonia. Ezekiel
8:11) Mordecai counsels Esther with high-sounding but pseudo-scriptural
admonitions (Esther 4:13-14).
The crisis ends when Haman, after attempting to hang Jewish Mordecai,
is hung on his own gallows. It is discovered that Mordecai had once
protected the king from assassination yet received no reward. Mordecai
is exalted to the right hand of power in Persia. Now favorable to the
Jews, the king authorizes the Jews to kill all of their enemies who
are suspected of murderous intent. The book indicates that the king,
having made the decree that the Jews should be killed, is bound under
the laws of the Medes and Persians which says that imperial decrees
cannot be revoked. Thus, he is forced to keep his original edict intact,
while giving Jews the right to kill Gentiles first.
Actually, this is a phony dilemma. By granting Jews the right to kill
Gentiles, he has already blatantly violated his own edict. If the story
were true, it would have been a small thing for the king to let Gentiles
in all of his far-flung provinces know that special blessing and protection
were now given to the Jews, throwing a wet blanket on any persecution
of them. Again, the general history of Persia reveals the extreme unlikelihood
of the Esther narrative.
Yet the book asserts that on the day when the Jews should have been
destroyed they attacked their enemies first, slaughtering more than
75,000. This is an act of war in a foreign land, a blatant violation
of God's commandment to the Hebrews under Moses not to take war into
foreign lands (Deut. 2).
The rationale of Esther is that if Jews suspect bias motivation
against them that will endanger Jewish lives then it is their God-given
right to take preemptive action and kill Gentiles first. This is exactly
what the Talmud recommends, and it infuses the mentality of the IDF
in Israel against Palestinians today. It is the basis on which the
Anti-Defamation League of B'nai B'rith portrays Jews as perennial victims
of hateful, anti-Semitic, even homicidal bias motivation on the part
of Gentiles. Such paranoia deeply undergirds ADL's mentality that only
hate crimes laws, outlawing such forbidden thoughts, can solve the
problem of anti-Semitism.
Jewish revenge under Mordecai is the basis of the feast of Purim,
celebrating both Jewish paranoia and vengeance. It is now the ethical
standard for the Jewish right to revenge in Palestine. It also empowers
Israel to violate the sovereign territory and air space of other nations
in order to violently stop possible aggression against Israel. Doesn't
Mordecai's program perfectly express Israel's demand that the U.S.
and other nations join her in launching preemptive air strikes against
The book concludes with Mordecai exalted to power in Persia. It forgoes
even a mention of God. Some have suggested that either Ezra or Nehemiah
wrote the book of Esther. Yet in both the books named after them, these
great prophets took every opportunity to supplicate, praise, and thank
God—actions conspicuously and perversely absent from Esther.
Who Wrote Esther?
Did Jesus, the Word of God who has inspired all other Scripture, inspire
the book of Esther with its admonition to kill possible enemies before
they kill you? Did Jesus inspire a book that glorifies Jews and omits
all mention of the God of the Jews? Quite the contrary: Jesus deflated
Jewish self-righteousness and racism. He admonished Jews to turn the
other cheek to their Roman oppressors and warned that he who takes
up the sword will die by the sword.
The Talmud says Esther was written by the "men of the great synagogue," the
proto-Sanhedrin of 120 elders during the beginning of the intertestamental
period following the last of the great Hebrew prophets. This is probably
close to the truth. It casts great suspicion on the canonicity of the
Jesus said the tradition of the elders had made the law of God
of none effect. (Matthew 15:1-8) Esther was a Babylonian import
to Judea, and it is almost certain that the priests of Jerusalem, on
the recommendation of Babylonian proto-Pharisees, enshrined it in the
There is one more powerful reason to believe this. The Dead Sea scrolls
date back to between 150 and 70 BC and include the oldest known copies
of the Old Testament. The Scrolls were preserved by the Essenes, who
disapproved of the Pharisaic establishment in Jerusalem. This historic
collection contains every book of the Old Testament exceptEsther.
Esther continues to bear evil fruit, right up to the latest news from
Israel about Jewish settler violence against the Palestinians. Truly
inspired Scriptures like Habakkuk, Malachi, and Zechariah—which
existed just before the appearance of Esther—do not stimulate
the persecution complex, self-righteousness or anti-Gentile violence
that Esther does. Earlier, Jeremiah 29:4-9 strongly admonished Jews
to dwell at peace and seek the welfare of the nations in their dispersion.
Who Decides What is Scripture?
In the final analysis, every believer has the right to decide
whether a book of the Bible bears witness to divine inspiration. The
Christian is not bound to mindlessly follow church councils in any
age. Personally, the Holy Spirit forbids me to recommend Esther.
Some may object, saying, "Shouldn't we be generous and see the
overall high-minded message in Esther?" If an expert is analyzing
a possibly counterfeit $100 bill, he does not adopt a "positive" point
of view. He gives tenacious attention to the ways the bill under suspicion
does not live up to the genuine. Every Christian is obligated to similarly "try
the spirits… for many false spirits are gone out into the world." (1
Someone may also object that God would never allow His Bible to be
contaminated. Well, He allowed His perfect creation in Eden to be so
corrupted. Christ permitted one of His twelve disciples to be taken
over by the devil. God does not want us to trust in anything above
Himself, even in the Book He inspired. His Holy Spirit’s still
small voice, “leading into all truth,” remains our ultimate
authority. The Holy Spirit guided the remaining eleven disciples perfectly.
He can also guide us in a world of counterfeit voices.
Rejecting Esther does not undermine the rest of the Bible. Holy Scripture
(excepting Esther and perhaps the Song of Solomon, which was introduced
during the same period) bears powerful witness of divine inspiration.
Truly inspired Scripture is as impervious to attack as a Sherman tank
before a BB gun.
In conclusion, do Christians have the right to include a book in the
Bible which does not mention God's name, offers no prayer or thanks,
and exalts Jewish heroes and the Jewish people while demonizing Gentiles?
Esther does not emphasize that we are saved by abiding in God through
faith. Instead, it says Jews are saved by being suspicious of the motives
of others, even killing them en masse.
I am not in danger of heresy by excluding Esther from the Bible. Those
most in danger are those evangelicals in our time who stand on this
book to sanction the most despicable atrocities by Israel against the
Palestinians. (See, Israel:
Founded on Terror)
Rev. Ted Pike is director of the National Prayer Network, a Christian/conservative
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