Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther
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Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther

An Exegetical and Theological Exposition of Holy Scripture

Mervin Breneman

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eBook - ePub

Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther

An Exegetical and Theological Exposition of Holy Scripture

Mervin Breneman

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THE NEW AMERICAN COMMENTARY is for the minister or Bible student who wants to understand and expound the Scriptures. Notable features include: * commentary based on THE NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION;* the NIV text printed in the body of the commentary;* sound scholarly methodology that reflects capable research in the original languages;* interpretation that emphasizes the theological unity of each book and of Scripture as a whole;* readable and applicable exposition.

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Section XI Outline

  • XII. The Greatness of Mordecai (10:1–3)
    1. Mordecai Remembered in the Annals (10:1–2)
    2. Mordecai’s Work for the People (10:3)

XI. The Greatness of Mordecai

This final section emphasizes Mordecai’s rise to greatness (v. 2). Mordecai represents the rise of the Jewish people in the society and culture of Persia. Esther is not mentioned, although she was both the heroine and deliverer of the people.

1. Mordecai Remembered in the Annals

10:1 The book ends on a note similar to that of its beginning—the greatness, wealth, and splendor of King Xerxes. This example of inclusio is common in Hebrew literature. The author emphasized the great extent of the empire, “to its distant shores.” This must refer to the coastlands of the Mediterranean area under the Persian Empire.
Taxation, “imposed tribute,” was not a pleasant subject, but the author mentioned it here. Perhaps in keeping with one of the themes of the book he wanted to show that King Xerxes, who saved the Jews from extinction, later prospered. Although he did not receive the great gift Haman had promised, King Xerxes prospered by receiving all this tribute.
10:2 “The greatness of Mordecai” brings us to the real purpose of this section. The author wanted to praise Mordecai as an example of one who put the welfare of his people before his own personal interests.
What was this “book of the annals of the kings of Media and Persia?” It is not likely that a Jewish prime minister would have received much space in official Persian records. The phrase is similar to references in Kings and Chronicles to other written sources (1 Kgs 14:19; 15:7, 23, 31; 1 Chr 27:24). Thus it is suggested that these were not official royal archives but some popular account of the Persian kings, most likely written by a Jew.1

2. Mordecai’s Work for the People

10:3 Why was Mordecai so highly esteemed? Two reasons are mentioned. First, “he worked for the good of his people.” He did not think only of his own advancement or even of his own family. Second, he “spoke up for the welfare of all the Jews.” Many times it is dangerous to “speak up” in the midst of a hostile environment. God needs servants today who will speak up when his people are in danger or when injustice and corruption are rampant in society.
The book closes with a picture of peace and prosperity for the Jews. The author did not mention God even one time in the book. But it is evident that he wanted his readers to see God’s hand in preserving the Jews. The Feast of Purim celebrates a historical event and has been repeated many times over two thousand years. Over that time period, the Jews have often been in danger of annihilation by their enemies, but God has “miraculously” preserved them. In many cases, for example the Holocaust, many Jews died while others were saved from such an end. God is still faithful to his promise to Abraham and his descendants: “I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you” (Gen 12:3). The challenge the Book of Esther presents is that we must recognize when our “time” has come to act (Esth 4:14). Upon such recognition we must immediately proceed in doing God’s will, trusting in God’s presence and favor.
There are few books of the Old Testament more relevant to life in a society hostile to the gospel. Believers are scattered throughout the world, awaiting the Lord’s return. Although he is present and active now as much as ever, he is usually “hidden” behind the events of life that he is directing for his own glory and the benefit of his children. Although unbelievers can refuse to acknowledge him, those “who have eyes to see” are able to recognize his hand at work in the affairs of life. “In a world in which hostility to the household of faith seems to flourish naturally, and indeed in which atheistic explanations of the universe grow more strident, ‘scientific’ and apparently convincing, it belongs to faith to ‘hold fast’ nevertheless to our hope—now specifically in Christ—‘for he who promised is faithful’ (Heb. 10:23).”2
Anchor Bible

Anchor Bible Dictionary
Ancient Egyptian Literature, M. Lichtheim
American Journal of Semitic Languages and Literatures
Analecta Biblica
Ancient Near Eastern Texts, ed. J. B. Pritchard
Alter Orient und Altes Testament

Archaeology and Old Testament Study, ed. D. W. Thomas
Das Alte Testament Deutsch

Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research
F. Brown, S. R. Driver, and C. A. Briggs, Hebrew and English Lexicon of the Old Test...