ESTHER: THE STORY OF PURIM

By Karen Thompson
First in a Five-Part Series

My last posts were a two-part series on the subject of the law of measure-for-measure judgment, a law that says how you treat others, good or bad, the same will happen to you. This principle is found in both the Old and New Testaments. Jewish people refer to this law as “measure for measure.” Christians are more familiar with the phrase, “you reap what you sow.” Both phraseologies—“measure for measure” and “you reap what you sow”—are found in New Testament scripture. For instance, Luke 6:38 says, “For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.” Galatians 6:7 says, “for whatsoever a man sows, that shall he also reap.” There is much more to be learned about this law of measure for measure. Consider the last two-part series as an introduction to the topic of the law of measure for measure. In this series we’re going to take a deep dive into the subject of measure for measure in the book of Esther.

Esther: The Unabridged Version of
Measure for Measure

A more thorough and extensive illustration of measure-for-measure judgment can be found in the book of Esther. The book of Esther and the story of Daniel in the lions’ den both contain the same message. They both illustrate how God judges evil and how He judges faithfulness. The only difference between them is that Daniel chapter six is the Reader’s Digest condensed version, and the book of Esther is the unabridged version. In order to gain a more thorough understanding of how God is going to judge lawbreakers during the end times, we need to dig into the book of Esther because there are many gems to be found.

The book of Esther is the account of the supernatural salvation of the Jewish people from Haman, the wicked prime minister who served the Persian King Ahasuerus. It is a fascinating story. But when you tell it from the Jewish perspective, it becomes even more fascinating. When the Jews talk about the story of Esther, they tell the story differently than do Christians. Christians refer only to the Old Testament book of Esther, but the Jewish people draw upon the oral tradition to fill in the details. This changes the perspective significantly and gives us a greater picture of the measure-for-measure judgment.

The following account of Esther is how the Jewish people tell the story. To keep it clear, I will indicate what details are from their oral tradition. The story took place during the time after the Jews had become exiles in Babylon when God had allowed the temple in Jerusalem to be destroyed by the Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar. Decades later, the Medo/Persian Empire conquered Babylon thereby causing the Jews to come under its rulership. The Persian King in the story of Esther is the second king to rule over the newly conquered empire.

In Esther 3:1, King Ahasuerus promoted a man by the name of Haman and gave him the highest position in the kingdom: “After these things did king Ahasuerus promote Haman the son of Hammedatha the Agagite, and advanced him, and set his seat above all the princes that were with him.” Essentially, the position Haman held would be equal to today’s office of Prime Minister.

Haman was the Adolf Hitler of his time in that he masterminded a plot to have all the Jews throughout the Persian Empire “exterminated” in one day. It was his “final solution.” But Haman’s plot was upset, and in the end, the Jews defeated their enemies. The story of Esther is filled with irony and events where God turned everything upside down.

Esther and her cousin, Mordechai, together wrote the book of Esther. The book of Esther in the Bible is the “official” story of the events of Purim. When reading the book of Esther, you have to keep in mind the fact that when it was written, Esther was King Ahasuerus’ queen and Mordechai had been promoted to Haman’s position, making him the prime minister. So accordingly, the book of Esther was written from a diplomatic position, placing King Ahasuerus in the best possible light. Esther and Mordechai wrote the official story in such a way that it contained all the relevant information. But if you want to know the story behind the story, you have to get the inside information from Jewish oral tradition handed down by the sages.

There is much to be said about measure for measure in the book of Esther. It’s a very large subject, making it too large for one post. For that reason, I have divided it up into five sections. Each section will be a continuation of the one before it.

To be continued next week!

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When a tree falls in a forest, does it make a sound? No! It’s just like when an email isn’t forwarded, no one reads it.

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