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Commentary » Esther 9:18-Esther 9:32 »

Feast of Purim Established

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The Feast of Purim was not established by the Mosaic Law. It was commanded by Mordecai (vv. 20-28) and by Esther (vv. 29-32). These two feast days were for remembering the goodness of God working through a number of circumstances to protect His people from extinction. This feast was called Purim (referring to the lot) because of Haman’s use of the lot to determine the time of the execution (3:7). Mordecai proclaimed that the Jews were to make the 14th and 15th days of March official feast days (vv. 18-19). This celebration of the feasts was to involve eating and the giving of gifts to each other and the poor (vv 20-22). Mordecai’s letter declared this to be an official annual custom (v. 23). It is still celebrated by Jews today as part of their annual festivities. Of course,  it isn’t like one of the holy feasts ordained by Moses (Lev. 23). It is something like our Thanksgiving. The book of Esther in its entirety is read in public during these festivities.

Haman hated the Jews so much that he planned to destroy them and cast lots for the best time to do it (v. 24). Then Esther asked the king to save her people and he gave the order for Haman and his sons to be hanged (v. 25). Mordecai wrote a letter stating the Jews must celebrate for two days (called Purim) because of what had happened to them (v. 26).  Now every year the Jews celebrate these two days (vv. 27-28). Queen Esther wrote a letter about this feast and copies were sent to the Jews in the 127 provinces (vv. 29-30). It stated that you and your descendants must follow the instructions given and that these laws about Purim are written by the authority of Esther (vv. 31-32).


I must never let the celebration or the exchanging of gifts at Christmas time rob me of the meaning of this great event. It is Jesus birthday and the biggest gift should be for Him.

Esther 9:18-32 (English Standard Version)

But the Jews who were in Susa gathered on the thirteenth day and on the fourteenth, and rested on the fifteenth day, making that a day of feasting and gladness. Therefore the Jews of the villages, who live in the rural towns, hold the fourteenth day of the month of Adar as a day for gladness and feasting, as a holiday, and as a day on which they send gifts of food to one another. And Mordecai recorded these things and sent letters to all the Jews who were in all the provinces of King Ahasuerus, both near and far, obliging them to keep the fourteenth day of the month Adar and also the fifteenth day of the same, year by year, as the days on which the Jews got relief from their enemies, and as the month that had been turned for them from sorrow into gladness and from mourning into a holiday; that they should make them days of feasting and gladness, days for sending gifts of food to one another and gifts to the poor. So the Jews accepted what they had started to do, and what Mordecai had written to them. For Haman the Agagite, the son of Hammedatha, the enemy of all the Jews, had plotted against the Jews to destroy them, and had cast Pur (that is, cast lots), to crush and to destroy them. But when it came before the king, he gave orders in writing that his evil plan that he had devised against the Jews should return on his own head, and that he and his sons should be hanged on the gallows. Therefore they called these days Purim, after the term Pur. Therefore, because of all that was written in this letter, and of what they had faced in this matter, and of what had happened to them, the Jews firmly obligated themselves and their offspring and all who joined them, that without fail they would keep these two days according to what was written and at the time appointed every year, that these days should be remembered and kept throughout every generation, in every clan, province, and city, and that these days of Purim should never fall into disuse among the Jews, nor should the commemoration of these days cease among their descendants. Then Queen Esther, the daughter of Abihail, and Mordecai the Jew gave full written authority, confirming this second letter about Purim. Letters were sent to all the Jews, to the 127 provinces of the kingdom of Ahasuerus, in words of peace and truth, that these days of Purim should be observed at their appointed seasons, as Mordecai the Jew and Queen Esther obligated them, and as they had obligated themselves and their offspring, with regard to their fasts and their lamenting. The command of Queen Esther confirmed these practices of Purim, and it was recorded in writing.

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