Is Purim mentioned in the New Testament?

No. Purim (lots) is a feast only mentioned in the Old Testament book of Esther, where the establishment of the feast is mentioned at the end of the book. Although it was continuously celebrated as a feast during the time of Jesus’ ministry and till today every Spring, there is no indication that Jesus or his disciples or apostles took part in the feast. But there is also no indication that they did not. It is simply not mentioned.

An unnamed feast is mentioned in John 5. This is likely to have been one of the three major festival periods in the Law of Moses: the Feast of Unleavened Bread, the Feast of Weeks, and the Feast of Booths. Beginning in the spring, these three major festivals can also be broken down into seven individual feasts which are Passover, the Feast of Unleavened Bread, the Feast of First-fruits, the Feast of Weeks, the Feast of Trumpets, the Day of Atonement, and the Feast of Tabernacles. These seven feasts are closely related to Israel’s spring and fall harvests and agricultural seasons.

Some readers have wondered if the unnamed feast in John 5 was Purim but there seems no evidence to suggest that it was. However outside of the seven feasts of the Law of Moses it is true that Jesus did, also go up the midwinter Feast of Dedication, or Hanukkah (in Hebrew ‘dedication’), in John 10:22. This was another popular secondary feast which was established after the end of the Old Testament to mark the dedication of the Second Temple. So, if Christ went up to Hanukkah, there is no reason to think that Christ would have avoided taking part in Purim.

What is Purim?

The word Purim is Persian, from the Persian word for the lots cast by Haman in his plot against the Jews:

“In the first month, that is, the month Nisan, in the twelfth year of king Ahasuerus, they cast Pur, that is, the lot (Hebrew gôrāl ), before Haman from day to day, and from month to month, to the twelfth month, that is, the month Adar” (Esther 3:7)

Esther 9 – The Feast of Purim Inaugurated
9:20 And Mordecai recorded these things and sent letters to all the Jews who were in all the provinces of King Ahasuerus, both near and far, 21 obliging them to keep the fourteenth day of the month Adar and also the fifteenth day of the same, year by year, 22as the days on which the Jews got relief from their enemies, and as the month that had been turned for them from sorrow into gladness and from mourning into a holiday; that they should make them days of feasting and gladness, days for sending gifts of food to one another and gifts to the poor.
23 So the Jews accepted what they had started to do, and what Mordecai had written to them. 24 For Haman the Agagite, the son of Hammedatha, the enemy of all the Jews, had plotted against the Jews to destroy them, and had cast Pur (that is, cast lots), to crush and to destroy them. 25 But when it came before the king, he gave orders in writing that his evil plan that he had devised against the Jews should return on his own head, and that he and his sons should be hanged on the gallows. 26 Therefore they called these days Purim, after the term Pur. Therefore, because of all that was written in this letter, and of what they had faced in this matter, and of what had happened to them, 27 the Jews firmly obligated themselves and their offspring and all who joined them, that without fail they would keep these two days according to what was written and at the time appointed every year, 28 that these days should be remembered and kept throughout every generation, in every clan, province, and city, and that these days of Purim should never fall into disuse among the Jews, nor should the commemoration of these days cease among their descendants.
29 Then Queen Esther, the daughter of Abihail, and Mordecai the Jew gave full written authority, confirming this second letter about Purim. 30 Letters were sent to all the Jews, to the 127 provinces of the kingdom of Ahasuerus, in words of peace and truth, 31that these days of Purim should be observed at their appointed seasons, as Mordecai the Jew and Queen Esther obligated them, and as they had obligated themselves and their offspring, with regard to their fasts and their lamenting. 32 The command of Esther confirmed these practices of Purim, and it was recorded in writing.


Share →

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *