2:5 Mordecai. A name derived from Marduk, the Babylonian city-god. Mordecai, like Esther (Hadassah), may also have had a Jewish name. The discovery in ancient texts (including one dated about 485 b.c.) of the Babylonian personal name, Mardukaya, and the discovery of an archive of texts in Nippur containing the names of Jews from the time of Artaxerxes I and Darius, point to the authenticity of Mordecai’s name and to the historicity of the events behind the story. Mordecai was a Jew living in the citadel, which may imply that he was a Persian official.
Jair . . . Shimei . . . Kish. The names in his genealogy may refer to his remote rather than immediate genealogy (Shimei, 2 Sam. 16:5–14; Kish, 1 Sam. 9:1–2; 1 Chr. 8:33). Kish may well have been an earlier ancestor, rather than the one carried into exile. That Mordecai’s family was “carried away . . . with Jeconiah” (King Jehoiachin) may mean that his family was among the Judean nobility (v. 6; 2 Kin. 24:6–17; 25:27–30). Mordecai’s connection with Saul, who was also a Benjaminite, takes on great significance when we encounter Haman, Mordecai’s enemy, who was a distant relative of Agag, the Amalekite, Saul’s enemy (3:1 note; Introduction: Characteristics and Themes).