Wednesday March 20: 15 Adar II
Today is regarded as Shushan Purim, the continuation and culmination of the holiday that celebrates the Jewish victory over those who plotted to kill them. It’s called Shushan Purim because the Persian capital of Shushan was where the edict to destroy the Jews was first issued and where the final conflict of the story occurred. It’s recorded in Esther 9:6, 10-13:
“And in Shushan the citadel the Jews killed and destroyed five hundred men… the ten sons of Haman the son of Hammedatha, the enemy of the Jews—they killed; but they did not lay a hand on the plunder. On that day the number of those who were killed in Shushan the citadel was brought to the king. And the king said to Queen Esther, ‘The Jews have killed and destroyed five hundred men in Shushan the citadel, and the ten sons of Haman. What have they done in the rest of the king’s provinces? Now what is your petition? It shall be granted to you….’ Then Esther said, ‘If it pleases the king, let it be granted to the Jews who are in Shushan to do again tomorrow according to today’s decree, and let Haman’s ten sons be hanged on the gallows.’”
And thus, what began as the story of an obscure Jewish girl named Hadassah who become Queen Esther of Persia, culminates with the destruction of those who plotted the destruction of God’s people. The primary antagonist, Haman, was descended from a tribe of people who were long time enemies of Israel. According to the Scripture, Haman was not a Persian, but was an Agagite, which is to say, he was a descendant of the kings of Amalek, the grandson of Esau.
Throughout history, Esau and his seed have repeatedly sought to destroy Jacob and his seed. Though the hostility began long before Mordecai and Haman were born, we see in this story, that Haman was determined to press the issue. By the way, this same hatred toward Israel was manifested in the time of the Messiah, at His birth, specifically. Herod the Great, an Edomean or Edomite, tried desperately to kill the infant Messiah. And so, throughout history, Esau’s anger toward Jacob never subsided. Even today, the spirit of Esau still seeks to destroy God’s people, as the Prophet Amos said::
“His anger tore perpetually, and he kept his wrath forever.” (Amos 1:11)
As members of the Body of Messiah, we should not let this escape our attention. Esau still wants to kill God’s people. Yet, we should also be mindful of the fact the God of Israel watches over His people. When we place our confidence in Him and work according to His purpose, those who would destroy us will be dealt with – not necessarily by our hand, but by the hand of the One who said of Jacob:
“Can a woman forget her nursing child, and not have compassion on the son of her womb? Surely they may forget, yet I will not forget you. See, I have inscribed you on the palms of My hands; your walls are continually before Me. Your sons shall make haste; your destroyers and those who laid you waste shall go away from you.” (Isaiah 49:15-17)
Even though the enemies of the enemies of God and His people still plot, scheme and attempt to destroy us, the Creator has not forgotten us. He simply calls upon us to place our trust and our confidence in Him, and then observe as He delivers us from all peril. That promise is not just for the nation, but for all of us, as individuals, as well.