Esther Lesson 16: The Feast of Purim :: By Sean Gooding

Chapter 9: 18-32

But the Jews who were at Shushan assembled together on the thirteenth day, as well as on the fourteenth; and on the fifteenth of the month they rested, and made it a day of feasting and gladness. 19 Therefore the Jews of the villages who dwelt in the unwalled towns celebrated the fourteenth day of the month of Adar with gladness and feasting, as a holiday, and for sending presents to one another.

20 And Mordecai wrote these things and sent letters to all the Jews, near and far, who were in all the provinces of King Ahasuerus, 21 to establish among them that they should celebrate yearly the fourteenth and fifteenth days of the month of Adar, 22 as the days on which the Jews had rest from their enemies, as the month which was turned from sorrow to joy for them, and from mourning to a holiday; that they should make them days of feasting and joy, of sending presents to one another and gifts to the poor.

23 So the Jews accepted the custom which they had begun, as Mordecai had written to them, 24 because Haman, the son of Hammedatha the Agagite, the enemy of all the Jews, had plotted against the Jews to annihilate them, and had cast Pur (that is, the lot), to consume them and destroy them; 25 but when Esther came before the king, he commanded by letter that this wicked plot which Haman had devised against the Jews should return on his own head, and that he and his sons should be hanged on the gallows.

26 So they called these days Purim, after the name Pur. Therefore, because of all the words of this letter, what they had seen concerning this matter, and what had happened to them, 27 the Jews established and imposed it upon themselves and their descendants and all who would join them, that without fail they should celebrate these two days every year, according to the written instructions and according to the prescribed time, 28 that these days should be remembered and kept throughout every generation, every family, every province, and every city, that these days of Purim should not fail to be observed among the Jews, and that the memory of them should not perish among their descendants.

29 Then Queen Esther, the daughter of Abihail, with Mordecai the Jew, wrote with full authority to confirm this second letter about Purim. 30 And Mordecai sent letters to all the Jews, to the one hundred and twenty-seven provinces of the kingdom of Ahasuerus, with words of peace and truth, 31 to confirm these days of Purim at their appointed time, as Mordecai the Jew and Queen Esther had prescribed for them, and as they had decreed for themselves and their descendants concerning matters of their fasting and lamenting. 32 So the decree of Esther confirmed these matters of Purim, and it was written in the book.

More than 2,500 years have passed since the events that we discussed in the last three lessons, and the Jews are still celebrating the Feast of Purim. This year, 2021, it was celebrated from sunset on February 23 to sunset on February 28th. The Bible continues to show itself to be the truth, even in the small things like the Feast of Purim. The events that led to this feast are harrowing to read – the hatred of Haman and the plans devised to kill thousands of Jews in one day. The month that the attack took place was called Adar on the Jewish calendar, but in our time, it is February. As we can see from our text, the events took place on the 13-14th of Adar, and then on the 15th, they all had rest.

  • A Time of Celebrating verses 18-19

The Jews in the capital rested from defending themselves. If you recall from our previous lessons, they killed 800 men who were the enemies of the Jews in Shushan the capital also. I do not know if this number included Haman and his ten sons. But it is clear that a great fight in the capital and even the death of Haman and his sons did not thwart the hatred of the others towards the Jews.

Time and time again throughout history, we have seen this kind of hatred expressed by many peoples and governments. And, as we get closer and closer to the return of Jesus, this hatred for the people of God, both the New Testament church and the Jews, the chosen of God, will begin to expand exponentially. By the time we get to the book of the Revelation, there is global hate led by the Man of Sin and his cohorts in hatred for the Jews, and he attacks the city of Jerusalem and even defiles the Temple that will be rebuilt (see Daniel 9:26-27 and Revelation 13, most of the chapter).

But on the 15th day, the fighting was over, and the celebration began. They sent gifts and letters to each other, hosted great feasts, and enjoyed the rest and peace. This celebration began what we know today as the Feast of Purim. This was not one of the original feasts given by the Lord to Moses in Leviticus 23. But as we can see here, it was added long after Moses was dead and gone, and it remains one of the most celebrated feasts in the Jewish calendar each year.

  • Everyone Gets to Celebrate, verses 20-26

As you will recall, the kingdom of Persia ruled by Ahasuerus comprised 127 provinces and stretched from what is modern India to the north shore of Africa and all in between. Mordecai, now in the position that Haman held before his death, sends a letter to all of the provinces, backed up by Queen Esther, and instructed the Jews everywhere to celebrate this new feast, the Feast of Purim. These letters instructed the Jews to celebrate the deliverance that had been given them through the reversal of the order that Haman had sent out. Esther had put her life on the line and stood for her people; now everyone knew that she was a Jew. No more secrets here.

And as we see in the book of Nehemiah, the Persian kings still had Jewish men as their leading stewards many years later. Nehemiah was the right-hand man to the king, and he was well trusted and a senior advisor to the king. Mordecai set an example and then passed on these lessons to others.

The generations still followed these traditions long after Mordecai and Esther were dead and gone. The Jews had a very good way of passing on their ways to their youths as they grew up. Jesus would have celebrated the Feast of Purim in the years that He walked the earth as well. There is nothing wrong with celebration; it is that we do the celebration at the right time, after the work is done.

The Feast of Purim gets its name from the casting of the lot, or Pur, as Haman did to determine when he would orchestrate the attack on the Jews. He cast the lot and devised the evil plan, and the feast is called Purim not only to remember the bad but to celebrate the good. Not only did Haman plot, but Mordecai and Esther answered the call to do something, and God brought a great victory. Surely, if they had not stepped up, it may be that the vast majority of the Jews may not be here on earth today. The Lord had turned what would have been a time of mourning into a time of celebration. There is nothing wrong with celebrating and enjoying the blessings of the Lord. It is like they had Christmas in February with the feasting and sending gifts.

There are many Christians that balk at celebrating Easter or Christmas, as they were pagan holidays, and so forth. But here is a good example of how God took what was to be a day of pain and suffering and made it a day of celebration. Like Purim, we can celebrate the Lord’s birth and sacrifice without regret. The Lord has won the battle, and we can celebrate.

  • The Fall of the Enemy, verses 23-25

The lives of God’s people have been fraught with peril from the very beginning. Abraham was 75 years old and Sarai 65 years old when they were called out to begin the nation of Israel. They left their common surroundings and took on a journey to a place that they did not know. All the while, Abraham clung to a promise that he would have a son with Sarai and be the father of this new nation. Along the way, there were wars and attacks, and some kings tried to take Sarai from him for her beauty. Many years later with the sons of Isaac, there was infighting, then in the children of Jacob, even more infighting. Soon the Jews were a hated people in the nation of Egypt, and then lots of fighting in the book of the Judges, and on and on.

Many captivities and countless wars were part of life for the Jews. But through them all, God had preserved them and kept a remnant that He would use to bring back the population. By the time of the story of Esther, the Jews were accustomed to being attacked. Look at the story of Daniel in Daniel 6 with Daniel being in the Den of Lions.

Satan knew that the Messiah would come through the Jewish line, and he set about with all his power and minions to eradicate the Jews so that the Messiah would not come. He is still trying to eradicate the Jews so as to stop the return of the King to set up the new kingdom here on earth. Notice that the modern New World Order, now called for by the Globalists, is trying to bring in a Utopia that does not include Jesus. They want to solve hunger, poverty, and all the ails of man without Jesus. This is a part of the plan of Satan.

In the time of Esther, Haman was the tool to try and eradicate the Jews. He was just that – a pawn in the hands of Satan. Satan used his hatred to fuel his plans and to try to stop the Jews from being a big enough population to return to the city of Jerusalem and rebuild so that Jesus could be born in Bethlehem and travel in His earthly ministry through the streets of Jerusalem. The battle still wages on today, and the attack on the Gentile church is alive and well. Just yesterday, I saw pictures of Christians being shot in the head and executed in 2021. People still hate Jesus, and they hate His people. Satan hates Jesus and His people, and he always finds humans with the same proclivity.

In Genesis 3:15, God told us that Jesus, the Seed of the Woman, would kill the Serpent, crushing his head, referring to Satan. Thus, the fate of Satan is sealed. Yet today, he lives on and is the constant enemy of the Lord’s people. One day soon, Satan, the enemy of God’s people, will be put away for 1,000 years (see Revelation 20), and then he will be eternally banished to the Lake of Fire in Revelation 20:11-15. Then we will have complete rest from the evil one.

You can begin to have that rest in Jesus, hereby being saved; Jesus began the destruction of the kingdom of Satan at the cross and finished it with the resurrection. Satan is the walking dead. His fate is sealed, and his end is sure. If you have Jesus as Savior, then you can begin to experience the freedom that we have in Jesus. You can begin to experience the joy of winning the peace that comes from having the Savior of the world as your constant companion, being indwelt by the Holy Spirit. This is a reason to celebrate even as the battle still wages on.

We have the record of Esther’s great victory over Haman that was written down for the whole world to see and remember in the records of Persia. The Holy Spirit led godly men to write down the story of Esther in the Bible so that we would have an eternal record of what God did through her and Mordecai. In the same manner, godly men wrote the New Testament so that we would have an eternal record of what Jesus did for us on the cross, and then that He exited the grave alive and well.

I pray that you know the salvation of Jesus and that you are able to rest secure in Him.

God bless you,

Dr. Sean Gooding

Pastor of Mississauga Missionary Baptist Church

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