Study Guide

Mordecai in Book of Esther

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Mordecai is a lot like Daniel or Joseph, except he's not quite as awesome or good at interpreting dreams or anything like that. He's a bit more minor league—the Faygo to their Fanta, if you will. But he's still pretty cool. Yeah, he knows how to foil an assassination plot, he knows when to strap the sackcloth on, he knows when to weep and wail in front of the Emperor's gate, and he knows when to send his cousin-adopted daughter on a dangerous mission to overthrow the counselor Haman's dastardly plans.

Although he might not be able to interpret dreams and crack open the Collected Works of Freud on short notice, he's like Joseph and Daniel in that he becomes a wise advisor to a Gentile king and helps steer his opinions in the right direction (though only in the last, really short chapter). But hey, the book says he was good at it: "he sought the good of his people and interceded for the welfare of all his descendants" (Esther 10:3). So, it's an official similarity.

The Most Pious Kid on the Block?

Although God doesn't really appear in Esther, it's implied that Mordecai refuses to bow down to Haman in the street because a Jew is only permitted to bow down before God. So, he's pious (apparently, though it is weird that God isn't explicitly mentioned). He's willing to put his life on the line for a worthy cause—saving the Jews from a massacre—and he's got the right moves to seal the deal (donning sack-cloth, coaxing Esther into helping him, and the rest).

So yeah, Mordecai's a champ (if a minor-league one—the Pawtucket Sox of the Bible, if you will). He's also a pretty good legal guardian for Esther, his younger cousin, whom he raised as his own child. (Though not everyone would necessarily support their adopted daughter's decision to try to join the king's harem, or volunteer her for that position.) Oh—and his name might be a changed version of a name for the follower of the Babylonian god "Marduk," since he came from a family that was carried away into exile in Babylon (which is why Mordecai is still hanging out in the Persian Empire.)

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