Esther - The Poetry of Purim
- Esther Chapter 9, Poetically Re-arranged by Thomas Harvest Ministries
- 2007 21 Sep
1 Now in the twelfth month, that is, the month of Adar,
On the thirteenth day,
The time came for the king’s command
And his decree to be executed.
On the day that the enemies of the Jews
Had hoped to overpower them,
The opposite occurred, in that
The Jews themselves overpowered
Those who hated them.
2The Jews gathered together in their cities
Throughout all the provinces of King Ahasuerus
To lay hands on those who sought their harm.
And no one could withstand them,
Because fear of them fell upon all people.
3And all the officials of the provinces,
And all those doing the king’s work,
Helped the Jews,
Because the fear of Mordecai
Fell upon them.
4 For Mordecai was great in the king’s palace,
And his fame spread throughout all the provinces;
For this man Mordecai
Became increasingly prominent.
5 Thus the Jews defeated all their enemies
With the stroke of the sword,
With slaughter and destruction,
And did what they pleased
With those who hated them.
6 And in Shushan the citadel
The Jews killed and destroyed five hundred men.
7 Also Parshandatha, Dalphon, Aspatha,
8 Poratha, Adalia, Aridatha,
9 Parmashta, Arisai, Aridai, and Vajezatha —
10 the ten sons of Haman the son of Hammedatha, the enemy of the Jews—
But they did not lay a hand on the plunder.
11 On that day the number of those
Who were killed in Shushan the citadel
Was brought to the king.
12 And the king said to Queen Esther,
“The Jews have killed and destroyed
Five hundred men in Shushan the citadel,
And the ten sons of Haman.
What have they done in the rest of the king's provinces?
Now what is your petition?
It shall be granted to you.
Or what is your further request?
It shall be done.”
13 Then Esther said, “If it pleases the king,
Let it be granted to the Jews who are in Shushan
To do again tomorrow according to today’s decree,
And let Haman’s ten sons
Be hanged on the gallows.”
14 So the king commanded this to be done;
The decree was issued in Shushan,
And they hanged Haman’s ten sons.
15 And the Jews who were in Shushan
Gathered together again
On the fourteenth day of the month of Adar
And killed three hundred men at Shushan;
But they did not lay a hand on the plunder.
16 The remainder of the Jews
In the king’s provinces gathered together
And protected their lives,
Had rest from their enemies,
And killed seventy-five thousand of their enemies;
But they did not lay a hand on the plunder.
17 This was on the thirteenth day of the month of Adar.
And on the fourteenth of the month
They rested and made it
A day of feasting and gladness.
18 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,
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
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,
THE PRACTICE OF PURIM
Purim will occur on the following days of the Gregorian calendar:
Jewish Year 5764: sunset March 6, 2004 - nightfall March 7, 2004
Jewish Year 5765: sunset March 24, 2005 - nightfall March 25, 2005
Jewish Year 5766: sunset March 13, 2006 - nightfall March 14, 2006
Jewish Year 5767: sunset March 3, 2007 - nightfall March 4, 2007
Jewish Year 5768: sunset March 20, 2008 - nightfall March 21, 2008
On both days of the feast the modern Jews read over the Megillah, or Book of Esther, in their synagogues. The copy read must not be printed, but written on vellum in the form of a roll; and the names of the ten sons of Haman are written on it in a special manner, being ranged, they say, like so many bodies on a gibbet. The reader must pronounce all these names in one breath. Whenever Haman's name is pronounced, they make a terrible noise in the synagogue. Some drum with their feet on the floor, and the boys have mallets with which they knock and make a noise. They prepare themselves for their carnival by a previous fast, which should continue three days, in imitation of Esther’s; but they have mostly reduced it to one day (Yenning’s ‘Jewish Antiquities’. From Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown Commentary, Electronic Database. Copyright ©1997 by Biblesoft.)
As soon as the stars appear the festival commences, candles are lighted, and all the Jews go to the synagogue, where, after the evening service, the benediction is pronounced, and the book of Esther is read by the prelector. As often as the name of Haman is mentioned in the reading, the congregation stamps on the floor, saying, “Let his name be blotted out. The name of the wicked shall rot!” while the children shake rattles. After the reading the congregation exclaims, “Cursed be Haman; blessed be Mordecai!” etc.; the benediction is said, and all go home and partake of milk and eggs. On the 14th, in the morning, the people go to the synagogue; several prayers are inserted into the regular ritual; Exodus 17:8-16 is read as the lesson from the law, and Esther, as on the previous evening. The rest of the festival is given up to rejoicing, exchanging of presents, games, etc. Rejoicing continues on the 15th, and the festival terminates on the evening of this day. (from The New Unger's Bible Dictionary. Originally published by Moody Press of Chicago, Illinois. ©1988.)
When the stars appear at the beginning of the 14th candles are lighted in joy, and the people assemble in the synagogue. Then the megillah “roll” of Esther is read through histrionically. On Haman's name being mentioned the congregation exclaim, “let his name be blotted out!” His sons’ names are read in one enunciation to mark they were all hanged at once. At the close of reading the megallah all cry out, “cursed be Haman, blessed be Mordecai; cursed be Zeresh (Haman’s wife), blessed be Esther; cursed be all idolaters, blessed be all Israelites, and blessed be Harbonah who hanged Haman!” The repast at home is mainly milk and eggs. At morning service Exodus 17:8-16, the doom of Amalek the people of Agag (1 Samuel 15:8), Haman's ancestor (Esther 3:1), is read. Saturnalian-like drinking and acting, the men assuming women’s attire (the Purim suspending the prohibition, Deuteronomy 22:5), and offerings for the poor, characterize the feast (Esther 9:17-32). The feast began among the Jews of their own accord; Mordecai wrote confirming it, and Esther joined with him in “writing with all authority to confirm this second letter of Purlin.” (See JESUS CHRIST on “the feast of the Jews,” John 5:1, not probably Purim (which the Vaticanus and the Alexandrinus manuscripts reading, “a,” favors), but the Passover (which the Sinaiticus manuscript, “the,” indicates).) (from Fausset's Bible Dictionary, Electronic Database ©1998 by Biblesoft.)
CELEBRATING PURIM TODAY
There are four mitzvot specific to the holiday of Purim:
Reading the Megillah (Scroll of Esther)
Festivity and rejoicing (the Purim meal)
Sending food to friends (Mishloach Manot)
Giving gifts to the poor (Matanot La'evyonim)
The Book of Esther is read on Purim night, and again the next day. Every word must be clearly heard. We read it in the synagogue, because the larger the crowd, the greater publicity is given to the miracle of our being saved.
On Purim morning, we bustle around town visiting friends and delivering tasty treats -- Mishloach Manot. Purim is the day we reach out to embrace our fellow Jews -- irrespective of any religious or social differences. After all, Haman did not discriminate amongst us... that's why it is particularly good to give gifts to those who you may have had an argument with, or someone new in the community who needs a new friend.
On Purim, it is also a special mitzvah to give gifts of money to the poor. The Jewish people are one unit -- we can't possibly enjoy the holiday if poor people don't have enough.
Then comes the day's grand finale -- the festive meal. We eat our fill and pamper our bodies -- because it is the Jewish bodies that Haman sought to destroy...We dress up in costumes, to let our defenses down and open up to the deeper reality of ourselves and our world. All our current problems and life’s imperfections blend into good, until they become one unified expression of the Almighty's infinite perfection.
There is truly no other holiday like Purim! (Taken from www.aish.com/holidays/purim)
Purim Resources on the Internet
Purim With Aish.com (www.aish.com/holidays/purim). It has a great one minute video about the implications of Purim for the modern Jewish people, and lots of information on the celebration of the holiday today.
Judaism 101: Purim (www.JewFAQ.org). It contains a lot of interesting information as well as recipes for dishes for the celebration.
A Virtual Purim (www.Chabad.org/holidays/purim). Exactly what it sounds like; lots of fun activities to explore about Purim. Only problem I found was that it wouldn’t let me out of the website!
EverythingJewish.Com (www.everythingjewish.com/Purim). And even more information on this holiday.
Torahtots.Com (www.torahtots.com/holidays/purim). Purim activities, games, coloring for the kids (get it, Torah Tots). I’ll bet you really wanted to color a picture of Haman!!
You can even buy a “Haman Bashing Piñata for Purim” online!! Maybe we Christians can take a lesson from these guys and learn to have fun a little more while honoring God and His Word.
© 2005 by Harvest Christian Fellowship. All rights reserved. Written by Thomas Klock for Men’s Bible Fellowship, 2004-2005.