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Friday, February 1 2013
Esther: The Lots Of 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: Kingdom Of Judah and No Levites In The Lost Ten Tribes?) who were taken into exile in Babylon (see 2 Chronicles: Judah From Solomon To Babylon). When the Babylonian Empire fell to the Persian Empire (see The Prophet Daniel: The Hand Writing On The Wall), the exiles of Judah, Benjamin and Levi found themselves with new 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 arranged for Esther to become the new queen of Persia (Persia is known today as Iran).
"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 at that time. For whatever reason, Haman 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)
"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 discovered the plan of genocide, he urged Esther, as the king's wife, and as a Jew herself (by nationality, of the former Kingdom of Judah, even though she was a Benjamite), to take action to prevent it. Esther's 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."
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." After all was done, Mordecai replaced Haman as the Prime Minister of Persia, second in authority only to the king himself.
"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.
The Chapters Of The Book Of Esther
Fact Finder: How and why did Israel not know of Judah's Purim?
This Day In History, February 1
1327: Edward III was coronated King of England. The Hundred Years War began during his reign.
1328: Charles IV of France, the last monarch in the direct line of the Capetian dynasty (named after Hugh Capet who became king in 987), died.
1542: Cardinal Girolamo Aleandro died at age 62. He was an active opponent of the Lutheran Reformation. In 1520 Pope Leo X sent him to Germany to lead the opposition against Martin Luther at the Diet of Worms (named after Vorms, a city in Germany). In Brussels, Aleandro was responsible for the death of the first martyrs of the Reformation.
1587: Elizabeth I, daughter of Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn (Henry broke away from Rome and created the Church of England so that he could divorce his first wife, Katherine of Aragon, to marry Anne Boleyn), signed the Warrant of Execution for (Roman Catholic) Mary Queen of Scots who was involved in three assassination attempts on Elizabeth I.
1793: Revolutionary France declared war on England and Holland. French King Louis XVI was executed shortly before.
1861: 25 years after seceding from Mexico in 1836, Texas seceded from the U.S. to join the Confederate States of America.
1884: The Oxford English Dictionary's first volume was published.
1908: King Carlos I (Carlos is the Spanish form of "Charles") of Portugal was assassinated with his son in Lisbon.
1909: U.S. invasion forces left Cuba after installing Jose Miguel Gomez as President. Gomez left Cuba in 1920 and died in exile in New York City.
1920: The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (the "Mounties") were established. They were created from the merger of the Northwest Mounted Police and Dominion Police.
1934: Austrian Chancellor Engelbert Dollfuss dissolved all political parties except his own "Fatherland Front." Another Austrian, Adolf Hitler, had just been elected as Chancellor in Germany (see Presidential Quotes On War, Terrorism, Religion).
1949: Israel formally annexed "West Jerusalem."
1958: Egypt and Syria proclaimed their union as "The United Arab Republic."
1979: In Teheran, Iran, the Ayatollah Khomeini returned from 15 years of exile in France. The Shah (king) had fled the country 2 weeks earlier for exile in the U.S.
2003: The US Space Shuttle Columbia disintegrated upon re-entry killing all 7 astronauts aboard: Rick Husband, Michael Anderson, David Brown, Kalpana Chawla, Laurel Clark, William McCool, and the first Israeli astronaut, Ilan Ramon.
2004: 251 Muslims were trampled to death and 244 injured in a stampede at the Hajj pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia.