Purim begins today and ends tomorrow night.
The past couple years I have become interested in the Jewish Holidays. In case any of you are as well here is the story of Purim from the Bible.
The Jews Destroy Their Enemies
1On the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, the month of Adar, the king’s command and edict were to be executed. On this day the enemies of the Jews had hoped to overpower them, but the tables were turned and the Jews overpowered those who hated them. 2In each of the provinces of King Xerxes, the Jews assembled in their cities to attack those who sought to harm them. No man could withstand them, because the fear of them had fallen upon all peoples.
3And all the officials of the provinces, the satraps, the governors, and the king’s administrators helped the Jews, because the fear of Mordecai had fallen upon them. 4For Mordecai exercised great power in the palace, and his fame spread throughout the provinces as he became more and more powerful.
5The Jews put all their enemies to the sword, killing and destroying them, and they did what they pleased to those who hated them. 6In the citadel of Susa, the Jews killed and destroyed five hundred men, 7including Parshandatha, Dalphon, Aspatha, 8Poratha, Adalia, Aridatha, 9Parmashta, Arisai, Aridai, and Vaizatha. 10They killed these ten sons of Haman son of Hammedatha, the enemy of the Jews, but they did not lay a hand on the plunder.
Haman’s Sons Hanged
11On that day the number of those killed in the citadel of Susa was reported to the king, 12who said to Queen Esther, “In the citadel of Susa the Jews have killed and destroyed five hundred men, including Haman’s ten sons. What have they done in the rest of the royal provinces? Now what is your petition? It will be given to you. And what further do you request? It will be fulfilled.”
13Esther replied, “If it pleases the king, may the Jews in Susa also have tomorrow to carry out today’s edict, and may the bodies of Haman’s ten sons be hanged on the gallows.”
14So the king commanded that this be done. An edict was issued in Susa, and they hanged the ten sons of Haman. 15On the fourteenth day of the month of Adar, the Jews in Susa came together again and put to death three hundred men there, but they did not lay a hand on the plunder.
16The rest of the Jews in the royal provinces also assembled to defend themselves and rid themselves of their enemies. They killed 75,000 who hated them, but did not lay a hand on the plunder. 17This was done on the thirteenth day of the month of Adar, and on the fourteenth day they rested, making it a day of feasting and joy.
The Feast of Purim Instituted
18The Jews in Susa, however, had assembled on the thirteenth and the fourteenth days of the month. So they rested on the fifteenth day, making it a day of feasting and joy. 19This is why the rural Jews, who live in the villages, observe the fourteenth day of the month of Adar as a day of joy and feasting. It is a holiday for sending gifts to one another.
20Mordecai recorded these events and sent letters to all the Jews in all the provinces of King Xerxes, both near and far, 21to establish among them an annual celebration on the fourteenth and fifteenth days of the month of Adar 22as the days on which the Jews had rid themselves of their enemies and the month in which their sorrow had turned to joy and their mourning into a holiday. He wrote that these were to be days of feasting and joy, of sending gifts to one another and to the poor.
23So the Jews agreed to continue the custom they had started, as Mordecai had written to them.24For Haman son of Hammedatha the Agagite, the enemy of all the Jews, had plotted against the Jews to destroy them and had cast the Pur (that is, the lot) to crush and destroy them. 25But when it came before the king, he commanded by letter that the wicked scheme which Haman had devised against the Jews should come back on his own head, and that he and his sons should be hanged on the gallows.
26Therefore these days are called Purim, from the word Pur.
Because of all the instructions in this letter, and because of all they had seen and experienced,27the Jews bound themselves to establish the custom that they and their descendants and all who join them should not fail to celebrate these two days at the appointed time each and every year, according to their regulation. 28These days should be remembered and celebrated by every generation, family, province, and city, so that these days of Purim should not fail to be observed among the Jews, nor should the memory of them fade from their descendants.
29So Queen Esther daughter of Abihail, along with Mordecai the Jew, wrote with full authority to confirm this second letter concerning Purim. 30And Mordecai sent letters with words of peace and truth to all the Jews in the 127 provinces of the kingdom of Xerxes, 31in order to confirm these days of Purim at their appointed time, just as Mordecai the Jew and Queen Esther had established them and had committed themselves and their descendants to the times of fasting and lamentation.
32So Esther’s decree confirmed these regulations about Purim, which were written into the record.
Have a blessed rest of your week,