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Mordecai [Môr'decaī]—dedicated to mars, a little man or bitter bruising.

  1. A Jew who returned from Babylon with Zerubbabel (Ezra 2:2; Neh. 7:7).
  2. A Benjamite, son or descendant of Jair, son of Shimei, son of Kish. He brought up Esther, his uncle’s daughter, and adopted her as his own daughter after the death of her parents (Esther 2:5, 7).

The Man Who Was a Virtuous Patriot

What joy must have filled the heart of this foster-father of Esther, when he saw her elevated to the position of queen, and himself exalted to high office in the court. Exile and poverty were now past. Mordecai sat in the king’s gate, and was aware of the plot on the king’s life by two chamberlains. Mordecai reported the plot to the king, thus saving his life. According to Persian customs, a record of this act was carefully preserved in the royal archives (Esther 2:21-23; 6:1-3), and during a sleepless night of the king, was read. It resulted in Mordecai’s consequent reward.

Mordecai may not appear as the most attractive of men. His message to Esther lacked courtesy and chivalry. Evidently he was insensible to the charms and graces of Esther which made her eligible as Vashti’s successor. To the credit of Mordecai, however, it must be said that he refused to extend honor to one whom God had cursed (Exod. 17:14-16). Mordecai was of the tribe of Benjamin, and thus would not bow to Haman, who was an Amalekite and as such a direct descendant of the hereditary enemies of Israel.

Matthew Henry, quoting from the apocryphal chapters of Esther, says that Mordecai appeals to God in this manner:

Thou knowest, Lord that it was neither in contempt nor pride, nor for any desire for glory, that I did not bow down to proud Haman, for I could have been content with good will for the salvation of Israel to kiss the soles of his feet, but I did this that I might not prefer the glory of man above the glory of God, neither will I worship any but Thee.

We cannot but admire Mordecai standing erect while the crowd of servants lay flat on their faces. While we have no record of his faith in God, yet his action proves him to have been a godly Jew who would not bow to any but God. “So did not I because of the fear of God,” has to be our motto whatever fellow servants may say or do.

Devotional content drawn from All the Men of the Bible by Herbert Lockyer. Used with permission.

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