Purim - Once Upon A Time

by George F Spall

Of all the once-upon-a-time stories we know, that one which describes the Purim event that DID happen once upon a time, seems to be one of the best. Indeed, it might have been the original.

Certainly it has all the ingredients. Put together an orphan girl of unknown parentage; a subjugated race held as cheap labour by their conquerors; a benevolent cousin who seems to have been rather good as an intelligence agent. Bring the lovely orphan from obscurity and turn her into a beautiful woman who replaces the queen; call on to the stage a capricious despot of a king whose Prime Minister is a cold-blooded killer whose villainous schemes put an entire nation at risk, and you have a gripping tension-filled drama.

All this is heightened by a spotlight which focuses on the enchanting new queen who is 'put on the spot' by the older cousin -- quite a brainy fellow, who knows well how to persuade his protégée, whom he has brought up as his own daughter, to use her beauty to save the threatened Jewish people.

Well, she is a courageous woman and brings a counter-plot to brilliant success and the villain to the gallows. The name, Esther, which means 'star' and she lives up to her name very well.


What more could one want of a once-upon-a-time story? And it is not just a fiction with valuable lessons hidden within the plot and the plotters. Neither was it only a ONE time story. It was the SECOND example of such genocide directed against the Jewish people. More horrifying is it to learn that it held a shadowy outline of a THIRD similar atrocity which has taken place in the lifetime of millions of people still living today.

Then, dare we say it? This once-upon-a-time tale could be enacted yet a FOURTH time, and that unutterable tragedy would seem to be looming, casting ugly shadows already. We can be glad that the Ruach Qodesh (Holy Spirit) moved the Rabbis, who decided such things, to include the book of Esther in the canon of Holy Scripture, the Tenach.


The FIRST event took place in Egypt and is recorded in the book of Exodus. There is no need to retell the narrative here. The lesson to be learned is that the Eternal kept His covenant made with Abraham and brought the people out to Eretz Israel in the very year He promised the Patriarch He would.

The SECOND event took place in Persia and is further proof of that covenant made with Abraham. More than that, it shows that the promise made to David that there would always be a man to sit on his throne (2 Samuel 7:12-15) is true, for the very nickname now given to Israel in this book, Jews, shows that Judah, David's tribe is ascendant.

Even the Brit Hadassah (New Testament) is careful to list David's descendants, and the list tallies with the names of Yeshua's ancestors who survived Haman's plot and came out of exile to return to Bethlehem.

This SECOND escape story adds another feature to the escape from Egypt. It introduces the wicked scoundrel, Haman, an Agagite who rises to influence and power, then uses it to try to exterminate a race he hated.

And why did he hate Jews? The answer may be found in the book of Samuel chapter fifteen. There, Israel's first king failed to obey the Lord implicitly and spared an Amalekite name Agag who was their king. It was a prophet of the Lord, Samuel, who executed the cruel bloodthirsty Agag, doing justice in the name of his God.

Tenach is full of incidents that show there has always been conflict between Israel's God and the pagan gods worshipped by the nations. Down through the centuries that followed Agag's execution, his descendants would harbour their anger and hostility to Israel and to Elohim El Shaddai , the God of Israel.

Being of kingly descent, the Agagites, too, like the royal line of Judah in the days of Nebuchadnezzar, were given preferential treatment at the hands of their captors, when their country in turn was absorbed by the expanding Persians. So Haman, an Agagite, whom the king appointed chief of the princes in Persia, was soon roused to fury by the insolence of Mordechai whose forebears had fought the Amalekites. Mordechai also knew he was not to bow down to such men.

It was a marvellous opportunity for Haman to pursue the vendetta and wipe out the wretched Jews. And a marvellous occasion for Israel's God to show that, though unseen, He keeps promises -- like those to Amos who wrote that there would always be a nation IN THE LAND to provide a throne from the House of David to occupy.

We pause for a moment to observe that the first Exodus took place in order to get the people of Israel back home to the Land. The second attempt at genocide was an obvious strategic move to prevent the same nation of Israel from going back after the Exile, which had been planned and predicted by Jeremiah and Daniel and which therefore had to be kept right on schedule, just as both prophets said.

With Hitler emulating Haman, stirring up racial hatred, but with no Esther or Mordechai to counter him, Israel suffered incredibly under this modern Agagite, whom we now know was under the direct influence of the same demon gods that Agag knew.

Yet, unhappy though the reflection might make us, that same unseen Presence used the atrocity of the Holocaust to send many Jewish people home to the Land at a time when they were not really anxious to go there. The 27,000 who lived there in 1902 grew to 656,000 in 1948, and now the number is close to four million.

We may profitably pursue this line of thought from this informed moment of history. The thought emerges that just as there was an unseen but nonetheless recognizable Hand that had nudged Mordechai to be in a position to learn of the plot to murder Ahasuerus, and initiated the search of the archives on that sleepless night that revealed the omission of public recognition of his act of loyalty, so there was another though sinister supernatural power in opposition.

Satan had Haman in Persia's council chamber, but Esther was on the throne! Satan had Hitler and his Nazis, but there was an open door into Israel if only it had been realized in time!

The same conflict in heavenly places is still raging. Much depends on whose side we humans join. Not to recognize that there are supernatural beings is disastrous for us, because the warfare proceeds regardless of our apathy, indifference or unbelief. It is dangerous to stay in a house on the battlefield! Better by far to search the Scriptures to discover who is to be the victor and then enlist wisely!

Without a doubt, the FOURTH attempt to wipe Israel out will include many other peoples too who will still be here on earth. There will arise a global Figure. He will be another Pharaoh, another Haman, another Hitler, the human expression of Satan. He will be the one that Isaiah calls the Assyrian; Daniel the Desolator; the New Testament the Antichrist and the Beast.

Satan will find him a necessary Figure to forestall the Messiah.


Purim signals this message quite clearly. However, the Eternal, though unseen, will still keep the promises to the Patriarchs, His covenant with King David and the predictions made through His prophets. All who heed that future Haman will perish with him.

This is an up-to-the-minute message for all who feel they are hidden jewels unable to sparkle, and for those who doubt if they can keep the spark aglow. Join the family of Mordechai and the retinue of Esther -- trust and obey God as revealed in His Word.