Mordecai’s Rise: Esther 8:15-17

Pieter Lastman, The Triumph of Mordecai (1624)

Pieter Lastman, The Triumph of Mordecai (1624)

Esther 8: 15-17

 15 Then Mordecai went out from the presence of the king, wearing royal robes of blue and white, with a great golden crown and a mantle of fine linen and purple, while the city of Susa shouted and rejoiced. 16 For the Jews there was light and gladness, joy and honor. 17 In every province and in every city, wherever the king’s command and his edict came, there was gladness and joy among the Jews, a festival and a holiday. Furthermore, many of the peoples of the country professed to be Jews, because the fear of the Jews had fallen upon them.

The similarities to the Joseph story continue, take a look at Genesis 41:41-43 (also the previous scene where the king has Mordecai paraded around town), and yet it is amazing (at least to a modern mind)in a story that centers around Esther, now the glory goes to yet another man. The text comes from an androcentric (man-centered) world, and while Esther may be the one who took the risks it will be Mordecai who is lifted up here. Once again he is honored and elevated, once again wearing royal robes. Esther will again return to prominence in the next chapter, but here it is Mordecai who will bear the honor and light and gladness of the people.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, this reminds me a lot of the partisanship we find where it is a win/loss proposition. If your candidate/agenda/party happens to be in office it is a win for you and a loss for the others, in this case for the Jewish people it is a time of light and gladness, of joy and honor to the point where people are falling over themselves to become Jewish because the political clout of Mordecai (and indirectly Esther). I wonder if there were those who were willing to go as far as circumcision (at other points in history some were willing to undergo a reverse circumcision as painful as that sounds to avoid being immediately identified as Jewish). If nothing else it gives me a reason to go to this fun little scene from Robin Hood: Men in Tights.

Yet, this has been a story of reversals, as is much of scripture, and Mordecai has gone from being and exile and his identity as a Jew being the cause of his oppression to being put in royal robes, being a Jew being a title of honor, and Haman (and we will soon see his family) will find themselves destroyed, killed and annihilated.

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