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During the captivity in Babylon, of the southern kingdom of Judah for 70 years, God faithfully provided for the Jewish people, as He had in Judah. They could settle where they wanted, raise families, and practice their religion. They found employment as farmers, merchants, bankers, and rent collectors. Babylon was a thriving metropolis of great grandeur, but not without temptations. There were those that assimilated, adopting local names, falling away from faith in Yahwah, converting to the worship of local pagan gods, content to live in Mesopotamia on a permanent basis.

In 539 B.C. the Babylonian Empire was conquered by the Medes and the Persians. They were led by Darius and Cyrus. Soon after this, King Cyrus gave the Jews permission to return to their homeland. He also gave them permission to rebuild the temple of God (2 Chronicles 36:22,23; Ezra 1:1-4). The first group of captives returned in 536 B.C. They were led by Zerubbabel, who was a descendant of King David. It is important to remember that the seventy years of the Babylonian Captivity lasted from 606 B.C. until 536 B.C.

THOSE WHO SHINE AS THE STARS OF HEAVEN:"He showed the riches of his glorious kingdom and the honour of his majesty." (Esther 1:4)

The story of Purim, "the Festival of Lots," takes place in Persia, in what is now present day Iraq. It was the fifth century, during the third year of the reign of Ahasuerus, (Xerxes) the king who ruled from the fortress of Sushan, (City of Lilies, or Horses) where his imperial palace was located. Xerxes, reigned for approximately 20 years. (485-465 B.C.) He was the son and successor of Darius the Great, and grandson of Cyrus who issued the decree which ended the 70 year exile, in 538 B.C. Certain Jews did not return to Israel, at that time, choosing to remain in Babylon.

Ahasuerus/Xerxes I, was Darius the Great's eldest son by Queen Atossa, the daughter of Cyrus the Great, and sister of Cambyses II. Four sons were born to them. He was born after his father ascended the throne; and he had been designated official heir perhaps as early as 498 BC. While crown prince, he ruled as the King's governor in Babylon. In 1841, Major (Sir Henry) Rawlinson published a translation of the Persian text inscribed on the Rock of Behistun (Bahistun) which rises 1700 feet off the plain on the road from Babylon to the east, in which Darius Hystaspis provides his own geneology. This identity of Darius, the father of Ahasuerus, is a time key, placing the events of the Book of Esther under that of the Medo-Persian Empire.

Shushan, the resident city of Esther and Mordecai, was located in southwestern Persia. There were three other capitals, Babylon, Persepolis and Ecbatana. The area which Ahasuerus reigned over was a vast territory extending over 127 provinces from India to Ethiopia, seven more than those held by his father Darius I. Ahasuerus father, Darius I continued Cyrus’ policy of restoring the Jewish state. Under his auspices the rebuilding of the temple in Jerusalem was completed in 515 B.C. For this reason he is spoken of in Ezra, Haggai, and Zechariah. These Persian provinces were ruled by satraps, or viceroys, that were vassal rulers to whom Ahasuerus entrusted the government of the empire of Persia. There king was an arbitrary ruler with unlimited power, witha council of 7 princes who stood nearest the throne. (Est. 1:14)

The Medo-Persians were divided into 3 classes. These were:

The extent of the Persian empire, in it's whole extent from India to Ethiopia, must have contained at least 100,000,000, and the number of Jews in the realm must have amounted to from two-three million. (Kyle & Delitzsch) The narrative of our story, whose title in Hebrew is "Megillath (Volume of) Esther," commemorates the redemption of beautiful queen named Esther, (Meaning "Star, or Star of the East") and her Israelite people. The Prophet Daniel, said:

They that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament, and they that turn many to righteousness,as the stars forever and ever." (an. 12:3)

As Esther's Persian name indicates, she was lovely, and rose to prominence in the king's own palace, where she resided for nine years before the events of Purim took place, without knowing why Hashem had placed her there. Trusting in God, in the midst of a time in which all hope seemed lost, she placed her very life on the line. Calling her people to fast and pray, together they sought the Lord with all their hearts in spite of all that they saw in the natural realm.

"To him that rideth upon the heavens, which were of old; lo he doth send out his voice, and that a mighty voice. Ascribe ye strength unto our God: his excellency is over Israel, and his strength is in the clouds." (Psalm 68:34)

Our fore-father Abraham, said to God: "You have given me no seed: and one born in my house is not my heir. And one born in my house (Eliazer) is not my heir." (Gen. 15:4) And the word of the Lord came to him saying:

"This shall not be thine heir; but he that shall come forth from thine own bowels shall be thine heir." And He brought him forth abroad, and said: "Look heavenward, and count the stars,if you are able. So shall your descendants be." (Gen. 15:5)

That Abraham's descendants would be like the stars is the theme of Purim, and of our heroine named Esther. Because God was the light of Esther's life, she did not lack saving grace, when a crisis arose. She's a shining example amid that vast number God promised Abraham. Like Noah, she found "grace" in the eyes of the Lord. When granted favor by the king, she did not ask for riches nor honour, but plead in his courts for the salvation of the nation of the people of God.


Susa is the ancient capital of Elam, (Elymais) a rich agricultural region, which was occupied continuously from 3500 B.C., till the 13th century. One of the oldest cities in the world, it was located 150 miles north of the Persian Gulf, southeast of the Tigris River, between the rivers Karkheh and Dez, in the Steppe that's a continuation of the Mesopotamian plain. The area forms part of present day Iraq. The Prophet Isaiah prophesied: And in that day, there shall be a "Root of Jesse," (Yeshua haMashiach) will stand as an ensign (banner) of all peoples; to it shall the Gentiles seek: and His rest shall be glorious." (Isaiah 11:10)

In that day the Lord shall set His hand (reach out) again the second time, to reclaim a remnant that is left of His people, from Assyria, lower Egypt, upper Egypt, Cush, Elam, Babylonia, Hammath and the islands of the sea." (Isaiah 11:11)

Jeremiah prophesied of Elam:

"This is what the Almighty says: See I will break the bow of Elam, the mainstay of their might. I will bring against Elam the 4 winds from the 4 quarters of the heavens; I will scatter them to the 4 winds, and there will not be a nation where Elam's exiles do not go. I will shatter Elam before their foes, before those who seek their lives; I will bring disaster upon them, even my fierce anger, declares the Lord. I will pursue them with the sword until I have made an end of them. I will set my throne in Elam and destroy her king and officials, declares the Lord. Yet I will restore the fortunes of Elam in days to come, declares the Lord." (Jeremiah 49:35-39)

The Elam and Babylonian Empires were conquered by the Medo-Persian Empires under King Cyrus. (Jer. 49:38) "Daniel spoke saying, "I saw in my vision by night, and behold, the 4 winds of the heaven strove upon the great sea." These winds are symbolic of warfare and strife.


Esther, whose name as she was growing up was Hadassah, ("A myrtle") was orphaned as a child. From her Jewish name, you can see that although her parents were exiles, they gave her a name which speaks of her Jewish identity. Her name was changed to Esther, when she was brought to the palace of the Persian king, Ahasuerus. This was done to assimilate her into the Persian culture, because she was to be dedicated as Ahasuerus own possession. It was customary that when a nation conquered another, in various ways, they changed their identity to that of allegiance to the new nation, by changing their names, forced them to worship the new gods, etc. This is also seen in the book of Daniel, who was given a vision concerning the successive world empires, of Egyptian, Assyrian, Neo-Babylonian, Medo-Persian, and Greece. The Roman Empire existed in the time of Yeshua haMashiach.

In the book of Esther, the names Esther and Mordecai may both be derived from the preceeding kingdom of Babylonian's deities, Ishtar and Marduk. As a result of the solar and astronical association of the Babylonians, Mithras was later referred to by Roman worshippers as "Sol Victus." They believed that sun was the "Eye of Mithras." The Persian crown was designed to represent the full orbed sun sacred to Mithras. Mithras was also associated with Zuvan, the god of Infinate Time. Verethraghna, was the Persian god of victory. The three Persian kings, Cyrus, Darius, Xerxes, worshipped the Lord of Wisdom, Ahuramazda. He was lord of the rivers, mountains and the furthest extents of the earth: a god whom the Persians believed, revealed himself in the flame of fire, and breathed his life into the Persians. He protected them from enemies, guarded their cattle, and sustained them with the nourishing bounty of the earth. He was their peace. He spoke loudly in the thunder, and whispered in the gently flowing streams. Inscriptions, associate Ishtar with fruitfulness and love, and temple prostitution. Ishtar was a goddess that judged the sins of men. Marduk, (Bel) was the city god of Babylon. King Ahasuerus defeated Babylon, the preceeding world empire, inheriting it's nationals, captives and customs. Winged bulls adorned Susa's temples and figures of wild bulls protected the entrances of the shrines.

For at least a portion of her life, Esther was raised by her cousin Mordecai, the son of Jair, the son of Shimei, the son of Kish the Benjamite, (The father of King Saul) 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. (Chron. 36 & II Kings 24) The phrase "And he brought up Hadassah, that is Esther, his uncle's daughter: for she had neither father nor mother, and the maid was fair and beautiful; whom Mordecai, when her father and mother were dead, took for his own daughter," seems to indicate that she resided with him for a considerable amount of time. (Est. 2:5-7)

Mordecai's great grandfather Kish, had been carried captive with Jeconiah, king of Judah. His family was thus brought to Mesopotamia approximately 100 years earlier, after they'd invaded Judah and taken it captive. (Esther 2:5-6) For 60 years, before the story of Esther took place, Palestine had been open to the Israelites, however Mordecai's father Jair, nor Mordecai himself had chosen to return. His uncle died, leaving his motherless daughter Hadassah for Mordecai to care for. At the time Ahasuerus ascended the throne, Mordecai was perhaps 30-40, and Hadassah, was 10-20. The words used of the age of the maidens gathered, was "of marriagable age." This can be quite young in eastern countries, but the lovely Hadassah was probably over 12-15, to still be unmarried, at this time.

There had been warfare between the Babylonian world empire, and the Persians, and Persia won. Living in Shushan, Esther, and as many as hundreds of young women were recuited into the harem of the Persian king Ahasuerus, by a decree of the king. Esther's introduction to the harem in the 7th year of Xerxes reign, was probably due to the fact that the king had led an unsuccessful invasion of Greece, which lasted four years. (483-480 B.C.) Because of Esther's godly example as his wife, Ahasuerus fell in love with Esther and she became his queen. Even in a world, torn many times by war, resulting in conditions that are not always God's righteous intent, yet God "causes all things to work together for good to those that love Him and are called according to His purpose."


Hadassah herself was from the tribe of Benjamin. (Est. 2:5-7) Her family was from those of the southern kingdom of Judah, composed of the tribes of Judah and Benjamin. (1 Kings 12:21) Esther was the daughter of Abihail, the uncle of Mordecai, so she was therefore Mordecai's cousin, though the Vulgate and Josephus make her his niece, but it is more appropriate to follow the Hebrew text. (Esther 2:15)

Mordecai and Hadassah resided in the thriving metropolis of Susa. Upon the death of her parents, Hadassah became the adopted daughter of Mordecai, who seems to have held a position in the royal palace among the lower officials, probably as one of the porters, or door-keepers at the main entrance of the palace.

Esther shines in Jewish history like a guiding light, because she was a person of courage and holy character. What was it like for a girl like Hadassah, living in Persian capital of Shushan? The city was Susa was smaller than Nineveh or Babylon, but was reputed as the place of the "divine grove;" a reference to the worship of the goddess Ishtar. The guardian deity of the city was Susinak, who dwelled in a secret place, and none ever saw the form of his divinity. In a description of the ziggurat, or temple-tower, it was said to have been built of enameled brick to imitate lapis-lazuli, and adorned with bright bronze pinnacles. The city of Shushan was occuppied by artisans and merchants.

King Ahasuerus, (Xerxes) ruled Persia from 465-85 to 424-65 BC. Persia had arisen, and dominated the ancient world as a world-power between 550 and 330 B.C. Light is thrown on the date in the fact that Nehemiah was "cup-bearer to this king, who granted his request and made him governor of Judea. During his rule, the walls of Jerusalem were rebuilt." The closing words in the book of Esther (10:2) also serves to date this time in history.

"And all the acts of his (Ahasuerus) power and of his might ...are they not all written in the book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Media and Persia?"
Xerxes was assassinated by Artabanus in 465 BC. This makes 460 as the higher date. The lower date is seen in the conquest of the Persian Empire by Alexander the Great in 322. B.C.


The book of Esther was written then, within the intervening 128 years, between 460-322 B.C.

With the phrase:

"That in those days when the king Ahasuerus sat on his throne throne," (Est. 1:2)
refers to the estabishing of his throne militarily. Ahasuerus (Xerxes) warriors were like NATO, made up of various races, wearing their native dress, armed with their own weapons. Ethiopians were clad in leopard skinsand from the Caucasus came tribes that wore no armor, just helmets to protect their heads. Heralds were sent before the armies to command the people in their own native tongue to subject themselves to the great King of Persia.

Following his coronation, one of Xerxes official acts, was to deal with a usurper governing Egypt for 2 years. Persian forces quelled the rebellion in Egypt. Then he learned of the revolt of Babylon, where 2 pretenders succeeded one another. Babylon's fortresses were destroyed, it's temples ravaged, and statue of Marduk thrown down. Xerxes could not "take the hand of," i.e. receive the patronage of this foreign god. Herodotus reported his army to have been 500,000 troops and 5,000 warships. In every submissive city, a feast was ordered to be prepared for Xerxes and his 10,000 elite special forces called "The Immortals," qnd if one of these was killed he was immediately replaced, so the number never diminished. The armies of Ahasuerus acquired 7 more provinces than his father Darius I before him.

The first portion of Ahasuerus/Xerxes reign was marked by his campaign against Greece, beginning in 483 B.C. Greece had been a project of his father Daris the Great. Xerxes I, the Persian king, planned for years this campaign against the Greek city-states to avenge their defeat of his father, at Marathon in 490 BC, stockpiling food, supplies, weapons, and money for the invasion. The army began their march toward Greece during the spring of 480 B.C, with a week required for the entire army to pass a given point. The vast army, to quench it's thirst, literally drained wells, and small rivers along its route.


Xerxes commanded that a fleet of 1000 warships sail along the coast of the Aegean Sea, accompanying his army, carrying provisions for their long trek toward Greece. When his army reached the stormy straits of the Dardanelles, at the mouth of the Black Sea, he called for a temporary halt. In order to transport his men and supplies over the mile-wide waterway, Xerxes sent hundreds of Persian ships into the channel, where tied together with thick ropes, they formed a floating bridge. The bridges over the Hellespont were begun. When a severe storm destroyed this bridge of ships before the Persian army could cross, Xerxes went into a rage, and ordered the waters of the Dardanelles "to be whipped and branded with hot irons." The soldiers carried out this symbolic act with the following proclamation:

"O vile waterway! Xerxes lays on you this punishment because you have offended him, although he has done you no wrong! The great king Xerxes will cross you even without your permission, for you are a treacherous and foul river!"

In a dream Xerxes had, the Persian leader dreamed that he was being castigated for not pursuing his plans to invade Greece. Xerxes, assuming that the dream prophesied a victory, led the attack in 480 B.C. but then lost the war. Because a similar dream was experienced by an uncle with whom Xerxes had experienced conflicts, it might have referred to interpersonal battles between those two people rather than military campaigns.

There were what both the Greeks and Persians would have interpreted as "omens." A solar eclipse which occurred at the army's departure, had been favorably interpreted by the Persian Magi. In addition to this, Pythius asked Xerxes to allow his eldest son to stay home from the war. Xerxes, flew into a rage, and had the son chopped in half, advancing his army between the two halves.

As the Persian army moved through northern Greece, Xerxes experienced no opposition, and passing through Thracia, he defeated the Spartan army and their allies at Thermopylae, 90 miles from Athens. However, at this point, an army of 8,000 Greeks reinforced an ancient stone barrier across the road. Before his armies gegan to move, Ahasuerus/Xerxes took a golden cup filled with an oblation of wine, and poured it into the sea, praying to the Sun, for protection in conquering all Europe. The Greek troops continued to amass and fortify their position, leading to the defeat of Ahasuerus. His failure to destroy Athens, the population of the city had escaped to the mountainous terrain of a nearby island called Salamis. Ahasuerus burned the temples of Acropolis.

So certain of victory was Ahasuerus, that he ordered a golden throne set on a mountain top overlooking Salamis, from which he could observe the battle. Salamis was separated from the mainland by a long narrow channel guarded by 200 Greek warships, but not roomy enough to accomodate Persian ships. They attempted to however, providing opportunity for the Greek ships to encircle and attack the Persian naval forces, systematically destroying the Persian fleet. Ahasuerus retreated to Persia.

After the defeat of Salamis (480 B.C.) Ahasuerus withdrew from the campaign, returning to Asia, leavving behind a portion of his army in the command of Mardonius. But Mardonius was slain, and the remainder of the Persian fleet was destroyed. The expedition was discontinued the following year. For the remaining years of his reign he pursued other interests, and the land had rest, his throne having been established, after the defeat of his other enemies. Persian monarchs are always portrayed on a raised seat or throne, even when traveling or in battle.

While the Persians tolerated a number of other religions, including those of India, the life of God's people, was not without intimidation from the foreigners they lived among. Threats to ones well being could come with little provocation. There was not a great sense of religious freedom, and religions other than that of the Persians, seemed to have been considered a threat at times. Ezra gives insight into this, in mentioning Ahasuerus as one to whom some unnamed persons wrote accusations against Judah and Jerusalem. (Ezra 4:6)


"In the third year of his reign, he made a feast unto all his princes and his servants; the power of Persia and Media, the nobles and princes of the privinces being before him: When he showed the riches of his glorious kingdom, and the honour of his excellent majesty many days even a hundred and fourscore days. And when these days were expired, the king made a feast unto all the people that were present in Shushan the palace, both unto great and small, seven days, in the court of the garden of the kings palace; where were white, green, and blue hangings, fastened with cords of fine linen and purple to silver rings and pillars of marble: the beds were of gold and silver, upon a pavement of red, and blue and white, and black marble." (Esther 1:3-5)

Luxury was an earmark of the eastern monarchs, especially Persians, and scripture records this description of the palace of Xerxes, that we might better understand the Persian culture.

From the preceeding verse, we see that it was customary to hang colorful elegant curtains or canopies, which were fastened to marble columns with silver rings. The awnings were literally white and violet. The violet being a shade obtained from the mollusks. The courts were paved with a mosaique of colored marble or painted tiles. The beds of gold and silver, were actually sofas or couches, upon which guests reclined, that were upolstered with gold and silver, and set on a mosaique floor or pavement composed of coloured stones.

Earthly kings have their glory. The scriptures speak of human dignity and majesty, as man's "glory." The Persian king enjoyed opportunity to lavishly display his "glory," in the wealth and great power of his kingdom. The Hebrew term here is kabod,meaning "glorious." Ahasuerus having vanquished his enemies, held a celebration at Shushan, the fortified residence where he lived, which went on for many days. The first phase of the feast was for Ahasuerus nobles or palace staff. When this was completed, the king held a celebration in honour of "all the people, both great and small, in the palace garden for 7 days."

As part of the celebration, Ahaseurus made a lavish display of all of his wealth. As Vashti was part of his possessions, he enjoyed showing her off too. Vashti was probably married to him before he ascended the throne. History records the name of Ahasuerus wife as Amestris. She was apparently given a Persian name. The name Vashti was the name of an Elamite goddess. Vashti also held a feast for the women, (literally "saroth,"princesses") in the royal house belonging to king Ahasuerus. (Est. 1:9) These were the other wives, daughters, or relatives belonging to the king. On the 7th day of the festival, which the king was giving to the assembled nobles of his empire, and others, dispatched 7 chamberlains, "the 7 highest officials in the kingdom," to bring Queen Vashti ("Beautiful or Excellent Woman") into the assembly. Herodotus states that Xerxes I had a wife named Amestris. (She returned as Queen mother during her son Artaxerxes reign, and died in 424 B.C.

As the lovely wife of the heathen monarch, she was part of the wealth that he was so proud of. It is assumed that the queen was of Persian origin, as the name Vashti is Persian. However history records that Vashti was a Babylonian princess. The empire was Babylonian, before it fell to the Persians. Vashti's father Belshatzar, inherited the throne of Babylon from his father, Nebuchadnezzar and ruled briefly after his death. She was thus the granddaughter of one of history's most notorious anti-heroes, the Babylonian emperor Nebuchadnezzar. We are told that the purpose of her being brought to the assembly "was to show the peoples and the princes her beauty; for she was fair to look on." (Esther. 1:11)

When the chamberlains, Mehuman, Biztha, Harbona, Bigtha, Abagtha, Zethar, and Carcas, who were noblemen of longstanding, "which saw the king's face," arrived to escort the queen to her husband's banquet, that Vashti might appear in his presence, the request was met by her stubborn refusal to obey it. The meaning of the phrase "which saw the king's face," means that these were men of importance, who came and went on a regular basis from the king's presence.

The fact that Vashti was not executed for publicly embarassing the king in this way, seems to indicate the love that he had for her. He was very angered by the situation, however. A council was summoned, and Vashti was degraded and publicly humiliated by the punishment meted out. For the woman that had been such treasure to the king, this brought great shame. She was divorced and dethroned.

Then said the king to the "wise men," which knew the times, (for so was the king's manner toward all that knew law and judgment: And the next unto him was Carshena, Shethar, Admatha, Tarshish, Meres, Marsena, and Memucan, the 7 princes of Persia and Media, which saw the king's face, and which sat first in the kingdom; What shall we do unto the queen Vashti according to law, because she hath not performed the commandment of the king Ahaseurus by the chamberlains? And Memucan answered before the king and the princes, Vashti hath not done wrong to the king only, but also to all the princes, and to all the people that are in all the provinces of the king Ahasuerus.

For this deed of the queen shall come abroad unto all the women, so that they shall despise their husbands in their eyes, when it shall be reported, The king Ahasuerus commanded Vashti to be brought in before him, but she came not.

Likewise shall the ladies of Persia and Media say this day unto all the king's princes, which have heard of the deed of the queen. Thus shall there arise too much contempt and wrath.

If it please the king, let there go a royal commandment from him, and let it be written among the laws of the Persians and the Medes, that it be not altered; that Vashti come no more before king Ahasuerus; and let the king give her royal estate unto another who is better than she."


"After these things, when the wrath of King Ahasuerus was appeased, he remembered Vashti, and what she had done, and what was decreed against her. Then said the king's servants that ministered to him: Let there be fair virgins sought for the king.

And let the king appoint officers in all provinces of his kingdom, that they may gather together allthe fair virgins unto Shushan the palace, to the house of the women, unto the custody of Hege the king's chamberlain, keeper of the women, and let their things for purification be given them.

And let the maiden which pleaseth the king be queen instead of Vashti. And the thing pleased the king; and he did so." (Esther 2:1-4)

King Ahasuerus spared no expense in locating a successor for Vashti. The fairest women of all the land were brought to Shushan, and Hadassah, (Hebrew: "Myrtle") the adopted daughter and cousin of Mordecai was among the number of lovely and honourable condidates which were selected to participate in the pageant from which King Ahasuerus would choose his new queen.

Ahasuerus selection of a queen was just part of it. He'd engaged in military campaigns to bring nations under world dominion, to the Persian Empire. Warfare has many strategies, some of which are overt, and others a hidden agenda. Esther's family lived as citizens of Persia, but they were not free citizens. Many women feel forced marriage falls under the catagory of assault, or unwanted sexual relations.

When King Ahasuerus wanted a wife, he sent his officers to "gather the virgins of the 127 providences, including the lovely ladies of Ethiopia and India, into his harem." Esther came under this official edict and obeying the king's command, was gathered with the other maidens. Since Esther was related to Mordecai, and he was of the line of King Saul, she was of royal lineage, and perhaps some of these other maidens were as well. There was no shortage of beautiful women from many nations, from which Ahasuerus could choose. But there was a combination of things working here, the most important of which was God's providence. God is vitally concerned with what goes on in nations, and that they come to know Him. As a result of God's providence, her people were saved from genicide. Esther was a godly Jewish girl, who had kept herself pure for marriage. It could not have been easy, to have the foreign dictator impose a demand on her, that precluded any chance of a Hebrew marriage. Many nations have experienced the psychology of war by sexual intimidation or assault as a form of the warfare, against it's citizens. In her internet article, Dahlia Gilboa speaks on this topic, regarding the sexual subjugation of women as a part of warfare:

This is not rape out of control. It is rape under control. It is also rape unto death, rape as massacre, rape to kill and to make the victims wish they were dead. It is rape as an instrument of forced exile, rape to make you leave your home and never want to go back. It is rape to be seen and heard and watched and told to others: rape as spectacle. It is rape to drive a wedge through a community, to shatter a society, to destroy a people. It is rape as genocide (MacKinnon 190-1).

The warfare is not a war on women alone, for it totally demoralizes the males of a culture, for their sisters and wives to be dishonoured in this way.

In our century, thousands of women have been sexually assaulted in Korea, Liberia, Uganda, Burundi, Congo-Brazzaville, Southeast Asia, Israel, Bosnia, and Bangladesh. Bosnian refugees testified in hearings of military forces raping women to force families to flee their villages. One of the strange things about racially motivated assaults on women, is why the perpetrator would place himself in the position to have a child in this manner in the first place. Every case is different, and the only true refuge is in seeking God for your own individual answers or solution, but often the insight we need to move on with life, comes through prayer. The message of Purim is that where Haman had purposed to drive the Jews out, to make a gain from their loss, they refused to be driven out. They sought God, through fasting and prayer, and received the holy boldness not to bow to intimidation, and to drive Haman out!

A variety array of physical, phychological and emotional symptoms and social consequences accompany crimes against women. In the war against women, with the sexual subjugation of females leading the list, post traumatic stress from forced relations, includes:

People are tempted at times to say: "Where is God in all of this?" "If He is really a loving and compassionate God, how could He allow such a thing to happen?" The fact is that God did not make men puppets. They were created and given the power of choice. In these choices --bad or good, whenever a man or woman will submit themselves to God, He will work on their behalf, to give them "beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of joy for the Spirit of heaviness, that they might be trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord."

Children born as the ressult of sexual assault, are as much the child of their precious mother, as the man that fathered them. When the man who fathered a child is not a hero, there are still plenty of role models with godly character, to choose from. Neither is it necessary to pass on details of a tragedy to a child as he or she grows, when the parent knows this is a social stigma. A woman's love for a child, can "cover" and shield the child, who is as much a victim as she is. A child can also be given up for adoption. We have an adopted daughter. God willing, we'd adopt more children.

You lived through a personal holocaust. Now you and your child make Hamantaschen, and you teach each other that God rewards both good and evil. Purim for you can be celebrated at it's traditional time, as well as whenever you feel the need to corporately commemorate the fact that life is still life because God is the author of it, in spite of the evils of a society, which at times chooses not to retain God in their knowledge. The fact is, that all people are sinners, in the eyes of God. A prayer our Messiah Yeshua prayed from the cross, shows that he believed that sin blinds men and women to the realities of God's life, when he said:

"Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do."

See yourself through God's eyes of love.

Women ask: Did I bring assault on myself? Was I somehow to blame? Did I dress provocatively? The principles in God's word, teach us to dress modestly, (1 imothy 2:9) and this is one thing which can help prevent rape. But there's this biological thing between men and women, which makes a woman attractive even if she wears a shapeless dress. This is not to say that there's no use to follow safety guidelines.

Don't turn on yourself, lapsing into self contempt. You still have the same cherished qualities you had before the assault happened. Don't feel guilty that you didn't die in the assault. Or wish you were dead now. God preserved your life. Seek Him, and how you might best live to fulfill His plan and purpose. God's word says: 1) Repent. 2) Be baptized in the name of Yeshua haMashiach/Jesus Christ for the remission of all of your sins. (Acts 2:38, Acts 8:16, Acts 10:46-48, Acts 19:5) 3) You will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. (This is accompanied by a God given prayer language you have never learned. It's a gift. (Acts 2:1-4, Acts 10:46-48) Read the bible and grow in your knowledge of God.

We should do all that we can to prevent the assault of ourselves as women. Lock your door and windows, etc. Pray for wisdom as to how to proceed, with legal matters pertaining to the rape. The Lord's face is against them that do evil. (1 Peter 3:12) God's word says He provides civil authority for the punishment of evil doers, "to execute wrath on him that does evil." The authorities "bear not God's sword in vain." (Romans 13) When we forgive, this doesn't mean the offender "gets by with it." Rather, it releases you to go on with your life, and turns the situation over to God, for His righteous judgment.

Pray the Lord's prayer: "Our Father which art in heaven...Holy is your name. May your kingdom come and your will be done on earth, as it is in heaven...(Use your influence as a positive force, amidst the evil, you may have experienced.) ...Give us this day our daily bread. (This protects against the worry that you won't be aable to support yourself, or your children.) Deliver us from evil." (Pray that God will protect you, your family, community from crime, and use the criminal justice system to punish wrong-doers.) (Matt. 6:13)

Be wise. If moving as far away from the scene of the crime is what is best, in your situation, have faith God will enable you to do this. If this is not feasible, for some reason, realize that many women around the world, live and work in the community here a violent crime happened to them. They do this more wisely--Trusting in God, working with and inter-dependant on others.

Realize that whereas rape is not a woman's fault or responsiblity, and the shame she feels as the result of it, is part of the shame Yeshua bore for the sins of all mankind on the cross. As women, we repent for sins in our own lives, like unbelief, doubt, pride, etc. We recognize that Yeshua washes us with his own holy blood, as the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. (Romans 3:23, Romans 6:23)

Esther was raised like any other Jewish girl, believing that she would share her hopes and dreams with an Israelite of her parents or Mordecai's choosing, a man with whom she shared the heritage of covenant with God. War dictated a different set of circumstances. But God, who is the saving strength of His anointed, worked His saving grace in the midst of the horror. Praise His holy name. In reality, she married a Persian king, whose face she did not see sometimes for a month at a time. She was the Queen of Persia, and Ahasuerus "favorite wife," but not his "only wife." He possessed a large harem. She was married to him for at least 10 years before he was assassinated. After that we don't know what happened to Esther. Harems were inherited by each successor, this is why the numbers of women were so high. Alexander the Great inherited 350 women from Darius when he conquered the Persian kingdom. This was not a gathering of 350 young women, but a collection of women ranging from grandmothers to children. Harems were composed of women whose marriages to a ruler sealed treaties, women stolen as booty in conquest, women who became concubines as a means of survival, and who remained in these institutions until death. It was this way with the kings of Judah and Israel, as well. But Esther's allegiance was to God and her primary destiny was eternal. She was however, an incredible example of the influence of God's righteous heavenly kingdom on earth. God was Esther's portion forever. Secondarily it was to be a sanctified instrument of God to save her Jewish people.


"So it came to pass, when the king's commandment and his decree was heard, and when many maidens were gathered unto the Shushan palace, to the custody of Hegai, that Esther was brought also unto the king's house, to the custody of Hegai,keeper of the women.

And the maiden pleased him, and she obtained kindness of him, and he speedily gave her tings for her purification, with such things as belonged to her, and 7 maidens which were meet to be given her out of the king's house. And he preferred her and her maids unto the best place of the house of the women. Esther had not disclosed her people nor her kindred: for Mordecai had charged her that she not disclose this. And Mordecai walked every daay before the court of the women's house, to know how Esther did, and what should become of her." (Esther 2:8-9)

At various times and places the Jewish people were a minority, with this drawing opposition from those in positions of authority over them. Mordecai wisely instructed his adopted daughter to keep her ethnicity secret, and she obeyed.

"Now when every maid's turn was to come to king Ahasueras, after that she had been 6 12 monthes, according to the manner of the women, (for so were the days of their purification accomplished, to wit 6 monthes with oil of myrrh, and 6 monthes with sweet odours, and with other things for the purifying of the women.)

Hege the king's chamberlain was Hege seris hammerlech, or Hege the king's eunuch, as it was the custom in eastern countries, for women to be left in custodial care. The phrase "Let their things for their purification be given them," signifies "tamrukeyhen," their cosmetics. In verse 12, we're told a portion of what these cosmetics were. They were myrrh and sweet odours. The myrrh was used for 6 monthes and the sweet odours for another 6 monthes, after which Hadassah was brought before the king.

"Then thus came every maiden unto the king; whatsoever she desired was given unto her, to go with her out of the house of the women unto the kings house. In the evening she went, and on the morrow she returned into the second house of the women, to the custody of Shaashgaz, the king's chamberlain, which kept the concubines: she came in unto the king no more, except the king delighted in her, and she were called by name." (Esther 2:12-14) The king's harem where the royal ladies lived was located at Parse/Persepolis, (meaning "Persian City") where "The Gate of Xerxes or "The Gate of the Nations," was situated. It was constructed in a "L" shape, with enclosed gardens and courtyards. Beyond the Gate lay the Hall of 100 Columns (Xerxes' throne room), the Apadana Palace (the Great Hall of Audience of Darius the Great) with its magnificent display of bas-reliefs, the Tachara (or Winter Palace) of Darius, the unfinished palace of Artaxerxes III, the Palace of Xerxes' and the Tripylon Palace. Against the mountainside are the royal stables, guard rooms and domestic quarters. The rock tombs of Artaxerxes II and Artaxerxes III, are cut into the mountainside.

The great city of Persepolis was plundered and set aflame by Alexander the Great, who was said to have required 10,000 mules and 5,000 camels to transport the plundered treasures back to Ecbatana. (Present day Hamadan) in 330 BC.


"Now when the turn of Esther the daughter of Abihail the uncle of Mordecai, who had taken her for his daughter, was come to go in unto the king, she required nothing but what Hegai the king's chamberlain, the keeper of the women appointed. And Esther obtained favour in the sight of all them that looked upon her.

So Esther was taken unto Ahasueras into his house royal in the 10th month, which is the month Tebeth, in the 7th year of his reign. 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."

In Esther we see an example of the woman who, marries outside the Israelite covenant people, but she is a faithful wife to her Persian husband. Her husband Ahasuerus, is a womanizer, and polygamist. Not once does Esther use the morals of Ahasuerus to govern her own behaviour. She refuses to be manipulated by her circumstances, into becoming less than what God intends her to be. Her chaste conduct is governed by her faith in God. Therefore she shines like a star, in the eyes and the life of Ahasuerus. The counsel for the believer is not to separate from the unbelieving mate, who is pleased to dwell with them. The reason is this: For how do you know O wife, whether you shall save your husband. Or how do you know O man, if you will save your wife? (1 Cor. 7:10-16)

There are exceptions of course, which can only be determined through much prayerfulness.

Before one marries, the principle is found in the Torah in Genesis 1:11, That things produce after their kind. If you marry an unbeliever, there will be different fruit than you desire. There are examples in scripture of polygamy, but God's intent for marriage is monogamy. God said: "Let the man leave father and mother and cleave unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. 2:24, as well as in 2 Cor. 6:14-16. "Be not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath unrighteousness with unrighteousness? And what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Mashiach with Belial? Or what part has he that believes with an infidel? And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For ye are the Temple of the Living God, as God hath said: I will dwell in them, and walk in them, and I will be their God and they shall be my people."

The tenth month Tebeth,corresponds to December-January. Among the maidens brought to the palace at Susa, no woman went into the kings presence before a year was completed. It appears that as a woman's turn came to go before the king, she was allowed to request "whatever she desired" in the way of clothing colour, jewels, etc.

The "second house," which Esther returned to, was the place where the king's concubine's were kept. They remained here, and were not given in marriage to any other man. Esther required nothing, for Hege's responsibility was to select her jewelry, color of garments, and all that she had need of. The king "set the royal crown upon Esther's head," making her, what is called in the east, sultana,the queen.

Then the king made a great feast unto all his princes and his servants, even Esther's feast, and he made a release to the provinces and gave gifts according to the state of the king." (Esther 2:18)


Mordecai was employed at the royal palace, in Shushan. Although Esther was now living in the king's palace, she was faithfully obeying the counsel of Mordecai, who stayed close by, seated in the king's gate, so that he could talk with her day by day regarding her new circumstances, or any problems as they arose. By mutual consent, Esther had not disclosed her ethnicity to the king nor Hege, in whose custodial care, she'd been kept.

One day, as Mordecai was sitting in the king's gate, two of the king's chamberlains, Bigthan and Teresh, were angry and sought to do harm to the king. Because the thing was known to Mordecai, he told Esther, and Esther "certified the king in Mordecai's name. When the matter was investigated, there was enough evidence to hang the two conspirators. These things were written in the book of Chronicles before the king.

Conspiracies of this sort, were a normal occurrence in Persia. The perpetrators mentioned here were "crucified or impaled," which was the customary punishment for traitors here.


After "these things" did the king promote Haman the son of Hammedatha the Agagite, and advanced him, and set his seat above all the princes that were with him. (Est. 3:1)

The position to which Haman was promoted, following this assassination attempt on the king's life, was that of visier or prime minister. The fact that Haman (a non-Persian who had risen to the highest ranks of the Persian court) tried to use his office to exterminate the Jews, is a principle or strategy of warfare, seen today in wars in which enemies infiltrate nations, and advance through obtaining trusted high level positions.

With regard to the origin or ethnicity of Haman, some surmise that because Haman is called an Agagite, that he's descended from King Agag the king of Amalek slain by Samuel. However, 1 Samuel 15:33, indicates that when Agag fell, that was the last of his house. Secondly, why should his descendants be called Agagites and not Amalekites? Agag (Agazi) was actually a territory that existed next to Media. Perhaps Haman was named for the chief male Elamite god Hamman. The "things spoken of," refers back to the plot upon king Ahasuerus life, which Mordecai got wind of, and warned the king through Esther. "All the servants that were in the king's gate, bowed and reverenced Haman: for the king had so commanded concerning him. But Mordecai refused to bow, nor to reverence him. The servants which were in the king's gate, said to Mordecai: "Why do you transgress the king's comandment?"

Being a Jew, whose allegiance was solely with God, Mordecai was unable to prostrate himself before Haman, as Persian custom dictated. Mordecai decided that the entire Jewish nation should die for this infraction.


Now it came to pass that when they spoke daily to him, and he failed to respond, they reported the matter to Haman, to see if Mordecai's matter would stand, for he'd told them he was a Jew. And when Haman saw that Mordecai refused to bow nor reverence him, he was filled with wrath. Scornfully, he sought to lay hands on Mordecai. They had told Haman of the people of Mordecai being Jewish, so he had sought to destroy the Jews throughout the whole kingdom of Ahasuerus.

"In the month Nisan, during the 12th year of Ahasuerus reign, they cast PUR, that is, lots, before Haman. Haman told the king: "There is a certain people scattered abroad and dispersed among the people in all the provinces of your kingdom: and their laws are diverse from all people;neither do they keep the king's laws: therefore it's not profitable for the king to suffer them."

The words "In the first month," corresponds to March-April, of B.C. 464. The lot was cast, for each day of the month, and each month of the year. The day and month which were obtained by the best throws were then selected.

"If it please the king, let it be written that they may be destroyed. And I will pay 10,000 talents of silver to the hands of those that have charge of this business, to bring it into the king's treasuries."

The regular income of the Persian king was 14,560 silver talents, so Haman's offer of 10,000 talents of silver was a large sum. Haman intended to confiscate the property of the Jews of 127 provinces, by making Mordecai and his people the villains. He pledged the 10,000 silver talent investment to the king's treasuries, knowing that with the execution of the Jews he'd get this all back many times over. But things didn't turn out to his liking.

"And the king took the signet ring from his hand, and gave it to Haman the son of Hammedatha the Agagite, the Jews enemy. And the king said to Haman: "Then were the king's scribe's called on the 13th day of the first month, and there was written according to all that Haman commanded unto the king's lieutenants, and to the governors that were rulers over every province, and to every people after their language; in the name of king Ahasuerus it was written, and sealed with the king's ring.

And the letters were sent by posts into all the king's provinces, to destroy, to kill, and to cause to perish, all Jews both young and old, little children, and women in one day, which was on the 13th day of the month of Adar, and to take spoil of them, and make them a prey."

The copy of the commandment in writing was published and distributed at the citadel of Susa, and promulgated throughout the provinces, telling the ministers of these regions to be ready for the appointed day. The extremely wide coverage of this proclamation, which was not just local in the city of Susa, but extending into neighboring nations, was a fearful thing.

The Achaemenian kings borrowed from Babylon, developing their system of posts. of these men's pace, it was said that none was quicker. The mail system, which was Persia's own version of the "pony express," is described in Esther 8:10, as consisting of:

The posts went out, hastened by the fact that this was the king's commandment, and the decree was given at Shushan the palace. And the king and Haman sat down to drink together, but the city of Shushan was perplexed.

The practice of the Persians in addressing proclamations to those nations in subjection to them, in their own speech, and not merely in the language of the conqueror, is illustrated by the bi-lingual and tri-lingual inscriptions of archeological records in existence today.


When Mordecai perceived all that had been accomplished by wicked Haman in such a short time, he rent his clothes in the eastern custom of mourning, and put on sackcloth. Then he went into the city and cried with a loud and bitter voice. And it came even to the king's gate, for nobody could enter the king's presence clothed in sackcloth. In every province where the commandment came, there was deep grief and mourning, among the Jews, who fasted, wept and wailed in anguish of soul, many lying in sackcloth and ashes.
The immediate action taken by Mordecai and the Jews scattered throughout the provinces, shows their Jewish faith, as their response was to fast and pray. (Esther 4:1-3) Some put on sackcloth and ashes. So although the name of God is not mentioned in the book, faith is God is a major theme.

The matter was made known to Esther by her maids and chamberlains, i.e. her attendants. Much seems to have centered on the appearance of Mordecai, based on her response to the situation. The queen was grieved, and she sent raiment to Mordecai, to change into from his sackcloth, but he refused. Then she called for Hatach, one of the king's chamberlains, whom he'd appointed to attend her. She gave him commandment to obtain information from Mordecai, as to what and why this was.

Mordecai told Hatach what had happened, of the money haman had promised to put into the royal treasury to destroy the Jews. He also gave a copy of the decree given in Shushan, in writing, to Esther, charging her to go in unto the king and to plead for her people. Hatach told Esther all of the words Mordecai spoke, and gave her the document to read. Again, Esther spoke unto Hatach, and gave him commandment concerning Mordecai, stating that there was a law that stated that if any went in unto the king unannounced, and uninvited, that person must be put to death, with one exception, and that is if the king holds out the golden sceptre. She added that she had not been to see the king for 30 days. Then Mordecai commanded Esther, saying:

"Don't think you will escape in the king's house, more than all the Jews. For if you altogether hold your peace at this time, then shall enlargement and deliverance arise to the Jews from another place. But you and your father's house shall be destroyed: and who knows whether you are come to the kingdom for such a time as this." (Esther 4:14)

In Mordecai's words, is the concern for Hadassah's safety, as well as that of her people. She responds: "Go gather together all the Jews that are found at Susa, and fast for me: I also and my maidens will fast," to seek by earnest humilation God's gracious assistance in the proposed action she intends to take, to avert the destruction of her people. Esther must have had a considerable number of Jewish attendants, as she states that they will fast with her.


Although God's name is not mentioned in the book of Esther, nothing carries the decree from the very throne that sits above that crystal sea--The voice from within the cloud of Shekinah glory, more than the decree of the Most High that goes forth to lift the decree of death from off of of a people. A decree which had been placed there by their enemy. That's what happened here. Then the decree of life! For God's majestic presence went forth like a mighty whirlwind, and suddenly things begin to turn. But first there was the trumpet sound within Mordecai's own heart. There was his heart fine-tuned by his faith in God, which had waited on God for instructions, as to what move to make. Then Mordecai's request of Esther, and the anguished and depth of heart seriousness of his words, "Don't think you will escape in the king's house, more than all the Jews. For if you altogether hold your peace at this time, then shall enlargement and deliverance arise to the Jews from another place. But you and your father's house shall be destroyed: and who knows whether you are come to the kingdom for such a time as this." (Esther 4:14) Then Esther saw the word of the Lord. She saw her God's decree with the eyes her heart, enlightened to behold His will, and she took action.

There's a death sentence that haSatan hung over the whole human race, because of sin. The entire human race was mortgaged! Satan lied when he said: You shall not surely die...For the death of a race was his agenda. John the Apostle said: "I wept much because no man was found worthy to open and to read the book neither to look thereon." (Gen. 2:17, Rev. 5:4)

1 ) And I saw in the right hand of him that sat on the throne a book written within and on the backside, sealed with seven seals. 2) And I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, Who is worthy to open the book, and to loose the seals thereof? 3) And no man in heaven, nor in earth, neither under the earth, was able to open the book, neither to look thereon.

4) And I wept much, because no man was found worthy to open and to read the book, neither to look thereon. 5) And one of the elders saith unto me, Weep not: behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, hath prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof. 6) And I beheld, and, lo, in the midst of the throne and of the four beasts, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth. 7) And he came and took the book out of the right hand of him that sat upon the throne. 8) And when he had taken the book, the four beasts and four and twenty elders fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them harps, and golden vials full of odours, which are the prayers of saints. 9) And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation; 10) And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth.

11) And I beheld, and I heard the voice of many angels round about the throne and the beasts and the elders: and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands; 12) Saying with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing. 13) And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever. 14) And the four beasts said, Amen. And the four and twenty elders fell down and worshipped him that liveth for ever and ever.

Then there the decree of life. God said: I will declare the decree: Yet have I set My king upon My holy hill of Zion. I will declare the decree. The Lord said unto me: Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee. (Psalm 2:7)

John wept much...Then one of the elders said: Weep not! Behold the Lion of the Tribe of Judah hath prevailed to open the book and to loose the 7 seals thereof. And I beheld and lo in the midst of the throne, andof the four beasts, and in the midst of the elders stood a Lamb as it has been (freshly) slain, having 7 horns, and 7 eyes, which are the 7 Spirits of God, sent forth into all the earth. And He came and took the book out of the right hand of Him that sat upon the throne." (Rev. 5:5-6) There the decree of death and a sign hung over the cruel cross, of Yeshua haMashiach, that somebody had written: The King of the Jews. No not king of the Jews only, but the King destined to be enthroned in the heart of any man, woman or child that will repent, and turn from their sins through faith in the decree of God. The decree of death...The decree of Life.

"For He received from God the Father honour and glory, when there came such a voice to him from the excellent glory, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased." (2 Peter 1:17)

The savour of death unto death to some. To the other the savour of life unto life to all who will receive so great a redemption. (2 Cor. 2:15-16)

"But to as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: which were born not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. And the Word (decree) was made flesh, and dwelled among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth." (John 1:12)

The ransom price has been paid! The decree of God guaranteed to lift that sentence of death from off of us all went forth, and accomplished the purpose to which God sent it. The Psalmist said: He's my glory and the lifter up of my head!


On the third day, Esther put on her royal apparel, and stood in the inner court of the king's house, over against the king's house: and the king sat upon his royal throne in the royal house, over against the gate of the house. And when the king saw his beautiful Esther standing in the court, she obtained immediate favour in his sight: and the king held out to Esther the golden sceptre that was in his hand, and Esther drew near, and touched the top of the sceptre.

Then the king unto her: What do you want, Esther? What is your request? I will give you up to one half of the kingdom. And Esther answered, If it seems good to the king, let the king and Haman come this day unto the banquet that I have prepared for him.

Then the king said: "Cause Haman to hurry and make haste, that he may do as Esther hath requested. So the king and Haman came to the banquet that Esther had prepared. And the king said to Esther at the banquet of wine: What is your petition? And it shall be granted you: and what is your request? even to the half of the kingdom it shall be performed.

Then answered Esther, and said, My petition and my request is this: If I have found favour in the sight of the king, and if it please the king to grant my petition, and to perform my request, let the king and Haman come to the banquet that I shall prepare for them, and I will do tomorrow as the king hath said. Then Haman left joyful and with a glad heart, but when Haman saw Mordecai in the king's gate, that he didn't arise nor move towards him, he was filled with indignation against Mordecai. Nevertheless Haman refrained himself, and when he came home, he sent and called for his friends, and Zeresh his wife. And Haman told them of the glory of his riches, and the multitude of his children, and all the things the king had promoted him, and how he had advanced him above the princes and servants of the king. Haman said: That's not all! Esther the queen let no man come with the king to the banquet that she had prepared but myself; and to morrow am I invited to dine with her also with the king. Yet all this availeth me nothing, so long as I see Mordecai the Jew sitting at the king's gate. Then Zeresh his wife and all his friends unto him: Let a gallows be made of fifty cubits high, and tomorrow speak thou unto the king that Mordecai may be hanged thereon: then go thou in merrily with the king unto the banquet. And the thing pleased Haman; and he caused the gallows to be made.

The phrase "banquet of wine," refers to the fact that the feast included many courses. When finished with the meal, they concluded with the "Feast of wine." It was at this interlude that the king enquires of Esther: "What is your petition?"


I am come in my Father's name, and ye receive me not: if another shall come in his own name, him ye will receive. {44} How can ye believe, which receive honour one of another, and seek not the honour that cometh from God alone. (John 5:43-44)

That night the king found himself unable to sleep. So he called for the book of Chronicles to be read to him. As the servant was reading, he came to the account that was written concerning the chamberlains that had conspired to take the king's life. Recorded was the brave deed of Mordecai, in notifying Esther, so the king's life was spared. Bigthana and Teresh, two of the king's chamberlains, the keepers of the door, who sought to lay hand on the king Ahasuerus, were executed. And the king said: "What honour and dignity hath been done to Mordecai for this? Then said the king's servants that ministered unto him, There is nothing done for him.

And the king felt he immediately needed to call for an officer to remedy this situation, saying: "Who is in the court?" Now Haman was come into the outward court of the king's house, to speak unto the king to hang Mordecai on the gallows that he had prepared for him. And the king's servants said unto him: "Behold, Haman standeth in the court." It was customary for those desiring an audience with the king, to wait in the outer court, till called for.

And the king said: "Let him come in." So Haman came in. And the king said unto him, What shall be done unto the man whom the king delighteth to honour? Now Haman thought in his heart:"To whom would the king delight to do honour more than to myself? And Haman answered the king: For the man whom the king delighteth to honour. Let the royal apparel be brought which the king useth to wear, and the horse that the king rideth upon, and the crown royal which is set upon his head: And let this apparel and horse be delivered to the hand of one of the king's most noble princes, that they may array the man withal whom the king delighteth to honour, and bring him on horseback through the street of the city, and proclaim before him, Thus shall it be done to the man whom the king delighteth to honour."

Consider this, concerning Messiah: "So Mashiach/Christ glorified not himself to be made high priest; but he said unto him: Thou art my Son, today I have begotten thee. (Psalm 2, Hebrews 5:4-5) Again: "But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God has highly exalted Him. The honor Mashiach received, came from God alone! He is the true pattern for godliness and holiness for all men. "Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up." (James 4:10)

Then the king said to Haman: "Make haste, and take the apparel and the horse, as thou hast said, and do even so to Mordecai the Jew, that sitteth at the king's gate: let nothing fail of all that thou has spoken." Then took Haman the apparel and the horse, and arrayed Mordecai, and brought him on horseback through the street of the city, and proclaimed before him: "Thus shall it be done unto the man whom the king delighteth to honour." And Mordecai came again to the king's gate. But Haman hurried to his house mourning, and having his head covered. And Haman told Zeresh his wife and all his friends every thing that had befallen him. Then his wise men and Zeresh his wife said: "If Mordecai be of the seed of the Jews, before whom thou hast begun to fall, thou shalt not prevail against him, but shalt surely fall before him. And while they were yet talking with him, came the king's chamberlains, and hasted to bring Haman unto the banquet that Esther had prepared."


"So the king and Haman came to banquet with Esther the queen. And the king said again unto Esther on the second day at the banquet of wine: "

What is your petition, queen Esther? and it shall be granted you: and what is your request? and it shall be performed, even to the half of the kingdom."

Then Esther the queen answered and said: If I have found favour in thy sight, O king, and if it please the king, let my life be given me at my petition, and my people at my request. For we are sold, I and my people, to be destroyed, to be slain, and to perish. But if we had been sold for bondmen and bondwomen, I had held my tongue, although the enemy could not countervail the king's damage.

Then the king Ahasuerus answered and said unto Esther the queen: "Who is he, and where is he, that durst presume in his heart to do so?" And Esther said: "The adversary and enemy is this wicked Haman." Then Haman was afraid before the king and the queen. And the king arising from the banquet of wine in his wrath went into the palace garden: and Haman stood up to make request for his life to Esther the queen; for he saw that there was evil determined against him by the king. Then the king returned from the palace garden to the banquet of wine; and Haman was fallen upon the bed where Esther reclined.

Then the king said: Will he force the queen right in fonrt of me in this very house? As the word went out of the king's mouth, they covered Haman's face. And Harbonah, one of the chamberlains, said before the king: Behold also, the gallows fifty cubits high, which Haman had made for Mordecai, who had spoken good for the king, stands in the house of Haman. Then the king said: Hang him on it. So they hanged Haman on the gallows that he had prepared for Mordecai. And the king's wrath pacified.

Ahasuerus gave the house of Haman to Esther the queen. His personal property was confiscated, as this was the custom with those executed in Persia. Not merely the building and it's furnishings is intended, but Haman's vast array of servants were given to the queen. Haman was now dead, but there was still the matter of the decree, which had gone forth throughout the provinces, and which according to Persian law could not be nullified or directly reversed. Esther earnestly sought the king to abolish the edict published by Haman, against the Jews. The king gave Esther and Mordecai authority to send letters in his name, to all the Jews in his kingdom, commanding them to stand for their lives. The edict could not be repealed, but with the king's support, the Jews would be strengthened and encouraged to fight.

Hamen's hatred of the Jews, and his defeat, illustrate God's covenant faithfulness to Abraham: "I will bless those who bless you and whoever curses you, I will curse." (Genesis 12:3)


On that day did the king Ahasuerus give the house of Haman the Jews' enemy unto Esther the queen. And Mordecai came before the king; for Esther had told what he was unto her. And the king took off his ring, which he had taken from Haman, and gave it unto Mordecai. And Esther set Mordecai over the house of Haman.

And Esther spake yet again before the king, and fell down at his feet, and besought him with tears to put away the mischief of Haman the Agagite, and his device that he had devised against the Jews. Then the king held out the golden sceptre toward Esther. So Esther arose, and stood before the king,

And said, If it please the king, and if I have favour in his sight, and the thing seem right before the king, and I be pleasing in his eyes, let it be written to reverse the letters devised by Haman the son of Hammedatha the Agagite, which he wrote to destroy the Jews which are in all the king's provinces:

For how can I endure to see the evil that shall come unto my people? or how can I endure to see the destruction of my kindred? Then the king Ahasuerus said unto Esther the queen and to Mordecai the Jew, Behold, I have given Esther the house of Haman, and him they have hanged upon the gallows, because he laid his hand upon the Jews. Write ye also for the Jews, as it liketh you, in the king's name, and seal it with the king's ring: for the writing which is written in the king's name, and sealed with the king's ring, may no man reverse.

Then were the king's scribes called at that time in the third month, that is, the month Sivan, on the three and twentieth day thereof; and it was written according to all that Mordecai commanded unto the Jews, and to the lieutenants, and the deputies and rulers of the provinces which are from India unto Ethiopia, an hundred twenty and seven provinces, unto every province according to the writing thereof, and unto every people after their language, and to the Jews according to their writing, and according to their language.

And he wrote in the king Ahasuerus' name, and sealed it with the king's ring, and sent letters by posts on horseback, and riders on mules, camels, and young dromedaries: Wherein the king granted the Jews which were in every city to gather themselves together, and to stand for their life, to destroy, to slay and to cause to perish, all the power of the people and province that would assault them, both little ones and women, and to take the spoil of them for a prey,

Upon one day in all the provinces of king Ahasuerus, namely, upon the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, which is the month Adar. The copy of the writing for a commandment to be given in every province was published unto all people, and that the Jews should be ready against that day to avenge themselves on their enemies. So the posts that rode upon mules and camels went out, being hastened and pressed on by the king's commandment. And the decree was given at Shushan the palace. And Mordecai went out from the presence of the king in royal apparel of blue and white, and with a great crown of gold, and with a garment of fine linen and purple: and the city of Shushan rejoiced and was glad.

The Jews had light, and gladness, and joy, and honour. And in every province, and in every city, whithersoever the king's commandment and his decree came, the Jews had joy and gladness, a feast and a good day. And many of the people of the land became Jews; for the fear of the Jews fell upon them.



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;)

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. 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.

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. Thus the Jews smote all their enemies with the stroke of the sword, and slaughter, and destruction, and did what they would unto those that hated them. And in Shushan the palace the Jews slew and destroyed five hundred men. And Parshandatha, and Dalphon, and Aspatha, And Poratha, and Adalia, and Aridatha, And Parmashta, and Arisai, and Aridai, and Vajezatha, The ten sons of Haman the son of Hammedatha, the enemy of the Jews, slew they; but on the spoil laid they not their hand.

On that day the number of those that were slain in Shushan the palace was brought before the king. And the king said unto Esther the queen, The Jews have slain and destroyed five hundred men in Shushan the palace, and the ten sons of Haman; what have they done in the rest of the king's provinces? now what is thy petition? and it shall be granted thee: or what is thy request further? and it shall be done.

Then said Esther, If it please the king, let it be granted to the Jews which are in Shushan to do to morrow also according unto this day's decree, and let Haman's ten sons be hanged upon the gallows. And the king commanded it so to be done: and the decree was given at Shushan; and they hanged Haman's ten sons. For the Jews that were in Shushan gathered themselves together on the fourteenth day also of the month Adar, and slew three hundred men at Shushan; but on the prey they laid not their hand. But the other Jews that were in the king's provinces gathered themselves together, and stood for their lives, and had rest from their enemies, and slew of their foes seventy and five thousand, but they laid not their hands on the prey, 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.

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. Therefore the Jews of the villages, that dwelt in the unwalled towns, made the fourteenth day of the month Adar a day of gladness and feasting, and a good day, and of sending portions one to another. And Mordecai wrote these things, and sent letters unto all the Jews that were in all the provinces of the king Ahasuerus, both nigh and far.

To stablish this among them, that they should keep the fourteenth day of the month Adar, and the fifteenth day of the same, yearly, As the days wherein the Jews rested from their enemies, and the month which was turned unto them from sorrow to joy, and from mourning into a good day: that they should make them days of feasting and joy, and of sending portions one to another, and gifts to the poor. And the Jews undertook to do as they had begun, and as Mordecai had written unto them; Because Haman the son of Hammedatha, the Agagite, 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;

But when Esther came before the king, he commanded by letters that his wicked device, which he devised against the Jews, should return upon his own head, and that he and his sons should be hanged on the gallows. Wherefore they called these days Purim after the name of Pur. Therefore for all the words of this letter, and of that which they had seen concerning this matter, and which had come unto them, The Jews ordained, and took upon them, and upon their seed, and upon all such as joined themselves unto them, so as it should not fail, that they would keep these two days according to their writing, and according to their appointed time every year; And that these days should be remembered and kept throughout every generation, every family, every province, and every city; and that these days of Purim should not fail from among the Jews, nor the memorial of them perish from their seed.

Then Esther the queen, the daughter of Abihail, and Mordecai the Jew, wrote with all authority, to confirm this second letter of Purim. And he sent the letters unto all the Jews, to the hundred twenty and seven provinces of the kingdom of Ahasuerus, with words of peace and truth, To confirm these days of Purim in their times appointed, according as Mordecai the Jew and Esther the queen had enjoined them, and as they had decreed for themselves and for their seed, the matters of the fastings and their cry. And the decree of Esther confirmed these matters of Purim; and it was written in the book.


And king Ahasuerus laid a tribute upon the land, and upon the isles of the sea. And all the acts of his power and of his might, and the declaration of the greatness of Mordecai, where the king advanced him, are written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Media and Persia? For Mordecai the Jew was next to king Ahasuerus, and great among the Jews, and accepted of the multitude of his brethren, seeking the wealth of his people, and speaking peace to all his seed.

In the citadel of Susa, the Jews avenged their enemies, and slew 500, and hanged (probably crucified) the 10 sons of Haman, whose names are given as Parshandatha, Dalphon, Aspatha, Poratha, Adalia, Aridatha, Parmashta, Arisai, Aridai, and Vajezatha. But did not take a spoil. (Est. 9:6-10)

The Feast of Purim, a "Festival of Thanksgiving," was instituted by letters of "peace and truth," from Queen Esther and Mordecai commanding that the Jews scattered throughout the Persian provinces from India to Ethiopia, and their descendants, and all that would join themselves to the Jews: Should keep the feast (of Purim,) on the 14th and 15th of Adar, annually, with feasting, joy, and sending portions to one another, and gifts to the poor." (Esther 9:21-32)

"They rested and made it a day of rejoicing."
A second letter from Esther and Mordecai appointed "fasting and lamentation," on the days of Purim. (Esther 9:29-32)

The Days of Purim Purim can either fall on the 14th of Adar or the 15th of Adar, depending upon the country in which you live. The reason for this is because the Jews of Shushan originally observed the festival on a different day than the Jews who lived in other places. Jews in Shushan waged war on both the 13th and the 14th of the month, and observed the 15th as a day of festivity. But in all other provinces the Jews waged war on the 13th and observed only the 14th as a day of festivity. Shushan was the city that waged war on the 13th and 14th of Adar and thus they celebrate Purim on the 15th of Adar.

The book of the Chronicles contained not only the record of Ahasuerus own achievements as king of Persia, but the promotion of Mordecai, and the preservation of the Jewish people. Mordecai was promoted to the position of prime minister of Persia, and in word and deed secured the good and prosperity of his people, who esteemed him with great regard. ( Est. 2:5, Psalm 34:13-15) An undated tablet found at Borsippa speaks of Mordecai who served in Sousa during Xerxes reign.


The "Esther Fast" is held on the day before Purim,and this year it will be on Thursday, March 4th. In the days of Mordechai and Esther the Jews gathered on the 13th of Adar to defend themselves from their enemies. The Jews of those days knew God was their strong tower, and citadel of defence, and He gives victory battle, to the righteous. They fasted and prayed for divine assistance prior to the fight. It's been the custom since those days, to fast on the day before the actual festival of Purim, as a reminder that Hashem hears and sees the prayers of every person and in times of trouble. Everyone fasts, but pregnant and nursing mothers, women within the first 30 days of childbirth may, or ill people, may be lenient with this fast. The fast begins at dawn and continues till until after dark.


The symbolic foods of Purim are connected with Haman and Queen Esther. Poppy seeds are symbolic of Queen Esther's 3-day fast. Triangular-shaped foods such as cheese kreplach or challah shaped like a large triangle, sprinkled with poppy seeds are other symbolic foods served by Ashkenaz Jews. Sephardic Jews serve Haman's Ears - deep-fried strips of dough or kichel dipped in sugar syrup or sprinkled with icing sugar.

What would Purim be without Hamentashen, those 3-cornered pastries shaped like Haman's 3-cornered hat! These come in an assortment of sizes and flavours. Fillings can be enclosed in sweet yeast dough, cookie dough, flaky cream cheese pastry or even phyllo dough. Popular fillings include poppy seeds, prunes, dates, apricots, and apples.

Food gifts of fruit, candy and cookies are sent to friends and family. It is considered a mitzvah to send them to the elderly and needy.


2 eggs
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup oil
1/4 cup orange juice
2 tsp. baking powder
3 cups flour
1/4 cup poppy seeds
additional sugar for dipping

Beat eggs with sugar, oil and orange juice until well mixed. Add baking powder, flour and poppy seeds. Mix to make a soft dough. (Can be done in the food processor.)

Divide dough into 4 pieces. Roll each piece on parchment paper (such as Chefs Select) or on a floured surface into a rectangle about 1/8 inch thick. Cut in triangles with a fluted pastry wheel or pizza cutter. Dip each cookie lightly in sugar. Place sugar-side up on a sprayed cookie sheet. Bake at 375°F for 8 to 10 minutes, until golden.

(Makes 4 to 5 dozen)

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