The Feast of Purim (Ester part 2)…or…Oh no! not again Israel

Posted: July 3, 2011 in Christian

This is topic builds upon my topic titled: My Take on Ester

Some background and history: The story of Ester takes place during the time that the Jews were still under the domination and control of the Persian Empire. As you may recall, God became fed up with the continued disobedience of His chosen people, their lack of respect for Him and his Word and their failure to properly represent Him as the Holy Spirit made pretty clear through the prophet Ezekiel in chapter 20.

Ezekiel 20:21-23“Notwithstanding, the children rebelled against Me; they did not walk in My statutes, and were not careful to observe My judgments, ‘which, [if] a man does, he shall live by them’; but they profaned My Sabbaths. Then I said I would pour out My fury on them and fulfill My anger against them in the wilderness. “Nevertheless I withdrew My hand and acted for My name’s sake, that it should not be profaned in the sight of the Gentiles, in whose sight I had brought them out. “Also I raised My hand in an oath to those in the wilderness, that I would scatter them among the Gentiles and disperse them throughout the countries,… (NKJV)

He sent prophet after prophet to warn them to no avail, for the most part. The Jews became corrupt from the leadership down which was the major cause of the kingdom splitting into two parts after Solomon’s death. The Northern kingdom became more corrupt and more prosperous at the same time and was conquered by the Assyrians in 751 BC. The Assyrians, as a national policy toward captured provinces and nations, forced the population to become disbursed throughout their kingdom, thus destroying their national identity, which became the end of the kingdom of Israel. Assyria attempted to destroy the southern kingdom also around 720 BC, but The Lord intervened and after sending an angel to kill 185,000 Assyrians that had the city of Jerusalem under siege, the Assyrians withdrew, licking their wounds. The Lord allows his people to be punished through different means, as we learn throughout history, but will never allow his people to be destroyed. The books of the prophets, for the most part, record the attempt of The Lord to teach and warn these stubborn, unresponsive peoples of their impending trip to the woodshed called captivity and control by the gentile nations. In 605 BC, the Babylonians took control over the southern kingdom of Judea and the Babylonian captivity of the Jewish people began. After the Persians defeated Babylon in 539 BC, the Jews found themselves living under Persian rule. Throughout this whole time that the Jews were in captivity, The Lord, throughout history, has allowed captivity and punishment of His people, but has always kept a firm control over the condition and treatment of them. Under Cyrus, they were allowed to return to Jerusalem in 635 BC to begin to rebuild the temple which was destroyed in the third siege of Jerusalem by Babylon in 597 BC.*1 The book of Ezra records the rebuilding of the Temple in Jerusalem during the reign of Darius the Great after 521 BC. The problem during this effort was that even though they had received funding and permission to rebuild the temple, they weren’t allowed to rebuild the city walls for protection against attacks. Ezra chapter 7 gives us the Decree of Artaxerxes in 445 BC which allowed them to fund their treasuries and rebuild the city wall, thus ensuring protection from invaders and attacks by unfriendly elements.

This is the historical background building up to the book of Ester which takes place during the time preceding Ezra chapter 7.

Historically, the book Ester falls within the time period between Ezra and Nehemiah, and now I know why. It was the events of the book of Ester, the attempt by Haman, which held a very powerful position in the government of Artaxerxes I Longimanus (or Xerxes I)*2 that ruled from 465 BC to 424 BC, to eradicate the Jews because of his beef with Mordechai, cousin of the orphaned Ester, queen of the Persian Empire that caused the events within the pages of Nehemiah to take place. Because Haman was such a power hungry mad man, he turned a personal vendetta against a single Jewish male into an attempt to wipe out his rival’s whole race, in my opinion, probably because of his racial hatred toward the Jews which had tromped his grandfather Agag’s forces many years earlier under the hands of King Saul after which Samuel, prophet of God, did what Saul wouldn’t do and killed and mutilated Agag. Modechai had warned Ester to not reveal that she was Jewish and I previously assumed it was possibly because of the reaction of the king which would have killed her chances to become queen. Now, I don’t think that is it. I think if she had revealed herself as a Jew and became queen, Haman wouldn’t have dared to confront his rival Mordechai and therefore the decree to exterminate the Jewish race never would have been put into place because Haman may have been twisted but he wasn’t stupid. The Lord therefore had Mordechai warn Ester to not reveal herself to allow Haman to play into His hand, therefore establishing the basis for Daniel’s seventy week prophecy we find in Daniel chapter 9.

Daniel 9: 24-27Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy.

9:25 Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times. 9:26 And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined. 9:27 And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate. (KJV)

The Feast of Purim is the celebration of the decree of Artaxerxes that allowed the Jews to rebuild their holy city and protect the completion of the temple. The Jews consider it the deliverance of the Jewish people from their enemies and during the celebrations, feasts and parades, the scroll of Ester is read.*3 Apparently that is as far as they take it and therein lies the tragedy.

For me this topic has exponentially raised my opinion of the importance of the book of Ester and also the Feast of Purim (which I had never heard of before). The book of Ester is the recording of the events that started the clock ticking on the seventy week prophecy. It is the beginning herald of the tragic condemnation of Israel by Christ in Matthew. Israel, true to form, apparently paid attention to the events in Ester enough to create a feast around it while ignoring the prophecy in Daniel that predicted the event and the period following. That’s like turning on a TV to watch the start of a race, and then switching it off because you don’t care about the race or the outcome.

Matthew 23:37“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under [her] wings, but you were not willing! (NKJV)

The Hebrew name for Ester was
Hadassah which means flowering myrtle. Ester is a Persian name meaning star. I have to say that, in my opinion, the story of Ester bloomed and flowered into one of the more important events in Jewish history, for the actions of Ester insured the continued survival of the nation of Israel and even more important, the line of David and the birth of the Savior of mankind was preserved. This makes her a star in the story of the survival of the Nation of Israel.

God Bless, Jim





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