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Saturday, August 11 2012
Israel In History and Prophecy: Purim
Hadassah was the daughter of Abihail, a Benjamite, who was among the people of the Kingdom of Judah (which consisted of the Israelite tribes of Judah, Benjamin and Levi; see Israel In History and Prophecy: Jews and Israel In History and Prophecy: Kingdom Of Judah) who were taken away in exile to Babylon (see Israel In History and Prophecy: Back To Babylon). When the Babylonian Empire fell to the Persian Empire (see Israel In History and Prophecy: Babylon and Persia), the exiles of Judah, Benjamin and Levi found themselves with a new set of rulers. Hadassah (from the Hebrew name pronounced hawd-aws-saw), later known as Esther (from the Hebrew name pronounced est-tawr), was raised by her older cousin Mordecai because she by then "had neither father nor mother."
"2:5 Now in Shushan the palace there was a certain Jew, whose name was Mordecai, the son of Jair, the son of Shimei, the son of Kish, a Benjamite; 2:6 Who had been carried away from Jerusalem with the captivity which had been carried away with Jeconiah king of Judah, whom Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon had carried away.
Mordecai helped Esther to become the new queen of Persia.
"2:17 And the king loved Esther above all the women, and she obtained grace and favour in his sight more than all the virgins; so that he set the royal crown upon her head, and made her queen instead of Vashti." (Esther 2:17 KJV)
Haman was the Prime Minister of Persia. He hated Jews, and Mordecai in particular. From that, Haman obtained a nation-wide order from the king (who did not at first know that Esther was a Jew too) to kill all Jews in Persia.
"3:5 And when Haman saw that Mordecai bowed not, nor did him reverence, then was Haman full of wrath. 3:6 And he thought scorn to lay hands on Mordecai alone; for they had showed him the people of Mordecai: wherefore Haman sought to destroy all the Jews that were throughout the whole kingdom of Ahasuerus, even the people of Mordecai." (Esther 3:5-6 KJV)
"They cast Pur, that is, the lot, before Haman from day to day, and from month to month, to the twelfth month, that is, the month Adar"
"Pur" and "Purim" are the singular and plural translations of the Hebrew words (in this case, "Pur" and "Purim" are derived from Persian) pronounced poor and poo-reem. They mean lot and lots. The word is first recorded when Haman "cast Pur, that is, the lot" to determine when would be the best time to carry out his genocide against the Jews.
"3:7 In the first month, that is, the month Nisan, in the twelfth year of king Ahasuerus, they cast Pur, that is, the lot, before Haman from day to day, and from month to month, to the twelfth month, that is, the month Adar.
When Mordecai heard of the planned mass murders, he urged Esther, as the king's wife, and as a Jew herself, to take action to prevent it. Her intervention resulted, first, in Haman being hung on the gallows that he had built to hang Mordecai, but also the legal means for the Jews of Persia to defend themselves against an earlier proclamation of the king that could not be revoked. Their self-defence victory came "On the thirteenth day of the month Adar; and on the fourteenth day of the same rested they, and made it a day of feasting and gladness."
"9:1 Now in the twelfth month, that is, the month Adar, on the thirteenth day of the same, when the king's commandment and his decree drew near to be put in execution, in the day that the enemies of the Jews hoped to have power over them, though it was turned to the contrary, that the Jews had rule over them that hated them; 9:2 The Jews gathered themselves together in their cities throughout all the provinces of the king Ahasuerus, to lay hand on such as sought their hurt: and no man could withstand them; for the fear of them fell upon all people. 9:3 And all the rulers of the provinces, and the lieutenants, and the deputies, and officers of the king, helped the Jews; because the fear of Mordecai fell upon them. 9:4 For Mordecai was great in the king's house, and his fame went out throughout all the provinces: for this man Mordecai waxed greater and greater.
The victory was also the origin of the observance of Purim that continues to be observed by Jews to the present day. It is not a Holy Day commanded by the LORD, but rather a day specific to Jewish history, for "the enemy of all the Jews, had devised against the Jews to destroy them, and had cast Pur, that is, the lot, to consume them, and to destroy them" so then to "confirm these days of Purim in their times appointed, according as Mordecai the Jew and Esther the queen had enjoined them."
"9:18 But the Jews that were at Shushan assembled together on the thirteenth day thereof, and on the fourteenth thereof; and on the fifteenth day of the same they rested, and made it a day of feasting and gladness.
Fact Finder: Who were Ezra and Nehemiah?
This Day In History, August 11
117: The accession of Hadrian, the 14th Roman emperor, reigned 117-138 (see A History Of Jerusalem: Pompey And The Caesars).
355: Claudius Silvanus proclaimed himself Roman Emperor against Emperor Constantius II.
991: The Danes under Olaf Tryggvason defeated the Saxons at Maldon.
1712: The Treaty of Aargau was signed which ended the Swiss War and guaranteed Protestant superiority over Catholic Cantons.
1786: Francis Light established the British colony of Penang, Malaysia.
1718: The English fleet under Admiral George Byng destroyed or captured 15 out of 22 Spanish ships at the Battle of Cape Passaro off Sicily.
1804: Francis II became the first Emperor of Austria.
1858: The Eiger of the Bernese Alps was climbed for the first time.
1863: Cambodia became a French protectorate.
1906: In France, Eugene Lauste received the first patent for a "talking film."
1908: Britain's King Edward VII met with Germany's Kaiser (Kaiser is the German form of Caesar) Wilhelm II to protest the growth of the German navy.
1919: After the First World War, the constitution of the Weimar Republic was adopted in Germany.
1933: "The Assyrian Incident" - a massacre of Assyrian villagers (315 men, 4 women, 6 children) by Iraqi government forces.
1942: A German submarine sank the British Navy's HMS Eagle, one of the world's first aircraft carriers.
1952: King Hussein of Jordan succeeded to the throne after his father, King Ala, was deposed. He reigned for 47 years, until his death in 1999.
1972: The last U.S. military forces withdrew from Vietnam. Soon thereafter, North Vietnam over-ran South Vietnam, ending the Vietnam civil war between north and south, thereby creating a single country free of foreign interference for the first time since colonial France divided Vietnam into North and South in the 1950s.
1990: West German Foreign Minister Hans Dietrich Genscher's Free Democrats (FDP) merged with their liberal East German allies to become the first revived all-Germany political party.