For 900 years the Nation of Israel, the Hebrews, was settled around Jerusalem and the Jordan River. Then, about 500 years before Jesus came, they were attacked by Persia (today that is Iran) and all of the healthy Hebrews (Jews) were taken to Persia for slaves.
One day the King of Persia gave a big party for all of the Big Shots in the country. After they spent a week boozing it up the King sent for his Queen to come. She refused. She refused the king! The King decided to kick her off the throne and get a new Queen. He sent messengers to bring the most beautiful young women to the palace so he could choose a new Queen, a Beauty Contest.
It happened that there was a Hebrew named Mordecai who was a servant in the palace. He had an orphaned niece named Esther. She was a beauty and really sweet natured. They took her to the King. Mordecai told her not to tell the King that she was Hebrew. Out of all the hundreds of girls he had seen he loved Esther. He made her the Queen of Persia.
One day Mordecai overheard a couple of guys plotting to murder the King. He told Esther and she told the King what Mordecai heard and the guys were arrested and executed.
Later the King decided to promote a man named Haman to be the top man in Persia next to the King. Haman loved that and made people bow down to him. But Mordecai wouldn’t bow to him, only to God. Haman got furious! He talked the King into killing all the Hebrews!
Posters were sent out announcing that on a certain day Persian people could kill all the Hebrews and take their property! Esther was scared to try to talk to the King. But Mordecai said, “Don’t think you will get out of it because you are the Queen. You are still a Hebrew. If you can change the King’s orders, it may be the reason you were put in this place.”
So Esther screwed up her courage and went to the King. She asked him to come to a banquet she had fixed and bring Haman. So they went to Esther’s party and she asked them to come again tomorrow. Haman went home bragging about having dinner with the Queen!
But when he passed Mordecai the old Hebrew still would not bow to him! It made Haman so mad! His wife and friends said, “You’re the Big Shot. Just build a scaffold and have him hanged!” Haman ordered the men to start building.
That night the King couldn’t sleep and he remembered that Mordecai had saved his life from murderers. When Haman got there the next day the King asked him what he should do for someone he wanted to honor. Haman thought it was himself! So he said the man should be paraded down the street riding the King’s horse with someone leading and shouting how the King loved him! The King said, “Okay, Haman. You take Mordecai out and do that yourself!”
Haman did it, but he was so embarrassed he could have died! He ran home with a sack over his head! Then he went to the Queen’s banquet again. That time the King asked Esther what kind of reward she wanted for the nice dinners. She said, “I would like you to save my people who are going to be massacred. I am a Hebrew! This wicked Haman did it!”
Haman was so scared that he fell across the Queen’s lap, begging. The King said, “Hang him on the scaffold he made for Mordecai!” Then the King sent out word that the Hebrews were permitted to fight for their lives when that certain day came! They protected themselves and none of them were killed.
To this day Jewish people celebrate the Purim, the day Esther saved the race.
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