From Academic Kids

Mordecai or Mordechai (מָרְדֳּכַי, Standard Hebrew Mordoḫay, Tiberian Hebrew Mordŏḵay - the son of Jair, of the tribe of Benjamin.


His life and deeds

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The Shrine of Esther and Mordechai in Hamadan, Iran, is a popular attraction for Iranian jews.
Esther 2:5-6 states:
There was a Jewish man in Susa the capital, whose name was Mordecai the son of Jair the son of Shimei the son of Kish, a Benjamite, who had been exiled from Jerusalem with the exile that was exiled with Jeconiah, king of Judah, which Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, had exiled.

Some interpret this verse to mean that Mordecai himself was exiled by Nebuchadnezzar, others interpet it to mean that his great-grandfather Kish was exiled making Mordecai three generations removed from the time of Jeconiah's exile.

Mordecai resided at Susa, the metropolis of Persia. He adopted his cousin Hadassah (Esther), an orphan child, whom he tenderly brought up as his own daughter. When she was brought into the king's harem and made queen in the room of the deposed queen Vashti, he was promoted to some office in the court of Ahasuerus, and was one of those who "sat in the king's gate". While holding this office, he discovered a plot of the eunuchs to put the king to death, which, by his vigilance, was defeated. His services to the king in this matter were duly recorded in the royal chronicles.

Haman the Agagite had been raised to the highest position at court. Mordecai refused to bow down before him; and Haman, being stung to the quick by the conduct of Mordecai, resolved to accomplish his death in a wholesale destruction of the Jewish exiles throughout the Persian empire. Tidings of this cruel scheme soon reached the ears of Mordecai, who communicated with Queen Esther regarding it, and by her wise and bold intervention the scheme was frustrated. The Jews were delivered from destruction, Mordecai was raised to a high rank, and Haman was executed on the gallows he had by anticipation erected for Mordecai. In memory of the signal deliverance thus wrought for them, the Jews to this day celebrate the feast of Purim.

The name

The name Mordecai is of uncertain origin. It is most commonly understood to mean "[servant] of Marduk" in Aramaic, identical to the name Marduka attested in the Persian period.

Critics of the historicity of the Book of Esther place much emphasis on the connection to Marduk, however, the Book of Daniel describes how Jews living in exile in Babylonia were typically assigned names relating to Babylonian gods, thus no implications can be drawn from the name. Jewish tradition relates that it was a replacement of his Hebrew name Bilshan.

Some suggest that as Marduk was a war god, the expression "[servant] of Marduk" may simply denote a warrior - the popular translation of "warrior" is commonly found in naming dictionaries. Others note that Marduk was the creator in Babylonian mythology whence the term might have been understood by Jews to mean simply "[servant] of God".

Another interpetation of the name is that that it is of Persian origin meaning "little man". Other suggested meanings of "contrition", "bitter" or "bruising" are listed in Hitchcock's Bible Names Dictionary of the late 19th century.

See also

External link

he:מרדכי היהודי


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