The Story of Purim – Josh Frampton

As the Porim festival approaches, Jewish communities around the world gather to celebrate the story of Esther, a tale of a young Jewish girl who rises to become the Queen of the Persian Empire, ultimately saving her people from destruction.
The story of Esther is one of the most compelling narratives in the Bible. It’s a tale of courage, faith, and the triumph of good over evil.
Esther, whose Hebrew name is Hadassah, was a Jewish orphan raised by her cousin Mordecai in the capital of the Persian Empire during the reign of King Xerxes.

The story begins when King Xerxes holds a grand banquet to display the wealth and splendor of his kingdom. During the festivities, he commands his queen, Vashti, to appear before his guests and display her beauty. However, Vashti refuses, causing outrage among the king’s advisors. As a result, the king banishes Vashti and begins searching for a new queen.

In a twist of fate, Esther, who is both beautiful and virtuous, is chosen to be the new queen of Persia, though her Jewish heritage remains a secret at Mordecai’s insistence. Esther finds favor in the eyes of the king, who is unaware of her background.
Meanwhile, Mordecai, who sits at the king’s gate, uncovers a plot to assassinate King Xerxes. He informs Esther, who warns the king, foiling the plot and earning Mordecai’s favor with the king.

The main conflict of the story arises when the king’s advisor, Haman, becomes enraged by Mordecai’s refusal to bow down to him. Haman, filled with pride and malice, plots to destroy Mordecai and all the Jews throughout the Persian Empire. He convinces the king to issue a decree for the annihilation of the Jews on a specific date.

Upon learning of this decree, Mordecai implores Esther to intervene with the king on behalf of her people.
However, Esthers’ first response isn’t faith or courage, it’s self-preservation. And who can blame her? Not long ago she was a poor orphan in a foreign country and now she is Queen of Persia. Approaching the king without being summoned is punishable by death and she hasn’t been summoned in weeks. Not to mention, her husband the king doesn’t even know she’s Jewish. She has, in many ways, left her old life behind. She could simply wait out the storm in the palace surrounded by luxury.

Mordecai encourages her with the famous words: who knoweth whether thou art come to the kingdom for such a time as this?

Faced with an edict for the mass extermination of her people.

Esther discovers her greatest strength in her moment of uncertainty.

Esther, who had once escaped her past to embrace an exalted position in Persian society, now faces the dilemma of owning her Jewish identity. Despite the potential loss of everything, including her life, Esther chooses to align herself with her people. Boldly saying “if I perish, I perish”.

Esther bravely decides to approach the king, inviting him and Haman to a banquet. At the banquet, she reveals her Jewish heritage and begs the king to spare her people. King Xerxes, unaware of Haman’s plot, is enraged and orders Haman to be hanged on the very gallows he had prepared for Mordecai.
The king then issues a new decree allowing the Jews to defend themselves against their enemies. On the appointed day, the Jews successfully defend themselves against those who sought their destruction, and Haman’s evil plan is thwarted.

In the face of rising bigotry and anti-Semitism, the narrative of Esther presents a choice to confront adversity rather than seek refuge in isolation. Purim becomes a celebration of Jewish identity, resilience, and solidarity—a testament to enduring hope in the darkest times of history.
Reading the Book of Esther connects individuals to a rich tradition of finding hope, joy, and unity in challenging times. Around the Purim celebration, children adorn festive attire, and baby girls born around the holiday are often named Esther.

Ultimately, Esther’s story carries a timeless message—one of resilience and standing against hatred. The story of Esther serves as a powerful reminder of God’s providence and the triumph of righteousness in the face of adversity.

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