Trend Update: Purim 2017

Esther 9:20-22 Then Mordecai recorded these events, and he sent letters to all the Jews who were in all the provinces of King Ahasuerus, both near and far, obliging them to celebrate the fourteenth day of the month Adar, and the fifteenth day of the same month, annually, because on those days the Jews rid themselves of their enemies, and it was a month which was turned for them from sorrow into gladness and from mourning into a holiday; that they should make them days of feasting and rejoicing and sending portions of food to one another and gifts to the poor.

This is the decree for the celebration of the holiday Purim. The celebration is to take place in the Hebrew month of Adar on the 14th and 15th day. In the Gregorian year of 2017, that starts on Saturday, March 11th and ends the next day on March 12. Scripture tells us the holiday is to be celebrated every year.

The setting of the story is in the book of Esther. The events of the story took place from 483-473 BC. The location is Susa of the Persian Empire. This would be modern day Iran.

Esther is a unique book in the Bible in that God’s name is not written or used. Even though God’s name is not seen, it is obvious who is in control of the events of the narrative. The book is a practical example of the Abrahamic Covenant.

Genesis 12:3 “And I will bless those who bless you, and the one who curses you I will curse. And in you all the families of the earth will be blessed.”

I will bless those who bless you…The outline of the story goes like this. King Ahasuerus and his kingdom are ultimately blessed. He marries a beautiful Jewish lady, Esther, who becomes queen. Esther’s uncle Mordecai, a Jew, becomes a trusted voice to the king. The king follows the counsel of his Jewish subjects. King Ahasuerus treated them well and positioned them in places of authority and favor. His kingdom was blessed.

…the one who curses you I will curse…Haman is the villain of the story. He is hostile to the Jewish people. Haman developed a plot to murder all the Jews. His plot is exposed. Haman is ultimately hanged to death at the hands of his own devices.

Esther was a woman of great courage and this is celebrated in the book. Even though she was the queen, she played within the laws of the Persians. She knew death was a possibility.

Esther 4:11 “All the king’s servants and the people of the king’s provinces know that for any man or woman who comes to the king to the inner court who is not summoned, he has but one law, that he be put to death, unless the king holds out to him the golden scepter so that he may live. And I have not been summoned to come to the king for these thirty days.”

Despite the risks, Esther pressed forward on behalf of her people.

Esther 5:2 When the king saw Esther the queen standing in the court, she obtained favor in his sight; and the king extended to Esther the golden scepter which was in his hand. So Esther came near and touched the top of the scepter.

Because of her guile and bravery, the Jewish holiday of Purim is celebrated with joy, gladness, food, and charitable giving.

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