Thursday, February 01, 2007

The Feast of Purim Begins

Today we read from Esther 9 and 10.

Do you remember that we learned yesterday that Mordecai was able to provide a contradictory order, one that would not countermand the king, but at the same time would give his people a measure of protection?

Today we learn the result of that action.
1Now in the twelfth month, which is the month of Adar, on the thirteenth day of the same, when the king's command and edict were about to be carried out, on the very day when the enemies of the Jews hoped to gain the mastery over them, the reverse occurred: the Jews gained mastery over those who hated them. 2The Jews gathered in their cities throughout all the provinces of King Ahasuerus to lay hands on those who sought their harm. And no one could stand against them, for the fear of them had fallen on all peoples.
It wasn't just the fear of the Jews in general, it was the fear of Mordecai. Mordecai had become great in the King's palace.
For Mordecai was great in the king's house, and his fame spread throughout all the provinces, for the man Mordecai grew more and more powerful.
I have to admit, I'm not sure if I'm real impressed with how they handled things, but that's because I'm a woman living in the 21st century.
5The Jews struck all their enemies with the sword, killing and destroying them, and did as they pleased to those who hated them. 6In Susa the citadel itself the Jews killed and destroyed 500 men, 7and also killed Parshandatha and Dalphon and Aspatha 8and Poratha and Adalia and Aridatha 9and Parmashta and Arisai and Aridai and Vaizatha, 10the ten sons of Haman the son of Hammedatha, the enemy of the Jews, but they laid no hand on the plunder.
Now I don't quite understand this part. The King noticed what the Jews did, He seemed shocked at the damage that they did. he wondered what they might have done in the rest of the land....so he turned to Esther and asked what she wanted of him. What I don't get is why would he ask Esther what more she wanted? Wouldn't she have gotten what she wanted already? The lives of her people spared? Why wouldn't he have asked questions of people, found out what happened? I don't understand this.

But it's what he did. And Esther's response to him was
If it please the king, let the Jews who are in Susa be allowed tomorrow also to do according to this day's edict. And let the ten sons of Haman be hanged on the gallows."
Once again, Esther was respectful in her request. And once again, the King granted it. On the second day 300 men died in Susa. No plunder was taken. And the sons of Haman were hung on the gallows.

This was the result in the rest of the provinces
16Now the rest of the Jews who were in the king's provinces also gathered to defend their lives, and got relief from their enemies and killed 75,000 of those who hated them, but they laid no hands on the plunder. 17This was on the thirteenth day of the month of Adar, and on the fourteenth day they rested and made that a day of feasting and gladness.
The Susa living Jews did things a wee bit different, my guess is due to the way messages were delivered, not in an instant like today, but by animal-back or human runners.
18But the Jews who were in Susa gathered on the thirteenth day and on the fourteenth, and rested on the fifteenth day, making that a day of feasting and gladness.
And so the Feast of Purim was made. For Mordecai
sent letters to all the Jews who were in all the provinces of King Ahasuerus, both near and far, 21obliging them to keep the fourteenth day of the month Adar and also the fifteenth day of the same, year by year, 22as the days on which the Jews got relief from their enemies, and as the month that had been turned for them from sorrow into gladness and from mourning into a holiday; that they should make them days of feasting and gladness, days for sending gifts of food to one another and gifts to the poor.
It is called the Feast of Purim because Haman had plotted against the Jews, and had cost PUR (that is lots) to determine the day to crush and destroy them. "Therefore they called these days Purim, after the term Pur. " So, for all time, their salvation from their enemies would be remembered. Queen Esther confirmed it.

After being given the King's signet ring, Mordecai was second in rank to King Ahasuerus. He was
"great among the Jews and popular with the multitude of his brothers, for he sought the welfare of his people and spoke peace to all his people."
Can you imagine a leader like that? One who is popular across cultures and nationalities. One who genuinely cares about the people that he is leading? One who promotes peace among people? Mordecai, I'm sure he had his faults, but he sure seems like he was a good leader.

Gives me a way to prayer for my leaders today.

According to this site, Purim is still celebrated today by the Jews.

1 comment:

Holly said...

Hi Annette,

Been wondering how you are! I've not been around too much...

I've got the boy's surgery written down in my prayer journal - so I will be sure and pray for you all as the time approaches!

Love,
Holly