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Meet Mordecai: The Author of Esther

One of the most fascinating books in the Old Testament is Esther. It tells the story of a Jewish girl who becomes queen of Persia and saves her people from annihilation. But who was the author of this remarkable book? For many years, scholars have debated the identity of the author, known only as “Mordecai.” In this article, we will explore the mystery of Mordecai, discover his identity, uncover his life story, examine his influence on the Bible, and understand the historical context in which he lived.

The Mystery of Mordecai

The name “Mordecai” appears only once in the Bible, in Esther 9:20, which says, “Mordecai recorded these events and sent letters to all the Jews throughout the provinces of King Xerxes, near and far, to have them celebrate annually the fourteenth and fifteenth days of the month of Adar.” Who was this mysterious figure who recorded the events of the book of Esther and commanded the Jews to celebrate the feast of Purim? Scholars have proposed various theories, but no one knows for sure.

Discovering the Author of Esther

Despite the mystery surrounding Mordecai, some clues exist that help us identify him. For example, he was a Jew who lived in Persia during the reign of King Xerxes (486-465 BC). He was a leader of the Jews in Susa, the capital of Persia. He was a relative and mentor of Esther, the heroine of the book. And he was a scribe, which means he was literate and skilled in writing. Putting these pieces together, scholars have come to the conclusion that Mordecai was none other than Mordecai himself, the main character of the book.

Uncovering the Life of Mordecai

If Mordecai was indeed Mordecai, then we can learn much about his life from the book of Esther. We know that he was a devout Jew who refused to bow down to the wicked Haman, even when it meant risking his life. We know that he was a wise and courageous man who helped Esther become queen and foiled Haman’s plot to exterminate the Jews. We know that he was a humble and generous man who cared for his people and promoted their welfare. And we know that he was a faithful servant of God who trusted in God’s providence and praised him for his deliverance.

Examining Mordecai’s Influence on the Bible

Mordecai’s contribution to the Bible is not limited to the book of Esther. According to Jewish tradition, he was one of the members of the Great Assembly, a group of sages who edited and redacted the Hebrew Scriptures in the post-exilic period. Some scholars believe that Mordecai was involved in the canonization of the Old Testament, as his name is found in the apocryphal book of 2 Esdras, which lists the key figures involved in the process. Whether or not this is true, it is clear that Mordecai played a significant role in preserving and transmitting the Jewish Scriptures.

Understanding the Time of Mordecai

To appreciate Mordecai’s work and legacy, we need to understand the historical context in which he lived. He was a Jew in exile, living in a foreign land under a pagan king. He faced many challenges, such as assimilation, persecution, and cultural conflict. He also experienced many blessings, such as God’s protection, favor, and deliverance. The book of Esther reflects this tension between the presence and absence of God, the struggle and triumph of faith, and the paradox and mystery of divine providence. By studying the time of Mordecai, we can gain insights into our own time and place, and learn how to trust and obey God in any situation.

In conclusion, Mordecai may be a mystery, but he is also a marvel. He was a man of God who used his gifts and talents to serve his people and honor his Lord. He was a writer who wrote not only history but also theology, poetry, and prophecy. He was a model who exemplified courage, wisdom, humility, and faith. And he was a mentor who inspired his disciple Esther to be a queen, a heroine, and a woman of God. By studying the life and work of Mordecai, we can learn how to be faithful and fruitful servants of God in our own generation.

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