Traditions include the public reading or chanting of the entire Esther Scroll and performing a Purim play (Purimshpil), which tells the story of Esther. Though the story itself is dramatic, the plays can be quite comical and raucous. The audience participates by booing and even rattling noise-makers at every mention of the villainous Haman while loudly cheering on Mordecai and Esther, the hero and heroine. Another tradition is baking and eating fruit filled triangle shaped pastry called Hamantashen (see picture above) in Yiddish and it means Haman’s pokets.
The story from the Book of Esther takes place in Shushan, the ancient capital city of Persia. It is here we are first introduced to King Ahasuerus or Xerxes, who ruled Persia 486-465 BCE. In the opening scene, the King is displeased with his queen, Vashti.
This is because she would not display her beauty by wearing just a crown before the king’s drunken friends. To save face, Ahasuerus decides to replace her with a more compliant, but no less beautiful candidate for queen.
Enter a Jewish girl named Haddassah, or in Babylonian, Esther. With a little help from her uncle Mordecai, Esther gets the job, and honestly more than she may have bargained for (Esther 2).
Mordecai not only counseled Esther into the position, but he worked as a guard for the king, where he providentially overheard and foiled a plan to assassinate the king (Esther 3). In the meantime the king unwittingly puts a vicious anti-Semite named Haman into position as his Prime Minister.
Filled with hatred, Haman decides to rid the empire of the Jews, especially Mordecai who would not bow down to him as was required in Shushan. Mordecai tells Esther to intercede with the king on behalf of her people. Though hesitant, after some coaxing and challenging, she goes to the king and exposes Haman’s plot. Haman is hung on the gallows he had prepared for Mordecai, the Jews are saved, and Purim is established to remember this victorious event (Esther 9).
While the Jewish people were in Babylon, which were eventually absorbed into Persia, the Babylonians had the writings of the prophet Daniel in their possession. In the Book of Daniel the uniqueness, power and purpose of the God of Israel was revealed to this kingdom:
“Then the sovereignty, the dominion and the greatness of all the kingdoms under the whole heaven will be given to the people of the saints of the Highest One.” (Daniel 7:27)
Therefore because of the historical, biblical and prophetic truth, all plans to destroy the Jewish people are doomed to fail. For as Balaam, when he sought to curse the Israelites as they were marching to the Promised Land, instead he pronounced blessing, “Blessed is everyone who blesses you, and cursed is everyone who curses you” (Numbers 24:9).
This was first declared by God Himself to Abraham: “I will bless those who bless you, and the one who curses you I will curse. And in you all the families of the earth will be blessed (Genesis 12:3).
Notice the text: those who bless is plural, those who curse is singular. The desire of God is to bless many and curse few. When you do not bless the Jewish people you must ultimately fail, for you are contrary to God’s desire and nature, which is love (1 John 4:8,16).
We are created in the image of God, and we are to be an instrument of blessing, not cursing; of love, not hate. Haman was wrong and ultimately had to fail. The Nazis, the jihadists and all racists are wrong and ultimately will fail. If you hate Jewish people you are wrong, and you will ultimately fail. To bless Abraham is to bless the God of Abraham through faith and obedience.
When Messiah returns to earth at His second coming He will imprison Satan for 1000 years (Revelation 20:1-3). The return of the Lord depends upon the repentance of Israel. In order for Satan to prevent the return of Messiah, he must prevent the Jewish people from coming to faith in Yeshua.
God is faithful to keep His people by using any ordinary person who will repent, trust, and serve Him. God wants to use you today just as He used Esther and Mordecai long ago. Perhaps this Purim will serve as God’s challenge to you to be spiritually pro-active in life—in your family, community, and congregation. Do not keep silent; rather, share God’s love in Yeshua with others and please pray for us as we are reaching out with the message of salvation. Happy Purim!