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Tuesday: Mordecai’s Faithful Witness — 3 Comments

  1. Just a bit of background today. (I have been in rural areas chasing and being chased by birds for 4 days so my interaction with Sabbath School Net have been "action at a distance" during that time. I am back home again and am quite tired, and have not had time to think all that much about the lesson.)

    When Cyrus gave the command that the Jews could return home to Caanan, Several waves of repatriation took place, (See Ezra nd Nehemiah) However, not all Jews wanted to go home. They had made a home for themselves in Mesopotamia and established rabbinical schools and so on. They tended to live apart from the others and retained their religion and culture. It was during this time that they were first called Jews (Yehudim). In fact, I think that book of Esther is the first time it is used in the Bible.

    The Jews were treated patchily. Some communities respected them and appreciated them while others persecuted them. By the third century AD there was quite a significant community of Jews in the Mesopotamian region with their own copies of the Torah and Talmud. If fact there is a thread of Judaism in the Iraq region right through to the 20th Century.

    The period when Esther was alive was right at the beginning of this period and one thing is quite clear from the narrative is that the treatment of the Jews was often at the Whim of the court and the interaction of courtisans. The fact that both Mordecai and Hamaam were part of the court, shows that foreigners, including captives, were often in high positions and because of their previous histories there were often intrigues that need to be either avoided or met with the appropriate action. Navigating these events required both courage and commitment as the story shows.

    Another interesting fact is that God is not even mentioned in the book of Esther. That may be one reason why it was the last book to be added to the Jewish canon.

  2. Some personal questions I must answer every day:

    How much time do I spend on social media? On work? With family? Reading, investigating, searching for the Truth?
    How much am I influenced by what surrounds me?
    Do I go by my conscience or by tradition?
    What does my conscience allow me to do?

    My answers may tell me about my tendency to build a strong opinion or "go with the flow."

  3. Now I understand the circumstances even better. Haman was of the tribe of the Amalekits, a captive himself! When finding out Mordecai to be of Jewish heritage, it rekindled in him the spirit of the old animosity between their people. The Amalekites had attacked the people led by Moses on their journey to the Promised Land – v. 18 “... they had no fear of God.” Deut.25:17-19.

    Gaining this new perspective regarding God saying to the Israelites - ‘You shall not forget’, Mordecai was well aware of Haman’s animosity against him and his people and therefore kept their heritage quite. Though both captives living in a foreign land, Jews and Amalekites were still enemies of each other.

    I am quite certain Mordecai and his fellow countrymen honored King Xerxes’s laws, otherwise the king would have heard about it long before Ester became his wife. As part of their religion, they were trained to render unto the king that which was his to claim, and give to God the honor due to Him.

    The more I understand about these two peoples, it looks more and more like an old feud being settled between them, showing that God had His right hand stretched out to protect His people, and Haman - 'not having the fear of God in him' -, managing to solicit the power of king Xerxes to stand behind him. In his mind, this assured his victory.

    He disregarded the power of the God of the Jews in his devious planning. Our God does not change! He never abandons His people no matter where they are, and took this occasion of Haman’s hatred of His people to teach him, his family, and the Amalekite people a lesson; turning their destructive plans against themselves whilst elevating Mordecai and His people at the same time to become the true friends of the king.

    This account all describes the power of our heavenly Father who intercedes on behalf of His children because He loves them and is committed to their welfare. In the end, all the old feuds between Christians and their enemies will be settled once and for all. In the meantime, Jesus admonishes us to – “occupy until I come!” Luke19:11-13.


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