Purim/ Casting of Lots

“touch not the Apple of his eye”

(Therefore these days were called Purim, from the word pur.) Because of everything written in this letter and because of what they had seen and what had happened to them,

Esther 9:26

‘Wherefore they called these days Purim.’

C. E. Keil mentions in his comments upon the book of Esther, that ‘the feast of Purim is mentioned, 2 Maccabees xv. 36, under the name of Mordecai’s day, as a festival existing in the time of Nicanor (about 1f60 B.C.); and Josephus tells us, Antiquities xi. 6. 13, that it was kept by the House of Judah during the whole week. Now the institution of this festival must have been based upon an historical event similar to that related in this book,’ namely the book of Esther upon which he was writing.

When we consult 2 Machabees, we learn from 15:36ff; the following:

“And they all ordained by a common decree, by no means to let this day pass without solemnity: But to celebrate the thirteenth day of the month of Adar, called, in the Syrian language, the day before Mardochias’ day,” Marcochias’ is the same Mordecai; this is Mordecai’s Day.

Furthermore, we are told by Josephus, Antiquities xi. 6. 13;

‘Mordecai also wrote to the House of Judah that lived in the kingdom of Artaxerxes to observe these days, and to celebrate them as festivals, and to deliver them down to posterity, that this festival might continue for all time to come, and that it might never be buried in oblivion; for since they were about to be destroyed on these days by Haman they would do a right thing, upon escaping the danger in them, and on them inflicting punishment on their enemies, to observe those days, and give thanks to יהוה on them; for which cause the House of Judah still keep the forementioned days, and call them days of Phurim [or Purim]’

Keil adds to this the remark that ‘The name Purim (i.e. lots), derived from the Persian, can be suitably explained in no other manner than is done in this book, viz. by the circumstance that lots were cast on the fate of the House of Judah by a Persian official, who contemplated their extermination.’ Casting lots—rolling the dice, as it were—was a common device employed by many societies of the time. We are informed earlier in the book of Esther, at 3:7, with regard to the origin of the term, Purim. We find in that verse that:

In the first month, which is the month Nisan, in the twelfth year of King Ahasuerus, they cast Pur, that is, the lot, before Haman from day to day, and from month to month, to the twelfth month, which is the month Adar.

This activity is again referenced in 9:24, and followed in 9:26 with the statement that connects that with the ‘days of Purim.’ We are told, Wherefore they called these days Purim, after the name of Pur. These are, therefore, we might say, ‘the days that the lot was cast.’ Pur, being a Persian word according to John Gill, it is explained in Hebrew by lot, the word signifying ‘steel’ in the Persian language. ‘To find out which was the most lucky month, and which the most lucky day in that month, to destroy the House of Judah.’

But it was contrary to the purposes of יהוה that Haman’s plot should ever succeed, and He thwarted it through numerous providences. He provided an opportunity for Mordecai to honor the king by making a plot of assassination known to him, which information saved the king from destruction. At a later time, when the insidious plot of Haman was already approved and only awaiting the proper time for its execution, in יהוה providence the king could not sleep and called for something to read. He was given a book of records which brought to his attention how that this Judahite, Mordecai, had been the cause of his deliverance from would-be assassins. This caused him to desire to honor Mordecai, after which Esther was induced by Mordecai to plead with the king to deliver the House of Judah from Haman’s evil device. The king found a way of deliverance and the House of Judah was saved. Well may the words of Proverbs 6:12-15 be applied to Agagite, Haman, when the inspired writer said;

A worthless person, a man of iniquity, is he that walketh with a perverse mouth; that winketh with his eyes, that speaketh with his feet, that maketh signs with his fingers; in whose heart is perverseness, who deviseth evil continually, who soweth discord. Therefore shall his calamity come suddenly; on a sudden shall he be broken, and that without remedy.

Proverbs 6:12-15

In יהוה glorious mercy; His wondrous power; through His determination to keep His people safe; exercising His sovereign Providences, they were saved. And so we read of the celebration of יהוה mercies being established and articulated by Mordecai in Esther 9:20-22, where we may read;

And Mordecai wrote these things, and sent letters unto all the House of Judah that were in all the provinces of the king Ahasuerus, both nigh and far, to enjoin them that they should keep the fourteenth day of the month Adar, and the fifteenth of the same, yearly, as the days wherein the House of Judah had rest from their enemies, and the month was turned unto them from sorrow to gladness, and from mourning into a good day; that they should make them days of feasting and gladness, and of sending portions one to another.

Esther 9:20-22

Why is it a good idea for us to show solidarity with our brother Judah and at least observe this day in some fashion?

These things are remembered by the House of Judah every since that horrible plan that Haman meant for them, and that they were mercifully delivered from. And in many ways, we of the House of Joseph can also remember them. We are those under the Banner of Messiah Yahshua who loves the seed of Abraham, and the House of Judah. We can stand in solidarity in the merciful heart of YHWH, and in solidarity with our brother Judah who suffered for keeping and upholding the Torah. They suffered even after the coming of Messiah their king, whom they missed, and whom they allowed to be turned over to the Romans for execution. They did all this most certainly, but we also remember that their persecution was also continued for centuries because of their adherence to the Torah of Moshe. For us however, the Torah of Moshe became a thing that our fathers considered “undesirable and unclean,” after Constantine consolidated the bishops of Rome under a mixture religion (in the name of Messiah). And so, whilst we were overtaken in deception by the great Catholic whore and the proliferation of those anti-Torah lies of her many daughters, the House of Judah continued on, being punished and scattered even to this day because they honor the commandments. This alone, and our fathers heart gives us pause to consider these things and show love and solidarity with our brothers in some way. Even if it is a remembrance. We remember, because we also can come under the wicked schemes of the “Hamans” of the world. Lets us pray that our Father will be merciful to us as well should such a day come.

These days should be remembered and observed in every generation by every family, and in every province and in every city. And these days of Purim should never fail to be celebrated by the Jews—nor should the memory of these days die out among their descendants.

Esther 9:28

First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out—because I was not a socialist.
Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out— because I was not a trade unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.

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