Esther 9:17
This was done on the thirteenth day of the month of Adar, and on the fourteenth day they rested, making it a day of feasting and joy.
Sermons
A Memorial DaySouthern PulpitEsther 9:17-28
A National MemorialW. Burrows, B. A.Esther 9:17-28
A National MemorialJ. S. Van Dyke, D. D.Esther 9:17-28
Days to be RememberedJ. Bolton, B. A.Esther 9:17-28
Different Means of Commemorating Great EventsJ. S. Van Dyke, D. D.Esther 9:17-28
Memorial Days, Their Obligation and Manner of ObservanceSamuel Bradford.Esther 9:17-28
The Feast of PurimW. M. Taylor, D. D.Esther 9:17-28
The MemorialT. McEwan.Esther 9:17-28
The Effects of DeliveranceW. Dinwiddle Esther 9:17-32
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.







On the thirteenth day of the month Adar.
This national memorial —

I. WAS ESTABLISHED BY SUPREME AUTHORITY.

II. WAS APPROVED BY A GRATEFUL PEOPLE.

III. WAS SANCTIONED BY THE MARVELLOUS NATURE OF THE EVENTS CELEBRATED.

IV. WAS HALLOWED BY THE MANNER OF ITS CELEBRATION.

V. WAS PRESERVED BY A WISE METHOD.

VI. IS PERPETUATED WITH GOOD RESULT.

(W. Burrows, B. A.)

It would —

1. Keep in remembrance an interposition of the Almighty, without which the Jewish nation and religion had been in a great measure, if not wholly, extinct in the world.

2. Mark a striking fulfilment of prophecy in the destruction of the Amalekites, who were the hereditary enemies of the Jews.

3. Stimulate confidence in God in the most critical circumstances, and refusal to pay such homage to the creature as is due to God only.

4. Foster that recognition of God in history and providence which men are ever liable to overlook and forget. In these respects it was an institution which should prove as advantageous to after-generations, and even more so, than to the people of God who were then living. "The Lord God omnipotent reigneth."

(T. McEwan.)

: —

I. TAKE A VIEW OF THE REASONS HERE ASSIGNED FOR THE ESTABLISHING THE OBSERVATION OF THE DAYS MENTIONED IN THE TEXT.

1. They were delivered from the entire extirpation of themselves and their religion out of the dominions of the Persian king.

2. The destruction with which they were threatened was in all human appearance inevitable.

3. The Jews might plainly discern a special hand of God in the deliverance which was granted them.

4. As this was a signal instance of God's special favour towards them, so it was but one instance among many others which they continually had from one generation to another.

II. CONSIDER THE MANNER IN WHICH THE JEWS ARE HERE COMMANDED TO OBSERVE THEIR FESTIVAL. It includes three parts.

1. The natural. Feasting, rejoicing, etc.

2. The religious. Thanksgiving and praise.

3. The charitable. Sending portions one to another.If our gratitude to God on memorial days be sincere, we shall go on to express our sense of great deliverances.

1. By living as becomes those who have received such great favours from the hands of God.

2. We shall be zealous to maintain and secure the inestimable blessings hitherto continued to us.

(Samuel Bradford.)

The feast instituted by Mordecai was designed to be —

I.A memorial of REST.

II.A memorial of JOY.

III.A memorial of TRIUMPH.

(J. S. Van Dyke, D. D.)

Looking at the establishment of Purim, we are struck —

I. WITH THE HISTORICAL VALUE OF A FEAST OF THIS SORT.

II. THERE IS ALSO AN EDUCATIONAL VALUE IN SUCH A FEAST. All the education of a child is not comprised in what he receives at school. He learns much in the home. He is greatly affected by what he sees on the streets. Dr. Andrew Reid tells us how profoundly he was moved by the sight of the statue of John Howard in St. Paul's Cathedral, and traces to that the benevolent purpose of his life, which ended in the establishment of so many asylums for orphans and imbeciles. So we ought to be careful what sort of men those are whom we allow to be honoured in that way. For every one who looks upon a statue is moved to ask, "Whose is it? what was his character? what was his history? and why has he been honoured thus?" And the answers will be a part of the education of those who put the questions, stirring their ambition or firing their enthusiasm. It is the same with national holidays. The Passover, etc.

(W. M. Taylor, D. D.)

Different means have been employed by different nations and in different ages to perpetuate the memory of great events. We are told (Genesis 31:45): "Jacob took a stone and set it up for a pillar." Again (Genesis 5:51). Achan and his family. The king of Ai. Absalom. Alexander the Great caused a tumulus to be erected over the grave of his friend Hephaestion, costing million and a half of dollars. Virgil makes mention of memorial stones, as does also Homer. Standing-stones, or "menhirs," were also erected in memorial of particular events; and stone circles, constructed with the same design most pro. bably, were so numerous that they may be found even yet in almost every country — in the Orkneys, in Russia, in Hindustan, in Africa, in Greenland, in America, in all parts of Europe. The most remarkable are Stonehenge and Abury, in England. As a means of transmitting events to succeeding generations, a simple ceremony committed to those who sympathise with the cause in which the observance originated is far more effective than even the most imposing monumental structure which art has devised, strength erected, or wealth adorned. The latter is dumb; the former has loving hearts and living tongues to perpetuate the memory of deeds that once stirred human souls and distilled blessings upon the world. The celebration of the 4th of July is likely to prove more satisfactory, as a memorial of a national birthday, than any other monument which the energy and liberality of the American people could have reared. In the rites connected with the Feast of Purim, Mordecai and Esther have a more enduring monument than the Egyptian monarch who erected the pyramid of Gizeh, or the Pharaoh who constructed the marvellous labyrinth. In confirmation of the theory that ceremony is more effective as a memorial than dolmens, cromlechs, etc., I have only to remind you that the touching incidents connected with the life and death of Christ have been conveyed to the human family in a most remarkable way by the Eucharist.

(J. S. Van Dyke, D. D.)

And that these days should be remembered
I. Our BIRTHDAYS.

II. Days of AWAKENING AND CONVERSION.

III. Days of DARKNESS.

1. Days of BEREAVEMENT.

2. Days of MENTAL DEPRESSION.

3. Days of PERPLEXITY.

IV. Days of DELIVERANCE.

V. Times of REFRESHING and SEASONS OF COMMUNION WITH GOD.

VI. THE DAY OF DEATH AND THE DAY OF JUDGMENT.

(J. Bolton, B. A.)

Southern Pulpit.
In these words we have an account of the founding of the Jewish national memorial day. It was not so much a religious as a national memorial day. It celebrated a day of victory and triumph; and they made it memorable by annual observance.

I. LET US THINK OF IT AS A MEMORY DAY. There are those who think it unkind to recall the memory of the dead, or even to speak to the bereaved of their losses. There are some who think that the only way to console is by diverting the thoughts from all memory of that which occasioned pain. There is no more mistaken treatment for the human heart than to prescribe oblivion for its cure. The very memory of the loved one blesses us and makes us more gentle and tender toward the living. It is neither manly nor womanly nor human to be either hard-hearted or forgetful. Then, do you think that the heart of our nation is softened, and that sympathy, sensibility, and true greatness are promoted by our observance of a national memorial day?

II. THAT OUR MEMORIAL DAY IS A DAY WITH VERY IMPORTANT LESSONS.

1. It teaches Christian patriotism. Love of country is not only a natural sentiment in every true heart, but it is right in the sight of God. No man can ignore his relation to his country and not sin against God.

2. Again, our memorial day teaches the value of peace. Memorial day is a constant reminder of the terrible price paid.

3. The day also brings lessons of gratitude and hope. Memory is the mother of gratitude. So when we recall our national blessings how much cause we have for gratitude to God! "The Lord hath done great things for us whereof we are glad."

(Southern Pulpit.).

And the king Ahasuerus laid a tribute upon the land.
A good government —

I.HAS A WISE SYSTEM OF TAXATION.

II.MAKES ITS POWER FELT.

III.PLACES GOOD MEN IN OFFICE.

IV.PROMOTES THE WELFARE OF THE PEOPLE.

V.STRIVES TO PRESERVE PEACE.

VI.IS ACCEPTABLE TO A VIRTUOUS AND ENLIGHTENED PEOPLE.

(W. Burrows, B. A.)

I. THE GREATNESS OF THE MONARCH IS SEEN —

1. In the character of his government. "He laid a tribute on the land," etc. Possibly this was a judicious system of taxation, designed to displace some obnoxious method of raising money for the public treasury.

2. In the acquiescence of his subjects.

II. THE GREATNESS OF MORDECAI IS SEEN —

1. In the contrast existing between his present and his former position.

2. In the fact that his severest trials became the avenue through which he ascended to fame.

3. In his reaching the pinnacle of greatness by simple fidelity to principle and unwearied diligence.

4. In his employing the influence he acquired, not for selfish ends, but to promote the welfare of his people.Lessons —

1. He who fills well the position he occupies thereby effectually recommends himself to a higher.

2. Nothing is lost by maintaining integrity.

3. Worldly prosperity is often the result of religious faith.

4. It is unwise to be disheartened in the hour of adversity

(J. S. Van Dyke, D. D.)

To extirpate the Jewish nation would have been to destroy the Church of God, to make void His everlasting covenant, and to bring to nought His merciful and gracious counsels in behalf of a sinful and unhappy world.

1. It was not, therefore, for his own sake only that Mordecai was exalted.

2. Before Mordecai was exalted it was the will of God to try the faith of the Jews.

3. One great purpose of the trial was to recall them to a recollection of their true office and position in the world as witnesses of God and pilgrims to the heavenly city.

4. God prepared an advocate and protector for His people years before Haman had power to do them harm.

5. To prepare the way for this advocate and protector, the divorce and dethronement of Vashti was overruled by God for the advancement of Esther to the crown of Persia.

6. The foundation of Mordecai's greatness was actually laid by his bitterest and most implacable enemy.

7. To pave the way for Mordecai's future advancement, a claim had to be established on the gratitude and confidence of the king, long before the rise of Haman.

8. The time pointed out by the lot for the slaughter of the Jews providentially fell so close to the end of the year as to give almost as much time as possible to Esther and Mordecai to consider what steps could be taken to avert the destruction of their nation.

9. Esther's concealing her Jewish origin, both before and after coming to the throne, was overruled to the confusion and destruction of Haman. He would never have issued the decree against the Jews had he known that the queen was a Jewess.

10. Haman's concealing from the king that it was the Jewish nation he wished to destroy was overruled so as to become the means of his own downfall.

11. The insolence and impatience of Haman getting the better of his prudence was the means of defeating and disappointing his malicious schemes.

12. That Esther should have been received with favour by the king, after she had apparently been slighted by him for thirty days, was clearly an instance of the hand of God.

13. That Esther, through some impression on her mind, should have deferred her petition till the following day, was one of the most remarkable providential interferences in the whole history. The delay led to the erection of the gibbet on which Haman afterwards suffered and also to his humiliation in being compelled to do public honours to Mordecai.

14. The king's sleepless night had momentous results.

15. How providential that Haman should have been at hand at the very moment the king was desirous for some one to propose a suitable reward for Mordecai!

16. Haman's humiliation at being compelled to do honour to Mordecai so dispirited him that when Esther's terrible charge was made against him he was not able to make even a plausible defence, such as his ignorance that the queen was a Jewess and his ignorance of any conscious intention to injure her.

17. Even the trivial circumstances that the chamberlains sent to summon Haman to the banquet arrived before he had time to have the gibbet taken down and removed, and that thus they came to be informed that it was prepared for Mordecai, were as plainly the work of providence as any other event in the whole narrative.

18. To all these extraordinary accidents and coincidences we must add that the issue of the whole matter placed the Jews in a much more prosperous condition than they were in before, and confirmed their faith in the Divine promises and protection.

(W. Crosthwaite.)

I. WE HAVE HERE A GOLDEN LEAF IN THE CHAIN OF PROVIDENCE teaching us that "the Most High ruleth in the kingdom of men."

II. WE LEARN HERE THE PECULIAR CARE WITH WHICH GOD WATCHES OVER HIS CHURCH AND PEOPLE.

III. WE SEE THE WONDERFUL MANNER IN WHICH GOD RAISES UP INSTRUMENTS FOR THE PRESERVATION AND DELIVERANCE OF HIS PEOPLE.

IV. WE NOTICE THE SURPRISING MANNER IN WHICH PROVIDENCE OPENS UP THE WAY IN WHICH THESE INSTRUMENTS ARE DESTINED TO ACT.

V. WE ARE TAUGHT THE DUTY OF PLACING OUR SOLE TRUST AND DEPENDENCE ON GOD.

VI. WE LEARN FROM THIS BOOK THE HIGH UTILITY OF THE OLD TESTAMENT SCRIPTURES, AND THEIR STANDING AUTHORITY AS A RULE BOTH TO INDIVIDUALS AND COMMUNITIES.

(Thomas McCrie, D. D.)

: —The Chinese have a political saying which is worthy the reading even of English statesmen. It is as follows: When is the empire well governed, and affairs go as they should go? When swords are rusty, and spades are bright; when prisons are empty, and grain-bins filled; when the law courts are lonely and o'ergrown with grass; when doctors walk and bakers ride: it is then that things go as they ought, and the State is well ruled.

Above all, it is ever to be kept in mind that not by material but by moral power are men and their actions governed. How noiseless is thought! No rolling of drums, no tramp of squadrons, or immeasurable tumult of baggage-waggons, attend its movements. In what obscure and sequestered places may the head be meditating which is one day to be crowned with more than imperial authority t for kings and emperors will be among its ministering servants; it will rule, not over, but in, all heads, and with these its solitary combinations of ideas, as with magic formulas, bend the world to its will. The time may come when Napoleon himself will be better known for his laws than for his battles; and the victory of Waterloo prove less momentous than the opening of the first Mechanics' Institute.

(Thomas Carlyle.)

Mordecai was a true patriot, and therefore being exalted to the highest position under Ahasuerus, he used his eminence to promote the prosperity of Israel. In this he was a type of Jesus, who, upon His throne of glory, seeks not His own, but spends His power for His people. Every Christian should be a Mordecai to the Church, striving according to his ability for its prosperity. Some are placed in stations of affluence and influence; let them testify for Jesus before great men. Others have what is far better, namely, close fellowship with the King of kings; let them be sure to plead daily for the weak of the Lord's people, the doubting, the tempted, and the comfortless. Instructed believers may serve their Master greatly if they lay out their talents for the general good, and impart their wealth of heavenly learning to others, by teaching them the things of God. The very least in our Israel may at least seek the welfare of his people; and his desire, if he can give no more, shall be acceptable. It is at once the most Christlike and the most happy course for a believer to cease from living to himself. He who blesses others cannot fail to be blessed himself. On the other hand, to seek our own personal greatness is a wicked and unhappy plan of life; its way will be grievous and its end will be fatal.

( C. H. Spurgeon.).

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