Background of Purim – Pt 1

Posted: March 18, 2011 in Holidays- Holy Days

The Feast of Purim is a day of joy, family unity, feasting, giving gifts of food to others and gifts to the poor. No one is allowed to be sad, mourn, have funerals, etc. It is a day that the Jews established and God honors. The Book of Esther records the history behind the Feast.

Esther 8:19, “Therefore the Jews of the villages who dwelt in the unwalled towns celebrated the fourteenth day of the month of Adar with gladness and feasting, as a holiday, and for sending presents to one another.” (it is also celebrated in Jerusalem on the 15th)

The Book of Esther takes place in Persia (modern day Iran) when the Jews were in 70 years captivity after the Temple was destroyed in 586 BC. This was the same time period that Ezra & Nehemiah were written. (somewhere around 500 years before Jesus was born)

The Book of Esther begins with: “And it came to pass in the days of…”. In Hebrew it is, v’yahi bemeyi, and it occurs 6 times in the Bible, always marks a time of trouble ending in blessing.

This book is unique because:

1.   The name of God is not mentioned in the entire book (however, the names of God, Jehovah & I AM were in accrostic in 5
phrases in the book- see link

2.   Esther & Ruth are the only 2 books out of 66 that are named after women

3.   No prophecies, no promises from God, no distinct message from God

4.   No mention of heaven or hell

5.   No prophetic word about Messiah

6.   No reference to worship or faith

7.   Contains the longest verse in the Bible, Esther 8:9

8.   When the 10 sons of Haman are mentioned, 3 of the names have a smaller font of a Hebrew letter included  (taf of Parshandata, the shin of Parmashta and the zayin of Vizata. These three Hebrew letters are the numberic value of 1946, which is the year that 10 of Hitler’s closest leaders were hanged on the 7th day of Tabernacles, when the final judgments are sealed, October 16, 1946. As one named Steichcer was being hung, he screamed, ‘Purim Feast 1946’)

9.   The entire book revolves around feasts and wine, covers a time period of 7-9 years

10. The entire book shows the hidden hand of God working in times of trouble for His covenant people

The key figures are:

King Ahasuerus, whose name means “lion-king“. At the time of the first chapter, his territory covered from India to Egypt, 127 provinces in all. He had just gotten back from a defeat against Greece and had a 6 month-long feast for all the leaders of the provinces to get their respect back and form a great army to follow him to form a great army against Greece. It is followed by a 7 day feast for commoners to boost their moral.

Queen Vashti, whose name means “beautiful”. She was queen in the 3rd year of his reign. As the king entertained she had her separate feasts for the women of the nobility of the 127 provinces. When the king sent for her to come she would notbecause the law of the Persians forbid the wives to be seen by strangers. Because she would not come, the king consulted with the 7 leaders of his kingdom and wise men (astrologers). Memucan, one of those princes, suggested that if the king did not punish her that none of the women would respect their husbands. (1st acrostic found in ‘all the wives shall give’). This ends Vashti from being queen.

Mordecai– Jewish scribe from the tribe of Benjamin. His name means “little man”

Esther– her Persian name means ‘star‘, (Jewish name was Hadassah, which means ‘myrtle’) A myrtle treeis a low tree, representing humility. It is covered with shiny green leaves and adorned with snow white flowers (representing purity) bordered with purple (reprsenting royalty) emitting an equisite perfume. In Hebrew it describes her as ‘lovely in form and beautiful to look at’. Josephus records ‘her grace and countenance drew
the eyes of the spectators mainly upon her’.

Wicked Haman, whose name means ‘magnificient’, was a descendant of Amelek, an Agagite. King Saul (of the tribe of Benjamin) had been ordered to kill the the line of Amelek, but did not complete his assignment
(Exodus 16:16; I Samuel 15; Deuteronomy 25:17-19). Haman had an inherited blood-line hatred for the Jews.

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