Posts Tagged ‘megillah’

The Cast of Purim

“Mordecai recorded these events and sent letters to all the Jews in all the provinces of King Ahasuerus, both near and far, instructing them to observe the fourteenth day of the month of Adar and the fifteenth day, every year, [to commemorate] the days on which the Jews obtained rest from their enemies and the month which for them was turned from sorrow into gladness and from mourning into a holiday; they were to make them days of celebrating and rejoicing, sending portions [of food] to each other and giving gifts to the poor” (Esther 9:20-22).

King Xerxes and Queen Esther

Purim is a memorial to the deliverance of the Jewish people from near  destruction while they were in exile in Persia (modern-day Iran).  During the reign of Ahasuerus (aka King Xerxes), a wicked anti-semitic man named Haman came to power.  He wanted all Jews in the kingdom destroyed because they had customs that wouldn’t allow them to obey the king’s laws.  Purim or ‘lots’ were cast to choose the day of their annihilation.  A Jew named Mordecai along with his niece who had become Queen interceded for the Jewish people and their destruction was averted. 

Purim celebrations are joyous and center around audience-participation melodramas.  There are groggers or noisemakers used to either cheer for the heroes or drown out the name of the villain, Haman.  Cookies, called Hamantashen, are made to look like Haman’s tricorn hat.  Children dress in the costumes of their favorite Purim character.  Food is collected and put in baskets to give to the poor, the widow and the fatherless.

Within the account of Purim there are an array of characters.  As you read one or two specific verses from the megillah or scroll of Esther about each of them,  watch how power corrupts, faith overcomes and truth is revealed.  More importantly, watch God work His hand of protection for the Jewish people, for without it, they would have been destroyed.  As some have said, without Purim, there would have been no Jewish people.  If there had been no Jewish people, there would have been no salvation named Yeshua from the Tribe of Judah.

In these last days, the Jewish people and the nation of Israel are under great attack from the nations around the world.  As global events continue to unfold, everyone will have to  choose a side:  Israel and God’s people or the international community.  As you read the account of Esther, check your own heart regarding the Jewish people.  Are you rebellious Queen Vashti,  transformed King Ahasuerus, faithful Queen Esther, discerning Mordecai, vindictive Zeresh, or anti-semitic Haman? 

Vashti

The queen to Ahasuerus disobeyed the king’s command and lost her position in the kingdom.

“Therefore, if it pleases the king, let him issue a royal decree and let it be written in the laws of Persia and Media, which cannot be repealed, that Vashti is never again to enter the presence of King Xerxes. Also let the king give her royal position to someone else who is better than she” (Esther 1:19).

Hadassah (Esther)

Hadassah in Hebrew means ‘myrtle’ while her Persian name means ‘hidden.’  She was ‘hidden’ in the king’s palace and became an intercessor for the lives of the Jewish people.

“Now there was in the citadel of Susa a Jew of the tribe of Benjamin, named Mordecai … who had a cousin named Hadassah. This girl, who was also known as Esther, was lovely in form and features, and Mordecai had taken her as his own daughter when her father and mother died” (Esther 2:4-5).

Ahasuerus

The king of Persia also known as King Xerxes.

Now the king was attracted to Esther more than to any of the other women, and she won his favor and approval more than any of the other virgins. So he set a royal crown on Esther’s head and made her queen instead of Vashti”(Esther 2:17).

Mordecai

Hadassah’s uncle from the Tribe of Benjamin who remained faithful to the King and Queen of Persia.  His name means ‘warrior.’

“During the time Mordecai was sitting at the king’s gate, two of the king’s officers who guarded the doorway, became angry and conspired to assassinate King Xerxes. But Mordecai found out about the plot and told Queen Esther, who in turn reported it to the king, giving credit to Mordecai” (Esther 2:21-22).

Haman

The king’s right-hand man who descended from Amalek, who was to be destroyed by King Saul.   Haman had an anti-semitic heart.

“Then Haman said to King Ahusuerus, “There is a certain people dispersed and scattered among the peoples in all the provinces of your kingdom whose customs are different from those of all other people and who do not obey the king’s laws; it is not in the king’s best interest to tolerate them. If it pleases the king, let a decree be issued to destroy them, and I will put ten thousand talentsof silver into the royal treasury for the men who carry out this business” (Esther 3:8-9).

Haman’s Wife

A jealous woman who wanted her husband to rise to power in the kingdom.

“His wife Zeresh and all his friends said to him, “Have a gallows built, seventy-five feethigh, and ask the king in the morning to have Mordecai hanged on it. Then go with the king to the dinner and be happy” (Esther 5:14).

The Decree of Extermination

“Letters were sent by courier to all the royal provinces “to destroy, kill and exterminate all Jews, from young to old, including small children and women, on a specific day, the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, the month of Adar, and to seize their goods as plunder” (Esther 3:13).

For Such a Time as This – A Spiritual Vision

“When Esther’s words were reported to Mordecai, he sent back this answer: “Do not think that because you are in the king’s house you alone of all the Jews will escape.  For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to royal position for such a time as this?”  (Esther 4:12-14)

The Queen – Bride

The Bride petitions the King for the lives of God’s Chosen People.

“Then Queen Esther answered, “If I have found favor with you, O king, and if it pleases your majesty, grant me my life—this is my petition. And spare my people—this is my request. For I and my people have been sold for destruction and slaughter and annihilation. If we had merely been sold as male and female slaves, I would have kept quiet, because no such distress would justify disturbing the king” (Esther 7:3-4).

The King – Messiah

The King rewards the Bride because of her faithful and courageous stand for God’s Chosen People. 

”That same day King Ahasuerus gave the house of Haman, the enemy of the Jews, to Esther the queen. Also Mordecai appeared before the king, for Esther had revealed his relationship to her. (Esther 8:1).

Mordecai – The Warrior

The Warrior who fought for the lives of the God’s Chosen people is rewarded with a signet ring, the seal of the King and dressed in royal robes. 

“The king removed his signet ring, which he had taken back from Haman, and gave it to Mordecai. Then Esther put Mordecai in charge of Haman’s house…. Meanwhile, Mordecai left the king’s presence arrayed in royal blue and white, wearing a large gold crown and a robe of fine linen and purple; and the city of Shushan shouted for joy” (Esther 8:2, 15).  

The Jews – The Kingdom

The Jews celebrate the decree that freed them from certain death.  Many non-Jews put their faith in the God of the Jews and become part of the ‘commonwealth of Israel.’

“For the Jews, all was light, gladness, joy and honor. In every province and city where the king’s order and decree arrived, the Jews had gladness and joy, a feast and a holiday. Many from the peoples of the land became Jews, because fear of the Jews had overcome them” (Esther 8:16-17).

Haman – The Enemy

Haman builds a gallows that is 75 feet high in order to kill his sworn enemy.  The word 75 in Hebrew is abos and means ‘to feed,’ ‘fatten,’ or ‘fodder’ which is ‘food for livestock.’  The actual Hebrew letters which make up 75 are Ayin and Hey.  The Hebrew word pictures for these two letters mean ‘window’ and ‘reveal.’  The numerical meaning of 75 could be the ‘seeing and revealing’ of the evil one’s true desire: to destroy the Jewish people so Messiah could not come the first time; and to destroy them in our days so he cannot return and end the control of the god of this world.

“Haman had just fallen on the couch where Ester was, when the king returned from the palace garden to the wine banquet. He shouted, “Is he even going to rape the queen here in the palace, before my very eyes?” The moment these words left the king’s mouth, they covered Haman’s face. Harvonah, one of the king’s attendants, said, “Look! The gallows seventy-five feet high that Haman made for Mordekhai, who spoke only good for the king, is standing at Haman’s house.” The king said, “Hang him on it.” So they hanged Haman on the gallows he had prepared for Mordekhai” (Hebrews 7:8-10). 

Yeshua and Purim

“After this, there was a Judean festival; and Yeshua went up to Yerushalayim. In Yerushalayim, by the Sheep Gate, is a pool called in Aramaic, Beit-Zata, in which lay a crowd of invalids — blind, lame, crippled…. Now that day was Shabbat, so the Judeans said to the man who had been healed, “It’s Shabbat!  It’s against Torah for you to carry your mat!” (John 5:1-3, 9-10).

In John chapter 5, Yeshua went into Jerusalem and celebrated an unnamed Biblical festival by healing a crippled man on the Sabbath in  Bethesda meaning “House of Mercy.’  The only Biblical holiday to fall on a Sabbath during the years of Yeshua’s ministry was Purim in 28 C.E. It is believed by scholars that the Spirit of God left out the specific name of the feast because His name was also not found in the book of Esther.  

There is, however, the Alef and the Tav found throughout the book of Esther.  In Revelation 22:13, Yeshua says that he is the ‘beginning and the end, the alef and the tav.’  He would not have used the Greek letters alpha and omega because he spoke Hebrew to John.   Also, the Hebrew letters Alef and Tav have incredible significance.  These letters make up the word את or ‘et’ and are found throughout the Hebrew Scriptures.  They do not have a specific meaning like ‘the’ or ‘and’ though they sometimes point to a coming noun.  Their Hebrew word pictures suggest ‘the first strength of the covenant sign.’  It’s not until Yeshua explains those letters in Revelation that a reader of the Hebrew language can suddenly ‘see’ him in passages like Esther 4:7 and 9:29. Though the memorial name of God, the yod hey vav hey is not found in Esther, His ‘salvation’ or Yeshua, the Alef and the Tav, is. 

The healed man had been crippled for 38 years.  In Hebrew the number 38 is created with the letters Lamed and Chet meaning ‘one who has authority over the inner room or heart.’  This is what Purim is about.  What is the heart condition of each person in the account or moreover the heart condition of whoever reads the account of Esther? Is it a love for the Jewish people, a love enough to stand for them in the midst of persecution like Ahasuerus or an anti-semitic hatred like wicked Haman that desires not only their complete demise, but their assimilation into the religious cultures around them?  We can all be like the Warrior Mordecai standing for the God of Israel or Queen Esther who was willing to lay down her life for the Chosen People of God. 

Purim – The Memorial

Mordecai recorded these events, and he sent letters to all the Jews throughout the provinces of King Ahasuerus, near and far,to have them celebrate annually the fourteenth and fifteenth days of the month of Adaras the time when the Jews got relief from their enemies, and as the month when their sorrow was turned into joy and their mourning into a day of celebration. He wrote them to observe the days as days of feasting and joy and giving presents of food to one another and gifts to the poor” (Esther 9:20-22).

The ‘day of lots’ became an annual memorial to the Jews’ victory over anti-semitism and is observed from the days of Persia through the days  of Yeshua until today.  May anti-semitism like that of Haman, that desires to destroy the very people from whom salvation came, never take root the hearts of those who enter the Kingdom of God.

©2012 Tentstake Ministries Publishing, all rights reserved.  No copying or reproducing of this article without crediting the author or Tentstake Ministries Publishing.   For a hard copy of this blog post,  please purchase Journey with Jeremiah: Nourishment for the Wild Olive.