Mordecai: The son of Jair, of the tribe of Benjamin. It has been alleged that he
was carried into captivity with Jeconiah, and hence that he must have
been at least one hundred and twenty-nine years old in the twelfth
year of Ahasuerus (Xerxes). But the words of Esther do not
necessarily lead to this conclusion. It was probably Kish of whom it
(Esther 2:6) that he "had been carried away with the
captivity." He resided at Susa, the metropolis of Persia. He adopted
his cousin Hadassah (Esther), an orphan child, whom he tenderly
brought up as his own daughter. When she was brought into the king's
harem and made queen in the room of the deposed queen Vashti, he was
promoted to some office in the court of Ahasuerus, and was one of
those who "sat in the king's gate"
(Esther 2:21) While holding this
office, he discovered a plot of the eunuchs to put the king to death,
which, by his vigilance, was defeated. His services to the king in
this matter were duly recorded in the royal chronicles. Haman (q.v.)
the Agagite had been raised to the highest position at court.
Mordecai refused to bow down before him; and Haman, being stung to
the quick by the conduct of Mordecai, resolved to accomplish his
death in a wholesale destruction of the Jewish exiles throughout the
(Esther 3:8-15) Tidings of this cruel scheme soon reached
the ears of Mordecai, who communicated with Queen Esther regarding
it, and by her wise and bold intervention the scheme was frustrated.
The Jews were delivered from destruction, Mordecai was raised to a
high rank, and Haman was executed on the gallows he had by
anticipation erected for Mordecai
(Esther 6:2-14; 7:1-10) In memory of the
signal deliverance thus wrought for them, the Jews to this day
celebrate the feast
(Esther 9:26-32) of Purim (q.v.).