On the thirteenth day of the month Adar; and on the fourteenth day of the same rested they, and made it a day of feasting and gladness.…
Our narrative closes with a bright picture, in which all clouds are scattered; it is as sunshine after rain. Among the results of Israel's triumph we notice -
I. REST. All the Jews in the empire, except those in Shushan, rested on the 14th of Adar. The Jews in Shushan, after their two days' conflict, rested on the 15th of Adar. Then all had rest. So utterly broken was the power of their enemies that they had rest not only from a past fear, but from anxiety as to the future. How sweet is rest after the agitation of a long-threatened peril - to the soldier when the battle is fought and won; to the nation when the foes who sought to destroy it are bereft of power. The soul-rest of a victory over sin and death is the gift of Christ to those who follow hint (Matthew 11:28-30; John 14:27); and when all the conflicts of earth are over, "there remaineth a rest to the people of God," an eternal heaven (Hebrews 4:9-11).
II. Joy. It is natural that joy in its inward emotion and outward manifestations should be proportionate to the benefit that has occasioned it. The wonderful deliverance of the Jews filled them with a wonderful joy; their hearts ran over with gladness. So also to the man who appropriates Christ and his redemption there is a "joy of salvation," "a joy which is unspeakable and full of glory" (1 Peter 1:8). John the Baptist's "joy was fulfilled" at the hearing of "the Bridegroom's voice" (John 3:29). Jesus explained his object, in teaching his disciples the truth, as being "that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full" (John 15:11). The religion of God is a religion of joy. It slays fear and banishes gloom. It turns all things into channels of a joy that is heaven-born. Sackcloth may be the symbolic garb of the penitent, but robes washed white and shining are the symbolic clothing of the true believer. "Songs of deliverance" encompass the saved (Psalm 32:7; Philippians 4:4; 1 Thessalonians 5:16).
III. UNITY. Common trials and common triumphs have great power in binding men together. Both in their grief and in their joy the Jews became as one family. Heart flowed into heart, and all stood up and drew close in compact oneness. The deliverance would add immensely to the sense of brotherhood which the common terror had excited. In presence of such experiences minor differences in opinion and practice vanish. The more that Christians realise their own need, and God's mercy in Christ, the more readily will they regard each other as brethren of the "household of faith." The history of the Church of God shows in a signal way how God often sends alternate tribulations and triumphs just to bring his people closer to himself, and thereby closer to each other against their common foes.
IV. LARGE-HEARTEDNESS. A true joy enlarges the heart; a sense of goodness received excites a desire to do good. Grace is communicative. If we love Christ, we shall love all whom Christ loves. If we have joy in God, we shall long to impart that joy to others. The gladness of a God-saved soul diffuses itself like the light. This effect of deliverance was shown by the Jews in three ways: -
1. In their "feasting" together. Social gatherings in connection with great events or interests, when wisely conducted, afford a good opportunity for mutual encouragement and edification.
2. In their "sending portions one to another." Not content with words or messages, they exchanged presents, as tokens of thankful congratulation and sympathy. A sense of the Divine favour should make the heart generous and liberal.
3. In their presenting "gifts to the poor." It was remembered that there were many who had not the means of celebrating the common deliverance; so the poor received gifts, that all might rejoice together. "Freely ye have received, freely give" (1 John 3:17). Memorials: -
1. A written record. "Mordecai wrote these things" (ver. 20). Some have inferred from this sentence that Mordecai was the author of the Book of Esther. It is as likely, however, that the book was composed by another from writings left by Mordecai. In any case, a suitable record of the events in which the Jew played so important a part was made to become, through its insertion in the sacred canon, the best and most enduring monument of the deliverance of Israel from the wiles of Haman.
2. An annual festival. Esther and Mordecai ordained that the Jews everywhere should celebrate yearly the victory over Haman by a three days' feast. From that day to this the feast of Pur, or Purim, has held its place among the other established festivals of Israel. At the present time its observance is attended by much excess. Memorial institutions have a great evidential value. Just as the Lord's Supper and the Lord's day at once commemorate and attest the facts of our Lord's death and resurrection, so the feast of Purim is a testimony to the truth of the narrative contained in the Book of Esther. Memorials of past deliverances should -
(1) Keep alive our sense of gratitude.
(2) Teach us our dependence on God.
(3) Strengthen our faith in God.
(4) Warn us against the temptations and dangers of sin, and constrain us to lead a holy and God-fearing life.
To have our "names written In heaven" is a better memorial than any that could be fashioned on earth. - D.
Parallel VersesKJV: On the thirteenth day of the month Adar; and on the fourteenth day of the same rested they, and made it a day of feasting and gladness.