The First Feast
After three days of fasting, Esther donned royal garb and entered Ahasuerus' chambers. Immediately, the king extended his scepter. "What is it?" Ahasuerus asked. "What is your request?"
"I would like to invite the king and Haman to a small feast I have prepared," Esther responded.
So the king and Haman joined Esther for a wine-feast. During the feast, the king again asked Esther whether she had anything to request. "Yes," Esther responded. "I would appreciate if tomorrow, again, the king and Haman would join me for a feast. And then I will tell the king my request.
Haman left the party a happy and proud man. Oh the honor he was being accorded! But standing at the king's gate was Mordechai – who still refused to bow to Haman – and Haman was enraged. When he arrived home, his wife and wise advisors counseled him to erect a gallows, and then to go to the king and request permission to hang Mordechai. Haman excitedly went ahead and put up the gallows.
The Beginning of the End
Sleep eluded the king that night, so he asked his servants to read for him from the Royal ChroniclesSleep eluded the king that night, so he asked his servants to read for him from the Royal Chronicles. They complied with the king's orders. They read from the Chronicles how Mordechai saved the king's life when two of his chamberlains hatched a plot to kill him.
"Was he rewarded for this fine act?" Ahasuerus asked. "No he was not," the servants responded.
At that moment Haman entered the king's courtyard. His purpose? To ask the king's permission to hang Mordechai! Before Haman could utter a word, Ahasuerus addressed him: "My Haman, in your estimation, what shall be done to a person whom the king wishes to honor?"
Haman, who was certain that the king wished to honor him, responded: "Bring royal garment and a royal horse. And let one of the king's nobles dress the man and lead him on the horse through the city streets, proclaiming before him, 'So is done for the man whom the king wishes to honor!'"
"Great idea," Ahasuerus responded. "Now go get the garments and the horse and do so for Mordechai the Jew!"
Haman had no choice but to comply. On the next day he went and honored Mordechai as the king had ordered, and then immediately rushed to join the king and Esther for...
The Second Feast
"What is your request?" a curious King Ahasuerus asked Esther at the feast.
"If I have found favor in your eyes, O King," Esther pleaded, "and if it pleases the king, let my life be granted me by my plea, and the life of my people by my request. For my people and I have been sold to be annihilated, killed and destroyed!" Esther then identified Haman as the evil person who wished to perpetrate this atrocity.
The king was greatly angered. When he was then informed that Haman had built a gallows for Mordechai, he ordered that Haman be hanged on that very gallows.
The Tables Are Turned
Haman was dead, but his evil decree was still in effectOn that day, Haman's estate was given to Esther, and Mordechai was appointed Prime Minister in Haman's stead.
But Esther was far from satisfied. Haman was dead, but his evil decree was still in effect. According to Persian law, once a king issues a decree it can not be rescinded. But the king gave Mordechai and Esther permission, and they promptly wrote up a decree that countermanded Haman's edict. The decree granted the Jews permission to defend themselves against their enemies. And by this time, considering that all knew that the queen and Prime Minister were both Jewish, no one would prevent the Jews from doing just that!
And the Jews in Shushan were oh so happy. Celebrations abounded!
On the 13th of Adar that year, the Jews throughout the Persian Empire mobilized and killed the enemies who had wanted to kill them. In Shushan, among the dead were Haman's ten sons.
Esther asked the king's permission for the Jews in Shushan to have one more day to destroy their enemy—and the king acceded to her wish. On that day, the 14th of Adar, the Jews worldwide celebrated, and the Jews of Shushan killed more of their enemies, and also hung Haman's sons. The Jews of Shushan then rested and celebrated on the 15th of Adar.
Mordechai and Esther established a holiday to commemorate these amazing events. Jews worldwide celebrate on the 14th of Adar, while residents of walled cities – like Shushan – celebrate on the 15th of Adar. This holiday, called "Purim," is the most joyous holiday on the Jewish calendar.
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