Posts Tagged ‘Xerxes’

The Poetic Megillah

A long time ago in the Persian far east

A King named Ahasuherus gave a great feast.

He wanted Queen Vashti to dance for his friends, 

But she refused to perform and her reign quickly ends.

When he realizes the loss of not having a Queen

He goes about getting a new one for the scene.

He called for young girls to be brought to his place

So he could choose one with a beautiful face.

A Jewish young woman lived in the city

Everyone knew that Hadassah was pretty

Uncle Mordechai, a Jewish man too,

Came up with a plan so they would know what to do. 

When the King’s men came to Susa one morning,

Mordechai gave Hadassah a serious warning:

“Don’t let anyone know that you are a Jew

We must keep this secret between us two.

Your name will be Esther, Persian for ‘star’

No matter what happens remain the person you are.”

Esther and her servants all did their duty

Baths in special oils to enhance her beauty.

The time came for Esther to meet the King

When she went to see him she didn’t take anything.

The King fell in love with Esther the ‘star’

Her radiance was more than any so far

Her heart was so different from any he’d seen

That he crowned Esther his special new Queen.

Mordechai heard of a plan to poison the King

He told palace friends about the bad scheme.

He saved the life of Ahasuherus that day

But created an enemy in another way.

In the King’s court was a man named Haman

Who wanted everyone to bow and say, ‘Hey Man!’

Mordechai refused to bow as Haman rode by. 

His G-d is HaShem not a man riding high. 

He stood straight and tall firm in his belief

Refusing to honor ‘the mean’ Haman chief. 

To destroy Mordechai, the honorable Jew

Haman ‘the mean’ planned something quite shrewd.

He threw out some ‘lots’ to choose a date for his war

The day and the month was the 13th Adar

He sealed the decree with the King’s signet ring

And smiled at the thought of the deaths it would bring.

Mordechai found out about the death threat

But, he wasn’t ready to be dead yet

He asked Esther to talk to the King

But she said it would be too frightening.

Mordechai told her there was a great plan

To save every Jewish tribe and clan.

“For such a time as this” you have come to be Queen

To save our people from Haman ‘the mean.’”

She wanted the people to pray and fast

Her Uncle went and did what she asked

She prayed and fasted three days and nights

Then prepared to tell the King of her plight. 

The humble Queen Esther entered the court

Hoping the King would not cut her life short.

He loved her so much he held out his rod

Accepted her invite with his own special nod. 

Esther’s first feast Haman ‘the mean’ found amusing.

The King found the second invite very confusing.

It interrupted his sleep so he read about one

Who saved his life and needed a ‘Well done!’

The King asked advice of Haman ‘the mean’

Who suggested something that would make himself seen.

The King told Haman to run and to do

Everything he suggested for Mordechai, the Jew.

Dressed in the king’s robes he rode the royal horse

With Haman ‘the mean’ yelling tribute until he was hoarse.

While the King and Haman enjoyed a second meal

Esther told the King about ‘mean’ Haman’s deal.

The Jews she told him were destined to perish

And she was one of them, the Queen that he cherished.

The King became angry that Haman would kill

Those in his Kingdom who were full of goodwill

He got rid of ‘mean’ Haman and took back his ring

And gave it to Mordechai who had saved the King.

Using the power of the King’s signet seal

Mordechai the Jew created a new deal.

This one allowed the Jews to fight

So they could remain alive and all right. 

We thank the King who loved the Jews

And cheer for Mordechai who won his due.

We “oooh” and “ahhhh” for Esther the Queen

And always we ‘boo’ Haman ‘the mean.’

Mordechai the Jew and Esther the Queen

Set aside this day and called it Purim.

We celebrate the victory and take food to the poor

And eat Hamentashen, may I please have one more?

Happy Purim!

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 Destruction

“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

“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 King

“Go at once,” the king commanded Haman. “Get the robe and the horse and do just as you have suggested for Mordecai the Jew, who sits at the king’s gate. Do not neglect anything you have recommended” (Esther 6:10).

The Queen

“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 Jews

“The king’s edict granted the Jews in every city the right to assemble and protect themselves; to destroy, kill and annihilate any armed force of any nationality or province that might attack them and their women and children; and to plunder the property of their enemies” (Esther 8:11).

Purim

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).

©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.