Why did Haman do that?
…Mordecai would not kneel down or pay [Haman] honor…. Day after day they spoke to him but he refused to comply… Esther 3: 2b, 4
Mordecai’s insubordination before Haman led to the Jewish annihilation plan – as a way to pay Mordecai back (some payback!). Jews were wailing and panicking everywhere due to the death edict that Haman had King Xerxes sign.
But here’s the topper, Mordecai asks his niece Esther to fix the problem he started by seeking the King’s help – and risking her life – as she says in the famous line:
I will go to the king, even though it is against the law. And if I perish, I perish. 4: 16b
Now, wouldn’t you feel guilty if you were in Mordecai’s shoes? And would you think of asking someone else (Esther) to risk her life to fix your screw up?
All I can say is, there must have been a pretty good reason – a REALLY, REALLY good reason – for Mordecai’s refusal to bow before Haman.
On to the commentaries!
Well, they were a lot of help… Not!
I expected to read something along the lines that to bow down to Haman was equivalent to worship – as if Haman were in God’s place. Such an act would be anathema to Mordecai. But both commentaries say it would only be an act of honor, not one of idolatry.
Mordecai refused to bow, they suggest, because Haman was an Agagite — and the Jews and Agagites were historical enemies (vs 3:10). That’s it.
And whereas Mordecai told Esther not to mention her Jewish heritage in court, he foolishly told Haman’s henchmen that he was a Jew (vs 3:4).
Wow. So Mordecai put his nation and niece at risk because of nationalistic pride.
Now I have even more admiration for Esther’s courage.
And appreciation of God’s mercy.
Today’s Readings: Esther 3:1-4:17, Psalm 89:46-52, Proverbs 22:7-8, Romans 3:1-31. See About for what I’m up to with these daily posts. Your daily blogger, Holiday Longing (Reproduce with permission only).