“Yet, when the plot became known to the king, the king ordered in writing that the wicked plan Haman had devised against the Jews should instead be turned against Haman and that he and his sons should be impaled on stakes. And so these days have been named Purim after the word Pur.”
I asked a Jewish friend to describe Purim and he said, like most Jewish holidays, it was there to celebrate the Jews not dying…again. Throughout history God has repeatedly saved the chosen ones from annihilation leading me to reflect on the constant threat bestowed on the Jewish people. As I write this study, the discussion of where to place the U.S. Embassy within Israel has again erupted causing many to wonder if and how the relations between Israel and Palestine will ever be resolved. Will the Jewish people, and now state, ever feel fully safe and protected? Political discourse is not appropriate for this forum, thus I wish to draw our attention to the punishment of Haman and why a holiday, such as Purim, is celebrated.
In the quote read at the beginning, the Bible tells us the order dictated that ‘he and his sons should be impaled on stakes.’ Although it doesn’t state whether this actually happened or not to Haman, it does show an example of the mindset of King Ahasuerus and Queen Esther and the sentences ordered down on criminals and traitors. He was a bad man no doubt; Haman created a plan to exterminate an entire race of people! In the synagogue on Purim, the Jewish grumble and yell at the name of Haman during the annual reading of the book of Esther. My hope as a human race though is we soon move past the age old response of government sponsored death and choose to respect all life, including horrible criminals.
Chapter nine states
“Thus were established, for their appointed time, these days of Purim which Mordecai the Jew and Queen Esther had designated for the Jews, just as they had previously enjoined upon themselves and upon their descendants the duty of fasting and supplication.”Esther 9:31
One statement to look at is ‘previously enjoined.’ Purim is noted as being one of the smaller holidays for the Jewish, and their other holidays are dependent on God’s continued protection at potential annihilating situations (like Passover). I think it also important to realize the value of pop-culture and its’ impact on societal norms, i.e. Esther is a story meant to influence the Jewish people at the time (and possibly to today) into adherence of religious laws over government demands. And to be honest, who doesn’t want to be thought of as a strong, independent, faithful woman? Esther is a perfect example of a woman we should look to as a role-model, minus her liking of corporal punishment…
Reflection: What women in literature or movies have inspired you or influenced your behaviors? Is there a certain vice or weakness you have worked on because of the choices of that character?
Act: Watch the movie The Book of Esther. It’s on Netflix for a cheap movie date. The movie can be cheesy at times, but I personally watched it twice in a row, want to watch it again, and think it worth your time.