Professor Jon D. Levenson of Harvard University has written a short and extremely elegant academic commentary on the often misunderstood biblical Book of Esther. Levenson provides his own translation (lucid, vivid, and utilizing new linguistic research) along with a commentary which includes the pearls of ancient, medieval, and modern wisdom about Esther. Levenson's own insights are fresh and creative, and attempt to steer the open-minded reader towards a truer and broader picture of the religious and political outlook of this exciting tale. In his new commentary, Levenson does two things which I found particularly helpful. First, he begins by explaining how Jews, Catholics, and Protestants use different versions of the Book of Esther. Instead of ignoring any version, Levenson's commentary uses a clever compromise in which all the editions are given their due treatment. If you have been exposed to only one of these versions before, you owe it to yourself to read this commentary of Esther. Secondly, Levenson approaches Esther with both the textual sensitivity of a literary critic and the profound learning of a meticulous Bible scholar. Unlike many commentaries, Levenson is aware of nuances of character and theme at the same time as he is treating the linguistic and historical aspects of the book. The writing is crystal-clear and unpretentious. Highly endorsed!