ESTHER – PART 4
Today is the Feast of Purim, a time for rejoicing in God’s deliverance. We shall examine the celebration later. First, we complete the story that led to it.
Haman’s plot to kill all Jews on the 13th of Adar (the 12th month) had been exposed. Haman was hanged immediately on his own gallows. Esther was given his land and possessions. By the King’s order Mordecai was now elevated to second in the kingdom, in Haman’s place. He was given an order which he wrote and dispatched to the 127 provinces. It said that on the 13th day of the 12th month (Adar) in which Jews everywhere were to be killed, the Jews could defend themselves. They could arm themselves, which was previously forbidden, and kill everyone who thought to do them harm and keep the spoils. This brought great rejoicing.
Mordecai became very powerful and was greatly feared and respected. The rulers in the province became helpful to the Jews. The Jews gathered together in the cities of all the provinces. At the capitol of Shushan on the 13th day of Adar, the Jews slew 500 in the palace, and on the 14th day of Adar they slew another 300 in the city. This included slaying the ten sons of Haman. They rested from this on the 15th day of Adar.
Throughout the 127 provinces (other than Shushan) they slew 75,000 on the 13th of Adar. On the 14th of Adar, they then rested from slaying and made it a day of gladness and feasting. The Jews had been delivered from total extermination.
Mordecai sent out letters to Jews in all the provinces that the 14th and 15th of Adar was to be celebrated every year from that time onward. This celebration was named Purim after the name of Pur. We see in Esther 3:7 that Pur was Persia’s custom of casting lots every day in front of Haman. It was done with dice. Since Haman’s “lot” had now been cast (his destiny and death), it was appropriate to name the celebration Purim (plural for dice).
When the French archaeologist Dieulafoy excavated the palace at Shushan, (1884-1886) he even found one of the dice, a Pur*. (*Halley’s Bible Handbook.)
Tomorrow we will look at how Purim is celebrated.
Missed some of Russell's messages? Click here to read