Background: The book of Esther recounts the story of the events during the captivity of God’s people (the Jews) in Babylon and specifically one young Jewish woman named Esther. The Media Persian Empire is in power under King Xerves at this time. The king is unhappy with his disobedient wife and banishes her. Esther, a young Jewish maiden is selected to be the new queen, but she keeps her nationality a secret. Meanwhile the evil prime minister Haman, because he hates the Jews, gets the king to sign an edict that on a certain day the people of the land can kill all the Jews and take all their property. But Esther appeals to the king and the king signs another edict allowing the Jews to defend themselves. Let’s see what happens…
Ask the children…
What happened to the Jews on that day when the two competing edicts went into effect?
“The Jews gathered in their cities throughout all the king’s provinces to attack anyone who tried to harm them. But no one could make a stand against them, for everyone was afraid of them.” (Esther 9:2)
This went on for two days. What did Mordecai (a Jew) the new Prime Minister call God’s people to do then?
“Mordecai recorded these events and sent letters to the Jews near and far, throughout all the provinces of King Xerxes, 21 calling on them to celebrate an annual festival on these two days.[f] 22 He told them to celebrate these days with feasting and gladness and by giving gifts of food to each other and presents to the poor. ” (Esther 9:20-22)
Mordecai initiated a celebration that came to be known as the Festival of Purim. Purim means dice (or lots) and the Festival remembers the lots that were cast to determine what day the Jews would be slaughtered, or by counter edict, be rescued from their enemies and emerge victors.
Ask your children if they had ever heard of the Festival of Purim that is celebrated by the Jews even today in the month of March? Remind them that God is still faithful to take care of His church just as He did with the Jews when they were in captivity.
Feel free to share your own stories below in the comments section.
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