Now in Shushan the palace there was a certain Jew, whose name was Mordecai, the son of Jair, the son of Shimei, the son of Kish…
Mordecai possessed a lofty nature, and was destined to do great things; but our notice of him here is restricted to his relation to Esther up to the time when she was made queen. He presents to our view -
I. A FINE NATURAL DISPOSITION. When his cousin Esther lost her parents he "took her for his own daughter." His heart and home were at once opened to the little orphaned girl. The natures of men vary greatly. Some are born tender, some hard; but all may do much to cultivate the softer affections of sympathy and love. The ties of kindred and friendship afford many opportunities for their exercise.
II. A RECOGNITION OF THE DIVINE LAW. Mordecai's adoption of Esther was in accordance with the spirit of the Mosaic legislation. As a good Jew, he could scarcely have done otherwise. This, however, does not detract from the pure benevolence of his conduct. The good actions of religious people are often regarded as mechanical and constrained, as springing rather from a slavish fear of authority than from a willing and loving heart. On this point observe -
1. That natural light and strength are insufficient. All history and experience teach that when left to himself man becomes hard-hearted and cruel in his self-regard.
2. That a Divine revelation of truth with respect to relative and other duties is an unspeakable benefit. It is a clear light amidst the dark confusions of sin.
3. That good natural dispositions are purified and strengthened by a reverence for Divine truth. Mordecai, apart from religious influence, might have charged himself with the care of his orphaned relative; but, if so, his sense of obligation to Jehovah's law would deepen his compassionate interest, and give a sacredness to the adopted duties of fatherhood. The religion of God adds power and freedom to the exercise of all affections that are unselfish and good.
III. A FAITHFUL DISCHARGE OF ACCEPTED DUTY. It was no grudged place that Mordecai gave to his cousin in his family. He did not put her there, and then allow her to grow up neglected. There is much significance in the words "he brought her up." They imply, as the result shows, that he bestowed loving attentions on her; that he trained her carefully, tenderly, and religiously. It is not enough to acknowledge duty; the important thing is to discharge it. "If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them" (John 13:17).
IV. A HELPER IN TIME OF NEED. Before Esther was removed from her adopted home, Mordecai had time to speak to her words of comfort and instruction. One piece of advice he gave her was that she should keep secret her lineage or nationality (ver. 10). It was meant to protect her from needless humiliations and troubles, and perhaps to remove a hindrance to her reaching the dignity of wifehood and queenhood. From this fact we gather that the fatherly Mordecai spent the moments that preceded the parting in administering solace and courage and wise counsel to the trembling maiden. A true love never fails, and it shines brightest in the sympathies and succours which suffering claims.
V. A CONTINUING CARE. Mordecai did not cease to watch over the charge whom God had entrusted to him when she was removed into another sphere. Separation did not diminish his love or relax his care. He had evidently an appointment which allowed him to be near her; for we read in ver. 11 that he "walked every day before the court of the women's house, to know how Esther did, and what should become of her." Some parents think that when they get their children off their hands, as it is called, they have met every obligation of duty. Mordecai thought and acted differently, and in this he was a type of Christ, who, having loved us from the first, loved us to the last; who, when we were led captive by sin, still loved and cared for us, and became himself our ransom; who, now that he is ascended above all heavens, is still ever near to guide us by his word and Spirit in the way that leads to a crown and throne immortal. "Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world" (Matthew 28:20). Concluding lessons: -
1. As followers of God and his Christ, we should consider the orphaned and needy (Psalm 68:5; James 1:27).
2. God blesses those who, like himself, are compassionate and merciful. Mordecai was amply rewarded for all his faithful and loving care of the orphan child, in the beautiful, modest, wise, winning, courageous, and pious woman who became the queen of Persia and the saviour of Israel (Matthew 10:42). - D.
Parallel VersesKJV: Now in Shushan the palace there was a certain Jew, whose name was Mordecai, the son of Jair, the son of Shimei, the son of Kish, a Benjamite;