I. Biblical Story of Esther – Celebration of Purim
A. Historical context
i. Jews were in Babylonian captivity for 70 yrs., the number of years they did not honor the Shmita. They were exiled during the reign of Nebuchadnezzar but Cyrus overthrew the Babylonian Empire. This is the Cyrus that was prophesied about in Isaiah 45 nearly 150 years before he was born. Cyrus became Emperor of the Medo-Persian Empire after conquering the Neo-Babylonian Empire in 539 BC.
(1). The ascension of Cyrus marked the end of the Judean exile in Babylon. Cyrus released the Jews from captivity and allowed them to return to Judah. Cyrus did not impose his religious beliefs on the people within his Empire.
(2). Under Persian rule, the Jews faced internal disputes because while they were free to return to Jerusalem, most of the them chose to remain in Persia. Persia was the seat of luxury and decadence. The idea of returning to a destroyed Jerusalem and rebuilding it was a daunting task. Small groups returned to Jerusalem. The most successful being the group led by Zerubbabel, a direct descendant of King David and the high priest Jeshua. They began work on rebuilding the temple.
(3). After Cyrus died in 530 BC, he was succeeded by his son Cambyses (530 – 522 BC). Cambyses captured Egypt to expand the Persian Empire to geographic boundaries that exceeded any previous empire. He committed suicide and Darius, a general under Cyrus, became King. Darius I reign was from 522 – 486 BC. Then Ahasuerus (or King Xerxes) became ruler of the Medo-Persian Empire in 486 BC – 465 BC).
ii. Story of Esther takes place in 483 BC – 473 BC
B. Hiddenness to Influence – process of Esther embracing her God designed identity
i. Hadassah was among 400 virgins taken into the harem. She had to undergo 12 months of preparation in order to go before the King.
ii. The Lord’s favor was on Esther. Her identity was transformed because of the Lord’s favor. She went from being orphaned, to adopted; from being despised, to honored; from being a captive girl with no rights, to queen of Persia.
iii. Esther was equipped by God to fulfill her destiny. She was given beauty and grace to captivate the heart of the King.
iv. Yahweh positioned Esther in the palace and Mordecai at the King’s gate. Both were positioned to bring deliverance to their people.
(1). Esther had to walk in her true identity to fulfill what was written in her book. When Esther became Queen, Mordecai instructed her to keep secret her family background and nationality. At just the right God appointed time, she needed to reveal her true identity. At first, Esther resisted stepping into her true identity because it came at great risk.
(2). For Esther to align with God’s call on her life involved great danger. She not only had to go before the King uninvited and risk losing her life, but she also needed to declare her true identity as a Jew, the most hated people group in the whole kingdom. As if that weren’t hard enough, she then had to bring accusation against Haman, the King’s honored second in command. The future of Israel rested on the shoulders of one young woman. She showed tremendous courage by being willing to put her life on the line to save her people.
v. Through Esther’s courage we see glorious victory! Haman’s plot was exposed, he was hung on the gallows he prepared for Mordecai. The king issued a new edict granting the Jews the right to defend themselves against their enemies.
(1). On the 13th of Adar Esther 9:5 “The Jews struck down all their enemies with the sword, killing and destroying them, and they did what they pleased to those who hated them.”
C. Haman – the Agagite
i. Who were the Agagites?
(1). Agag was king of the Amalekites during Saul’s reign.
a. Agag may have been a giant. In Numbers 24:7, he is mentioned as being tall. “He shall pour the water out of his buckets, and his seed shall be in many waters, and his king shall be higher than Agag, and his kingdom shall be exalted.” (Balaam is prophesying in 1500 BC about Israel and Israel’s king Saul. He prophesies about Agag, 450 years before he is mentioned in I Samuel 15).
b. The Hebrew word for ‘higher’ in this verse is ‘ruwm’ (#07311) which means to be high, lofty, exalted but can also mean a man of tall stature. There are 4 passages in Deuteronomy that describe different tribes of giants (Deut 1:28, 2:10, 2:21, 9:2). Each of these passages use this Hebrew word ‘ruwm’.
c. Agag is being discussed in Numbers 24:7 as having noteworthy height which may suggest that he comes from the lineage of giants.
ii. Who were the Amalekites?
(1). The Amalekites were the first enemy to attack the Israelites when they came out of Egypt.
a. Exodus 17:8-15 "The Amalekites came and attacked the Israelites at Rephidim. Moses said to Joshua, 'Choose some of our men and go out to fight the Amalekites. Tomorrow I will stand on top of the hill with the staff of God in my hands.' So Joshua fought the Amalekites as Moses had ordered, and Moses, Aaron and Hur went to the top of the hill. As long as Moses held up his hands, the Israelites were winning, but whenever he lowered his hands, the Amalekites were winning. When Moses' hands grew tired, they took a stone and put it under him and he sat on it. Aaron and Hur held his hands up one on one side, one on the other - so that his hands remained steady till sunset. The Hebrew word for steady is "emuwm" which means faithfulness and trusting. So Joshua overcame the Amalekite army with the sword. Then the Lord said to Moses, 'Write this on a scroll as something to be remembered and make sure that Joshua hears it, because I will completely blot out the memory of Amalek from under heaven. Moses build an altar and called it (Yahweh Nissi) "The Lord is my Banner". He said 'For hands were lifted up to the throne of the Lord. The Lord will be at war against the Amalekites from generation to generation."
b. This was an interesting first battle as a freed people. They only were victorious when Moses' hands were outstretched (which is the ancient pictograph for the Hebrew word 'hey'). It was an act of lifting up and exalting Yahweh, the one who provides victory over the enemy. This first battle was an important lesson for the Israelites that if they completely depend on God, victory will be theirs. Moses built an altar and called it Yahweh Nissi, which is the first mention of this name of God. It means that the Lord is my Banner. Moses' staff was the rod held up and Yahweh was the banner, the rallying point, the source of power to overcome the enemy.
(2). Where did the Amalekites come from?
a. They were a mysterious ancient people group that were around during the time of Abraham but they were not listed in the table of nations in Genesis 10. Later the descendants of Esau were incorporated into the tribe. Amalek was Esau's grandson. They were a large nomadic people group that largely occupied the area to the southwest of the Dead Sea. Later the 10 spies, reported that the Amalekites lived in the Negev.
(3). Why did God want to wipe out the memory of Amalekites?
a. Deuteronomy 25:17-19 "Remember what the Amalekites did to you along the way when you came out of Egypt. When you were weary and worn out, they met you on your journey and cut off all who were lagging behind; they had no fear of God. When the Lord your God gives you rest from all the enemies around you in the land he is giving you to possess as an inheritance, you shall blot out the memory of Amalek from under heaven. Do not forget."
b. This was given as a miscellaneous law. According to Josephus, the Amalekites "were very cruel and bloody people particularly seeking to injure and utterly destroy the nation of Israel."
c. In rabbinical literature the Amalekites became synonymous with the arch-enemy of Israel. Their hatred for God's people, led them to attack Israel when they were weak and to attack the weakest among them. The elderly, the sick, the disabled, and likely some children, were the ones the Amalekites killed. They brought judgment upon themselves.
d. The Amalekites hatred toward the Jews stemmed from the bloodline of Esau. Esau hated Jacob for taking his birthright and his blessing. Genesis 27:41 "Esau held a grudge against Jacob because of the blessing his father had given him. He said to himself, "The days of mourning for my father are near; then I will kill my brother Jacob." Esau represents a people who are not God fearing. He considered it nothing to sell his birthright to Jacob for a bowl of lentil stew. He did not walk with God, if he did, he would have known that the birthright is connected to the covenant inheritance with God that Abraham received and passed on to Isaac. The murderous spirit towards the children of God entered into the bloodline through Esau.
iii. Israel’s battles against the Amalekites
(1). I Samuel 15 - Saul, a Benjamite, was instructed by Samuel to totally destroy the Amalekites - men, women, children, infants, cattle, sheep, camels, and donkeys. But Saul only partially obeyed and as a result lost his kingship. Josephus records that Saul took Agag, King of the Amalekites, captive because "the beauty and tallness of whose body he admired so much, that he thought him worthy of preservation."
a. Saul was also from the lineage of giants. Numbers 24:7 says that Saul will be taller than Agag. In I Samuel 10:23 describes Saul as being head and shoulders taller than anyone else.
b. Saul’s father is mentioned in I Samuel 9:1 “Now there was a man of Benjamin, whose name was Kish, the son of Abiel, the son of Zeror, the son of Becorath, the son of Aphiah, a Benjamite, a mighty (#01368) man of power (#02428)”. The Hebrew word ‘gibbowr' means strong man, mighty man and is first used to describe the nephilim in Genesis 6:4.
c. Tribe of Benjamin may have intermingled with giants in the town of Gibeah (Judges 19-21)
d. “Despite God’s desire to eradicate the giant lineages to prevent them from interbreeding with the Israelites (from whom the Messiah would come), God gave Saul a fair chance to show himself faithful despite such lineage, ultimately knowing that Saul would not. Saul faced his ultimate test of faithfulness when given the choice to act as an Israelite and follow God’s command to eradicate the Amalekites or to perhaps sympathize with Agag, a fellow giant (or at least of giant lineage). Saul failed, sparing Agag, in what is perhaps Saul’s mutual respect for another “gibbowr”.
(2). David fought against the Amalekites to recover their wives and children, livestock and wealth that had been taken at Ziklag. 400 Amalekites escaped.
(3). Not until Hezekiah's reign were the remaining Amalekites killed. But somehow the bloodline continues through to Haman, the Agagite.
iv. Amalekite spirit
(1). Haman is a type of anti-Christ. The Amalekite spirit is cruel, murderous spirit. It preys on the weak, it's the origin of terrorism, embodies the lack of the fear of God, it's the origin of anti-semitism, it represents power of darkness and evil in the world.
i. Esther and Mordecai declared an annual celebration on the 14th and 15th of Adar called Purim (which means to “cast lots”). This was a time to remember the divine turnaround, a time when they rested from their enemies, a time where sorrow was turned to joy, a time when mourning was turned into celebration.
II. Overcoming the effect of giant lineage in our bloodline with dunamis
A. Signs we might have giant lineage in our bloodline
i. You or someone in your bloodline struggles with anger, rage, violence, offended easily, bitterness, a bend in character toward wickedness
ii. Abnormal strength – Katie Souza 5’7” 130 lbs could lift an entire couch and move it by herself.
B. Power of dunamis
i. Power to perform miracles
ii. Ability to create and influence
iii. Ability to gain wealth
iv. Power to heal your soul, it means excellence of soul
C. Declare Ephesians 3:16-29 (AMP) “May He grant you out of the riches of His glory, to be strengthened and spiritually energized with power (dunamis) through His Spirit in your inner self, [indwelling your innermost being and personality], so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through your faith. And may you, having been [deeply] rooted and [securely] grounded in love, be fully capable of comprehending with all the saints (God’s people) the width and length and height and depth of His love [fully experiencing that amazing, endless love]; and [that you may come] to know [practically, through personal experience] the love of Christ which far surpasses [mere] knowledge [without experience], that you may be filled up [throughout your being] to all the fullness of God [so that you may have the richest experience of God’s presence in your lives, completely filled and flooded with God Himself].
III. Prophetic significance of Adar
A. Purim represents:
i. A time to be positioned for deliverance and victory
ii. A time to walk in the favor of the Lord
iii. A time of rejoicing that He has delivered us from our enemies
iv. a time for old structures to be removed (Vashti, Haman) so that new structures (Esther, Mordecai) can be set in place to advance the Kingdom of God.
v. A time to redeem your bloodline that would try to destroy your destiny or steal your book. Mordecai redeemed the Benjamite bloodline. Saul, a Benjamite, walked in the fear of man and honored King Agag above God. Mordecai feared God and refused to bow to honor Haman, a descendant of King Agag.
vi. A time to cleanse our bloodline of giants
vii. A time to step into your true identity so the purposes of God can be accomplished through you. The Holy Spirit will unlock portions of your identity that have laid dormant.
viii. Purim is a time of turn around.
(1). Esther 9: 21-22 “To have them celebrate annually the 14th and 15th days of the month of Adar as the time when the Jews go relief from their enemies, and as the month when their sorrow was turned into joy and their mourning into a day of celebration. He wrote them to observe the days as days of feasting and joy and giving presents of food to one another and gifts to the poor.”
Written by Laura Sanger, Ph.D.
#Adar #Hebrew Months #Hebrew Calendar #Purim