Mordecai Ruins Everything

And Haman went out that day joyful and glad of heart. But when Haman saw Mordecai in the king’s gate, that he neither rose nor trembled before him, he was filled with wrath against Mordecai. Nevertheless, Haman restrained himself and went home, and he sent and brought his friends and his wife Zeresh. And Haman recounted to them the splendor of his riches, the number of his sons, all the promotions with which the king had honored him, and how he had advanced him above the officials and the servants of the king. Then Haman said, “Even Queen Esther let no one but me come with the king to the feast she prepared. And tomorrow also I am invited by her together with the king. Yet all this is worth nothing to me, so long as I see Mordecai the Jew sitting at the king’s gate.” Then his wife Zeresh and all his friends said to him, “Let a gallows fifty cubits high be made, and in the morning tell the king to have Mordecai hanged upon it. Then go joyfully with the king to the feast.” This idea pleased Haman, and he had the gallows made. Esther 5:9-14.

Haman has been promoted, is rich, has many sons, and should be the happiest man in the kingdom. But Mordecai still doesn’t bow before him. It’s not enough to have all he wants. Mordecai must grovel! Or, he must die a spectacular death. And Haman’s wife and friends all agree.

The wicked are never satisfied. They not only want to have riches and honor. The righteous must bow before them, even dishonoring their god. And if they won’t bow, the righteous must die.

This seems to be the road we are on today. Sexual deviancy was once illegal, then treated as an illness, then tolerated as an option, then called normal, and now it’s calling the shots. At least it is demanding to do so. And now our children must be schooled to accept it, and in some places, groomed to participate. And if you don’t like it, you are now the evil one. The righteous must bow, discard their God and His rules, or suffer the consequences.

If I Perish, I Perish

And they told Mordecai what Esther had said. Then Mordecai told them to reply to Esther, “Do not think to yourself that in the king’s palace you will escape any more than all the other Jews. For if you keep silent at this time, relief and deliverance will rise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” Then Esther told them to reply to Mordecai, “Go, gather all the Jews to be found in Susa, and hold a fast on my behalf, and do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my young women will also fast as you do. Then I will go to the king, though it is against the law, and if I perish, I perish.” Mordecai then went away and did everything as Esther had ordered him. Esther 4:12-17.

Every Jew is crying out to God for deliverance, and Esther doesn’t even know it. A servant tells her Mordecai is in sackcloth at the palace gates, and she wants to know why. So Mordecai sends her the decree and asks her to go to the king on behalf of the Jews. She sends a message back that she can’t just call on the king without possibly being executed. His last message to her boils down to, “You think you’re safe, but you’re not.” That’s when she decides to go all in and dare to call upon the king.

All this takes place with handwritten notes between Mordecai and Esther. It’s not a dramatic face to face conversation through the palace gates. It is the written word from Mordecai that gets her to act.

We are sometimes like Esther. We are in the American bubble, staying busy in our relative comfort while people outside are under the sentence of death. We may have reasonable excuses for laying low. To do otherwise may be costly. But if we do, we will pay anyway.

In a way, Mordecai is rescuing Esther by getting her to come out as one of God’s people. After all, he and all the Jews are crying out to God, pleading for His help. He expects to be rescued. The question is whether or not Esther participates in it.

Haman’s Ego

After these things King Ahasuerus promoted Haman the Agagite, the son of Hammedatha, and advanced him and set his throne above all the officials who were with him. And all the king’s servants who were at the king’s gate bowed down and paid homage to Haman, for the king had so commanded concerning him. But Mordecai did not bow down or pay homage. Then the king’s servants who were at the king’s gate said to Mordecai, “Why do you transgress the king’s command?” And when they spoke to him day after day and he would not listen to them, they told Haman, in order to see whether Mordecai’s words would stand, for he had told them that he was a Jew. And when Haman saw that Mordecai did not bow down or pay homage to him, Haman was filled with fury. But he disdained to lay hands on Mordecai alone. So, as they had made known to him the people of Mordecai, Haman sought to destroy all the Jews, the people of Mordecai, throughout the whole kingdom of Ahasuerus. Esther 3:1-6.

Unbeknownst to Haman, the king’s latest Golden boy, Mordecai recently saved the king’s life. And now Haman is angry because Mordecai does not bow down before him. But it is not enough to do harm to this one man. He discovers that Mordecai does not bow down because he is a Jew, and Jews only bow to their God. So, due to this transgression, Haman decides that all the Jews must die. This is a perversion of the story of the fall of man. Haman sees himself as a god, and Mordecai as Adam, and all those like Adam must die.

This book, in spite of not mentioning God even one single time, is Rich in object lessons and foreshadowing of the gospel and the kingdom of God. Haman gets the king to make the slaying of all the Jews a law! Now all the Jews are under the sentence of death because of one man, Mordecai. It may not seem right, but it is what it is.

Christians today may think those nasty worldlings at the gay pride parade are under the sentence of death because of homosexuality. But the fact is, they are simply co-defendants with all of us. We all have been estranged by the law of sin and death. But a new law exists that sets us all free, if we will believe it.

Little Orphan Esther

Now there was a Jew in Susa the citadel whose name was Mordecai, the son of Jair, son of Shimei, son of Kish, a Benjaminite, who had been carried away from Jerusalem among the captives carried away with Jeconiah king of Judah, whom Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon had carried away. He was bringing up Hadassah, that is Esther, the daughter of his uncle, for she had neither father nor mother. The young woman had a beautiful figure and was lovely to look at, and when her father and her mother died, Mordecai took her as his own daughter. So when the king’s order and his edict were proclaimed, and when many young women were gathered in Susa the citadel in custody of Hegai, Esther also was taken into the king’s palace and put in custody of Hegai, who had charge of the women. And the young woman pleased him and won his favor. And he quickly provided her with her cosmetics and her portion of food, and with seven chosen young women from the king’s palace, and advanced her and her young women to the best place in the harem. Esther had not made known her people or kindred, for Mordecai had commanded her not to make it known. And every day Mordecai walked in front of the court of the harem to learn how Esther was and what was happening to her. Esther 2:5-11.

So Esther is an orphan Jew who is being raised by Mordecai, an older cousin. At the time when there is a Nationwide talent search for a new queen, Esther is too beautiful to ignore. It does not say how Mordecai felt about this, but he checked up on her regularly after she was drafted I to the harem for preparation for the contest.

We know nothing about how observant Mordecai and Esther were in matters of religion, so it may or may not have bothered them that Esther could become the wife of a gentile. But they were keeping her religious affiliation on the lowdown, perhaps to keep her from it giving her a disadvantage. It seems that they wanted her to win!

It may be that they saw this as a potential blessing to the people of Israel, and Esther was willing to sacrifice her virtue for that cause. We don’t know. But we do know that God uses both of them in their positions of power and influence.

The Uppity Queen

Then the king said to the wise men who knew the times (for this was the king’s procedure toward all who were versed in law and judgment, the men next to him being Carshena, Shethar, Admatha, Tarshish, Meres, Marsena, and Memucan, the seven princes of Persia and Media, who saw the king’s face, and sat first in the kingdom): “According to the law, what is to be done to Queen Vashti, because she has not performed the command of King Ahasuerus delivered by the eunuchs?” Then Memucan said in the presence of the king and the officials, “Not only against the king has Queen Vashti done wrong, but also against all the officials and all the peoples who are in all the provinces of King Ahasuerus. For the queen’s behavior will be made known to all women, causing them to look at their husbands with contempt, since they will say, ‘King Ahasuerus commanded Queen Vashti to be brought before him, and she did not come.’ This very day the noble women of Persia and Media who have heard of the queen’s behavior will say the same to all the king’s officials, and there will be contempt and wrath in plenty. If it please the king, let a royal order go out from him, and let it be written among the laws of the Persians and the Medes so that it may not be repealed, that Vashti is never again to come before King Ahasuerus. And let the king give her royal position to another who is better than she. So when the decree made by the king is proclaimed throughout all his kingdom, for it is vast, all women will give honor to their husbands, high and low alike.” This advice pleased the king and the princes, and the king did as Memucan proposed. He sent letters to all the royal provinces, to every province in its own script and to every people in its own language, that every man be master in his own household and speak according to the language of his people. Esther 1:13-22.

It is not hard to imagine that Persia, in 450 BC or thereabouts, was not very welcoming to societal changes. So when Queen Vashti blows off the king’s command to appear publicly, every man in the court can imagine this happening at home. Vashti would become a heroic figure and every man would come down a notch along with their king. Now, the king could have her killed, but that would make her a martyr. No, replacing her with a younger model would be humiliating and remind every wife she isn’t getting any younger.

In America, there have been many factors leading to what the Persian men feared: loss of respect for husbands. In the 19th century the Women’s Suffrage Movement made it one of their goals to make divorce easier and less expensive to obtain. Women getting the vote and the rise of women’s political issues may have created adversarial conditions. Oral contraception and the rise of women in the workforce have also given more choices to women. Today, every man has to earn what was once taken for granted. But there are some men who have just opted out of the marriage game.

No matter what our society is deciding in the aggregate, we all must decide how we will live our lives in a way that glorifies God.