Friday, March 2, 2018

The Feast of Purification


Overview

The Feast of Purim is held is held currently in the month of March however on the old Roman calendar this feast was originally held in February which means purification.  Purim comes from the Latin word pūrum which means to cleans or purify.  The bible calls this feast the Feast of Purim and the Romans called it the Feast of Expiation or Purification (Feralis).  The original biblical feast was a three day feast.



The table below compares these the biblical feast to the Roman feasts to show they are the same feasts; however due to calendar changes these feast are no longer held on the same dates.


Jesus cleaned the temple of the money changers on about March 30th which was March 10th or Abib 10 on the old calendar.  Also the biblical events in Exodus regarding the plagues of Egypt all happened prior to Passover which is normally observed on April 3rd each year which was March 14th or Abib 14th on the old calendar.  Both of these events were an act of purification or cleansing that occurred shortly after the above event surrounding Purim.

Background

In 463 BC, Esther, a descendant of Benjamin, became Queen and wife of the Persian King Artaxerxes (Ahasuerus) I Longimanus.  She was raised by her uncle Mordecai because both of her parents had died. Prior Esther becoming Queen there had not been an Israelite on the throne since King Zedekiah in 586 BC. 

Now there was a Judean in the city Susa, and his name was Mardochaeus (Mordecai), the son of Jairus, the son of Semeias, the son of Cisaeus, of the tribe of Benjamin; who had been brought a prisoner from Jerusalem, which Nabuchodonosor king of Babylon had carried into captivity. And he had a foster child, daughter of Aminadab his father's brother, and her name was Esther; and when her parents were dead, he brought her up for a wife for himself: and the damsel was beautiful.” Sep Est 2:5-7 

“(198) So when a great number of these virgins were gathered together, there was found a damsel in Babylon, whose parents were both dead, and she was brought up with her uncle Mordecai, for that was her uncle's name. This uncle was of the tribe of Benjamin, and was one of the principal persons among the Judeans. (199) Now it proves that this damsel, whose name was Esther, was the most beautiful of all the rest, and that the grace of her countenance drew the eyes of the spectators principally upon her:” Antiquities 11.6.1

Now there was a Judean in Susa whose name was Mordecai, Jair’s son. He came from the family line of Shimei and Kish; he was a Benjaminite. He had been taken into exile away from Jerusalem by King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon. Mordecai had a foster child named Esther, a daughter of his uncle Aminadab. When her pares died, Mordecai had taken her and raised her to become his wife. The girl was lovely to look at.”  Additions to Esther 2:5-7

It was during the reign of Persian King Artaxerxes and Queen Esther that the remaining Israelite captives were allowed to return to Jerusalem.  Also during this time the Mordecai had victory over the Amalekites and when the feast of Purim was declared by Queen Esther.  According to scripture, King Cyrus would lead the building of the temple in Jerusalem.  Darius and Arthasastha (Artaxerxes) were Cyrus’ predecessors to the throne of Persia.

Thus saith the Lord God to my anointed Cyrus, whose right hand I have held, that nations might be obedient before him; and I will break through the strength of kings; I will open doors before him, and cities shall not be closed.” Sep Isa 45:1 

And the elders of the Judeans and the Levites built, at the prophecy of Aggaeus the prophet, and Zacharias the son of Addo: and they built up, and finished it, by the decree of the God of Israel, and by the decree of Cyrus, and Darius, and Arthasastha, kings of the Persians.” Sep Ezr 6:14 

This timeline is to show how the events took place and who was in control of Jerusalem at the time.
External Empires
Date
Event
Power In Control of Judea
Verse/s
Babylon Empire
605 BC
Nebuchadnezzar the Great becomes king of Babylon
Judah
2 Kings 24:1
Babylon Empire
597 BC
Zedekiah becomes king of Judea
Judah
2 King 24:18
Babylon Empire
586 BC
Fall of Jerusalem, King Zedekiah, the tribe of Judah his sons of Phares & tribe of Benjamin, some Levites, Ephraim, and Manasse were taken captive to Babylon
Babylon
Jer 52:28
1 Esd 1:53-55
1 Chr 9
Babylon Empire
559 BC
Cyrus II the Great becomes king of Babylon
Babylon
2 Chr 36:22
Isa 45:1
Persian Empire
539 BC
Fall of Babylon
Persian
Jer 51:60
Persian Empire
538 BC
Edict of Cyrus issued
Persian
2 Chr 36:22-23
Ezra 1:1-2
Ezra 6:3
Persian Empire
522 BC
Return of Zerubbabel and Mordecai to Jerusalem
Persian
1 Chr 9
Persian Empire
521 BC
Darius I the Great, a Mede, becomes king of Persia
The Medes are descendants of Madai who was Japheth’s son. Japheth is son of Noah.
Persian
Dan 9:1
Antiquities 1.5
Gen 10:2
Ezra 6:12
Persian Empire
515 BC
2nd Temple Built in Judea
Persian
Ezra 6:14-15
Persian Empire
586 BC
Xerxes, son of Darius, becomes king of Persia
Persian
Antiquities 11.5.1
Persian Empire
464 BC
Cyrus son of Xerxes, who was also called Artaxerxes (Ahasuerus) I Longimanus, becomes king of Persia.
He lived in the providence of Elam city of Shushan (Susa). During his reign the whole nation of Israel became endangered of perishing.
Persian
Ezra 4:7
Antiquities 11.6.1
Tob 14:15
Persian Empire
463 BC
Esther, of the tribe of Benjamin, becomes Queen and the wife of king Artaxerxes of Persia
Persian
Est 2:7
Est 2:16-18
Antiquities 11.6.2
Persian Empire
452 BC
Mordecai, of the tribe of Benjamin, was crowned viceroy to king Artaxerxes of Persia after defeating Haman an Amalekite and descendant of Esau.
Persian
Est 3:17, 8:15, 9:10, 10:3, Antiquities 11.6.5 & 11.6.11, Exo 17:16
1 Chr 34:35-36
Persian Empire

The Feast of Purim was declared
Persian
Est 9:20-32
Antiquities 11.6.12
Persian Empire
457 BC
During the reign of King Artaxerxes & Queen Esther, Ezra (Esdras) returns to Jerusalem with many other Israelites.
Persian
Ezra 7:1, Ezra 8
1 Esd 8:1, 2 Esd 1:2

Persian Empire
444 BC
During the reign of King Artaxerxes & Queen Esther, Nehemiah returns to Jerusalem and becomes ruler.
Persian
Neh 2:1, 5:14
Macedonian (Greek)
336 BC
Alexander the Great, the Macedonian becomes king of Greece.  The people were known as Kittim.
Persian
1 Mac 1:1
Antiquities 11.8.1
Macedonian (Greek)
334 BC
Alexander conquers Persia during the reign of Darius III
Macedonian
1 Mac 1:1-3

Macedonian (Greek)
333 BC
Alexander conquers Jerusalem
Macedonian
1 Mac 1:3

Macedonian (Greek)
332 BC
Alexander conquers Egypt
Macedonian
1 Mac 1:3

Egypt
323 BC
Ptolemy I Sater becomes king of Egypt

Egypt
Antiquities 12.1.1
1 Mac 10:51
Egypt
312 BC
Ptolemy takes Jerusalem
Egypt
Antiquities 12.1.1
Egypt
282 BC
Ptolemy II Philadelphus becomes king of Egypt
The Septuagint was translated under his direction into Koine Greek.
Egypt
Antiquities 12.2.1
Seleucid Empire (Greek)
187 BC
Seleucus IV Philopotler becomes king
Seleucus
1 Mac 7:1
2 Mac 3:3, 4:7, 5:18, 14:1
Seleucid Empire (Greek)
168 BC
Maccabee Revolt
Seleucus
2 Mac
Seleucid Empire (Greek)
165 BC
Judas Maccabee becomes high Priest & Captain
Maccabee an Israelite
1 Mac 2:66, 3:11

Queen Esther’s Prayer for Mercy

Below is part of Queen Esther’s pray for mercy for herself and the Israelites that she performed before the Mordecai’s victory:

Now, Lord God, King, God of Abraham, spare your people, because the enemy seeks our ruin. They desire to destroy what has been your possession from the beginning. Don’t neglect your people, whom you delivered out of Egypt. Listen to my appeal, and have mercy on the people who are your lot. Turn our mourning into feasting, that we might live and sing praises to your name, Lord. Don’t silence the voice of those who praise you.” Brenton Septuagint & the Additions to Esther, Addition C:8-10


Then she begged the Lord God of Israel: “My Lord, you alone are our king. Help me! I have no one to help me but you, and I am in great danger now. From my birth, Lord, I have heard how you chose Israel from among the rest of the nations, and our fathers from their ancestors, to be an everlasting inheritance. I have heard how you did for them all that you had promised. But now we have sinned before you, and you have delivered us into the power of our enemies because we worshipped their gods. You are just, Lord. Yet the enemies weren’t satisfied with our bitter slavery, so they shook hands with their idols in partnership. They plan to set aside the promises you made, to rob you of your inheritance, to silence those who praise you, and to stamp out the honor of your temple and your altar. They want to open the mouths of the nations to praise the wonderful deeds of useless idols so that a human king might be honored forever.” Brenton Septuagint & the Additions to Esther 13:14-21

Feast of Purim

The Feast of Purim was declared in the Book of Esther to be celebrated as a memorial forever.  It was to be celebrated to remember that they defeated their adversaries.   It was to be celebrated in the twelve month which was later named February. 

For in the twelfth month, on the thirteenth day of the month which is Adar, the letters written by the king arrived. In that day the adversaries of the Judeans perished: for no one resisted, through fear of them. For the chiefs of the satraps, and the princes and the royal scribes, honoured the Judeans; for the fear of Mardochaeus lay upon them. For the order of the king was in force, that he should be celebrated in all the kingdom. And in the city Susa the Judeans slew five hundred men: both Pharsannes, and Delphon and Phasga, and Pharadatha, and Barea, and Sarbaca, and Marmasima, and Ruphaeus, and Arsaeus, and Zabuthaeus, the ten sons of Aman the son of Amadathes the Bugaean, the enemy of the Judeans, and they plundered their property on the same day: and the number of them that perished in Susa was rendered to the king. And the king said to Esther, The Judeans have slain five hundred men in the city Susa; and how, thinkest thou, have they used them in the rest of the country? What then dost thou yet ask, that it may be done for thee? And Esther said to the king, let it be granted to the Judeans so to treat them tomorrow as to hand the ten sons of Aman. And he permitted it to be so done; and he gave up to the Judeans of the city the bodies of the sons of Aman to hang. And the Judeans assembled in Susa on the fourteenth day of Adar, and slew three hundred men, but plundered no property. And the rest of the Judeans who were in the kingdom assembled, and helped one another, and obtained rest from their enemies: for they destroyed fifteen thousand of them on the thirteenth day of Adar, but took no spoil. And they rested on the fourteenth of the same month, and kept it as a day of rest with joy and gladness. And the Judeans in the city Susa assembled also on the fourteenth day and rested [this day is a normally a Sabbath rest day]; and they kept also the fifteenth with joy and gladness. On this account then it is that the Judeans dispersed in every foreign land keep the fourteenth of Adar as a holy day with joy, sending portions each to his neighbour.” Sep Est 9:1-19 



The Triumphant of Mordecai with the blowing of trumpets painted in 1624

Queen Esther establishes the Feast of Purim to be forever memorialized in the twelve month, now called February, on the 14th and 15th.

“And Mardochaeus wrote these things in a book, and sent them to the Judeans, as many as were in the kingdom of Artaxerxes, both them that were near and them that were afar off, to establish these as joyful days, and to keep the fourteenth and fifteenth of Adar; for on these days the Judeans obtained rest from their enemies; and as to the month, which was Adar, in which a change was made for them, from mourning to joy, and from sorrow to a good day, to spend the whole of it in good days of feasting and gladness, sending portions to their friends, and to the poor. And the Judeans consented to this accordingly as Mardochaeus wrote to them, shewing how Aman the son of Amadathes the Macedonian fought against them, how he made a decree and cast lots to destroy them utterly; also how he went in to the king, telling him to hang Mardochaeus: but all the calamities he tried to bring upon the Judeans came upon himself, and he was hanged, and his children. Therefore these days were called Phrurae (now called Purim), because of the lots; (for in their language they are called Phrurae;)because of the words of this letter, and because of all they suffered on this account, and all that happened to them. And Mardochaeus established it, and the Judeans took upon themselves, and upon their seed, and upon those that were joined to them to observe it, neither would they on any account behave differently: but these days were to be a memorial kept in every generation, and city, and family, and province. And these days of the Phrurae, said they,shall be kept for ever, and their memorial shall not fail in any generation.  And queen Esther, the daughter of Aminadab, and Mardochaeus, wrote all that they had done, and the confirmation of the letter of Phrurae. And Mardochaeus and Esther the queen appointed a fast for themselves privately, even at that time also having formed their plan against their own health. And Esther established it by a command for ever, and it was written for a memorial.” Sep Esther 9:20-32


Therefore, they destroyed the lot that was bringing calamites to the people of Judea.  A number of people were destroyed collectively; therefore the city of Judea was purified.

Later in the Book of Maccabees a decree was made to memorialize the 13th day of the twelve month, now called February, as a day to remember that they defeated their adversaries.

Maccabeus seeing the coming of the multitude, and the divers preparations of armour, and the fierceness of the beasts, stretched out his hands toward heaven, and called upon the Lord that worketh wonders, knowing that victory cometh not by arms, but even as it seemeth good to him, he giveth it to such as are worthy: Therefore in his prayer he said after this manner; O Lord, thou didst send thine angel in the time of Ezekias king of Judea, and didst slay in the host of Sennacherib an hundred fourscore and five thousand: Wherefore now also, O Lord of heaven, send a good angel before us for a fear and dread unto them; And through the might of thine arm let those be stricken with terror, that come against thy holy people to blaspheme. And he ended thus. Then Nicanor and they that were with him came forward with trumpets and songs.  But Judas and his company encountered the enemies with invocation and prayer. So that fighting with their hands, and praying unto God with their hearts, they slew no less than thirty and five thousand men: for through the appearance of God they were greatly cheered. Now when the battle was done, returning again with joy, they knew that Nicanor lay dead in his harness. Then they made a great shout and a noise, praising the Almighty in their own language. And Judas, who was ever the chief defender of the citizens both in body and mind, and who continued his love toward his countrymen all his life, commanded to strike off Nicanor's head, and his hand with his shoulder, and bring them to Jerusalem. So when he was there, and called them of his nation together, and set the priests before the altar, he sent for them that were of the tower, And shewed them vile Nicanor's head, and the hand of that blasphemer, which with proud brags he had stretched out against the holy temple of the Almighty. And when he had cut out the tongue of that ungodly Nicanor, he commanded that they should give it by pieces unto the fowls, and hang up the reward of his madness before the temple. So every man praised toward the heaven the glorious Lord, saying, Blessed be he that hath kept his own place undefiled. He hanged also Nicanor's head upon the tower, an evident and manifest sign unto all of the help of the Lord. And they ordained all with a common decree in no case to let that day pass without solemnity, but to celebrate the thirtieth day of the twelfth month, which in the Syrian tongue is called Adar, the day before Mardocheus' day. “ Sep 2 Maccabees 15:21-36 

So again the city of Judea was purified by destroying collectively a lot (group) of people during the 12th month which became known as February.


Priest Judas Maccabees

In c. 94 AD, historian Flavius Josephus wrote that they Judeans were still observing the Feast of Purim:

“(293) Mordecai also wrote to the Judeans that lived in the kingdom of Artaxerxes to observe these days, and to celebrate them as festivals, and to deliver them down to posterity, that this festival might continue for all time to come, and that it might never be buried in oblivion; (294) for since they were about to be destroyed on these days by Haman they would do a right thing, upon escaping the danger in them, and on them inflicting punishment on their enemies, to observe those days, and give thanks to God on them; (295) for which cause the Judeans still keep the forementioned days, and call them days of Phurim [OR PURIM].”  Antiquities 11.6.12

Therefore, now the Feast of Purim was to begin on the 13th day just like the Roman feasts of Parentalia and Feralis.  It was a day to remember all those who had died in the Book of Esther and in 2nd Maccabees.

Saint Patrick

It is also interesting that the Christian celebration of Saint Patrick’s Day is celebrated on March 17th which was the 12th month known as February 29th on the old calendar.  On this date we celebrate Saint Patrick purifying Ireland by getting rid of snakes. In the bible snakes and serpents are references to evil people; therefore our enemies. 



February Means Purification

The Roman month Februarius was named after the Latin term februum, which means purification, via the purification ritual held on February 15th.  The purification ritual was the Feast of PurimWe do know that the Romans during the Apostle Paul’s life were of Israelite genes since Paul wrote to them.  Paul was an apostle to the gentiles.  Gentiles come from the Latin word ‘gentīlis’ which means belonging to the same family orgēns. Paul confirms the Romans are related to him in these verses:

I say then: Hath God cast away his people? God forbid. For I also am an Israelite of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin. God hath not cast away his people, which he foreknew. Know you not what the scripture saith of Elias; how he calleth on God against Israel?” DR Romans 11:1-2


1913 Webster’s Dictionary

So February was also known as the month of expiation because of the Roman feast of expiation and purification was held then.  Here are the definitions of expiation and expiate:




1913 Webster’s Dictionary

So February was the month of purification by expiration just like what happened in the Books of Esther and Maccabees.

The month of February was also called historically called Kale-month which is also known as cole or cabbage.  According to The Edinburgh Encyclopaedia, Volume 10, the Saxons called the month of February ‘spout-kale’.   


Eating and throwing cabbage is an old February tradition   Many European names for cabbage are derived from the Celto-Slavic root cap or kap, meaning "head". The late Middle English word cabbage derives from the word caboche "head".  Some verities of cabbage are called capitata which is a reference to the word head.  Slang use of the word of the word cabbage is "cabbage-head" which means a fool or stupid person and "cabbaged" means to be exhausted or, vulgarly, in a vegetative state.  In Maccabees above Nicanor’s head was decapitated and he was pronounced a blasphemer therefore he was vulgar.  The word decapitated and capitata both refer to the word head just like the word cabbage.  Therefore, the cabbage throwing tradition may have started with this event in 2nd Maccabees. 

The throwing of cabbage still occurs today on St. Patrick’s Day.  Today St. Patrick’s Day is held on March 17th; however on the biblical calendar that day would have been the twelfth month, February, on the 29th day.  Back then the twelfth month did have 31 days. Today St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated with corned beef and cabbage; therefore, cabbage has been a tradition for the month of February for a long time.  On this page an explanation of why cabbage is thrown today on St. Patrick’s Day is given stating it dates back to the potato famine that occurred in 1845; however, that cannot be true since below I have posted a newspaper article showing that in 1844 the cabbage throwing tradition had already been established. 


A Young girl that caught cabbage at the St. Patrick’s Day Parade in New Orleans.

Another reason cabbage maybe of importance is because cabbage plant is part of the Cruciferae family and comes from the word crucifer which means ‘cross bearer’ and a cross bearer is part of a religious procession.  Plants from the Cruciferae family have four petals so when the flower blooms they look like a cross.


Cross bearing flower sources:

The Festivals of Parentalia, Feralis, and Carista

According to newspaper accounts below, the Romans originally called All Saints Day - Feralis and it was celebrated February 13th to the 21st. Feralis means god or a sacred place and is associated with the dead, corpses and funerals.  The February 13th through 20th observance was called the Parentalia Festival for honoring their dead ancestors and the yearly renewal of the rite of burial.  Below are 1913 Webster’s Dictionary Definitions:





On Feralis Roman citizens were instructed to bring offerings to the tombs of their dead ancestors which consisted of at least "an arrangement of wreaths, a sprinkling of grain and a bit of salt, bread soaked in wine and violets scattered about."  The Israelites were to use salt in all of their offerings since salt purifies and cleanses naturally.  The bread soaked in wine was probably represented of the New Covenant that Jesus gave us at the Last Super.

Whatsoever sacrifice thou offerest, thou shalt season it with salt, neither shalt thou take away the salt of the covenant of thy God from thy sacrifice. In all thy oblations thou shalt offer salt.” Lev 2:13

All the firstfruits of the sanctuary which the children of Israel offer to the Lord, I have given to thee and to thy sons and daughters, by a perpetual ordinance. It is a covenant of salt for ever before the Lord, to thee and to thy sons.” Num 18:19

Do you not know that the Lord God of Israel gave to David the kingdom over Israel for ever, to him and to his sons by a covenant of salt?” 2 Chr 13:5

And he said: Bring me a new vessel, and put salt into it. And when they had brought it, He went out to the spring of the waters, and cast the salt into it, and said: Thus saith the Lord: I have healed these waters, and there shall be no more in them death or barrenness.” 2 Kings 2:20-21

Caristia was celebrated on February 22nd and was to honored family or ancestors. It followed the Parentalia, nine days of remembrance which began on February 13 and concluded with the Feralia on February 21. For the Parentalia, families visited the tombs of their ancestors and shared cake and wine both in the form of offerings and as a meal among themselves. The Feralia was a more somber occasion, a public festival of sacrifices and offerings to the Manes, the spirits of the dead who required propitiation (cover over sin). The Caristia in recognition of the family line as it continued into the present and among the living. Caristia was a day of reconciliation when disagreements were to be set aside.

From Parentalia to Caristia all temples were closed, marriages were forbidden, and "magistrates appeared without their insignia," an indication that no official business was conducted. This is because these feasts were considered a time of mourning for the dead.

February was the Last Month

Merriam-Webster dictionary states that that the last week of the year was the feast of purification. In the ancient Roman calendar March was originally the first month of the year and hence February was the last. The last weeks of the year was a time when people made up for their wrongdoings and purifications were performed. These rituals were called februa in Latin, and from them the month took its name, Februarius.  This is probably where we get the tradition of making New Year’s Resolutions since normally resolutions are to correct a wrong doing in our life.

Old Newspaper References

According to old newspapers the Feast of Purim was moved to May and then to the date we call Halloween.  I have documented this fact on this page where I provide further proof http://kingdomhereamerica.blogspot.com/2017/10/the-origins-of-all-hallows-eve-all.html
Below are just two of the examples I found from the above link.

11/6/1848 news – All Saints Day Origin is Feralis





10/31/1919 news – Hallowe’en on New Year’s Eve 

This article agrees that Halloween use to be in February which used to be the last month of the year.



Conclusion

The Feast of Purim is not a feast required by the laws of Moses; however it was a feast ordained by an Israelite Queen.  The Feast of the Dedication is not a required feast by the laws of Moses either and was ordained by a Maccabee King; never the less Jesus did honor this feast by attending (John 10:22-23).

The event the ancient Israelites endured in the book of Esther and Maccabees were a hardship for them; therefore it was a time of mourning that was turned to joy.  The Feast of Purim became a time to reconcile their enemies that died sins and reconcile family disputes.  It was also a time to pay respect to our ancestors by going to their graves and leaving offerings to cover their sin.  Today it is a tradition to put flowers on the graves of our ancestors; maybe it would be better to leave grain and salt like the early Romans did.  It is a good time for us to do the same prior to starting the new biblical year that always begins on the spring equinox.


Sources & More Information



Additions to Esther reading on youtube  https://youtu.be/nYbXotxLImE

About Jerome the translator of the Latin Vulgate version of the bible and the Additions to Esther https://www.franciscanmedia.org/saint-jerome-the-bible-translator/

Jerome translated the “Additions to the book of Esther” from the Common Septuagint 

About the “Additions to Esther”  http://www.bombaxo.com/blog/jeromes-prologue-to-esther/

Book of Esther included in the Origen Hexapla published in 1875 AD