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The Ganze Megillah - a synopsis of the Purim story

Chapter One

King Ahashuerus of Persia, a mighty king who rules an enormous empire, holds an elaborate feast in the capital city Shushan for his officers and subjects that lasts six months. At the feast, he asks Queen Vashti to dance before the audience, wearing only the royal crown. Vashti refuses; the King then asks his advisors what to do with her. The answer he likes best comes from Haman, a trusted advisor—who recommends that the only solution to avoid embarrassment to the King is to have her put to death.

Chapter Two

Ahashuerus holds a beauty contest to select a new Queen. He selects Esther. However the King does not know she is Jewish. Esther realizes that if she reveals her faith, she could also be executed.One day her cousin Mordechai, while sitting at the palace gate, overhears two guards plotting to assassinate the King. Mordechai reports the plot to Esther who reports it, and the guards are apprehended. Mordechai’s patriotic deed is recorded in the royal chronicles but the King is not told directly about Mordechai’s deed.

Chapter Three

Haman becomes the King’s second-in-command. With an idol fastened to his chest, he demands that everyone bow down to him and his idol. Mordechai refuses. Haman is furious! When Haman finds out that Mordechai is Jewish, he plots to destroy the entire Jewish people. Using a system of ‘lots,' Haman selects the 13th of Adar as the day on which this destruction should occur.

Chapter Four

Jews throughout the kingdom hear of their imminent destruction. When Mordechai hears of this plot, he informs Esther. Mordechai asks her to plead with the King to save her people. She feels at first that she cannot, without losing favor in the Kings eyes, and requests that Mordecai tell everyone to fast and perform Teshuvah. Later she agrees that at the end of the three days, Esther will approach the king.

Chapter Five

On the third day, Esther approaches the King. She finds favor in his eyes, and he offers her anything she wants, even half the kingdom. Esther answers by inviting the King to a banquet she has prepared. She also invites Haman. The King extends his offer again. She responds by asking them to a second banquet. After the first banquet, Haman again encounters Mordechai. Enraged by the sight of the disobedient Jew, he orders that a gallows be built on which to hang Mordechai.

Chapter Six

That night the King is restless and cannot sleep. He is brought the royal history book to read. He reads about Mordechai’s saving him from the assassins. He decides to reward Mordecai. Meanwhile, Haman is waiting to ask the King for permission to hang Mordechai. At the second banquet, the King asks Haman how best to reward someone’s loyalty. Haman answers, thinking the King is referring to him; but instead the King tells Haman to reward Mordechai accordingly.

Chapter Seven

At the second banquet, the King repeats his offer of generosity to Esther. She replies by asking him to spare her people. When the King discovers that Haman is the one who ordered the destruction of Esther’s people, the Jews, the King orders Haman to be hung on the same gallows Haman had built for Mordechai.

Chapter Eight

The King rewards Esther with the estate of Haman, and gives Mordechai his official ring. She then asks the king to halt the extermination of the Jews. King Ahashuerus issues the decree not only sparing the Jews, but also authorizing the destruction of all who were involved in the evil plot. The Jews then rejoiced.

Chapter Nine

So it happened, that on the 13th of Adar, the day selected to destroy the Jews, instead the enemies of the Jews perished. The fighting continued through the 14th day, and the Jews of Shushan rested on the 15th. Mordechai wrote the story on a scroll, so that generations to come would remember how close we came to being destroyed, and be thankful to God for redeeming us again.

Chapter Ten

The story is then written into the royal history books. Mordechai becomes a great leader of the Jews.

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