What is the Story of Purim?
An Orphan Girl…
Purim is the story of Esther, from the book of Esther in the Bible . Esther’s Hebrew name was Hadassah. Her parents died, leaving her an orphan. She was adopted by Mordecai.
“…Mordecai the son of Jair, the son of Shimei, the son of Kish, a Benjamite… And Mordecai had brought up Hadassah, that is, Esther, his uncle’s daughter, for she had neither father nor mother…”—Esther 2:5,7
Esther was taken to the palace of King Ahasuerus after Queen Vashti, refused the commands of her king. Queen Vashti was dethroned, and the king was in search of a new queen.
Won the Favor of the King…
He brought many women to the palace and they prepared themselves to be taken as queen. However, Esther won the favor of all those she interacted with, including the king.
“The king loved Esther more than all the other women, and she obtained grace and favor in his sight more than all the virgins; so he set the royal crown upon her head and made her queen instead of Vashti.”—Esther 2:17
The King Was Endangered…
Two of the king’s eunuchs, Bigthan and Teresh, had been angered by the king, and they sought to kill him. Mordecai overheard this plot and told Esther, who then informed the king, giving credit to Mordecai for the discovery.
It Seemed All Had Been Resolved…
This discovery was recorded, and these men were hung.
But Another Tragedy Took its Place…
Sometime later, Haman, a servant of the king, was given a place of the vizier, or high official, to the king. Everyone “bowed and paid homage” to Haman… except Mordecai. He refused.
This angered Haman, who then started a plot to kill Mordecai and his people—the Jews. Haman convinced the king to issue a decree that the Jews be destroyed. The king said, “…The money and the people are given to you [Haman], to do with them as seems good to you” (Esther 3:11). The king’s scribes were called, a decree was written according to all that Haman had commanded and the decree was sealed with the king’s signet ring.
This Time the Jewish People Were Endangered…
Mordecai learned about the decree and it was then that Esther’s position and purpose were revealed.
“…if you remain completely silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?”—Esther 4:14
It Was Time for Esther’s Purpose to be Revealed…
Mordecai told Esther to put aside any self-doubt and approach the king, petitioning the decree be nullified so that the Jewish people would not be killed.
Esther Had a Plan. So Did God…
Esther prepared a great 2-day banquet for the king.
The night following the first day of the banquet, God miraculously brought to the king’s mind the written account of Mordecai exposing the plot to kill him. He went to read the account and decided then and there that Mordecai needed to be honored.
So, the king assigned Haman, of all people, to bring Mordecai into the palace so that he would be honored. Haman was humiliated as the king commanded him to place royal garments upon Mordecai’s shoulders.
During the second day of the banquet, Esther made her request known…
“…If I have found favor in your sight, O king, and if it pleases the king, let my life be given me at my petition, and my people at my request. For we have been sold, my people and I, to be destroyed, to be killed, and to be annihilated. Had we been sold as male and female slaves, I would have held my tongue, although the enemy could never compensate for the king’s loss.”—Esther 7:3-4.
Esther wisely petitioned that her people be saved. The king asked from whom, and she answered, “…The adversary and enemy is wicked Haman!” (Esther 7:6)
Good Overcomes Evil…
By the end of the account, Haman, instead of Mordecai, was the one killed. In response to the great deliverance, the Jewish people began observing the Feast of Purim!
Why is Purim Called the Feast of Lots?
Purim is plural for pur, which means lots. Haman cast lots to determine which day all of the Jewish people would be killed. But God’s plans prevailed, and the results of the casting of lots were overturned in the heavenly courts.
“In the first month, which is the month of Nisan, in the twelfth year of King Ahasuerus, they cast Pur (that is, the lot), before Haman to determine the day and the month, until it fell on the twelfth month, which is the month of Adar.”—Esther 3:7
- Discover more about the customs of Purim here.
Who was Mordecai to Esther?
Mordecai was Esther’s cousin, who became her adoptive father upon her parent’s death.
“And Mordecai had brought up Hadassah, that is, Esther, his uncle’s daughter, for she had neither father nor mother. The young woman was lovely and beautiful. When her father and mother died, Mordecai took her as his own daughter.”—Esther 2:7
- What was Mordecai’s role in Esther’s story? Discover his role here.
- Discover how God used Mordecai to bring the news of Haman’s evil to Esther and to speak the words she needed to hear at that moment here.
Why is Purim Celebrated?
As you read the story of Purim above, it likely answered some of your questions about why this event in biblical history is celebrated.
- However, as Spirit-filled Believers, it is also a time to come into alignment with the Lord. Discover what that means and key principles to remember as you prepare to celebrate Purim here.
- As a classic tale of good versus evil, Purim holds great significance today. It is a way to understand the Haman-spirit, one that is filled with anti-Semitism. Discover how to pray for Israel during this season here.
How is Purim Celebrated?
Purim is celebrated in a number of ways. The Bible says that Mordecai “…wrote these things and sent letters to all the Jews…” (Esther 9:20). “These things” refers to how this moment in history would be commemorated by the Jewish people.
- There have been additions to these customs over the years. Check those out here.
- One of the most popular ways to celebrate Purim is to dress up in costumes. Check out the reason behind this tradition here.
- One of the oldest customs of Purim is to give to those in need. Discover how this custom reveals the Father’s heart here.
Can Christians Celebrate Purim?
The customs of Purim exist because of God’s grace. What should have been remembered as a day of sorrow, because of evil events planned by an enemy of the Jews, was turned into joy.
- Discover the customs of Purim here.
- Discover how dressing up for Purim can connect you to the Father’s heart here.
- As Believers, we understand there is more to the customs and traditions of Purim than what happened in the physical realm. Discover how Purim is about deliverance here.
As you learn more about Purim, ask the Father to reveal His heart to you in this season. Oftentimes you will discover He is preparing you for a Kingdom appointment as well.
Thank Him for what He is doing and will do as He prepares you.