Haman was not pleased with Mordecai. In fact, he wanted Mordecai to die. Better yet, all of Mordecai’s people should die, too. They were all different. They followed their own rules. It was time to cleanse the kingdom of every last one of them. That would surely please the king. There would be no more blatant disrespect for the king’s rules for the kingdom.
Why did Mordecai refuse to comply with the expected behavior of bowing to Haman? We’re not told why Haman was promoted by the king. We do know that this promotion made Haman the most powerful man in the kingdom (besides the king, I’m sure). Presumably, with that much power comes respect, and people were expected to respect this powerful man. Mordecai could not bring himself to show respect. Did he know something about Haman? Or, did he reserve his bowing to God?
The king has a lot of eunuchs in his employ. I suppose it makes sense with all the beautiful women in the king’s harems. It must have been more prevalent in that culture. That aside, two of the kings eunuchs who were the guards to the king’s personal quarters were disgruntled about something. so much so, they were conspiring to kill the king. They would, after all, have perfect opportunity being so close to the king.
Somehow, Mordecai heard about their plot to kill the king. It’s not entirely clear whether he overheard it or heard it from other employees of the king. You know how rumor mills can be rampant in a workplace. Mordecai was not going to keep this information to himself. He had an “in” with the king so he told his cousin, Esther, about the plan.
What a make-over! Today we see overnight changes to appearances simply by restyling the hair, applying makeup in the correct manner, and choosing clothes that fit and accentuate one’s features more appropriately. I think of the show, “What Not To Wear.” Or you may remember the makeover scene from the movie, “Princess Diaries” where an unlikely young woman now must act like the princess she didn’t know she was. The list goes on to include “Pretty Woman,” “Miss Congeniality” — you get the idea.
What these all have in common is that these individuals needed to be ready for something, or needed to improve their place in life thinking that changing their outer beauty would do it. You’ve probably seen countless before and after pictures on social media showing weight loss, skin improvement, muscle tone, etc. Our society eats that stuff up. Interesting that Esther went through something similar, isn’t it?
Today we meet Esther. She was of Jewish descent and cousin to Mordecai. Esther probably looked to him more as her guardian since he had taken care of her after her parents had died. Esther was one of the many women to be brought to the King as a replacement for his queen, Vashti, who had been banished because of her disobedience. Esther will keep her nationality and background quiet at the suggestion of Mordecai. Was it because he feared she be discriminated against? Or worse?
Whatever the case, Mordecai wanted Esther to make a good impression. We know when we are put in new situations, we want to do the same. You can only make a first impression once. It’s important to make it a good one. It’s like that in life and in business. We are always striving to be the best we can be to attract the right friends, business partners, success, happiness, etc.
Do you feel sorry for the queen? Did you find it surprising she was banned from the kingdom for not being obedient to her husband’s request? Or maybe you are applauding the king’s actions? I’m not sure how I feel. Surprised, I suppose. After such generosity, the king didn’t give his wife a chance. Well, he did have some help in coming to that decision. He was the king after all.
I do wonder if Queen Vashti wished she could rethink her decision to blow off the king’s request. She was probably aware that when he had had some wine he was not the same man as he otherwise was. Was that a good enough reason to ignore his command? Or perhaps she was just a headstrong woman who was having fun with her women subjects at their own party. Whatever her side of the story was, she wasn’t being obedient. There were appearances to keep and a price to pay.