The call for mercy (Dan 3:10-3:13)

“Now your servants!

We cannot

Open our mouths!

We cannot

Worship you!

We have become

A shame!

We have become

A reproach!

For your name’s sake,

Do not give us up forever!

Do not annul your covenant!

Do not withdraw

Your mercy

From us!

For the sake of Abraham,

Your beloved,

For the sake of Isaac,

Your servant,

For the sake of Israel,

Your holy one,

Do not withdraw

Your mercy!

You promised

To multiply their descendants

Like the stars of heaven,

Like the sand on the shore

Of the sea.”

Azariah made a plea to God to have mercy on him and his friends. They were not able to open their mouths to worship God. They had become a shame and a reproach for the sake of God’s name. He wanted God not to give up on them or annul the covenant that he had made with Israel. He did not want God to withdraw his mercy from them. He reminded God about Abraham, the beloved one, Isaac, his servant, and Israel, the holy one. God had promised to multiply their descendants, like the stars in heaven or like the sand on the sea shore.

 

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The sinners pray (Bar 2:12-2:15)

“We have sinned!

We have been ungodly!

We have done wrong!

O Lord!

Our God!

Against all your ordinances!

Let your anger

Turn away

From us!

We are left,

Few in number,

Among the nations

Where you have

Scattered us.

Hear!

O Lord!

Our prayer!

Hear

Our supplication!

For your own sake

Deliver us!

Grant us favor

In the sight of those

Who have carried us

Into exile!

Thus all the earth

May know

That you are

The Lord our God!

For Israel

With his descendants,

You are

Called by your name.”

These sinners admit that they have been ungodly, doing wrong since they had disobeyed the ordinances of their Lord and God. They wanted him to turn his anger away from them, because they were only a few of them left. They had been scattered among the various nations, not just in one country. They wanted the Lord to hear their prayers and grant them favors among the people who carried them away into exile. Then the whole world would know what the God of Israel had done for his people and their descendants. They will call out his name to all.

 

The new heaven and new earth (Isa 66:22-66:23)

“‘I will make the new heavens.

I will make the new earth.

They shall remain before me.’

Says Yahweh.

‘Your descendants will remain.

Your name shall remain.

From new moon to new moon,

From Sabbath to Sabbath,

All flesh shall come to worship

Before me.’

Says Yahweh.”

Yahweh says that there will be a new heaven and new earth, where the Israelite name and their descendants will remain, month after month, week after week. All people will come to worship Yahweh.

A song of fruitfulness for Jerusalem (Isa 54:1-54:3)

“‘Sing!

O barren one!

You who did not bear!

Burst into song!

Shout!

You who have not been in labor!

The children of the desolate woman

Will be more

Than the children of her

That is married.’

Says Yahweh.

‘Enlarge the site place of your tent!

Let the curtains of your habitations

Be stretched out!

Do not hold back!

Lengthen your cords!

Strengthen your stakes!

You will spread out to the right.

You will spread out to the left.

Your descendants

Will possess the nations.

They will settle

The desolate towns.’”

Jerusalem was the barren city that had no children because of the Exile. Now they were to sing and shout because the barren one was about to have many children, even more that the married women. They were now going to enlarge the place for their tents. Their land would be stretched out so that they would need more cords and stakes for their tents. They were about to spread out to the right and the left. Their descendants would possess many nations and repopulate many desolate towns.

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.