Friday 13 June, 2014

Esther 9:18-10:3

18 But the Jews in Susa had gathered together on the 13th and 14th. Then on the 15th they rested. They made it a day to celebrate with great joy. And they enjoyed good food. 19 That’s why Jews who live out in the villages celebrate on the 14th of Adar. They celebrate that day with great joy. And they enjoy good food. They also give presents to each other on that day. 20 Mordecai wrote down those events. He sent letters to all of the Jews all through the territories of King Xerxes. It didn’t matter whether the Jews lived nearby or far away. 21 Mordecai told them to celebrate the 14th and 15th days of the month of Adar. He wanted them to do it every year. 22 Mordecai told the Jews to celebrate the time when they got rest from their enemies. That was the month when their sadness was turned into joy. It was when their sobbing turned into a day for celebrating. He wrote the letters to celebrate those days as times of joy. He wanted the people to enjoy good food. He told them to give presents of food to one another. He also wanted them to give gifts to those who were poor. 23 So the Jews agreed to continue the celebrating they had started. They kept doing what Mordecai had written to them. 24 Haman was the son of Hammedatha, the Agagite. He had been the enemy of all of the Jews. He had planned to destroy them. He had cast the lot to destroy them completely. The lot was also called pur. 25 But the king had found out about Haman’s evil plan. So the king had sent out written orders. He had ordered that the evil plan Haman had made against the Jews should come back on his own head. He had also commanded that Haman and his sons should be put to death. Poles should be stuck through their dead bodies. Then they should be set up where everyone could see them. 26 The days the Jews were celebrating were called Purim. Purim comes from the word pur. Pur means “lot.” Now the Jews celebrate those two days every year. They do it because of everything that was written in Mordecai’s letter. They also do it because of what they had seen and what had happened to them. 27 So they established it as a regular practice. They decided they would always observe those two days of the year. They would celebrate in the required way. And they would celebrate at the appointed time. They and their children after them and everyone who joined them would always observe those days. 28 The days should be remembered and celebrated. They should be remembered by every family for all time to come. They should be celebrated in every territory and in every city. The Jews should never stop celebrating the days of Purim. Their children after them should always remember those days. 29 So Queen Esther, the daughter of Abihail, wrote a second letter. She wrote it together with the Jew Mordecai. They wanted to give their full authority to this second letter about Purim. 30 Mordecai sent letters to all of the Jews in the 127 territories of the kingdom of Xerxes. The letters had messages of kindness and hope in them. 31 The letters established the days of Purim at their appointed times. They spoke about what the Jew Mordecai and Queen Esther had ordered the people to do. Everything should be done in keeping with the directions the Jews had set up for themselves and their children after them. The directions applied to their times of fasting and sadness. 32 Esther’s order established the rules about Purim. It was written down in the records. 10 King Xerxes required people all through his kingdom to bring him gifts. He required gifts from its farthest shores. 2 All of his powerful and mighty acts are written down. That includes the whole story of how important Mordecai was. The king had given him a position of great honor. All of those things are written in the official records of the kings of Media and Persia. 3 The Jew Mordecai’s position was second only to the position of King Xerxes. Mordecai was the most important Jew. All of the other Jews had the highest respect for him. That’s because he worked for the good of his people. And he spoke up for the benefit of all of the Jews.

The Jews have survived and here in these verses we see the start of the Feast of Purim. The word Pur means ‘lot’ and im is like an‘s’. It makes it a plural in Hebrew, so the Purim means lots. This is a feast of lots, because Haman had determined by casting lots which day the Jews would be destroyed. To this day, on the thirteenth day of March in the Jewish calendar they have a day with a type of fasting, but on the fourteenth day in the villages, and on the fifteenth day of March in Jerusalem, they celebrate the Feast of Purim. There is feasting and gladness, friends are invited over and they have lots of goodies that they share together. In March, it is a time of remembrance and festivity in Israel.

This festival was instituted from generation to generation to remember the wonderful work which God had wrought for them. The children would know God’s mighty work; they would declare it to their children, so they would set their hope in God.

When God has delivered us from the enemies’ schemes, remember to tell your story, so your deliverance is a legacy your family and friends can remember Gods goodness and unfailing love. Remember to praise God for His great love and sovereignty over our lives. Celebrate God’s blessings with joy, and extend this blessing to others.

Thank you God that Your good works are everlasting and enduring. When we have cried out to You, You have delivered us from the snares of the enemy. Amen

Written by Cathy Croft

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