Today, we meet two men whose fortunes will become intertwined. Mordecai, Estherís uncle, is clearly a compassionate man. He has taken Esther in as an orphan and raised her as his own.
He is also, clearly, a canny man. He had instructed Esther to keep her family background a secret for fear it would go against her. She clearly respected his wisdom as we are told she followed this instruction just as she had followed all of his instructions when he raised her.
The Kingís Gate was where people met to settle legal matters in the capital city. Perhaps Mordecai had a position of importance there. However it happened, he was quick to report the plot against the Kingís life, and Esther was quick to give credit where it was due. Loyalty in action.
But Mordecaiís loyalty only goes so far. He will not bow and scrape and give honour to Haman. Just like Xerxes, Haman finds the insult to his pride impossible to take. Just like Xerxes, Hamanís reaction Ė his over-reaction Ė is swift and terrible. Why punish one Jew when he could punish them all?
Notice how Haman uses the Kingís own pride to manipulate him into giving him what he wants? Just as Xerxes couldnít bear that his own wife might not give him the honour he thought he was due, he is quick to condemn a whole group of people for the same reason.
Who has the King surrounded himself with? Yes-men and manipulators who will do anything to strengthen their own positions or get what they want. How vital it is for people in leadership to choose wise counsellors. How different things might have been if Xerxes had chosen wise and loyal men like Mordecai as his counsellors.
Let us pray for our leaders, that they be surrounded by those who give wise advice.