Purim and Israel’s Right To Defend Itself

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On November 24, 2013, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, speaking to his cabinet, about the Iran nuclear deal declared that Israel “has the right and the duty to defend itself by itself.”

Saturday night, March 15, 2014, marks the beginning of the Jewish holiday of Purim.  On this holiday we remember the treachery of Haman, who ordered the annihilation of the Jews from India to Ethiopia, the wisdom of Mordechai who urged Queen Esther (through the King’s eunuch) to go to the King for help, and the bravery of Esther who fasted and prayed before risking her life to appear before the King of Persia on behalf of her people.

What we sometimes forget is that until Esther appeared before the King, the Jews did not have the right to defend themselves.  “In each and every province where the command and decree of the king came, there was great mourning among the Jews, with fasting, weeping and wailing; and many lay on sackcloth and ashes. (Esther 4:3 NASB)  Why were they crying and weeping?  Because they had no means to fight back.  They would soon be destroyed as a people.

But, Esther did go to the King and revealed Haman’s plot. The King responded by writing letters and sealing them with his signet ring. “In them the king granted the Jews who were in each and every city the right to assemble and to defend their lives, to destroy, to kill and to annihilate the entire army of any people or province which might attack them. . . (Esther 8:11 NASB)

History has a way of repeating itself.  Today as modern day Persia (Iran) is threatening to destroy Israel, let us remember that the ancient Purim decree which gave the Jews the right to defend themselves has never been rescinded.

On Purim, please take time to remember this God-given right to self-defense, and fast and pray, as Esther did, for Israel and the Jewish people.