And Mordecai went out from the presence of the king in royal apparel of blue and white, and with a great crown of gold…
We have in this passage -
I. A FLASH OF HONOUR TO AN INDIVIDUAL (ver. 15). Mordecai goes forth, grandly attired, coronet on head, the recipient of highest royal favour, receiving also the honour of the acclaiming populace. He would not have been human if he had not enjoyed his triumph. Perhaps Oriental human nature counted such a public ceremony dearer than English nature would. But this was only a flash of enjoyment, very soon gone. "What is wanted here?" said one proud spectator to another at a Roman triumph. "Permanence," said the other. One hour, audit would be over. We learn that
(1) there is a place in our life for such brief enjoyments. We need not refuse them because they are of the world; coming to us in the course of faithful service, they may be regarded as sent of God to brighten and to cheer us. But we must remember that
(2) it is only a small place they must be allowed to occupy. They must be counted as the small dust of the balance, not the solid weight in the scale. Our strong temptation is to make far too much of them; to rate them far above their true value; to give to their acquisition a measure of time and energy which they do not deserve; to sacrifice more precious things, even sacred principles themselves, in order to obtain them. Then they break under our hand and bruise us, and we know how foolish and wrong we have been. But Mordecai had more reason to rejoice in -
II. THE SATISFACTION OF THE CITY. "The city of Susa rejoiced and was glad" (ver. 15). It is much for one man to give satisfaction to a whole metropolis, especially if, as here, the gladness is due to real patriotism, and is a tribute to substantial worth. Men may give lightness of heart to the populace by very questionable and even unworthy means: by indiscriminate bounty, by pretentious charlatanism, by empty oratory. But to do what Mordecai now did, - to give joy to the city because all men felt that they were in the hands of an honest and capable administrator, who would seek their interest, and not his own at their expense, - this is not unworthy the ambition of a Christian man. It may be that this is beyond our reach, but we may learn from it to indulge an honourable aspiration. We are filling some post in the world, and probably in the Church. We should aspire to be such workmen in the narrower sphere we thus occupy that, when the hour of promotion comes to us, that will give satisfaction to our fellows, and we shall receive their congratulations. Excellency may sometimes escape the notice it deserves; yet, as a rule, men mark the faithful and devoted servant, and they rejoice when he "goes up higher." But Mordecai witnessed that which still more gladdened his heart -
III. THE JOY OF AN ENTIRE PEOPLE. "The Jews had light, and gladness, and joy, and honour," etc. (vers. 16, 17). The keenest physical gratification (it is said) is found in the sudden cessation of acute pain, in the sense of great relief. All Jewry, throughout the whole of Persia, now felt the keen delight of being relieved from their terrible fears. It is to render the truest and most appreciated service to relieve men's soul of great fear and dread. To give temporal, and, still more, spiritual, relief is to confer the most valuable boon. Happy is he who, like Mordecai, has the means of doing this on a large scale; he will earn the blessing, deep and fervent, of many souls. But, here again, if we cannot achieve the greater things we must attempt the smaller ones. There are anxious cares we can remove from some mind; there is a heavy spiritual burden we can help to lift from some heart. The blessing of one soul "ready to perish" is well worth our winning, cost what pains it may. The brightest feature in the whole scene is the -
IV. CONVERSION TO THE TRUE FAITH. "Many of the people of the land became Jews," etc. (ver. 17). The "fear of the Jews" may have been in part the high regard felt for them, perhaps not unmixed with some hope and apprehension. So great was this regard that their Persian neighbours even adopted their faith and worshipped the true and living God. Thus the conquered became the conquerors; thus the captives led captive. We learn here -
1. How God overrules, making his Church the stronger for the very designs which were intended to despoil and even to extinguish.
2. How we may prevail, even in humble positions winning to our side, and so to his cause, them that are "our masters according to the flesh." The little maid in the Syrian general's service caused the living God to be honoured in Damascus (2 Kings 5.); the captive Jews in Persia led many around them to adopt their purer faith; those among us who are "in service," who are "under authority," may live lives of such attractive worth that they will win those who rule to the service of the Divine Master. - C.
Parallel VersesKJV: And Mordecai went out from the presence of the king in royal apparel of blue and white, and with a great crown of gold, and with a garment of fine linen and purple: and the city of Shushan rejoiced and was glad.
WEB: Mordecai went out of the presence of the king in royal clothing of blue and white, and with a great crown of gold, and with a robe of fine linen and purple; and the city of Susa shouted and was glad.