Purim begins tonight, the night of the full moon in Adar, the last month of the Jewish calendar. Children in religious Jewish neighborhoods in Lakewood and Brooklyn dress up in costumes and deliver treats from house to house instead of asking for them–like a reverse Halloween. This is done to celebrate the delivery of scrolls containing “good news” throughout the Persian (Iranian) Empire 400 years before Jesus. (The good news was that the King or Emperor had cancelled a previous decree ordering all Jews in the Empire to be killed on the day of the full moon for Persian month of March).
At the time, the Persian Empire was one of the largest in the world. It contained 127 provinces from Ethiopia, to Egypt, to India and included most of the Middle East. Its king or emperor was called Xerxes by the Greeks, and Ahasuerus by Jews.
Adults celebrate the holiday with eating and drinking. But there is also a serious side, as adults read the entire Book of Esther—the longest and most recent book in the Jewish Bible (Christian Old Testament). It tells of how Haman, the Emperor’s chief advisor, persuaded the king to adopt a plan to greatly increase the royal treasury without making his subjects angry with tax hikes to pay for them. Haman agreed to pay the enormous sum of “10,000 talents of silver” into the “royal treasury”. Haman would get that money by having an exclusive government contract or charter letting his family’s organization kill all Jews in the empire—a small “one percent” minority—and seize all their property.
The Emperor and Haman then threw lots or dice to determine the best day to kill the Jews. The Hebrew word for dice or lots is “purim”, the name of the holiday. The Jews were lucky. The date picked for the rounding up and murder of all Jews was the day of the full moon of the last month of their calendar which begins in April with Passover. This gave the Jews time to respond.
At the time, neither Haman nor the king knew that Esther, one of the king’s favorite wives, was Jewish.
When Mordecai, Esther’s uncle, learned of this plan, he asked Esther to approach the Emperor and beg him to cancel Haman’s evil plan. However, Esther hesitated. She said: “The law is well known that if any person enters the king’s inner court without being summoned, that person is put to death—unless the king raises the golden scepter”.
Mordicai responded: “Do not imagine that you of all Jews will escape with your life by being in the king’s palace. On the contrary, if you keep silent now, relief and deliverance will come from somewhere else–while you and your family die. And who knows, maybe you got your privileged position for such a time as this!” (Esther 4:13-14)
Esther then changed her mind and approached the king. The Emperor raised his scepter, and let Esther speak to him. Esther invited the Emperor to attend two sumptuous banquets which he thoroughly enjoyed. Then Esther persuaded the Emperor to cancel his original order to kill all Jews in the Empire by giving them permission to defend themselves. When the full moon of March came, the Jews defeated those who attacked them. Then the Emperor executed Haman by hanging Haman on one of the gallows he had built to kill Mordechai, one of the top Jewish leaders. Years later, President Abraham Lincoln often used the term “Gallows of Haman” to describe plots cooked up by his enemies to destroy him, that destroyed his enemies instead.
Many Americans today enjoy wealth and privilege because of our Constitution and culture of liberty. But when our Constitution and our culture of liberty are both relentlessly attacked by the “progressive” left, few Americans with wealth and privilege defend them. Like Esther, they remain silent because they are afraid to expose themselves, their families, and their businesses to criticism or retaliation that would put their wealth or privilege at risk.
But Mordecai’s warning to Esther applies to them as well. If they fail to defend our Constitution and liberty now, they will also lose everything if our country falls apart. Instead of worrying about losing their wealth and privilege, they should understand that our Constitution and America’s “exceptional” culture of liberty and laws to equally protect the “unalienable rights” of each individual is what gave them and their families wealth and privilege in the first place. And maybe they got their wealth and privileged positions “for such a time as this” so they could use their wealth and privilege to protect that Constitution and culture and government of liberty.
If you know anyone with wealth and privilege who privately complains about what is happening to our country, but does nothing about it, please contact us. Help us get in touch with them to persuade them to make an anonymous, tax deductible gift to www.libertyandprosperity.com