Heroes of the Bible: The book of Esther - Story of Mordecai

Mordecai Courageously Defends God's People

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The story of Esther usually focuses on the Judean beauty that became queen and ultimately saved her people from destruction, but there was more than just one 'star' in the Biblical narrative. During the Babylonian captivity of Judah, a champion rose up to courageously defend God's people. Mordecai was an intelligent man with a heart of gold. He was a true servant-leader and he loved God and His people more than he loved his own life. There is no implication in Scripture that Mordecai was married, so when he adopted his uncle's orphaned daughter, Hadassah, he took on the role of a single father.

Hadassah, who was given the Babylonian name of Esther, was taken with other fair young virgins to the king's palace to replace the deposed Queen Vashti. Mordecai had taught Hadassah to conduct herself with self-confidence and sophistication. It likely came as no surprise to Mordecai when Esther was selected to become queen. He knew that God was present and moving in the situation for a divine purpose, so he wisely counseled his daughter to keep quiet about her origins from the king.

Mordecai held an office in the king's court. After Esther was chosen as queen, he exposed a plot to assassinate the king. The conspirators were hanged and Queen Esther saw to it that Mordecai's actions were recorded in the king's chronicles, although no reward was immediately offered.

But there was evil brewing in the shadows of the king's courts. Haman the Agagite had been appointed to the highest position in the kingdom, but Mordecai refused to bow to him. Haman became so infuriated that he devised a plan to destroy not only Mordecai, but all of the Judeans in the empire. The king gave Haman the authority to execute his plan, although the king was unaware of the nationality of his beloved queen. Haman had letters sent to every governor of every province that on a certain day they would coordinate the total annihilation of every Judean man, woman and child.

Mordecai learned of this devious plan. Seating himself before the king's gate, he wore sackcloth and ashes, wailing loudly. His reaction caught Esther's attention and through a messenger, she was notified of Haman's deadly conspiracy. Together they agreed that Esther should take the opportunity to reveal the plot to the king. In response, she requested that a banquet be held for only Haman and the king.

That night, the king could not sleep. When he asked for the chronicles to read, he discovered Mordecai's exposure of the assassination attempt, and that he had never been honored. The next morning the king asked Haman, What shall be done for the man whom the king delights to honor? Thinking the king was referring to him, Haman pompously suggested that such a man should be given a robe of the king, have a royal crest placed on his head and be paraded through the city on one of the king's horses, escorted by one of the king's top men, proclaiming, "Thus shall it be done to the man whom the king delights to honor!" Much to Haman's mortification, the king told Haman to do all he had suggested for Mordecai!

Haman obeyed, but went home humiliated. That night, at the banquet that Queen Esther had arranged, the king asked Esther what her special request was, offering up to half of his kingdom. Esther then revealed the wicked plan to exterminate her people and exposed Haman as the perpetrator.

Haman was hanged on the gallows he had built for Mordecai. Esther revealed to the king Mordecai's relationship to her and the king promoted him to Haman's position, giving him all of Haman's property. Mordecai used this opportunity to send out letters in the king's name that all Judeans were to unite, to arm and defend themselves against any that would assault them. The letters were distributed and the plan to destroy God's people was thwarted. Mordecai's powerful position emboldened God's people and empowered them to defend themselves.

Mordecai's excellence was recorded in the chronicles of the kings of Media and Persia. He was a man of commitment and courage, who walked with wisdom and sensitivity to God. He had tremendous love for Esther and all of God's people. Mordecai stood up to his adversary, risking his own life for the collective lives of his people, and earned a name and a reputation worthy of respect among God's people for all time.

"Mordecai the Jew became the prime minister, with authority next to that of King Xerxes himself. He was very great among the Jews, who held him in high esteem, because he continued to work for the good of his people and to speak up for the welfare of all their descendants." (Esther 10:3 NLT)

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Written by: Pete Miller