I love the book of Esther, as a child it was my favorite book in the Bible. But as I’m reading it now that I am older, it sounds very fictional. I know a lot of the things in the Bible sound “too crazy to be true” but the book of Esther feels like im reading a novel. Is the book of Esther historically backed? And if it is not are Christians expected to take it as fact? Or would it be fine to view it as fiction?
Honestly, my first reaction to your inquiry was a smile . Indeed there’s a princess inside every girl/woman. I have 3 princesses with me together with their queen mother (I’m not a king, though, I’m their servant-leader). And my younger ones once asked me why there were very few princess/queen stories in the Bible.
But to share my thoughts on your question…
It might surprise you, but in reality truth can be stranger than fiction. The amazing turn of events in the narrative of Esther may seem so fictitious but if you will give time to research and read of more current accounts of Christian experience, you will be amazed what marvellous works the Lord has done because of prayer.
Try to read about missionary experiences and your amazement at Haman’s ironic demise will fade in contrast to these missionaries’s supernatural survival stories. One is of the tribal missionary wives continuing to serve their husbands’ murderers consequently winning them over to Christ. Of honest prisoner admitting to a escape plan to his warder only to be accompanied and greatly helped in their escape by the same person. My favorite is that of George Mueller, serving empty plates to his orphan-wards to be filled with supplies from a failed delivery of a food merchant.
I’m not an expert in history or archeology, but it is safe to say that the characters of Esther are archeologically confirmed, historical figures. Non-adherents understandably designate the book of Esther as a historical fiction (i.e. an imaginative presentation of historical facts, a novella). But recognizing both the archeological discovery and the Lord’s faithfulness, the one supplementing the other, Bible believers should be affirmed in their faith in this book’s historical accuracy of the characters mentioned and the Lord’s faithful and wonderful protection of His people. And history continuously confirms this truth. (Only the nation of Israel is known to have survived so long absence and alienation from their land, from AD 70 to 1948, and to have mingled with many nations, and was able to be reunited and reinstituted back into their land [Jer.29:14] and retain their ancient language [Zeph.3:8]).
People are instructed to search the Scriptures (John 5:39) and are invited by God to reason (Isa.1:18). He would have wanted us to approach Him with a child-like faith (Mark 10:15), but he also welcomes those who would have more facts and invites them to have faith (John 20:25,27).
Bible fictions are usually readily identifiable (such as the many parables). Unless we could find some distinguishing characteristic in the narrative to consider it a fiction (or an allegory or a metaphor), it should be accepted at face value.
I pray that you would come again to see the Bible with the same amazement and faith when you were a child and be able to stand for it as a grown-up, rational believer.
Hope this helps
Thank you so much, your reply was very thoughtful and it shared much more that answered other questions I had! I also see how i have been relying on my logic instead of God. Thank you!
I’m glad it helped