The Book of Esther has always been controversial. Even today one has to wonder about King Ahashuveros and his treatment of Queen Vashti. Although Haman deserved death for his treatment of the Jews, were all of his sons equally guilty so that they too had to die? Going back to Biblical days, the sages immediately recognized that God's name never appears in the Book, and that gap could leave some readers with the impression that the rescue of the Jews was entirely the work of humans. The Sages argued that point into the days of the Mishnah, when it was finally accepted that Esther would be included in the Hebrew Bible.
Many of you will remember David’s earlier adult education program on The Apocrypha and the Septuagint. The latter was a Greek language translation of the Hebrew Bible in the early years of the current era. However, for reasons that remain unknown, its editors included 14 additional books that were never part of our Bible. Flash forward several hundred years when Christian scholars in the rapidly growing Catholic religion decided that they too needed a Bible, and they began compilation of material with the Septuagint. As part of that work, the man they call Saint Jerome bound those 14 additional books separately and called them The Apocrypha, which means the hidden ones.