Exodus 20:20–30:10; Deuteronomy 25:17–19; Ezekiel 37:10–27
By Michael SchneiderCommentary:
The main lesson from this week’s reading is that GOD Himself wants to dwell in the midst of us! This is the parallel we draw from the role of the tabernacle and the High Priest…
…Secondly we learn from our portion out of the prophets that obedience is greater than sacrifice. The Feast of Purim will this year (2009) be celebrated on March 9 and 10. During Purim, Jews read the Book of Esther.
These days we have another Haman who wants to annihilate the Jewish people, and he even comes from the same nation – Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the president of Iran, formerly Persia.
Today let us pray that the ‘pur,’ the lots, will fall and rather than a planned day of destruction we will see the long awaited day of redemption of Israel as a nation! So let us continue to intercede, like Esther and Mordechai, in prayer and fasting for the welfare and safety of the Jewish people. Purim is the most joyous holiday, a day of victory!
Israelis commemorate God’s deliverance at Purim
The festival of Purim is a commemoration of Jewish deliverance from the Persian Empire, which sought their annihilation.
Purim is celebrated on the 14th of Adar as commanded in scripture. Jews will attend synagogues around the country and read the book of Esther.
The story of the miraculous deliverance of the Jews, scattered throughout the 127 provinces of the fifth century B.C. Persian Empire, which stretched from India to Ethiopia, is recounted in the book of Esther. God miraculously used the queen, a Jew, to intervene on behalf of her people so that the decree of the king to kill all the Jews would not be carried out. Haman the Agagite, chancellor, convinced Persian King Ahasuerus, to approve a plan to murder all the Jews in the kingdom.
In the end, God miraculously delivers the Jews from annihilation; Haman is hanged on the gallows he prepared for Queen Esther’s cousin Mordechai, who replaces him as the king’s chancellor.
The name of God doesn’t appear in the Book of Esther, but it is a story of His sovereign grace, orchestrating every detail as tragic events unfold and in the end the Jewish people are able to defend themselves and are delivered from death.
During the reading, it is customary to yell and make noise when Haman’s name is mentioned and cheer when Esther’s name is read. Jews also eat Hamantaschen or Haman’s ears, a pastry filled with a fruit, nut or chocolate mix. Children dress in costumes.
Throughout the centuries, there have been numerous attempts to destroy the Jewish people and today is no different. Today’s “Haman,” Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, also of Persian descent, has openly declared his plans to wipe the State of Israel off the map.
Ahmadinejad funds Islamic terrorist groups such as Hizballah, Hamas and others, and supplies them with weapons and explosives to perpetrate suicide bombings and missile attacks against Israel. At times like this, the story of Esther remains a source of great encouragement, giving Jews a sense of God’s sovereignty, perfect timing and ultimate deliverance from those who seek their destruction.