Ezra-Nehemiah is the Old Testament equivalent of the Acts of the Apostles--it is a book of new beginnings. Just as Acts narrates the early history of the church through the work of the apostles, Ezra-Nehemiah narrates the re-establishment of the people of God after the exile through the work of Sheshbazzar, Zerubbabel, Ezra, and Nehemiah. Allen explores Ezra-Nehemiah as a single literary text made up of three parts telling the story of three missions and the opposition they meet with. Wise and insightful, Leslie Allen has written a commentary that illuminates these texts and their intended message.
Esther is a story about a young girl who becomes queen. Laniak's thoughtful commentary examines this narrative as a story with many levels of meaning. Esther is about the minority Jewish community in the dependent state of Diaspora, navigating a precarious existence in two worlds, and it is about the triumph of right over wrong, of God's people over their enemies.