Happy Purim! This Jewish holiday is special to me because I can really relate to being put in situations that I don’t understand why I’m there.
If you remember the story of Esther – she was an orphan, raised by her uncle, Mordecai.
King Xerxes had thrown a big party, got really drunk, and ordered his wife to appear naked. She refused and he, with the advice of his council, determined to depose her. After all, they advised him, if she doesn’t obey him, other wives will think it’s OK to do that.
The king determined to get a new wife. He sent a notice that all the most beautiful, young, women of the land were to become part of his harem. He would choose one from among them to replace Vashti. And so he did.
Sometime later, King Xerxes appointed Haman to be his next in command. With that came the ruling and expectation that everyone would bow to him. Mordecai was having none of that. He would bow to no one but God. That upset Haman a great deal and he convinced Xerxes to make an edict that if you refused to bow to the king you would be hanged. In fact, Haman even offered to give 10,000 pieces of silver to the king’s treasury.
There were many Jews at the time that were refusing to bow to the king so they also fell under this ruling. Well, Haman told the king and between them, they created a ruling that all Jews would be annihilated.
When Mordecai heard about this he told Esther that she needed to intervene. She was not sure how she would be able to do that so she told him she didn’t have the power to do so. He, basically, responded that perhaps she had been placed in her position ‘for such a time as this’. She said she would fast and pray and would then make a decision.
She came up with a plan but in the meantime, Haman had built a scaffold upon which to hang Mordecai because he refused to bow to him.
Her uncle was a scribe for the king and had saved his (the king) life at one point when he heard about a group that wanted to assassinate him. Well, one night King Xerxes couldn’t sleep so he got out the scroll that talked about his actions and what had happened in his country while he was king. He came across the notation that talked about how Mordecai had saved his life. The king quickly called Haman into his chambers and asked him what should be done for someone like this. Haman thought the king was talking about him and said he should have a king’s robe put on him and sit on a steed and go through the city while people bowed to him.
Well, it wasn’t about him. The king made him lead the horse that his enemy sat on. Then, the king found out what Haman was building the gallows for and had him hanged on it instead.
Esther went to Xerxes and told him about what was about to happen to her people. She was able to stop the slaughter. Now Jewish people celebrate Purim every year on the 14th and 15th days of Adar to remind them of the time they were rescued. The actual verses say this:
- Mordecai recorded these events and sent letters to the Jews near and far, throughout all the provinces of King Xerxes, calling on them to celebrate an annual festival on these two days. He told them to celebrate these days with feasting and gladness and by giving gifts of food to each other and presents to the poor. This would commemorate a time when the Jews gained relief from their enemies when their sorrow was turned into gladness and their mourning into joy. Esther 9:20-22
I hope you are able to celebrate this special holiday in your own way. God is good!
Blessings to you and yours!
Thank you to Bible Gateway for providing scripture links.