What Is The Story Of Purim

According to the story of Purim, a king takes a queen, Esther, who hides her Jewish identity. But she eventually reveals the truth in order to save her people from death. This story reinforces important messages about how God works.

Background
The story of Purim is found in the Book of Esther, also known as the Megillah Esther. This is one of the additional writings included in the Tanach, which contains Torah, Prophets and Writings, and is considered the compilation of holy Biblical texts of the Jewish people.

The Story In Brief
A king chooses a Jewish woman, Esther, to be his queen, and she hides her Jewish identity. Meanwhile, the king's top advisor, Haman, gets angry at Mordechai, Esther's uncle, because Mordechai wouldn't bow down to him. Haman decides to do away with all of the Jewish people in retaliation and gets the king to sign an order allowing for their destruction.

Esther has to muster the courage to approach the king, as initiating contact with the king is forbidden, and reveal her identity in order to save her people. She does, and Haman is killed instead, and the Jewish people are saved. Mordechai is promoted into Haman's previous post.

Themes Of The Purim Story
This story contains important themes of what is hidden and what is revealed. For example, the king calls for his queen, Vashti, to reveal herself by parading for all to see at his feast, and she refuses. She is subsequently banished. Then, all of the virgins of the kingdom are collected to come live at the palace so the king can choose a new queen. They are there for a year getting beauty treatments before he sees them.

Esther is one of the young women taken to the palace. When the king sees her, she wins his heart. She is told by her guardian and cousin, Mordechai, to keep her Jewish identity hidden. She does. Two of the king's guards have a hidden plot to kill the king, which Mordechai reveals to Esther, thereby saving the king's life.

Haman, the king's advisor, becomes angry at Mordechai for refusing to bow to him, and he decides to kill the Jews. He asks the king in a roundabout way to approve the plan. The gullible king agrees. When this plan is revealed, Mordechai tells Esther that she must go to the king to plead for the lives of her people and reveal her Jewish identity.

Meanwhile, it is revealed to the king that Mordechai saved him from the plot of the guards. He has Haman parade Mordechai on the king's horse to honor him. Haman's hatred for Mordechai is hidden from the king as he reveals Mordechai's greatness to the whole kingdom.

Finally, Esther approaches the king and invites him and Haman to a feast she has prepared. She wins the king's favor. Then she has another feast for them where she reveals her Jewish identity and Haman's plot. The king is enraged, orders that Haman be impaled, allows the Jews to defend themselves against the decree and promotes Mordechai.

God's presence is hidden but, through the prayers and resolve of Esther to risk her life to approach the king, miracles still happen.

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