• For he will be like a tree planted by the water, that extends its roots by a stream ...

    • Jeremiah 17:8

    • The LORD is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower.

    • Psalm 18:2

The Feast of Purim

 
 

The Feast of Purim

The story of Purim is found in the Book of Esther, neatly tucked away between Nehemiah and Job. Purim celebrates the courage and faith displayed by Mordecai (from the tribe of Benjamin) and Queen Esther (they were cousins). It recognizes God’s continued faithfulness and promise of Jewish preservation. What makes the Book of Esther so unique is that the name of God is not mentioned even once throughout the entire story. While there are no O.T. references for the Book of Esther, there is one possible N.T. reference which demands a critical eye. This is found in John 5:1 “After this there was a feast of the Jews, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem”.  Some scholars say this verse can refer to Purim which would point to Yeshua having indeed celebrated this feast. How interesting, that this feast in John 5 is unnamed. Perhaps this is to keep in line with the fact that God is unnamed in the Book of Esther itself.

In spite of much scholarly criticism, we believe that the Book of Esther is a part of God’s inspired Word. There is historical data to authenticate this event, most of which centers around the information on Xerxes. Historical writings refer to his large harem in Shushan, his irrational temper and his drinking parties. On the flip side, there is no evidence from any other outside source to contradict this story. 

 

Facts on Purim

Every year, Purim is celebrated on the 14th and 15th of Adar, the last month of the Hebrew calendar. This translates to March 11th and 12th for this year, 2017. Happy Purim!

 

What does Purim mean?

Purim is the Hebrew word for lots, as in “the casting of lots”. In this case, the evil Haman, the Agagite wanted to exterminate the Jews of the Persian Empire, and cast lots (something like throwing dice) in order to determine the date of their execution.  The lot fell on the 13th of Adar. Of course this execution never took place, but rather, by royal proclamation, the Jews became the victors on that very day.

 

When did Purim originally take place?

Sometime in the middle of the 5th century B.C., coinciding with the reign of King Xerxes. The language of this book is similar to Chronicles, Ezra and Nehemiah, which were also written around this same time.

 

Why were the Jews still outside the land?

Why were the Jews still in Persia at this point in history? The 70 year Babylonian exile had already passed. According to Isaiah and Jeremiah, God wanted the Jewish exiles to return back to Israel after the 70 years. (Isaiah 48:20, Jeremiah 29:10, 50:8, 51:6) But most Jews did not return. Out of a total Jewish population of perhaps 2-3 million exiles, only around 50,000 chose to return. The events of Purim must have been a great encouragement toward the unifying of all Jews, in and outside of Israel.

 

But where was God?

Why not take an hour or so and read through the Book of Esther on your own. It is a lovely story of determination and great faith on the part of Esther and Mordecai, and yes, even though there is no mention of God’s name, the events in the story reveal His omnipresence. While the “casting of lots” was a method of fate used by Haman, God turns this around, and in His omniscience and sovereignty, He “just so happened” to make sure that:

  • Esther, a Jewess, just so happened to become queen, which eventually led her to help save the Jewish nation from extinction.(Esther 2:17)
  • Mordecai just so happened to overhear a plot to kill the King which eventually put his name in the King’s book and allowed for him to be honored in the town (Esther 2:21-23).
  • Esther just so happened to walk in on King Xerxes, unasked, and was granted permission to speak (such an act could have cost her her life) (Esther 4:16, 5:2).
  • Haman just so happened to be too close to the queen, while begging her for forgiveness when the king just so happened to walk in and see this (Esther 7:8).
  • Assuming Haman to be physically aggressive to his queen, Xerxes just so happened, in a fit of rage, to have Haman hung on those same gallows he made for Mordecai (Esther 7:9-10). Haman was certainly at the end of his rope.

 

Nothing, but nothing, in this world goes unnoticed by our Sovereign Lord. Hallelujah!

 

What biblical principles or Messianic implications can we derive from Esther?

The following information is taken from Ariel’s manuscript #177 Purim: The Feast Of Lots (Esther), by Dr. Arnold G Fruchtenbaum.

“The Book of Esther” is a good example of a principle found in the Abrahamic Covenant (Genesis 12:3): “And him that curseth thee, I will curse”. This principle of the Abrahamic Covenant  teaches that those who curse the Jews will be cursed by God. Both the Law and the Prophets emphasize the fact that the Jews will survive, regardless of how bad it might get during the times of the Gentiles. This is a biblical guarantee. The story of Esther is a good example of God’s use of providence to secure the survival of Israel in the Dispersion. God’s guarantee that the Jews, as a nation survive will continue until Israel’s national salvation and the return of the Messiah, at which point there will be no further threat to Jewish survival.
If you would like to read this manuscript, it can be purchased as a pdf download from Ariel Ministries Canada for $3.

 

What do Jewish people do on Purim? They party!!!

They read the MEGILLAH, which is the scroll of Esther. As the scroll is read, whenever Haman’s name is mentioned, people will stomp their feet and children will use special noisemakers in order to drown out Haman’s name. Based on Esther 9:22, they are to send portions one to another, usually in the form of food. They must also give gifts to the poor. Due to its festive nature, rabbis have determined that on Purim it is forbidden to fast. The obligation is to eat, drink, and be merry. This is also a time for Jewish children living in Israel and elsewhere to live out a type of “Halloween”.  Masquerade parties and Purim plays are very popular with children and adults alike.

 

Any special foods?

Hamantashen/ pastry cakes filled with prunes or poppy seeds, kreplach/ravioli, challah/egg bread

When it is a minor or major Jewish feast, we still love to eat.

2 Comments

  1. by SandRa Lee on 9 March 2017  18:50 Reply

    The Book of Esther (Mazel Tov)

    Esther was a beautiful young Jewish girl
    Who had been raised by her cousin Mordecai
    When King Xerxes made her his queen,
    Her nationality to the king, she did hide

    Haman was a man the king honoured
    Above all other nobility
    Everyone knelt before him
    In keeping with the king's decree

    Haman became so enraged
    When Mordecai refused,
    He did not just want to kill Mordecai
    But all of the other Jews

    He convinced the king
    He should decree their annihilation
    Since the Jews, regarding his laws
    Were in violation

    A date was set and sent out
    To all in King Xerxes' realm
    When the Jews heard of this,
    With great grief they were overwhelmed

    Esther was distressed
    Then Mordecai gave this instruction:
    Beg the king for mercy
    And save us from destruction

    She said to see the king without
    Being summoned is a death wish
    Mordecai said, "Don't think because
    You're queen, you won't perish"

    "If you stay silent, deliverance will come
    From somewhere other than this
    But you and your kin will die
    Perhaps you are here for such a time as this"

    She asked the Jews in the region,
    "Fast for me three days and nights
    And then I will go see the king
    And if I die, then I die"

    The king extended his mercy
    For her to approach his throne
    He said that even up to half
    Of his kingdom, he would bestow

    She invited Haman and Xerxes
    To a banquet with food and wine
    And asked if they could return
    In twenty-four hours' time

    And then she would divulge
    Her request to the king
    Haman skipped home until he saw
    The man he found infuriating

    He called together his friends
    And his wife, Zeresh, to boast
    Of his wealth, his sons and how
    The king honoured him the most

    "Plus, I'm the only one Esther
    Has twice invited to dine
    But I get no satisfaction
    As long as I see Mordecai"

    Everyone suggested to have
    A pole of fifty cubits
    Be put up for Mordecai
    To be impaled upon it

    That night, the sleepless king
    Read the chronicles of his kingdom
    Which told of how Mordecai
    Thwarted his assassination

    The king queried, "What has been done
    To honour this man?"
    When who should enter the scene
    But the proud Haman

    He thought it was all about him,
    Of course
    When he entered
    The middle of their discourse

    Haman said, "A parade
    With royal attire should be his due"
    Then the king told Haman,
    "Do this for Mordecai, the Jew"

    Later, Haman, ashamed, rushed home
    Where friends counselled him,
    "Your downfall's begun from this Jew;
    You will soon come to ruin"

    At Esther's banquet
    The king heard her petition
    To spare her people
    Who'd been sold for destruction

    "Who is this man who dared
    Do such a thing?"
    Exclaimed Xerxes,
    The justly enraged king

    He went out for a moment
    Into the palace garden
    Then Haman begged the queen
    To bring about his pardon

    But the king had Haman impaled
    In a twist of fate
    Then he gave Esther, who gave
    Mordecai, Haman's own estate

    Then the king decreed the Jews
    To be granted rights
    To assemble together
    And if need be, fight

    Then the Jews' lament
    Turned to feasts and celebration
    For they protected themselves
    From their enemies in the nation

    Throughout the provinces
    Of Xerxes, both near and far
    The Jews celebrated for two days
    In the month of Adar

    They still honour the ones
    Who worked for their good and spoke up -
    To those who seek peace and prosperity
    For God's people, I lift a cup

  2. by Kema Dwarka on 11 March 2017  13:32 Reply

    Great poem explaining the book of Esther! God bless the Jewish people!

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published.

Latest News

  • When God gave the Mosaic Law to Israel, He was very generous. Among the many commandments, He also gave the Jews many holidays; along with the weekly Sabbath, there were many feasts to commemorate and celebrate. These were set or appointed times, what the Hebrew calls Moedim, selected times when t... [read more]
  • To our dear readers and prayer warriors, Over the course of this past summer, we have had several opportunities to go out door to door. All three groups (Montreal, Calgary, and Buffalo) have something to share. While we would love to be there for every conversation, only God is omniscient yet He ... [read more]
  • We often hear the expression that it’s not religion but a relationship with God that is most important.  From the start, God emphasized relationship over religion, but man turned things around. Because of the righteousness of God in us we are deemed righteous, not by works or zeal. We can never work... [read more]
  • Every time we climb up the steps to knock on someone's door, we pray that these people would take their first steps by bringing the Scriptures into their home, and then by a leap of faith, receive the Word in their hearts. Report of Outreach for the last two weeks, Monday the 8th and the following ... [read more]
  • Knock and Talk - April 24, 2017 “People don’t want to listen today”, one Jewish gentleman told us in his driveway. We mentioned that both Hosea and Isaiah spoke of God lamenting that His people were perishing for lack of knowledge and their rejection of knowledge. (Hos. 4:6; Is. 5:13) We confiden... [read more]
  • What is the major difference between the feasts mentioned in Column 1 and Column 2? If you answered that Column 1’s feasts take place in the Spring, while Column 2’s feasts take place in the Fall you would be correct. But there is something else! If you have figured out that Column 1’s fea... [read more]
  • You probably know more Scripture than many of your Jewish friends. Unfortunately, many Jewish people do not take the time to read the Bible, but insist that knowledge of hand-me-down traditions serves to satisfy a meaningful relationship with God. We want to encourage you to share your faith with yo... [read more]
  • Jewish people all over the world are getting ready for Passover. Some just buy unleavened bread or matzah, but others spend weeks on end scouring every corner of their entire home for crumbs of leavening. They have zeal, but most are without knowledge of the true Passover Lamb, Yeshua, Who is the fu... [read more]
  • Teach us to number our days O Lord, for (with the exception of the Rapture) we will, like our fathers and mothers before us, knock on death’s door, at Your appointed time. As we pass through that door and into eternity, may the joy of Your presence Lord, complete our earthly journey with the preciou... [read more]
  • Henrietta did not want to be the sacrifice for the soup (please see below). That would be a recipe for disaster. We would all be better off remembering that one. Rather than be a sacrifice, we need to have the ultimate sacrifice, the Messiah, as so clearly stated in Isaiah 53. Let’s remember that... [read more]
  • The Feast of Purim The story of Purim is found in the Book of Esther, neatly tucked away between Nehemiah and Job. Purim celebrates the courage and faith displayed by Mordecai (from the tribe of Benjamin) and Queen Esther (they were cousins). It recognizes God’s continued faithfulness and promise o... [read more]