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Reformation Study Bible – Esth 3:2
Esth 3:2

3:2 Mordecai did not bow down or pay homage. Mordecai’s refusal to honor Haman cannot be explained on the basis of Old Testament law, since Jews did not regard bowing before kings and other honored persons as a violation of the first and second commandments (Ex. 20:3–6; 1 Sam. 25:23; 2 Sam. 18:28; 2 Kin. 4:37). Haman and Mordecai are best understood as representatives of two hostile nations—Israel and its enemy Amalek, a nation under divine curse (v. 1 note). Mordecai’s refusal to bow down to his hereditary enemy because he (Mordecai) “was a Jew” is understandable (v. 4). Similarly, Haman’s seemingly excessive passion to destroy the entire Jewish nation for Mordecai’s insolence is explained (v. 6).