Netanyahu gets Purim wrong

Vladimir Putin recently rebuked Bibi Netanyahu for attempting to use the ancient Bible story of Esther as justification for Israel’s current anti-Iranian paranoia.

It was “Haman the son of Hammedatha the Agagite” (Esther 3:1) who came up with the scheme to kill all the Jews in Persia: he was not a Persian, he was an Amalakite.

“Agagite” indicates that he descends from the family of King Agag who was preserved alive by Saul at the time he slew all the Amalekites:

And he took Agag the king of the Amalekites alive, and utterly destroyed all the people with the edge of the sword. But Saul and the people spared Agag, and the best of the sheep, and of the oxen, and of the fatlings, and the lambs, and all that was good, and would not utterly destroy them: but every thing that was vile and refuse, that they destroyed utterly.” 1 Samuel 15:8-9

Saul’s refusal to kill Agag resulted in the prophet Samuel announcing that God rejected Saul as king. Samuel himself slew Agag shortly thereafter (1 Sam. 15:33), nevertheless this the re-appearance of this Haman the “Agagite” centuries later indicates that descendants from King Agag’s family survived as Amalekites (e.g., 1 Sam. 27:8).

Remarkably, the prophet Balaam had prophesied long in advance with the very name of this notable Amalekite:

He shall pour the water out of his buckets, and his seed shall be in many waters, and his king shall be higher than Agag, and his kingdom shall be exalted. God brought him forth out of Egypt; he hath as it were the strength of an unicorn: he shall eat up the nations his enemies, and shall break their bones, and pierce them through with his arrows… And when he looked on Amalek, he took up his parable, and said, Amalek was the first of the nations; but his latter end shall be that he perish for ever.” Numbers 24:7-8, 20.

The Amalekites were a tribal group descended from one of Esau’s sons and a Horite concubine (Gen. 36:12). (The background of the Horites of Mt Seir is a mystery – they are perhaps related to the giants?). The Amalekites attacked the stragglers when Israel came up out of Egypt and for that reason have been cursed with an eternal edict of total destruction:

Remember what Amalek did unto thee by the way, when ye were come forth out of Egypt; How he met thee by the way, and smote the hindmost of thee, even all that were feeble behind thee, when thou wast faint and weary; and he feared not God. Therefore it shall be, when the LORD thy God hath given thee rest from all thine enemies round about, in the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee for an inheritance to possess it, that thou shalt blot out the remembrance of Amalek from under heaven; thou shalt not forget it.” Deuteronomy 25:17-19 (cf. Ex. 17:16)

So it is Haman who embodies that real historic enemy of the Jews, the Amalekites. As for the Persians, they rejected Haman’s genocidal plot against the Jews, and they had him and all his sons hanged on the gallows (Esther 7:10).

Ironically, after Saul’s failure to kill Agag, he himself was killed by the hand of an Amalekite (2 Samuel 1:13).

It is also interesting how the story of Saul connect to the story of Esther through Kish, Saul’s father, who was the great-grandfather of Mordecai:

” Now in Shushan the palace there was a certain Jew, whose name was Mordecai, the son of Jair, the son of Shimei, the son of Kish, a Benjamite;” Esther 2:5

Mordecai adopted his niece Esther as his own daughter:

And he brought up Hadassah, that is, Esther, his uncle’s daughter: for she had neither father nor mother, and the maid was fair and beautiful; whom Mordecai, when her father and mother were dead, took for his own daughter.” Esther 2:7

So the Jew Mordecai was a great-nephew of King Saul, and Esther was his niece (and also related to King Saul).  Esther become Mordecai’s daughter by adoption and this later Benjamite duo were then used by God to defeat the schemes of Haman, the descendant of Agag who Saul had left alive.

This all shows that God’s commands are perfect, and we should obey them perfectly to the letter right when we have the opportunity – else if we do not, we will suffer the consequences; Yet regardless of those men castaway for their disobedience, God will revisit his people and work through faithful men to fulfil his promises:

For if thou altogether holdest thy peace at this time, then shall there enlargement and deliverance arise to the Jews from another place; but thou and thy father’s house shall be destroyed: and who knoweth whether thou art come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” Esther 4:14

Now the Christian people in their nations are through the Lord Jesus Christ rightful heirs to claim the promises of God assured to obedient Israel in the Old Testament.

Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands; That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world: But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ. For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us; Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace; And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby: And came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh. For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father. Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God; And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.” Ephesians 2:11-22.

Eventually a surviving remnant of Israel will return once again to obedience to Christ and will be forgiven and saved and dwell secure in their ancient homeland. But today Israel rejects Christ and is acting very foolish to stir up fights against surrounding nations like Iran. Yes, Iran will be invaded and defeated in World War 3, but that will bring a very deceptive “peace and safety” that will be shattered by Great Tribulation and Israel’s own crucifixion.



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