Mordecai

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Mordecai or Mordechai (Hebrew: מָרְדֳּכַי, Modern Mordekhay Tiberian Mordŏḵáy, IPA value: [mɔɾdɔχɑj]) is one of the main personalities in the Book of Esther in the Hebrew Bible. He was the son of Jair, of the tribe of Benjamin.

Contents

His life and deeds

Mordecai resided in Susa (Shushan),[1] the metropolis of Persia (now Iran). He adopted his cousin Hadassah (Esther), an orphan child, whom he brought up as his own daughter. When "young virgins" were sought, she was brought into the presence of King Ahasuerus and was made queen in the place of the exiled queen Vashti. Mordecai was then promoted to a position of royal court advisor as a result of ingratiating himself to Ahasuerus and was therefore referred to subsequently as one of those who "sat in the king's gate" to indicate his position of closeness to the king. While holding this office, he discovered a plot of the king's chamberlain's eunuchs Bigthan and Teresh to assassinate the king. Because of Mordecai's vigilance, the plot was foiled. His services to the king in this matter were duly recorded in the royal chronicles.

Haman the Agagite had been raised to the highest position at court. Mordecai refused to bow down before him because it is a clear violation of Jewish law. Haman, stung by Mordecai's refusal, resolved to accomplish his death in a wholesale murder of the Jewish exiles throughout the Persian empire. Learning of Haman's scheme, Mordecai communicated with Queen Esther regarding it, and by her bold intervention the scheme was frustrated by distributing arms to the Jews of Susa and other Persian cities where they lived and clashed with Haman's militia, until the King rescinded the edict to murder the Empire's Jews. Mordecai was raised to a high rank, donned in the royal bluish cloak, and Haman was executed on gallows he had by anticipation erected for Mordecai. In memory of the deliverance thus wrought for them, the Jews to this day celebrate the feast of Purim of "Lots" because of the lots that were drawn by Haman to decide whom he would first murder among the Jewish elders in Persia.

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