“Now every year,
His parents went
For the festival
Of the Passover.”
Καὶ ἐπορεύοντο οἱ γονεῖς αὐτοῦ κατ’ ἔτος εἰς Ἱερουσαλὴμ τῇ ἑορτῇ τοῦ πάσχα.
Luke alone continued to show how Jesus and Mary followed the Torah or Jewish law, since every year (κατ’ ἔτος), the parents of Jesus went (Καὶ ἐπορεύοντο οἱ γονεῖς αὐτοῦ) to Jerusalem (εἰς Ἱερουσαλὴμ) for the festival of Passover (τῇ ἑορτῇ τοῦ πάσχα). Passover was one of the 3 major festivals, and the most important, when observant Jewish people went on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem. Luke put a lot of emphasis on Jerusalem, the Temple, and the Law.
“Then all who survive
Of the nations
That have come
Shall go up,
Year after year,
To worship the king,
Yahweh of hosts.
They will keep
The festival of booths.”
This is a universal appeal to all countries to come to worship Yahweh, with a particular remark about those who had fought against Jerusalem. Yahweh wanted them to come every year to worship him, the king, Yahweh of hosts, for the festival of Booths, Tabernacles, or Tents. This was usually in the fall, when there was a renewal of the covenant. There was no mention of any other Israelite religious festivals.
“It happened that on the same day on which the sanctuary had been profaned by the foreigners, the purification of the sanctuary took place, that is, on the twenty-fifth day of the same month, which was Chislev. They celebrated it for eight days with rejoicing, in the manner of the festival of booths. They remembered how not long before, during the feast of booths, they had been wandering in the mountains and caves like wild animals. Therefore bearing ivy-wreathed wands and beautiful branches with also fronds of palm, they offered hymns of thanksgiving to him who had given success to the purifying of his own holy place. They decreed by public edict, ratified by vote, that the whole nation of the Jews should observe these days every year. Such then was the end of King Antiochus, who was called Epiphanes.”
This is very reminiscent of 1 Maccabees, chapter 4. However, the festival of booths was usually in September, but Chislev is December. As they were not able to celebrate it then, they celebrated it here for 8 days. This might be the source of Hanukkah. This took place 2 years to the day that the profanation of the Temple took place. It is the same time frame as the story in Esther. Yet it is reminiscent of the restoration of the Temple of King Hezekiah in 2 Chronicles, chapter 29. Here there is an official decree that is voted upon. This is the first mention of any kind of vote. Previously, questions were answered by lot. Perhaps this is the Greek influence. Nevertheless, this is the end of King Antiochus IV as now they have a restored Temple in Jerusalem to celebrate and remember.
“The men who were in the citadel at Jerusalem were prevented from going in and out to the country to buy and sell things. So they were very hungry. Many of them perished from famine. Then they cried to Simon to make peace with them. So he did. He expelled them from there. He cleansed the citadel from its pollutions. On the twenty-third day of the second month, in the one hundred seventy-first year, the Jews entered it with praise and palm branches. They had harps, cymbals, and stringed instruments. They sang hymns and songs because a great enemy had been crushed and removed from Israel. Simon decreed that every year they should celebrate this day with rejoicing. He strengthened the fortifications of the temple hill alongside the citadel. He and his men lived there. Simon saw that his son John had reached manhood, so he made him commander of all the forces. He lived at Gazara.”
The Syrian men who were in the Jerusalem citadel could not go in or out to buy or sell anything. Thus they became hungry like a famine. Finally, they wanted to make peace with Simon. He decided to expel them from the citadel. There was a big celebration with praise and palm branches as the Jews entered the citadel in 141 BCE, about a year after their independence. Before they went in with harps, cymbals, and stringed instruments singing hymns and songs, they had the citadel cleansed from the foreign pollutions. They were going to celebrate this every year on the 23rd day of the 2nd month, that is sometime in May. Simon and his men decided to live in the citadel. He sent his son John to be the commander of the armed forces and live in Gaza. This apparently was his son John Hyrcanus who was the high priest from 134-104 BCE.
“Haman the Agagite son of Hammedatha, the enemy of all the Jews, had plotted against the Jews to destroy them. He had cast Pur that is ‘the lot’ to crush and destroy them. When Queen Esther came before the king, he gave orders in writing that the wicked plot that Haman had devised against the Jews should come upon his own head. He and his sons should be hanged on the gallows. Therefore they called these days Purim, after the word Pur. All of this was written in this letter. Because of what they had faced in this matter, and of what had befallen them, the Jews established and accepted as a custom for themselves and their descendants, and all who joined them. Without fail they would continue to observe these two days every year, as it was written, and at the time appointed. These days should be remembered and kept throughout every generation, in every family, province, and city. These days of Purim should never fall into disuse among the Jews. The commemoration of these days should never cease among their descendants.”
This is an official explanation of the feast of Purim. Since this does not have Torah approval, there is a strong emphasis on written documents. After the captivity and exile there is a great insistence on written documents. Purism comes from the idea of casting lots, which Haman did, to decide on what day the persecution and the destruction of the Jews should take place. The movement of Pur into Purim is simple enough. Interesting enough, the Greek text continued to call Haman a Macedonian rather than an Agagite. In the Greek text there is the explicit information that Pur means casting lots in Persian. The Greek text insists that Mordecai established this feast.