Blessed are You Lord our God, King of the universe, Who has wrought miracles for our forefathers, in those days at this season.
Blessed are You Lord our God, Who has kept us alive, sustained us and brought us to this season.
Sitting with guests this year, making new friends and getting to know them over a festive occasion, eating, drinking, laughing…what could be better? As we read the megillah Esther this year I was continually struck by the “heaviness” of this account. This is NOT a light read. While the children laughed and cheered at certain parts and booed (the modern method of “blotting out the name of Amalek”) at others….I knew I had to go back into the Megillah later and process what I was experiencing through the reading.
First. Some pivital moments in the Megillah take place near the “garden”….
#1594 Ginnah – גִּנָּה- Garden.
The king gives his feast for the nobles, officers and governors of his vast newly acquired mighty Kingdom in the Garden Court of the palace 1;5
After Esther’s plea at the second feast, the king rises in his wrath and went into the palace garden. 7;7
The king returns from the palace garden and sees Haman on the couch of Esther….7;8
and even more in the various “courts” present in the account….
Every day Mordechai walks by the court of the women, checking in on Esther. 2;11
If anyone were to come to the Kings INNER court uninvited there is a death penatly. 4;11
Esther dresses in her royal array and stands in the inner court of the Kings house. 5;1
The king sees Esther in the inner court and she finds favor in his sight. 5;2
Haman comes to the kings outer court in the middle of the night, to approach the king regarding the hanging of Mordechai. 6;4
The King can not sleep and is told Haman is in his outer court. 6;5
#2691 חָצֵר Chatser- a court.
…but perhaps most oft mentioned is the king’s gate…. This is of interest because it is at the place of a city ‘gate’ where the “judges” would sit and overlook the happenings in the community, also on the rare occasions of capital punishment the city gate would be the place where the penalty was administered. This is the place where people come and go and there is a lot of traffic (generally very public).
#8179 sha’ar- שַׁעַר- a gate, a measure.
The king crowns Esther, he makes her a feast, …and when the virgins were gathered together the second time, then Mordecai sat in the king’s gate. 2;19
In those days, while Mordecai sat in the king’s gate, two of the king’s chamberlains, Bigthan and Teresh, of those which kept the door, were wroth, and sought to lay hand on the king Ahasuerus. 2;21
And all the king’s servants, that were in the king’s gate, bowed, and reverenced Haman: for the king had so commanded concerning him. But Mordecai bowed not, nor did reverence. 3;2
Then the king’s servants, which in the king’s gate, said unto Mordecai, Why transgresses thou the king’s commandment? 3;3
And came even before the king’s gate: for none enter into the king’s gate clothed with sackcloth. 4;2
So Hatach (whom Esther had sent to find out why Mordechai had donned sackcloth) went forth to Mordecai unto the street of the city, which was before the king’s gate. (and Mordechai tells him of the decree of the king and extent of Haman’s ‘funding’ for the project to kill all the Jews.) 4;6
Haman’s pride and station has been raised up and he as been invited to a private banquet by the queen, he has his evil plans in the work and yet his nemesis will not show him honor: Then went Haman forth that day joyful and with a glad heart: but when Haman saw Mordecai in the king’s gate, that he stood not up, nor moved for him, he was full of indignation against Mordecai. 5;9
Yet all this availeth me nothing, so long as I see Mordecai the Jew sitting at the king’s gate. 5;13
(The king discovers Mordechai was never rewarded for warning him regarding the members of his court who sought to kill him. He asks Haman “what should be done…” for a man the king wishes to honor and Haman answers presuming he himself must surely be that man meant for honor) 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 hast spoken. 6;10
(after Mordechai, led by Haman, is honored through the streets of Shushan) Mordecai came again to the king’s gate. But Haman hasted to his house mourning, and having his head covered. 6;12
Lessons to take away:
Being aware of your surroundings. Paying attention to God’s hand working behind the scenes.
We can tend to think of divine appointments as these revelation-ary experiences, times when we really made an effect or someone else really moved us. I think divine appointments are constant. In reality, because we were stopped at every single red light going down the highway heading to the store is because perhaps the Lord wanted us to arrive a few minutes later in order to greet someone with a smile or small gesture, someone we may have missed being there just minutes earlier. Who knows if that someone needed you and simple human movement of connection to keep them from falling into darkness. Something we perceive as small or even off putting or inconvenient might actually be our moment to grasp a divinely orchestrated destiny. Wherever you are….that is precisely where God wanted you to be. He will work in your life from wherever you find yourself whether you can see it or not. Being aware of this will allow us to think-say- and do with a more Godly perspective on every situation.
______________________ * ______________________
This verse…10 On the seventh day, when the heart of the King was merry with wine, he ordered….[11 to bring Queen Vashti wearing the royal crown to show off to the people…] took me to Ecclesiastes 10. Look at the connections I saw herein to the book of Esther:
Ecclesiastes 10;1 Dead flies make a perfumer’s oil stink, so a little foolishness is weightier than wisdom, honor.
Esther 2;12 …(for so was the prescribed length of their anointing accomplished: six months with oil of myrrh, and six months with perfumes and feminine cosmetics)
Ecclesiastes 10; 4 If the ruler’s temper rises against you, do not abandon your position, because composure allays great offenses.
Esther 3; 5 And when Haman saw that Mordecai bowed not, nor did him reverence, then was Haman full of wrath.
Ecclesiastes 10; 5 There is an evil I have seen under the sun, like an error which goes forth from the ruler— 6 folly is set in many exalted places while rich men sit in humble places. 7 I have seen slaves on horses and princes walking like slaves on the land.
(The folly in manner that the King’s so casually put forth such a terrifying decree, and Mordechai eventually being honored and lifted to a high position:
Esther 3;10 Then the king took his signet ring from his hand and gave it to Haman, the son of Hammedatha the Agagite, the enemy of the Jews.
Esther 6;11 So Haman took the robe and the horse, and arrayed Mordecai, and led him through the city square, and proclaimed before him, “Thus it shall be done to the man whom the king desires to honor.”)
Ecclesiastes 10; 8 He who digs a pit may fall into it, and a serpent may bite him who breaks through a wall. 9 He who quarries stones may be hurt by them, and he who splits logs may be endangered by them.
Esther 7; 9 … “Behold indeed, the gallows standing at Haman’s house fifty cubits high, which Haman made for Mordecai who spoke good on behalf of the king!” And the king said, “Hang him on it.” 10 So they hanged Haman on the gallows which he had prepared for Mordecai, and the king’s anger subsided.
Ecclesiastes 10; 12 Words from the mouth of a wise man are gracious, while the lips of a fool consume him; 13 the beginning of his talking is folly and the end of it is wicked madness.
Esther 5; 14 Then Zeresh his wife and all his friends said to him, “Have a gallows fifty cubits high made and in the morning ask the king to have Mordecai hanged on it; then go joyfully with the king to the banquet.” And the advice pleased Haman, so he had the gallows made.
Ecclesiastes 10; 17 Blessed are you, O land, whose king is of nobility and whose princes eat at the appropriate time—for strength and not for drunkenness.
Esther 1; 4 And he displayed the riches of his royal glory and the splendor of his great majesty for many days, 180 days. 5 When these days were completed, the king gave a banquet lasting seven days….8 The drinking was according to the law, there was no compulsion, for so the king had given orders to each official of his household that he should do according to the desires of each person…
Ecclesiastes 10; 19 Prepare a meal for enjoyment, and wine makes life merry, and money is the answer to everything.
Esther 1; 10…when the heart of the King was merry with wine…..
Lessons to take away:
The mastery of God’s living word! Grasping a single thread of a certain word or theme or question can take you on a journey through the entire wealth of scripture and suddenly you will see how expertly this treasured gift was fashioned. To take away from the importance of a single stroke would diminish the profound glory in His craftsmanship. Seeking through the eyes of a child, reading texts you have read year after year with extended effort to make it as if it were the first time, new, fresh….will reveal the hidden things you never noticed before. The extent to the incorporation of scriptures and the lessons God wishes to reveal to us there in is so vast….it is breathtaking to observe.
Questions are a good thing. If we keep asking why, He will continue to reveal more.
__________________ * ________________________
So the King’s heart was merry with wine and when he called Vashti to put herself on display and she refused his anger flared up. This too is a recurring theme in Esther….
#2534- Chemah- חֵמָה- warmth, ANGER, poison.
The King therefore became very incensed and his anger burned in him. 1;12
Haman is angered when Mordechai refuses to bow at the king’s gate 3;5
Haman’s wrath again flairs after his “promotion” because Mordechai continues to refuse to bow down…5;9
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…7;7
So they hanged Haman on the gallows that he had prepared for Mordecai. Then was the king’s wrath pacified. 7;10
#7107- qatsaph- קָצַף -to break out, TO BE ANGRY and indignant, to provoke to anger. (strongs definition: to crack off or burst out in rage.)
Esther 2;22 In those days, while Mordecai sat in the king’s gate, two of the king’s chamberlains, Bigthan and Teresh, of those which kept the door, were wroth, and sought to lay hand on the king Ahasuerus.
Lessons to take away:
Proverbs 25; 28 A city that is broken into without walls
Is a man who has no control over his spirit.
Proverbs 16; 32 He who is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he who rules his spirit, than he who captures a city. 33 The lot is cast into the lap, but its every decision is from the Lord.
How amazing, the Hebrew word for “lot” is “pur” the very name of this holiday (Purim- Lot’s plural). The rash decisions that are made in anger in this account are a testimony to the power of control. Self- control is perhaps the most evasive of human traits. There seems always to be a reason or mode of justification for our actions yet when we realize the power in maintaining patient assessments of the situations in which we find ourselves we may be able to avoid the damage that comes along with making choices, pursuing deeds, and un-bridling our tongues with the spirit of anger….which ultimately leads to an invaded security, crumbling city and destruction.
Pacifying our anger, feeding it, tending to it… allows it to become a beast that is thus strengthened and can not be caged any longer. Do not think that upon its release we will be spared in the wake of its upheaval.
_____________ * __________________
Taking counsel – whether good, or very bad is another recurring theme. The king is very pliable and receptive to his counselors. He reacts very abruptly in most cases except when finally asked by Esther to act on behalf of her people. In that case he takes the time to think it over in the garden.
Esther 1; 13 Then the king said to the wise men, which knew the times, (for so was the king’s manner toward all that knew law and judgment…15 What shall we do unto the queen Vashti according to law, because she hath not performed the commandment of the king Ahasuerus by the chamberlains?
#2450 Chacham- חָכָם- skillful, intelligent, shrewd, subtle, crafty.
The result of this counsel:
And when the king’s decree which he shall make shall be published throughout all his empire, (for it is great,) all the wives shall give to their husbands honor, both to great and small. 1;20
Esther 2;2 Then said the king’s servants that ministered unto him, Let there be fair young virgins sought for the king…
#5288 Na’ar- נַעַר – a boy ( young man of about 20)
The result of this “counsel”:….gather together all the fair young 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….2;3
Esther 2; 8 So it came to pass, when the king’s commandment and his decree was heard, and when many maidens were gathered together unto Shushan the 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…..9 and the maiden pleased him (Hegai), and she obtained kindness of him; and he speedily gave her her things for purification….and he preferred her and her maids unto the best place of the house of the women….
#8104 Shamar- שָׁמַר- to keep watch, to guard, preserve, keep safe, attend to.
15 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 favor in the sight of all them that looked upon her.
#559 amar -אָמַר- to bring light, to say, to command.
The result of this counsel:
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. 2;17
Esther 3;2 And all the king’s servants, that were in the king’s gate, bowed, and reverenced
Haman: for the king had so commanded concerning him. But Mordecai bowed not, nor did reverence. 3 Then the king’s servants, which were in the king’s gate, said unto Mordecai, Why transgresses thou the king’s commandment? 4 Now it came to pass, when they spake daily unto him, and he hearkened not unto them, that they told Haman, to see whether Mordecai’s matters would stand: for he had told them that he was a Jew.
#5674 abar- עָבַר -to pass over, pass through, pass by, to take away, remove.
The result of this ‘counsel’:
Esther 3; 5 And when Haman saw that Mordecai bowed not, nor did him reverence, then was Haman full of wrath. 6 And he thought scorn to lay hands on Mordecai alone; for they had shewed him the people of Mordecai: wherefore Haman sought to destroy all the Jews that were throughout the whole kingdom of Ahasuerus, even the people of Mordecai.
Esther 3; 8 And Haman said unto king Ahasuerus, There is a certain people scattered abroad and dispersed among the people in all the provinces of thy kingdom; and their laws are diverse from all people; neither keep they the king’s laws: therefore it is not for the king’s profit to suffer them. 9 If it please the king, let it be written that they may be destroyed: and I will pay ten thousand talents of silver to the hands of those that have the charge of the business, to bring into the king’s treasuries.
# 6 abad- אָבַד – to perish, be destroyed.
The result of this ‘counsel’:
Esther 3; 10 And the king took his ring from his hand, and gave it unto Haman the son of Hammedatha the Agagite, the Jews’ enemy.11 And the king said unto Haman, The silver is given to thee, the people also, to do with them as it seemeth good to thee.
13 And the letters were sent by posts into all the king’s provinces, to destroy, to kill, and to cause to perish (abad) , all Jews, both young and old, little children and women, in one day, even upon the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, which is the month Adar, and to take the spoil of them for a prey.
#8045 shamad- שָׁמַד -to lay waste, destroy.
#2026 harag- הָרַג- to kill.
Esther 3; 14 The copy of the writing for a commandment to be given in every province was published unto all people, that they should be ready against that day. 15 The posts went out, being hastened by the king’s commandment, and the decree was given in Shushan the palace. And the king and Haman sat down to drink; but the city Shushan was perplexed.
#943 Buwk- בּוּךְ- turning, rolling, disturbing, perplexing,to be entangled, to wander.
(only other 2 places this word is found Shemot 14;3 and Joel 1;18)
*** This verse reminded me of a time when the entire people was enlisted to fulfill the wicked decree of an ill advised narcissistic leader:
Shemot 1;16 And he said, When ye do the office of a midwife to the Hebrew women, and see them upon the stools; if it be a son, then ye shall kill him: but if it be a daughter, then she shall live. 17 But the midwives feared God, and did not as the king of Egypt commanded them, but saved the men children alive.18 And the king of Egypt called for the midwives, and said unto them, Why have ye done this thing, and have saved the men children alive?19 And the midwives said unto Pharaoh, Because the Hebrew women are not as the Egyptian women; for they are lively, and are delivered ere the midwives come in unto them.20 Therefore God dealt well with the midwives: and the people multiplied, and waxed very mighty. 21 And it came to pass, because the midwives feared God, that he made them houses. 22 And Pharaoh charged all his people, saying, Every son that is born ye shall cast into the river, and every daughter ye shall save alive.
Esther 4;13 Mordecai told them to reply to Esther, “Do not imagine that you in the king’s palace can escape any more than all the Jews. 14 For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place and you and your father’s house will perish (abad). And who knows whether you have not attained royalty for such a time as this?”
#2790- charash- חָרַשׁ – to plow, to fabricate, to devise, to be deaf, to keep silence.
The result of this counsel:
Esther 4;15 Then Esther told them to reply to Mordecai, 16 “Go, assemble all the Jews who are found in Susa, and fast for me; do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my maidens also will fast in the same way. And thus I will go in to the king, which is not according to the law; and if I perish (abad), I perish (abad).” 17 So Mordecai went away and did just as Esther had commanded him.
Esther 5; 10 Haman controlled himself, however, went to his house and sent for his friends and his wife Zeresh. 11 Then Haman recounted to them the glory of his riches, and the number of his sons, and every instance where the king had magnified him and how he had promoted him above the princes and servants of the king. 12 Haman also said, “Even Esther the queen let no one but me come with the king to the banquet which she had prepared; and tomorrow also I am invited by her with the king. 13 Yet all of this does not satisfy me every time I see Mordecai the Jew sitting at the king’s gate.” 14 Then Zeresh his wife and all his friends said to him, “Have a gallows fifty cubits high made and in the morning ask the king to have Mordecai hanged on it; then go joyfully with the king to the banquet.” And the advice pleased Haman, so he had the gallows made.
#157 ahav- אָהַב- to love, a friend, to delight.
#6095 atsah- עָצָה- to be hard, firm.
#6085 Ets- עֵץ- a tree, wood.
The end result of this counsel:
Esther 7; 10 So they hanged Haman on the gallows that he had prepared for Mordecai. Then was the king’s wrath pacified.
#7918 – shakak- שָׁכַךְ – to weave (i.e. lay) a trap; figuratively, (through the idea of secreting) to allay (passions; physically, abate a flood):—appease, assuage, make to cease, pacify, set.
Lessons to take away:
It is ultimately up to us what and who we surround ourselves with. If we fill our eyes, ears, bodies and hearts with worldly garbage then we to begin to smell of trash. When we cling to or confide it those who have no moral Godly compass then we too begin to resemble them. It is rarely the other way around. A sponge may be tossed into a mess with the purpose of cleaning it up, but in the end….the sponge absorbs what it was set into. If the word of God and His Ruach (Spirit) become our counselors then we are in good company and hands. If we ask advice of people we know have the Lord as their lighthouse we know where we will be headed. This world is replete with deception, manipulation and a desire for control. Each person behind the scenes when giving counsel, in Esther, had his own agenda and desired destination to arrive at. When the destination was for evil….evil prevailed. When it was for good, it too was arrived at.
Good music, good entertainment, good food, good reading, good friends, good hearts, the good Book…
Romans 12; 2 do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.
Also remember that whether or not we realize it, we too are the counselors and influencers of those around us. Let us leave a good impression and give Godly counsel- being armed and equipped to do so by immersing ourselves in the living word of life.
I was fascinated by the word for word reversal of the king’s decree through Haman, and the fact that the Jew’s (although permitted) did not take of the spoil of this reprisal.
Esther 3; 13 Letters were sent by couriers to all the king’s provinces to destroy, to kill and to annihilate all the Jews, both young and old, women and children, in one day, the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, which is the month Adar, and to seize their possessions as plunder.
Esther 8; 10 He wrote in the name of King Ahasuerus, and sealed it with the king’s signet ring, and sent letters by couriers on horses, riding on steeds sired by the royal stud. 11 In them the king granted the Jews who were in each and every city the right to assemble and to defend their lives, to destroy, to kill and to annihilate the entire army of any people or province which might attack them, including children and women, and to plunder their spoil, 12 on one day in all the provinces of King Ahasuerus, the thirteenth day of the twelfth month (that is, the month Adar). 13 A copy of the edict to be issued as law in each and every province was published to all the peoples, so that the Jews would be ready for this day to avenge themselves on their enemies.
Lessons to take away:
This is an example of one of the more frequently repeated themes in scripture. What one does in life he alone is held in account for. If one does evil that evil will come back around on his head. Yeshua taught us that even the idea- the thought of evil is as if one has committed it. If you are involved in it, have put some seed of an idea into its realization, if you have pursued something in even a small way….if it is for ill, there will be a visitation of that same intent or actuality upon your head.
Obadiah 1;15 “For the day of the LORD draws near on all the nations. As you have done, it will be done to you. Your dealings will return on your own head.”
Ezekiel 18; 20 “The person who sins will die. The son will not bear the punishment for the father’s iniquity, nor will the father bear the punishment for the son’s iniquity; the righteousness of the righteous will be upon himself, and the wickedness of the wicked will be upon himself.
The good news is that the opposite is also true, if we do good…good will come to us eventually.
Now if any man builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, each man’s work will become evident; for the day will show it because it is to be revealed with fire, and the fire itself will test the quality of each man’s work. If any man’s work which he has built on it remains, he will receive a reward.
____________ * _______________
I thought it was important to again really digest who Amalek is. That this hatred and disgust for Mordechai through Haman really began from Jacob and Esau and is a continued war which will wage until the end with Messiah’s return and triumph….
Shemot 14; 8 Then Amalek came and fought against Israel at Rephidim. 9 So Moses said to Joshua, “Choose men for us and go out, fight against Amalek. Tomorrow I will station myself on the top of the hill with the staff of God in my hand.” 10 Joshua did as Moses told him, and fought against Amalek; and Moses, Aaron, and Hur went up to the top of the hill. 11 So it came about when Moses held his hand up, that Israel prevailed, and when he let his hand down, Amalek prevailed. 12 But Moses’ hands were heavy. Then they took a stone and put it under him, and he sat on it; and Aaron and Hur supported his hands, one on one side and one on the other. Thus his hands were steady until the sun set. 13 So Joshua overwhelmed Amalek and his people with the edge of the sword. 14 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Write this in a book as a memorial and recite it to Joshua, that I will utterly blot out the memory of Amalek from under heaven.” 15 Moses built an altar and named it The Lord is My Banner; 16 and he said, “The Lord has sworn; the Lord will have war against Amalek from generation to generation.”
#4229 machah- מָחָה-to destroy, to be blotted out.
Devarim 25; 17 “Remember what Amalek did to you along the way when you came out from Egypt, 18 how he met you along the way and attacked among you all the stragglers at your rear when you were faint and weary; and he did not fear God. 19 Therefore it shall come about when the Lord your God has given you rest from all your surrounding enemies, in the land which the Lord your God gives you as an inheritance to possess, you shall blot out the memory of Amalek from under heaven; you must not forget.
Bemidbar 24; 20 And he (Balaam) looked at Amalek and took up his discourse and said,
“Amalek was the first of the nations, but his end shall be destruction.”
#8 oved- אֹבֵד- one who is wretched, unfortunate, destruction.
Genesis 36; 12 Timna was a concubine of Esau’s son Eliphaz and she bore Amalek to Eliphaz.
Esther 9; 24 For Haman the son of Hammedatha, the Agagite, the adversary of all the Jews, had schemed against the Jews to destroy them and had cast Pur, that is the lot, to disturb them and destroy them. 25 But when it came to the king’s attention, he commanded by letter that his wicked scheme which he had devised against the Jews, should return on his own head and that he and his sons should be hanged on the gallows.
Samuel 15; 32 Then Samuel said, “Bring me Agag, the king of the Amalekites.” And Agag came to him cheerfully. And Agag said, “Surely the bitterness of death is past.” 33 But Samuel said, “As your sword has made women childless, so shall your mother be childless among women.”
From the texts above you can see who Amalek and Haman are. One can also see that this is a battle between two powers, God and the destroyer. Ishmael, Esau, Amalek, Haman….it is all the spirit of the anti-Messiah. The one who desires to erase the living proof of God’s veracity in His word- as revealed by His prophets who testified to things we witness through the miracle of Israel and the Jewish people to this very day. And to this very day we see “Amalek’s” rising against Israel and the Jewish people. In the end, the evil of Islam and the god of death will not prevail. Esther and this account of deliverance and evil turned around is a testimony of hope for each one of us today!
Esther 9; 3 Even all the princes of the provinces, the satraps, the governors and those who were doing the king’s business assisted the Jews, because the dread of Mordecai had fallen on them. 4 Indeed, Mordecai was great in the king’s house, and his fame spread throughout all the provinces; for the man Mordecai became greater and greater. 5 Thus the Jews struck all their enemies with the sword, killing and destroying; and they did what they pleased to those who hated them. 6 At the citadel in Susa the Jews killed and destroyed five hundred men, 7 and Parshandatha, Dalphon, Aspatha, 8 Poratha, Adalia, Aridatha, 9 Parmashta, Arisai, Aridai and Vaizatha, 10 the ten sons of Haman the son of Hammedatha, the Jews’ enemy; but they did not lay their hands on the plunder.
Devarim 13; 12 “If you hear in one of your cities, which the Lord your God is giving you to live in,saying 13 some worthless men have gone out from among you and have seduced the inhabitants of their city, saying, ‘Let us go and serve other gods’ (whom you have not known), 14 then you shall investigate and search out and inquire thoroughly. If it is true the matter established that this abomination has been done among you, 15 you shall surely strike the inhabitants of that city with the edge of the sword, utterly destroying it and all that is in it and its cattle with the edge of the sword. 16 Then you shall gather all its booty into the middle of its open square and burn the city and all its booty with fire as a whole burnt offering to the Lord your God; and it shall be a ruin forever. It shall never be rebuilt. 17 Nothing from that which is put under the ban shall cling to your hand, in order that the Lord may turn from His burning anger and show mercy to you, and have compassion on you and make you increase, just as He has sworn to your fathers, 18 if you will listen to the voice of the Lord your God, keeping all His commandments which I am commanding you today, and doing what is right in the sight of the Lord your God.
Lessons to take away:
Although the people were permitted to plunder those who sought their destruction….they did not do so. I see it as a keeping of the Torah (teaching and instruction) of HaShem. This is and will be the key to our connection to being light in the world when things get utterly darkened. Additionally although this feast of celebration was instated….it is never the pain, destruction and demise of enemies that is rejoiced in. When we feast and remember it is not (so unlike many Muslim paraders who proclaim utter ecstasy in the streets when terror attacks are “successful” , especially when Jews are harmed and killed) the downfall of our foes that we celebrate. It is the justice, righteousness, deliverance, redemption, freedom, salvation that we have in the One God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob that we revel in. It is relief to know that He has given us a chance to pursue the mission for which we have been created to perform. It is His glory and the involved and active hand He takes with all of humanity, all creation….whether it is overt or behind the scenes.
“Who balked the counsel of the nations and annulled the designs of the cunning, when a wicked man stood up against us, a wantonly evil branch of Amalek’s offspring. Haughty with his wealth he dug himself a grave, and his very greatness snared him in a trap.
Fancying to trap, he became entrapped; attempting to destroy, he was swiftly destroyed. Haman showed his forebears’ enmity, and aroused the brotherly hate of Esau on the children. He would not remember Saul’s compassion, that through his pity on Agag the foe was born. The wicked one conspired to cut away the righteous, but the impure one was trapped in the pure one’s hands.
Kindness overcame the father’s error, and the wicked one piled sin on sins. In his heart he hid his cunning thoughts, and devoted himself to evildoing. He stretched his hand against Yahweh’s holy ones, and he spent his silver to destroy their memory.
When Mordecai saw the wrath commence, and Haman’s decrees to be issued in Shushan, he put on sackcloth and bound himself in mourning, decreed a fast and sat on ashes: Who would arise to atone for error, to gain forgiveness for our ancestors’ sins?
A blossom bloomed from a lulav branch-behold! Hadassah stood up to arouse the sleeping. Her servants hastened Haman, to serve him wine of serpent’s poison. He stood tall through his wealth and toppled through his evil he built the gallows on which he was hung.
The earth’s inhabitants opened their mouths, for Haman’s lot became our Purim, the righteous man was saved from the wicked’s hand; the foe was substituted for him. They undertook to establish Purim, to rejoice in every single year. You noted the prayer of Mordechai and Esther; Haman and his sons You hung on the gallows.”
Blessed are You, Hashem our God, King of the universe, Who takes up our grievance, judges our claim, avenges our wrong; Who brings just retribution upon all enemies of our soul and exacts vengeance for us from our foes.
Blessed are You HaShem,Who brings salvation.
B’Shem Yeshua HaMashiac amein.
Chag Purim Sameach!