The Assyrian area (Jer 25:25-25:25)

“I went to

All the kings of Zimri,

All the kings of Elam,

All the kings of Media.”

Zimri were the people in northeast Assyria. Elam was a province of the Assyrian Empire. Media may be a reference to Medes, an old Persian province.

The origin of the name Purim (Esth 9:24-9:28)

“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.

The triumph of Mordecai and the Jews (Esth 8:15-8:17)

“Then Mordecai went out from the presence of the king, wearing royal robes of blue and white, with a great golden crown and a mantle of fine linen and purple. The city of Susa shouted and rejoiced. The Jews had light and gladness, joy and honor. In every province and in every city, wherever the king’s command and his edict came, there was gladness and joy among the Jews, a festival and a holiday. Furthermore, many of the peoples of the country professed to be Jews, because the fear of the Jews had fallen upon them.”

We have a complete reversal of fortunes for Mordecai and the Jews. Mordecai now wore the royal blue and white robes with a golden crown with purple. He was like the king of Susa, at least the 2nd in command. The Jews in the various provinces or countries, because we are that time of the Diaspora, were glad and joyous. They held festivals and holidays. In fact, the other people sometimes professed to be Jews because they began to fear the power of the Jews. The Jewish fasting had turned to feasting.

The sending of the royal edict that favors the Jews (Esth 8:13-8:14)

“A copy of the document was to be issued as a decree in every province, and published to all peoples. The Jews were to be ready on that day to take revenge on their enemies. So the couriers, mounted on their swift royal horses hurried out, urged by the king’s command. The decree was issued in the citadel of Susa.”

Now we are back at the Hebrew text, which summarizes the letter. A copy of this decree was sent to every one of the 127 provinces so that all the people knew about this. The Jews were to be ready on the 13th of Adar to take revenge against their enemies. This word went out by the royal couriers with their swift royal horses. The king had urged them on, since this decree came from the Persian capital of Susa.

The sending of the decree (Esth 3:12-3:13)

“The king’s secretaries were summoned on the thirteenth day of the first month. In accordance with Haman’s instructions, they wrote in the name of King Artaxerxes to the magistrates and the governors in every province from India to Ethiopia. There were one hundred twenty-seven provinces in all. The governors were addressed each in his own language. It was written and sealed with the king’s ring. Letters were sent by couriers throughout all the empire of King Artaxerxes to destroy, to kill, and to annihilate all the Jewish people, young and old, women and children, on a given day, the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, which is Adar, and to plunder their goods.”

The king’s secretaries were summoned on the next day after the meeting between Haman and the king. They were to follow the instructions of Haman. They wrote in the name of the king to the magistrates and governors of all the 127 provinces from India to Ethiopia, each in their own language with the royal seal. They were sent by royal couriers throughout the empire. On the 13th day of the 12th month of that year they were to destroy, kill, and annihilate all the Jewish people and take their goods. This was also the final solution of Hitler some 2500 years before his time.