In our study of Esther chapter nine, we look at the faith that the Jews had in the Persian king and how it relates to our faith in King Jesus.
On the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, the month of Adar, the edict commanded by the king was to be carried out. On this day the enemies of the Jews had hoped to overpower them, but now the tables were turned and the Jews got the upper hand over those who hated them. The Jews assembled in their cities in all the provinces of King Xerxes to attack those seeking their destruction. No one could stand against them, because the people of all the other nationalities were afraid of them.
In chapter 8, we saw that the king had issued a proclamation that granted them salvation. Here, we see that the Jews believed the king and took him at his word. When the day came, they won the battle because they believed in the authority of the king and trusted in God. This is a picture of how we are saved from the effects of our sins. Our King Jesus has the authority to forgive us of our sins because of His sacrifice on the cross and the fact that He is the Son of God. If we believe that, we can stand against our own enemy which is Satan.
And all the nobles of the provinces, the satraps, the governors and the king's administrators helped the Jews, because fear of Mordecai had seized them. Mordecai was prominent in the palace; his reputation spread throughout the provinces, and he became more and more powerful.
Not only were they granted salvation but they were also shown favor by the politicians. Mordecai had been elevated to a position of great power and it was known that he was a Jew so the politicians did not want to cross him. This is a picture of the power that we have through the Holy Spirit and many times we will be shown favor by people of the world when they see the power of God at work in and through us.
The Jews struck down all their enemies with the sword, killing and destroying them, and they did what they pleased to those who hated them. In the citadel of Susa, the Jews killed five hundred men. They also killed Parshandatha, Dalphon, Aspatha, Poratha, Adalia, Aridatha, Parmashta, Arisai, Aridai and Vaizatha, the ten sons of Haman son of Hammedatha, the enemy of the Jews. But they did not lay their hands on the plunder.
In the capital city, the Jews also killed all of the sons of the man who had intended to kill the Jews. We notice that they did not do it for treasure as they did not take plunder. We must assume that this was an attempt to stamp out anti-Semitism (hatred of the Jews) but it is still alive even to this day.
The number of those slain in the citadel of Susa was reported to the king that same day. The king said to Queen Esther, 'The Jews have killed and destroyed five hundred men and the ten sons of Haman in the citadel of Susa. What have they done in the rest of the king's provinces? Now what is your petition? It will be given you. What is your request? It will also be granted.'
The events of the day were reported to the king and he could see the power of the God of the Jews. He asked the queen what else was desired as he now knew that she was a woman of God.
'If it pleases the king,' Esther answered, 'give the Jews in Susa permission to carry out this day's edict tomorrow also, and let Haman's ten sons be hanged on the gallows.' So the king commanded that this be done. An edict was issued in Susa, and they hanged the ten sons of Haman. The Jews in Susa came together on the fourteenth day of the month of Adar, and they put to death in Susa three hundred men, but they did not lay their hands on the plunder.
Esther's request of the king was for vengeance and it was granted as Haman's dead sons were put on display by being hung on a gallows. This is a simple picture of the vengeance that God is going to take on those who mess with His children.
Meanwhile, the remainder of the Jews who were in the king's provinces also assembled to protect themselves and get relief from their enemies. They killed seventy-five thousand of them but did not lay hands on the plunder. This happened on the thirteenth day of the month of Adar, and on the fourteenth they rested and made it a day of feasting and joy.
The Jews outside of Susa celebrated after the day of their deliverance while the Jews in Susa were having their day of vengeance.
The Jews in Susa, however, had assembled on the thirteenth and fourteenth, and then on the fifteenth they rested and made it a day of feasting and joy. That is why rural Jews - those living in villages - observe the fourteenth of the month of Adar as a day of joy and feasting, a day for giving presents to each other.
Purim is celebrated even today and there is a difference in the day of celebration depending on where the Jew lives. No matter what day it is celebrated on it is still a day to remember the deliverance of God. We, as Christians, should take every day to remember how God has delivered us from sin and death through Jesus Christ. As the Jews gave presents to each other, we should give the good news of Jesus to all we meet.
Mordecai recorded these events, and he sent letters to all the Jews throughout the provinces of King Xerxes, near and far, to have them celebrate annually the fourteenth and fifteenth days of the month of Adar as 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 and gifts to the poor.
Mordecai sent letters to all of the Jews establishing Purim as an annual holiday. The purpose was for the people to take time to remember what God had done for them in delivering them from their enemies. In our world today it seems like we have holidays for everything that we can imagine but most of them are not set aside for remembering the things of the Lord.
So the Jews agreed to continue the celebration they had begun, doing what Mordecai had written to them. For 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) for their ruin and destruction. But when the plot came to the king's attention, he issued written orders that the evil scheme 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. (Therefore these days were called Purim, from the word pur.)
So, this became a national Jewish holy day celebrating the deliverance of God's people from death at the hands of their enemy. This was a time to remember how God had saved them and it is a picture of how we are saved from our own death penalty through the blood of Jesus Christ. The celebration was (and still is today) called Purim from the word pur for lot.
Because of everything written in this letter and because of what they had seen and what had happened to them, the Jews took it upon themselves to establish the custom that they and their descendants and all who join them should without fail observe these two days every year, in the way prescribed and at the time appointed. These days should be remembered and observed in every generation by every family, and in every province and in every city. And these days of Purim should never cease to be celebrated by the Jews, nor should the memory of them die out among their descendants.
We see, from this passage, the establishment of the Feast of Purim which is celebrated by Jews even today. We notice that this custom was established by the people and not directly prescribed by God. This is a very good tradition as it reminds God's people of His hand of deliverance but we must remember that it is still a tradition. There are many traditions in the church of today and often these traditions cause division and splits among the believers. That is the reason for so many denominations and why we must remember the difference between man's traditions and God's instructions.
So Queen Esther, daughter of Abihail, along with Mordecai the Jew, wrote with full authority to confirm this second letter concerning Purim. And Mordecai sent letters to all the Jews in the 127 provinces of the kingdom of Xerxes - words of goodwill and assurance - to establish these days of Purim at their designated times, as Mordecai the Jew and Queen Esther had decreed for them, and as they had established for themselves and their descendants in regard to their times of fasting and lamentation. Esther's decree confirmed these regulations about Purim, and it is written down in the records.
This Feast of Purim became the law of the land by this political order.