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Six Honest Serving Men
Mordechai, but with no great enthusiasm.
Their names are What
The near annihilation of the Jewish people.
“If you keep quiet at a time like this, deliverance and relief for the Jews will arise from some
other place, but you and your relatives will die. Who knows if perhaps you were madequeen for just such a time as this?” (Esther 4:12 NLT).
Esther’s First Banquet and invitation to the second.
Haman disappointed as Mordechai is rewarded.
Esther’s Second Banquet, and tragedy for Haman.
The Jews are rescued and the Feast of Purim instituted.
The scroll of Esther, called “the
Megillah”, is read twice in the synagogue on the Feast of Purim – once in theevening and again in the morning. There are actually five megillot
– Song of Songs, Ruth, Lamentations,Ecclesiastes and Esther – but Esther is the most highly regarded. People attend in fancy dress and withrattles etc. so that whenever the name of Haman is mentioned the reader is drowned out by the noise. Giftsare exchanged with friends and neighbours especially of food including hamantashen
(“Haman's ears”) –triangular shaped pastries with a sweet filling.
1. Introduction. Queen Vashti deposed (1).
King Ahasuerus (= “I will be silent and poor”) is identified with Xerxes (the NLT uses his name directly) butthere are difficulties, and other traditions point to Artaxerxes I “Longimanus”, the son of Xerxes, who ismentioned in Ezra and Nehemiah (see Nehemiah 2:6).
2. Hadassah, or Esther, is made queen (2:1-20).
Vashti = “beautiful”, Hadassah = “myrtle”, Esther = “star”, Mordechai = “little man” and Haman =“magnificent”.
3. Mordechai saves the king’s life (2:21-23).
4. Haman plots against the Jews (3).
Note verse 1. If only Saul had been obedient (1 Samuel 15:1-3, 9) .
5. Mordechai urges Esther to act (4).
Esther is naturally reticent to do so (Esther 4:11).
6. Esther’s First Banquet and invitation to the second (5).
Haman is elated to be favoured by the Queen, but Mordechai brings him down to earth.
7. Haman disappointed as Mordechai is rewarded (6).
Haman’s wife Zeresh warns him, but is ignored (Esther 6:13).
8. Esther’s Second Banquet, and tragedy for Haman (7).
Although mention is made of a gallows and hanging, it may be that Haman was actually impaled (seeToday's New International Version, TNIV, for example). Haman received what he plotted for Mordechai (cp.
Exodus 1:16 with 12:12, Adolph Hitler).
9. The Jews are rescued and the Feast of Purim instituted (8 – 10).
The origin of the word “Purim” is given in Esther 9:24-26. Adar is the last month in the religious calendar,corresponding to February/March. The lots were cast in the first month, Nisan (Esther 3:7), so there was an11-month gap between the two events.
Because the Jewish calendar is a lunar calendar, it is sometimes necessary to add an extra month in a leapyear to bring the lunar calendar back into line with the seasons (the Muslim calendar does not do this)1. Thisextra month is another Adar, so in a leap year there will be Adar 1 followed by Adar 2. Purim is celebrated inAdar 2.
The 12 Jewish months (religious calendar) are:
Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, Succot, Shmini Atzeret, Simchat Torah
MarcheshvanKislev (Chisleu) HanukkahTevetShvatAdar / Adar 2
1 There are 365.24 days in a year and each lunar month lasts for 29.53 days. So there are 12.37 lunarmonths in a year. After 3 years the extra 0.37 will have built up to 1.11 months, and Adar 2 is needed. Asusual, it’s not that simple .
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