The Ever-present Promise Of Purim

by Keith Macnaughtan

March 14th and 15th, 1987, in the common calendar mark for Jewish people everywhere, and for all lovers of the Scriptures, an occasion of great interest: the Feast of Purim. Though the celebration does not find a place in the Law given by Moses, its institution is recorded in the Bible.

To find this we must turn back to the fascinating story found in the Book of Esther. This book is unique for two interesting reasons. It is, thus far, the only Bible book of the Old Testament that is not represented among the Dead Sea Scrolls.

A copy of Genesis, two copies of Isaiah, a commentary on Habakkuk, a paraphrase on Genesis – these and other portions of the Scriptures have emerged from the caves near the Dead Sea to startle the world of Biblical scholarship, to confirm still further our faith in the reliability of the sacred records, and even to cause a ripple of interest in a world largely indifferent to the things of God!

But as yet no copy of Esther! Perhaps one lies hidden in some part of the Dead Sea area waiting the eager eyes and the probing hands of some dedicated archaeologist.

The other reason for the uniqueness of the Book of Esther is the fact that the name of God does not appear except embedded in the text in an acrostic fashion. Yet events recorded happened just at the right time, in just the right way, and so the Jewish people were preserved from an indescribable disaster, proving that God was working "all things after the counsel of His own will".

A Day to Remember . . . March 15th


"And Mordechai wrote these things, and sent letters unto all the Jews that were in all the provinces of the king Ahasuerus, both nigh and far, to establish this among them, that they should keep the fourteenth day of the month Adar, and the fifteenth day of the same, yearly, as the days wherein the Jews rested from their enemies, and the month which was turned unto 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 one to another, and gifts to the poor.

"Wherefore they called these days Purim (lots) after the name of Pur . . . that these days of Purim should not fail from among the Jews, nor the memorial of them perish from their seed." Esther 9:20-22, 26,28