Esther is one of the most promising woman ever told in the book of Old Testament. But she wouldn’t have been that important without someone backing her up to achieve what she had. Mordecai was faithful to his God and that is why Esther followed his footsteps and the duo made a huge impact in the history of their people up to this generation.
Let us find out how Mordecai is People Just Like You.
Mordecai’s Back story
There was in the citadel of Susa a Jew of the tribe of Benjamin, named Mordecai son of Jair, the son of Shimei, the son of Kish, who had been carried into exile from Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, among those taken captive with Jehoiachin king of Judah. (Esther 2:5-6)
Mordecai was the cousin of queen Esther (the same Esther who freed the Jews from being wiped out of history). He became her adoptive parent after her mother and father died. This man was in the king’s gate as a watchman. In his time, the king of Persia decided to get a new queen after the former (Queen Vashti) disobeyed his order.
Esther had a lovely figure and was beautiful. She participated on a beauty contest among many young women from different places and she was chosen to be queen. But she hid her real identity as a Jew for Mordecai said so. She became queen…
And this started the story of the duo.
see full story in the Bible: Esther 1-10
King Xerxes, the wealthy king of Persia, held an overflowing banquet. The pail was full and every guest’s desire was provided. Queen Vashti was also throwing another banquet for the women in the royal palace of king Xerxes.
Women in that country always wore veils over their faces when in the presence of men other than their own husbands, and they could not attend the same feasts with them.
On the last day of the feast, which lasted for a week, the king became drunk and reckless so he asked his wife, queen Vashti, to present herself in front of his guests to show them her beauty. Which means no veils. She rejected the king because she believed that his request was unwise and contrary to the traditions of his people. The king became furious.
He asked his advisers what he should do to the queen. They suggested he pass a decree that queen Vashti is never again to enter the presence of King Xerxes and to give her position to someone else. This was to make an example for all the women to respect their husbands from the least to the greatest. The king sent dispatches to all parts of the kingdom proclaiming that every man should be ruler over his own household.
“Mordecai adopted her cousin Esther”
Esther was orphaned from an early age and Mordecai, her cousin, adopted her as his own daughter. It was hard for Esther to be parentless and so was Mordecai to take care of his cousin.
He didn’t know what Esther would become in the future and how it will change his life drastically. But he did what he could and he saw the need of a child to be kept. He acted on what he know was right.
8 When the king’s order and edict had been proclaimed, many young women were brought to the citadel of Susa and put under the care of Hegai. Esther also was taken to the king’s palace and entrusted to Hegai, who had charge of the harem.
9 She pleased him and won his favor. Immediately he provided her with her beauty treatments and special food. He assigned to her seven female attendants selected from the king’s palace and moved her and her attendants into the best place in the harem.Esther 2:8-9
Mordecai asked Esther to keep her nationality and family background a secret. He was highly respected by Esther to obey his commands. Every day Mordecai walked back and forth near the courtyard of the harem to find out how Esther was and what was happening to her.
Esther pleased the crowd in the harem. The king was attracted to her more than any other virgins and she crowned her to be queen instead of Vashti. The king gave another banquet, Esther’s banquet, to make her known throughout the land and was proclaimed a holiday to celebrate with thanksgiving.
“Mordecai helped prevent the king’s assassination.”
On the background of the second assembly of the virgins, Mordecai was sitting at the king’s gate. Esther still kept secret her family background and nationality just as Mordecai instructed her.
Two of the king’s officers who guarded the doorway, Bigthana and Teresh, conspired to assassinate king Xerxes. But Mordecai found out about the plot and told queen Esther, who in turn reported it to the king, giving credit to Mordecai.
The report was found true and the traitors were impaled on poles. It was recorded in the book of the annals in the presence of the king.
“Mordecai refused to bow down to Haman.”
Haman son of Hammedatha, the Agagite, the antagonist of the story, was honored by the king and given a high seat of honor higher than all the other nobles. The king commanded everyone to give respect to Haman but Mordecai didn’t want to kneel down or pay honor to him. He believed that Haman was not worthy of any praise.
Day after day, Mordecai’s peers spoke to him but he refused to comply. Haman was enraged that Mordecai would not kneel down or pay honor to him and when the royal officials told Haman he was a Jew, his anger grew even more.
It made Haman, the bad guy, want to kill not only Mordecai but everyone with the same nationality as him.
Haman plot on wiping out the people of Mordecai.
8 Then Haman said to King Xerxes, “There is a certain people dispersed among the peoples in all the provinces of your kingdom who keep themselves separate. Their customs are different from those of all other people, and they do not obey the king’s laws; it is not in the king’s best interest to tolerate them. 9 If it pleases the king, let a decree be issued to destroy them, and I will give ten thousand talents of silver to the king’s administrators for the royal treasury.”Esther 3
The king told Haman to keep the money and do what he wanted to do with the people as he pleases. The orders of Haman were written in the language of each people in the land of Xerxes and was signed with the signet ring of the king. Everything the king signed will not be evoked by any means.
13 Dispatches were sent by couriers to all the king’s provinces with the order to destroy, kill and annihilate all the Jews—young and old, women and children—on a single day, the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, the month of Adar, and to plunder their goods.Esther 3
The couriers went out, spurred on by the king’s command, and the edict was issued in the citadel of Susa. The king and Haman sat down to drink, but the city of Susa was bewildered.
“Mordecai mourned for his people”
After finding out about the plan of Haman to destroy the Jews, Mordecai tore his clothes, put on sackcloth and ashes, and went out into the city, wailing loudly and bitterly.
No one was allowed to enter the king’s gate clothed in sackcloth so Mordecai circled only the entrance to get the attention of the queen. In the provinces where the edict and order of the king came, there was great mourning among the Jews, with fasting, weeping and wailing and did just as Mordecai acted.
Esther had no idea of the edict. She was living her normal life and her normal routines. There was no notice of the outside world. And when she saw Mordecai weeping loudly outside her quarters, she sent her attendant to ask what was troubling him. He explained everything to her. Because of Mordecai’s actions, she became aware of what Haman did to her people and the exact amount of what he was ready to pay for the annihilation of the Jews.
Through an attendant named Hathak, Mordecai asked Esther to go in the presence of the king to beg for mercy and plead with him for her people. Esther told him that it was not easy to be in the presence of the king without being summoned. They be put to death unless the king extends the gold scepter to them and spares their lives.
12 When Esther’s words were reported to Mordecai, 13 he sent back this answer: “Do not think that because you are in the king’s house you alone of all the Jews will escape. 14 For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?”Esther 4
Mordecai explained to Esther that she will not be safe even if she kept quiet and no one will know she was a Jew. But Haman was their enemy and he will wipe out EVERY ONE of them one way or another.
“And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?”
This one is a powerful message by Mordecai. It means that he knows the plan of the Lord in their lives and he believed that everything happened for a reason.
Esther then asked Mordecai to gather together all the Jews who are in Susa and fast for her. They should not eat or drink for three days, night or day. And so will Esther and her attendants. When all of this were done, she will go to the king even against the law. And she said, “If I perish, I perish.” (Esther 4:15-16)
Mordecai went away and carried out all of Esther’s instructions.
After three days of fasting, she went to the presence of the king. Surely king Xerxes handed his scepter to Esther and asked her what her request are and he will grant it. But instead, she invited the king and Haman to a banquet she prepared for that night. The king of Persia then asked for Haman and the banquet begins.
The king asked queen Esther what her request and petition was. She brushed off his question and told them to come back tomorrow for another banquet. Then she will tell what her wishes were. This pleased the king and he agreed.
Haman went home happily because he was not only invited once in the presence of the king and queen but he was also invited for a second banquet.
“Mordecai still refused to bow to a man who worships pagan gods”
On the way out, Haman saw Mordecai at the king’s gate and noticed that he neither rose nor showed fear in his presence. He was even more furious with Mordecai. But he restrained himself and continued on his way home.
He talked to his wife and told her about the second banquet he will be attending. His wife and friends suggested Haman to have a high pole set up and ask the king to have Mordecai impaled on it. He was delighted with this suggestion and he had the pole set up.
The king cannot sleep that night so he ordered the book of the chronicles, the record of his reign, to be brought in and read to him. It was written in the recent events what Mordecai did to save the king by exposing two of the king’s officers who guarded the doorway, who had conspired to assassinate king Xerxes.
When he knew he was not yet rewarded for his bravery, he asked his attendants who was in the court and unfortunately for Haman, he was present.
The king asked Haman what should be done for the man the king delights to honor. Haman thought to himself who would the king want to honor but him?
“For the man the king delights to honor,Esther 6
8 have them bring a royal robe the king has worn and a horse the king has ridden, one with a royal crest placed on its head.
9 Then let the robe and horse be entrusted to one of the king’s most noble princes. Let them robe the man the king delights to honor, and lead him on the horse through the city streets, proclaiming before him, ‘This is what is done for the man the king delights to honor!’”
Little did he know, the king was talking about Mordecai. King Xerxes ordered Haman to do without any neglection of what he suggested to Mordecai the Jew.
7 It is God who judges:Psalms 75:7
He brings one down, he exalts another.
Mordecai returned to the king’s gate. But Haman rushed home ashamed and told his family about it to where they told him, “Since Mordecai, before whom your downfall has started, is of Jewish origin, you cannot stand against him—you will surely come to ruin!”
The king’s eunuch, a man castrated to serve a king, brought Haman for the second banquet Esther has prepared. As they were drinking on the second banquet, the king asked what were the petition and request of Esther.
3 Then Queen Esther answered, “If I have found favor with you, Your Majesty, and if it pleases you, grant me my life—this is my petition. And spare my people—this is my request.Esther 7
4 For I and my people have been sold to be destroyed, killed and annihilated. If we had merely been sold as male and female slaves, I would have kept quiet, because no such distress would justify disturbing the king.”
The king asked who this man who plotted to kill queen Esther and she exposed Haman, the enemy of the Jews. The king got up with a rage and went out without finishing his wine. Haman knew that the king was already decided of his faith but he stayed behind and begged queen Esther for his life. When the king saw this, he was upset and accused him of molesting the queen in front of him.
One of the eunuchs of the king announced about a pole beside the house of Haman where he intended to hang Mordecai, who spoke up to help the king. But the king ordered Haman to be impaled in it instead. And the king’s fury subsided.
“Mordecai and Esther overrule the edict to eliminate the Jews”
On that same day, King Xerxes turned over to queen Esther the estate of Haman, the enemy of the Jews. Mordecai came into the presence of the king, for Esther told him how they were related. Esther appointed him over Haman’s estate.
The battle has not yet subsided. There was still one problem left: the edict that was left by Haman. Esther again pleaded with the king, falling at his feet and weeping. She wanted to put an end to the evil plan of Haman the Agagite that were against the Jews. The king extended his scepter and Esther spoke her request.
5 “If it pleases the king,” she said, “and if he regards me with favor and thinks it the right thing to do, and if he is pleased with me, let an order be written overruling the dispatches that Haman son of Hammedatha, the Agagite, devised and wrote to destroy the Jews in all the king’s provinces. 6 For how can I bear to see disaster fall on my people? How can I bear to see the destruction of my family?”Esther 8
Esther and Mordecai overruled the edict of Haman by making another edict granting the Jews in every city the right to assemble and protect themselves; to destroy, kill and annihilate the armed men of any nationality or province who might attack them and their women and children, and to plunder the property of their enemies.
The edict was sent all over the land of Persia where the Jews resided. The Jews rejoiced and it was a time of happiness and joy, gladness and honor.
And many people of other nationalities became Jews because fear of the Jews had seized them. They became more powerful and no one could stand against them.
All the nobles of the provinces, the satraps, the governors and the king’s administrators helped the Jews, because fear of Mordecai had seized them. Mordecai was prominent in the palace; his reputation spread throughout the provinces, and he became more and more powerful. (Esther 9:3-4)
Mordecai made his people get aware of Haman
Mordecai recorded this event and sent letters to all the Jews throughout the provinces of king Xerxes. This was to have them celebrate annually the fourteenth and fifteenth days of the month of Adar as the time when the Jews got relief from their enemies, and as the month when their sorrow was turned into joy and their mourning into a day of celebration.
The Jews agreed to celebrate this event for Haman son of Hammedatha, the Agagite had plotted against the Jews to annihilate and destroy them. But when the king knew about this scheme, he was put to death by impaling him on a pole he inteded for Mordecai and so will his ten sons.
These days were called Purim, from the word pur (that is, the lot). This event should be celebrated from generation to generation. It is being celebrated up to this day. Now we call it the Thanksgiving Day.
3 Mordecai the Jew was second in rank to King Xerxes, preeminent among the Jews, and held in high esteem by his many fellow Jews, because he worked for the good of his people and spoke up for the welfare of all the Jews.Esther 10
We Reflect on Mordecai because:
Mordecai takes care of others.
We have been taking care of others, our families, children, friends and even our enemies. It is our nature to care for one another and bring shelter for the needy. For it is the will of the Lord.
27 Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.James 1:27
Mordecai does the right thing even in private.
As children of God, we should be aware that doing good delights the Lord.
17 For it is better, if it is God’s will, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil.1 Peter 3:17
3 Trust in the Lord and do good;Psalms 37:3
dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.
Mordecai is faithful to God.
He was faithful to God because he knows that God was being faithful to him. Mordecai knows that God is working in the midst of their trials. He did not bow down or kneel to a man who worships other gods. Not just once but twice.
He knew he had to tell Esther about their people and convinced her that everything happened for a reason. That she was appointed queen at that time because something like “Haman” could happen and by being close to the authority, she has the power to speak up for her people.
God works even with normal people.
Mordecai and Esther were once nameless in the eyes of the Persian people. But God worked within these normal people to execute His plans. And He was made known throughout the Jews and also to the people around them.
They were separated and had other customs but God lifted them up and segregated them among other people to show the world that He can turn things upside down even among the minority of people in Persia.
God honors faithfulness.
The faith of Mordecai pleased the Lord so he granted his desire to help his people from being annihilated from the hands of their enemies.
God’s plans are better than ours.
God allowed these events to happen because He knows that His plans will prosper among His people. Just like in the story of Mordecai and Esther, He permits the disturbance of an enemy to show what He is capable of. If Mordecai haven’t kept his faith intact, it would not have happened the way it occurred for us to be encouraged. God knows whom to use to keep his plan according to His will. For our plans are flawed.
“Action speaks louder than words.”
This saying was already engraved to our minds because it was already, frankly speaking, cliché. But are we doing it just for the sake of “following the quote”?
We must act according to what the Lord tells us.
18 Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.1 John 3:18
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