In the twelfth month, the month Adar, on the thirteenth day of the same. Adar is the twelfth month on the Jewish calendar and it corresponds to the 2nd half of February and first half of March for us westerners.
when the king's command and his order came to be done, in the day that the enemies of the Jews hoped to have power over them; this is the plan that Haman had concocted.
though it was turned around, so that the Jews had rule over the ones who hated them. The Jews gathered themselves in their cities throughout all the provinces of King Ahasuerus (Xerxes), in order to lay hand on any who sought their harm. This statement tells us that the Jews did not go around killing the non-Jews but rather that they 'huddled" together for protection from any who sought their harm.
And yet ...
no man could withstand them, for the fear of them fell on all people. And all the rulers of the provinces, and the lieutenants and the governors and officers of the king helped the Jews, because the fear of Mordecai fell on them. Esther 9:1-3. All the legal power was in the hands of Mordecai, the Jewish prime minister of Persia; if the local leaders would not have done their duty to protect the Jews, it was in Mordecai's hand to mete out punishment to the Persian lieutenants as he saw fit.
Even so, according to the Book of Esther, in Shushan the palace the Jews killed and destroyed five hundred men plus some others who are specifically named. 9:6.
Xerxes to Esther: The Jews have killed and destroyed five hundred men in Shushan the palace, and the ten sons of Haman. What have they done in the rest of the king's provinces? They killed seventy-five thousand of their foes. 9:14-16
Xerxes to Esther: What is your petition, that it may be granted you? Or what further request do you have? And it shall be done. 9:13-14. Either the history of this book cannot be trusted or else the king must have been insane. More than 75,000 of the national populace had just been massacred by the Jews and he said to the Jewish queen, what more should we do for sport tomorrow.
Let's Do It Again
Esther to Xerxes: let it be granted to the Jews in Shushan to do tomorrow also according to this day's decree, and let Haman's ten sons be hanged on the wooden gallows. 9:12. So on the 14th of Adar, the Jews again killed three hundred men at Shushan. 9:15. Self-preservation is one thing but asking for a second day in which to do some more "getting even" is just going too far. This is not the picture we have of the righteous Queen Esther.
Because the Jews in the other cities had not heard the news that they were allowed to kill again on the 14th day of the month Adar, they made it a day of gladness and feasting, and a good day, and a day of sending portions to one another. Mordecai wrote these things, and sent letters to all the Jews to establish among them that they should keep the fourteenth day of the month Adar, and the fifteenth day of the same, yearly, as the days in which the Jews rested from their enemies, and the month which was turned to them from sorrow to joy, and from mourning into a good day; that they should make them days of feasting and joy, and of sending portions to one another, and gifts to the poor. 9:20-22.
the order of Esther confirmed these matters of Purim. And it was written in the book. 9:32. This was the origin of the Feast of Purim!
Note: A number of posts ago I showed how the Bible is divided so that it resembles a library with each type of literature standing on its own shelf. We have now finished studying the books of history, which is the second shelf in the old section of the library. We will be starting with the third shelf which is The Books of Poetry. To see the post I am referring to, see: