Tag: Mordecai


How Far to Elephantine?

When Mordecai created a new edict allowing the Jews of the Persian empire to defend themselves from their attackers (Esther 8:11-12), he needed to send it throughout the kingdom. In fact, it went to the Jewish communities as well as to all the various governors throughout the empire, “from India to Ethiopia, 127 provinces” (Esth 8:9). Once copies of the new edict were made, how far would it need to be taken, and how long would it take to get it to the farthest reaches of the  empire? After Nebuchadnezzar and the......


"What Honor or Dignity?"

“What Honor or Dignity?”

When Xerxes (Ahasuerus) heard again of how Mordecai the Jew had saved his life, he asked, “What honor or dignity has been bestowed on Mordecai for this?” (Est 6:3). The answer, of course, was that nothing had been done, an embarrassing situation for the king. From the tablets preserved in the Persepolis Fortification Archive, we know that daily events were initially recorded on small tablets that could easily be held in one hand. The tablets of this kind are shaped something like a capital D, with one end rounded and the other......


Mordecai in the City Square

Mordecai in the City Square

Twice in the book of Esther we find Mordecai in the city square. It would be easy to imagine that this was a marketplace in the center of town like is usually seen in Greco-Roman cities a few centuries later. However, enough detail is given in the book of Esther to identify the city square of Susa, and it was not in the center of town. Rather, it was an open plaza in front of the palace, the nearest most people could come to the palace without an official invitation. You can......


Esther's Thirty Days (Esther 4:11)

Esther’s Thirty Days (Esther 4:11)

After discovering that an edict had been issued for the extermination of the Jewish people, Mordecai urged Esther to take action by making an appeal to the king. Esther’s response was that, as everyone knew, going before the king without a summons was very risky. Unless the king extended his golden scepter, any such person would be put to death. Esther then makes a very interesting statement: “I have not been summoned to come before the king for these thirty days.” Although this could be taken as a simple observation, the way......


Mordecai at the King's Gate

Mordecai at the King’s Gate

Esther 2:19 describes Mordecai as “sitting at the king’s gate” in Susa. Although excavations have been carried out at Susa since the mid-1800’s, archaeologists only discovered the King’s Gate in 1970. It is located about 260 feet to the east of the palace. The gate was set at the edge of a moat that separated the palace complex from the royal city. A bridge across the moat ended at this gate, thus ensuring that it controlled access to the entire palace complex. This gate was massive. It measured 130 by 100 feet,......