Learning about Purim

Time to learn about the Jewish celebration of Purim! The story of Purim is found in the book of Esther, and today it is a minor Jewish holiday.

The events in the book of Esther take place among the Jewish diaspora community in the Persian Empire during the reign of the Persian emperor Xerxes (486 – 465 B.C.). The story centers around a Jewish woman who becomes queen of Persia and who rescues her people from genocide. The opening chapter describes a banquet hosted by King Xerxes; and when Queen Vashti refuses to obey the king when she is summoned to appear before his guests, the king becomes furious. The king searches throughout the kingdom for a new queen. Mordecai, a Jew, has a beautiful younger cousin, Esther, whom he has raised as his daughter. The king falls in love with Esther and makes her queen, but does not know that she is a Jew. She kept that secret, because nobody liked the Jews.

Now, the wicked advisor to the king named Haman hatches a plot to murder all the Jews. Esther’s uncle Mordecai, hears of the plot, and tells Esther about it. So Queen Esther courageously reveals to the king that she is Jewish, and saves her people.

Purim is a time for parties, drinking, special food, etc.

Enjoy: The Story of Purim, by Mayim Bialik

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Yeah, a whole lot of that, apparently.

I heard a well-respected Bible scholar once say that there was a theory that Cana may have been a mass wedding at Purim (which was apparently a thing, back in the day), and at Purim, lots and lots of wine is imbibed. I don’t know how people in my teetotaling tradition would respond to that (since Jesus only drank grape juice, apparently).

Who is this scholar? It doesn’t say that the wedding was a Purim celebration.

No, it doesn’t say that. It’s speculation…connecting the dots between the apparent custom of having mass weddings at Purim and the abundance of wine that Jesus provided. It was Craig Evans.

No, there is no evidence that there were mass weddings at Purim. If you have such evidence I’d like to see it. But Jewish weddings tend to be very elaborate, especially among the orthodox, but it’s just one wedding. What they do for Purim (besides dressing up, drinking, and the like) is meet in the synagogue and read the book of Esther. Children bring noise makers to the service, and every time Haman (the bad guy who was plotting to murder the Jews) is mentioned, the kids go nuts with their noise makers!

Well, okay, I’m just telling you what Craig Evans told me.

But does he have any evidence?

Not a clue. It was lunch and it was years ago.

I’ve heard one of the “Jesus was married” types claim that Jesus was the bridegroom at the wedding in Cana. Honestly!

Yeah, but Craig Evans is a credible source. Again, not that he was explicitly saying that, but that it was a theory out there. I don’t know who was suggesting it or what the data was.

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