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Walk about Zion

Purim is centered around a beautiful queen who prevented the slaughter of the Jewish people by the wicked Haman. The Christian Bible calls her Esther, a Persian name meaning "star." She is known and loved as Hadassah (myrtle) in Hebrew. Adopted by her older cousin, Mordecai, after the death of her parents, Hadassah was selected from among all the beautiful virgins in the provinces of Persia. Some say her beauty and charm made her stand out, but a more significant characteristic positioned her "for such a time as this."

"For such a time as this" (Esther 4:14).

Picture: Esther Before Ahasuerus" by Giovanni Sirani (Wikimedia).

Competing for the queen's crown was the easy part of Esther's story. Being chosen came with dire responsibilities. She purposely positioned herself across the table with the Jews' worst enemy of that time—Haman, an Agagite. He was one of the descendants of the ancient Amalekite kings (Ex. 17:8-16). Haman was cunning, greedy, and dangerous. His personal hatred incited a nation not only into chaos but also into action. As queen, Hadassah became the protector of the Jews in the Persian empire.

Haman's Evil Plot

Haman took advantage of his position with the king and required all to kneel before him. He was furious when Mordecai, the king's gatekeeper, refused. "Upon learning what people Mordecai belonged to, it seemed to him a waste to lay hands on Mordecai alone. Rather he decided to destroy all of Mordecai's people, the Jews, throughout Ahasuerus' kingdom" (Esther 3:5-6 CJSB).

Haman then "cast the pur (that is, the lot) for their ruin and destruction" (9:24). He convinced King Ahasuerus that it was in his best interest to rid themselves of those strange people, people who only bowed to God. The extermination date was set for the thirteenth day of Adar (the 12th month).


After reading the decree to kill all Jews and seize their property, Mordecai went through the city lamenting and crying bitterly, as did all the Jews, fasting and weeping on sackcloth and ashes. When Esther was told, she and her maids fasted for three days before she attempted to approach the king to stop the heinous action.

Mordecai told her, "If you fail to speak up now, relief and deliverance will come to the Jews from another…Who knows whether you didn't come into your royal position precisely for such a time as this" (4:14). Accepted into the king's presence, Esther carefully exposed herself to be a Jewess and meticulously revealed Haman's plot.

King Ahasuerus ordered Haman to be impaled on the pole intended for Mordecai. He also decreed that the Jews defend themselves. Haman's ten sons were slain, a fate promised to all who come against God's people.


"This is why the Jews…make the fourteenth day of the month of Adar a day for celebrating and rejoicing. It is a holiday and a time for sending each other portions of food" (9:19 -20 CJSB). Purim has been celebrated for two days since that time throughout every generation (9:21-32).

In Israel today, the book of Esther is read on both days. Families wear elaborate costumes and give out treats. It is a very festive and joyful time with music and dancing, so much so that the true meaning could easily be forgotten.


The Bible says that Mordecai interceded for the welfare of all Jewish descendants, not only for that generation but all that followed. The Bible teaches us to speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves (Proverbs 31:8-9). Esther could not have been the voice for her people without Mordecai. Many Bible scholars say that Mordecai represents the work of the Holy Spirit.

The righteous character of humility superseded Esther's courage. She humbly submitted to Mordecai throughout her life. Her training sustained her for the high position of her divine appointment. Submitting to the Holy Spirit's instruction will result in more divine appointments in our lives today.

Hadassah was "a crown of splendor in the LORD's hand, a royal diadem in the hand of your God" (Isaiah 62:3). Mordecai was His watchman on the wall (62:6). The commission has not changed for us: "Call on the LORD, give yourselves no rest, and give him no rest till he establishes Jerusalem and makes her the praise of the earth" (62:6-7). One of the most important reasons to celebrate Purim from generation to generation is so that we will continue being 'Esthers' and 'Mordecais' until there are no more Hamans.

Walk about Zion, go around her, count her towers, consider well her ramparts, view her citadels, that you may tell of them to the next generation.

For this God is our God for ever and ever; He will be our guide even to the end.

Psalm 48:12-14


The Scroll of Ruth in Jewish Scripture symbolizes the relationship between Israel and the church through a moving romance about God's love and redemption.

The Scroll of Ruth in the Jewish Scripture provides a clear allegory of the relationship between Israel and the church. An extraordinary gentile woman filled with kindness and mercy toward an Israelite woman is among the Bible's many symbolic images, but none are as straightforward or as moving as this story—a romance about God's love.

This historical writing begins "when the judges ruled." There was a famine in Bethlehem Judah (1:1). Neomi's husband, Elimelech, and their two sons passed away while living in Moab. With no one to provide, Neomi urged her Moabite daughters-in-law to remain in Moab and return to their families as she would return to hers. However, Ruth refused to leave Neomi's side and followed the heart of God to a divine encounter. The words we hear in wedding ceremonies originated with a gentile's devotion to a bereaved Jewess.

"Wherever you go, I will go; And wherever you lodge, I will lodge; your people shall be my people, And your God, my God" (Ruth 1:16).

Once in Beit-Lechem (House of Bread; modern-day Bethlehem), Ruth followed her mother-in-law's advice to glean in Boaz's fields to gather food for the winter. Ruth's actions captured Boaz, who rewarded her devotion to his relative: "…do not go to glean in another field, nor go from here…It has fully been shown me, all that you have done unto your mother-in-law since the death of your husband: and how you left your father and mother…and have come unto a people you did not know. The LORD repay your work, and a full reward be given you of the LORD God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to trust" (2:8-12). Ruth affectionately responds to Boaz and humbly presents herself to him at the threshing floor (3:2-4). Feelings for each other were mutual, but a closer relative had to approve by rejecting to bring up children for Naomi's offspring.

Even today, when a Jew marries a woman, he throws the skirt or end of his tallith (prayer shawl) over her to signify that he has taken her under his protection. Since the 14th century, it has been traditional for a Rabbi to preside over a ceremony under a huppah, which symbolizes the couple's future home. It is central to a Jewish wedding to this day.

The Lord will be our Huppah as we respond to His love and willingly submit to His protection and guidance. We who follow Yeshua and love Israel have acknowledged that we have no other god but the One True God of Israel, the Holy and Righteous One, the God of Glory, and Jerusalem. Therefore, it is as if his Wings are spread over us in a marriage covenant (Psalm 91).

Naomi's friends rejoiced, "Blessed be the LORD, which hath not left thee this day without a kinsman, that his name may be famous in Israel, and he shall be unto thee a restorer of thy life, and a nourisher of thine old age: for thy daughter in law, which loveth thee, which is better to thee than seven sons, hath born him And Naomi took the child, and laid it in her bosom, and became nurse unto it…her neighbors gave it a name, saying, there is a son born to Naomi; they called his name Obed: he is the father of Jesse, the father of David" (Ruth 4:14-17 KJV).

Ruth displayed the characteristics of a faithful bride and brought forth children unto Neomi. Ruth and Boaz's story is one of redemption and new beginnings. Through their union, they overcame the hardships and difficulties of the past. The Lord is purifying the wedding garment of the True Bride. Much of Christianity, like Orpah, turned away from Naomi (Israel) and retained doctrines and dogmas entirely disconnected from the Jewish people. By reconnecting to the missing link in their faith, we can partake of many spiritual blessings and rich teachings that come with understanding our Hebraic roots. Naomi (Israel) and Ruth (the believers from the nations who are continuing to stand with Israel) will have the light on their paths, rain on their fields, and protection and security from harm and danger. With Ruth, we say, "Thy People Shall Be My People."

A repository of Biblical gleanings and perspectives from Zion

A teaching ministry of Christian Friends of Israel

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