Mordecai, A Jew Exiled in Persia
God’s mighty hand and protection for his people was displayed once again through the life of Mordecai. To know the life and story of Mordecai we need to go through the Book of Esther.
The story begins in Persia while king Ahasuerus was on the throne. During that time King Ahasuerus held his court in Shushan, one of the principal capital cities in Persia.
Under the leadership of Zerubbabel, a small remnant of Jews returned to Jerusalem which was their motherland but the vast majority of Jews decided to stay in Persia rather than go back to Jerusalem.
Mordecai was a Jew who belonged to the Benjamite tribe and his father was Jair, the son of Shimei, the son of Kish. His forefather Kish had been carried into captivity from the land of Jerusalem with a large number of captives in Babylon during the reign of King Nebuchadnezzar (Esther 2:5,6).
As a Jew, it was not easy to survive in a foreign land. In spite of many trials and hardships, Mordecai was determined to struggle in that land because he knew his God who could deliver him from every problem.
In the beginning of his life he spent his years working as a gatekeeper of the king’s palace.
Raised Up Esther and led Her To Become The Queen
He was also burdened with the life of Esther who was his uncle’s daughter. Esther lost her parents while she was a kid. So, Mordecai took the responsibilities of her life (Esther 2:7).
At that time when King Ahasuerus provided a lavish banquet to display the royal glory, he desired to show the beauty of queen Vashti at the public celebration. But the queen refused to degrade herself by unveiling her face in front of those people who attended the royal banquet.
The act of queen Vashti made the king angry and she was deposed from her position because of her refusal. After this incident took place, the counselors of the king proposed that a young woman be required to be the queen in Vashti’s place.
Mordecai played an important role in introducing Esther before the king to get the position of the queen. He also warned Esther not to reveal her actual identity before the king. In course of time, Esther became the queen and Mordecai was quite happy to see her in the king’s palace (Esther 2:10-20).
Mordecai Saved King Ahasuerus by Revealing The Plot
Though Esther was queen still Mordecai positioned himself at the king’s gate. One day he overheard a plot that two of the king’s eunuchs, Bigthan and Teresh, were planning to assassinate King Ahasuerus.
Mordecai brought the news to Esther and she informed the king in Mordecai’s name. The king immediately made an inquiry against the conspiracy and it was proved. So, both eunuchs were hanged on gallows and this event was recorded in the official chronicles in the presence of the king. Mordecai was not given any reward for his great work at that moment (Esther 2:21-23).
Later in his life, he was given a great position in the kingdom for his wonderful work. It is important to do good works because God is looking at us and he will reveal his blessings at the proper time.
Mordecai Avoided Pay Homage To Haman
Later on, Haman was appointed by the king and gained authority above all the provinces. By the king’s order, Haman was now to be received homage and every king’s servant who was in the king’s gate must be bowed.
Mordecai refused to bow and pay homage to Haman as he was a Jew. Since his childhood, he had learned not to bow before man or any other god. So, the king’s servant often asked him to follow what the king had ordered.
Haman got this message from the king’s servants and made a plan to kill all the Jews from the land in order to gain honor from the people (Esther 3:1-6).
Haman casts lots to set a proper time for the fulfillment of his plan, but according to the lot’s timing, the date fell in the last month which was almost a year away (Esther 3:7). To defame the Jews Haman approached the king with false reports to misguide the king against the Jews. He requested the King to make a decree to destroy all the Jews.
Haman was successful to impress the king to issue the decree to slay the innocent Jews. The death sentence of the Jews was announced throughout the provinces of Shushan and a great perplexity reigned over the Children of Israel.
Mordecai Urged Esther To Stand Before The King To Save His People
With the unexpected and brutal news, Mordecai became extremely upset and he expressed his sorrow by tearing his clothes and put on sackcloth, and lamented in the midst of the city.
He knew very well that because of him Haman made such a plan. The unfortunate incidents awaiting his people had been unwillingly started by his refusal to bow down before Haman.
But he believed that his God would listen to his prayer and deliver them from this danger. Esther sent Mordecai some clothes so that he could wear them and take away his sack clothes. But Mordecai did not take the clothes that the servants brought for him.
Now Esther sent Hathach to Mordecai to ask the reason for his lamentation as she had no knowledge of Haman’s plot. Mordecai explained everything to the servant and gave a document copy of the king‘s decree that bore the decree of death sentence of the Jews.
Mordecai requested Esther to stand on behalf of his people but she answered Mordecai that none can enter the king’s inner court until the king holds out the golden scepter.
Even the king did not call her for the last thirty days. Finally, Mordecai encourages Esther to stand before the king to urge for the lives of her people. He also reminded her that perhaps for this reason she might have exalted to the king’s palace.
At last, Esther decided to stand before the king to plea for the lives of the Jews. To do such an act that was against the law, she needed strength from the Lord, so she asked all the Jews to fast along with her for three days. Then she would confront the king with her appeal (Esther 4:1-17).
Gallows Made For Mordecai
On the third day when the fasting was completed Esther entered into the king’s inner court. Instantly she found grace in the sight of the king and instead of killing her, the king held out the golden scepter.
The king loved her so much that he agreed to give her half of his kingdom. But Esther made it a delay to say the issue that she brought to the king. She arranged a banquet where she desired Haman to be attended. The king asked Haman to be at that banquet as it was the will of his beloved queen.
During the meal, the king again enquired about the desire Esther, but she did not reveal it at that time. She told them to come again by the next day’s banquet where she will reveal the matter that she wanted to bring before the king.
After the banquet Haman was joyful and when he met Mordecai he was extremely furious but he controlled his anger. After reaching home he recited everything that happened to him to his wife and four wise friends.
His wife suggested making a gallows seventy-five feet high to hang Mordecai on it. He made it according to the advice of his wife(Esther 5:14).
King Ahasuerus Honored Mordecai For His Great Work
After the banquet, while Haman was sleeping peacefully and eagerly waiting to see the new day where Mordecai would be hanged on his gallows, at that very moment king Ahasuerus was unable to sleep. So, he asked one of his servants to bring the books of the records of the chronicles to know what was written on it.
While he was watching the events suddenly the act of Mordecai came to his notice and he found that Mordecai was not honored or rewarded for his work by which his life was saved.
King Ahasuerus was thinking about how to reward Mordecai when Haman entered the court. Haman was preparing himself to suggest the king hang Mordecai on the gallows that he made especially for Mordecai.
King Ahasuerus asked Haman “ What shall be given for the person who has done a great job for the sake of the king?” Haman thought that the king was talking about him and he replied to the king that the person should be honored according to the royal tradition.
So, the king ordered Haman to make arrangements for Mordecai, whom he spoke to honor a man whom the king delights to honor. Mordecai was honored by the king and Haman was ashamed due to the events that he experienced (Esther 6:1-12).
After reaching home while Haman was describing everything that happened with him since the beginning of the day to his wife and friends at that time, the king’s eunuchs came to bring him to the banquet that Esther had offered.
Esther revealed her petition on the second day’s banquet before the king that Haman planned to kill her by issuing the decree to annihilate all the Jews. The king then understood the wickedness of Haman and ordered his servants to hang Haman on the gallows that he made for Mordecai. After the death of wicked Haman, the king was calm from his wrath.
Mordecai Was Exalted By The King Ahasuerus
After this incident, Esther narrated to king Ahasuerus how Mordecai raised her up while she lost her parents. The king gave Mordecai the signet ring that he had taken back from Haman and Esther assigned Mordecai over the house of Haman (Esther 8:7-15).
Again Esther urged the king to save his people from the evil scheme that was plotted by Haman. King Ahasuerus gave a way out from his previous decree that he issued. Another decree also was issued by the king where the Jews had the authority to save themselves from their enemies’ attack. The king allowed the Jews to protect their lives if any province assaulted them.
When the new decree was published into the provinces the Jews were glad and they celebrated that day and many people converted Jews as they feared the children of Jews.
Mordecai Became Famous Throughout The Provinces Of Persia
In the month of Adar, on the thirteen-day the enemies of the Jews attacked them but they were badly defeated. All the Jews gathered together in their provinces to fight against those who sought to destroy them. But none dared to attack them anymore because a great fear fell upon them.
Mordecai became very famous and prominent among all the people (Esther 9:4). While the Jews killed their enemies to protect themselves they did not lay hand on the plunder. As this slaughter was for the sake of thor lives. Haman’s ten sons were also killed by the Jews.
After all, this happened the king Ahasuerus promoted Mordecai and advanced his power and position. Everyone knew him and he got the second position right after the king in the land of Persia.
Mordecai Wrote The Jews To Celebrate The Feast Of Purim Every Year
On the fourteen days of the last month, Jews who dwelt in provinces rested from the slaughter and held a great feast. But those Jews who lived in Shushan celebrated the fourteen and fifteen-day for their victory over their enemies.
This was the beginning of the feast Purim. The word Purim came from “Pur” – the lot that Haman had cast to destroy the Jews (Esther 3:7). Later on, Mordecai informed all the Jews to celebrate both fourteen and fifteen as the feast of Purim every year. So, the feast of Purim became a holiday in their lives which must be observed by every Jew to remember their deliverance from the wicked plan of Haman who once convinced the king to annihilate all the Jews from the land ( Esther 9:20-31).