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Fausset's Bible Dictionary


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A Persian name according to Gesenius, "worshipper of Merodach". But a Babylonian idol's name would not have been given him under the Persian dynasty, which rejected idols. It is rather Matacai. Ctesias (Prideaux Connect. 1:231-233), who probably saw the Medo-Persian chronicles mentioned in Esther 10:2, names a Matacas, Xerxes' chief favorite, the most powerful of the eunuchs. Xerxes sent Matacas to spoil Apollo's temple at Delphi (Miletus?) a work congenial to a Jew, as the order was to the iconoclastic king. Mordecai had neither wife nor child, brought up his cousin Esther in his own house, and had access to the court of the women, all which circumstances accord with his being a eunuch as Matacas was, a class from whom the king had elevated many to the highest posts.

Xerxes delighted in extravagant acts; and Haman, who knew his weakness, naturally suggested the extraordinary honors exceeding all that a king ought, in respect for his own dignity, to grant to a subject, because he thought it was for himself they were intended. Mordecai was a Benjamite at Shushan who reared his uncle's daughter Esther: Esther 2:5-7. (See ESTHER.) The instrument under Providence in saving the Jews from extermination by Haman, as his not bowing to that Amaleldte was the occasion of Haman's murderous spite against the chosen race. Xerxes' prime minister, or vizier. Instituted the feast Purim. (See HAMAN.)

Probably wrote the book of Esther. Esther's favorable reception by Ahasuerus when she ventured at the risk of death, unasked, to approach him, and his reading in the Medo-Persian chronicles the record of Mordecai's unrewarded service in disclosing the conspiracy, on the very night before Haman came, and Haman's being constrained to load with kingly honors the man whom he had come to ask leave to hang, and then being hanged on the gallows he made for Mordecai, are most remarkable instances of the working of Providence, and of God's secret moral government of the world, in spite of all appearances to the contrary. (See AHASUERUS.)

Mordecai was great grandson of Kish the Benjamite taken captive in Jeconiah's captivity, 599 B.C. Four generations thence, or 120 years, bring Mordecai exactly down to 479, the sixth year of Xerxes, thus proving Ahasuerus' identity and Mordecai's own date. At Xerxes' death, or even before, Mordecai probably led to Jerusalem a body of Jews, as recorded in Ezra 2:2; Nehemiah 7:7. The rabbis designate him "the just." His tomb and Esther's are shown at Hamadan or Ecbatana (?). Others place his tomb at Susa. The palace at Shushan, begun by Darius Hystaspes, Loftus (Chaldaea, 28) discovered remains of; the bases of the great colonnade remain, and accord with the description in Esther 1.

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Bibliography Information
Fausset, Andrew R. Entry for 'Mordecai'. Fausset's Bible Dictionary. 1949.

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