Biblical People

Biblical People: Mordecai (2)

Mordecai is a descendant of the Jews exiled by Nebuchadnezzar when he conquered Judah. Mordecai takes care of Esther, his orphaned niece. In this we see Mordecai as a man of integrity who cares for his relative. He adopts her and treats her like a daughter.

Esther is beautiful, with an attractive figure.

When King Xerxes seeks a replacement for Queen Vashti, Esther is one of the virgins rounded up in the national initiative to find a new queen. 

Mordecai instructs Esther to keep her nationality and background secret. We don’t know why he does so, but it may be that he fears anti-Semitism from the king’s court. Mordecai does what he can to check on his adoptive daughter as she waits in the king’s harem.

Around this time, the king elevates one of his advisors, Haman, to a position of high authority. Everyone kneels in honor before Haman, as the king commands, but Mordecai refuses to do so. 

Though the Bible doesn’t explicitly say it, we can assume Mordecai sees bowing to Haman as being disrespectful toward God, who is the only one deserving his homage.

Mordecai’s refusal to bow enrages Haman. He embarks on an extreme revenge campaign, but killing just one Jew isn’t enough. To get back at Mordecai, Haman plans to kill all the Jews who live throughout the nation’s provinces. He wants to exterminate the entire race.

Mordecai’s refusal to bow before Haman could cost him his life—and the lives of all his people.

Are we willing to honor God even if it might result in our death? Will we maintain our integrity even if it puts other people’s lives in jeopardy?

[Read Mordecai’s story throughout Esther 2–10.]

Learn about more biblical characters in Old Testament Sinners and Saints, available in e-book, paperback, and hardcover. Get your copy today.

A lifelong student of the Bible, Peter DeHaan, PhD, wrote the 1,000-page website to encourage people to explore the Bible. His main blog and many books urge Christians to push past the status quo and reconsider how they practice their faith in every area of their lives.

By Peter DeHaan

Peter writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and make a faith that matters. Learn more at