Book Review: God behind the Scenes – The Book of Esther

Author: Wayne Barkhuizen       Reviewed by Christopher Thwala

The God Behind the Scenes book is essentially a commentary on the book of Esther, but it doesn’t stop there.  Barkhuizen helps us to see and appreciate the work of God in his people’s lives under a foreign king.  Although God is not mentioned directly in the book of Esther, Barkhuizen helps us tremendously to see the fingerprints of God everywhere in the narrative.

Two things that stood out for me in the book is Barkhuizen’s Biblical theology and his Christocentric approach to the book:

  • God Behind the Scenes (Esther)Biblical theology:  The author does not treat Esther as an isolated book, he shows us brilliantly how the previous historical narrative books fit in with Esther and how God is fulfilling his promises in this short narrative. He also shows how the rest of the Old Testament contributes to this little narrative. The author’s insights into the historical background again help the reader to be transported back into what the Jews of the day would have felt and thought.
  • Christocentrism: Barkhuizen does not wait until the end of the book as though just to give Jesus a bit of a space in the book. No – throughout his exposition and perceptive comments, he shows us that it is the Christ that ultimately saves. Things may look oblique, but God is working behind the scenes. “God will never fail to deliver on His promises. He will never abandoned his people. He will deliver them not because they are so good or so faithful to him but for his name’s sake.”  It is worth noting that each time we see the name “God,” not to think of it as referring to God the Father only, but to the triune God.

I warmly recommend this book. It is good for personal study when you want to take on a project to understand the book of Esther and how Jesus is foreshadowed there.  This is one of the less studied and more peculiar books in the bible, but once you have used this book as your guide, you will indeed see great gems from the book of Esther.

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