THE PURIM STORY

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The story of Purim was told in one of the Old Testament books of the Bible, the book of Esther. The setting was in the land of Persia (now, Iran) where the King Achashverosh has ascended the throne of Persia.

How It All Began

It was more than two thousand years ago, when the Holy Temple in Jerusalem was turned into ruins by the King of Babylonia, Nebuchadnezzar. The Israelites were forced to leave the Land of Israel and live their lives as captives in Babylonia. But after half a century, Babylonia was overpowered by Persia and some Jews go back to their land while others remain in Persia and became subjects of the Persian Empire with 127 countries succeeded by the King Achashverosh (Ahasuerus) or King Xerxes according to the Bible.

The Royal Banquet

In the 3rd year of his reign as king, he threw a royal banquet and invited all the most important people in the vast empire that lasted for about six months. This was immediately followed by a 7-day feast for the entire inhabitants of the capital city of Shushan, including the Jews.

During the last day of the feast, when the king was so full of wine and drunk, he ordered his Queen Vashti to appear before all men in that feast to brag about her delightful and exquisite beauty, but the Queen refused to obey him which caused her to be dethroned. As a result, King Achashverosh, resolved to find another queen to replace Queen Vashti.

The Search for the New Queen of Persia

King Achashverosh wanted that the next queen should be even more beautiful and stunning than Vashti. His search for the queen has begun with the royal beauty pageant. His officers went in all corners of Shushan to look for the most beautiful ladies and virgins to be brought to Achashverosh and choose which one will be his queen.

Esther, a beautiful young Jewish orphan lady who was raised by her cousin Mordechai, encouraged her to join the quest for the next queen. She got the attention of the king and immediately liked her and chose her to be his queen. The king loved Esther among his other women in the palace. Until this time, Queen Esther never divulged anything about her Jewish identity as her cousin advised her no to do so.

The Evil Adviser, Haman and His Evil Plot

Soon after Esther became queen, King Achashverosh appointed Haman as the highest-ranking official in the kingdom and every subject is required and ordered to bow down and honor Haman. But Mordechai, Esther’s cousin refused to because he is a Jew (for Jews never worship idols). Upon learning that Mordechai is a Jew, his rage and fury becomes greater that he didn’t just plotted to kill and destroy Mordechai but all the Jews in the Persian Empire.

He even convinced the king to approve and go along with this plot- cast pur which is the lot under Haman’s charge to determine the day and month on which he would carry out his evil plot to exterminate all the Jews- on the 13th day of the Hebrew month of Adar.

The Verdict

Mordechai and Queen Esther being notified and alerted of the evil plot didn’t waste time but prayed and fasted for their next move against Haman. Esther decided to finally reveal her true identity to her king in order to save her Jewish people from the plot to destroy and exterminate them.

The king became furious and ordered to kill and hang Haman for his wicked plans. The Jews were saved and delivered from the cruelty of oppression, and fought and defend themselves against their enemies on the 13th day of Adar and celebrated for their triumph on the 14th day. The next day, 15th of Adar, other Jews still are fighting with remaining opponents and finally gained their victory.

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