LET’S go back a few years before Ezʹra went to Jerusalem. Morʹde·cai and Esther are the most important Israelites in the kingdom of Persia. Esther is the queen, and her cousin Morʹde·cai is second only to the king in power. Let’s see how this came about.
Esther’s parents died when she was very small, and so Morʹde·cai has raised her. A·has·u·eʹrus, the king of Persia, has a palace in the city of Shuʹshan, and Morʹde·cai is one of his servants. Well, one day the king’s wife Vashʹti does not obey him, so the king chooses a new wife to be his queen. Do you know the woman he chooses? Yes, beautiful young Esther.
Do you see this proud man that people are bowing down to? This is Haʹman. He is a very important man in Persia. Haʹman wants Morʹde·cai, whom you can see sitting here, to bow down to him also. But Morʹde·cai won’t do it. He doesn’t think it is right to bow down to such a bad man. This makes Haʹman very angry. And so this is what he does.
Haʹman tells the king lies about the Israelites. ‘They are bad people who don’t obey your laws,’ he says. ‘They should be put to death.’ A·has·u·eʹrus does not know that his wife Esther is an Israelite. So he listens to Haʹman, and he has a law made that on a certain day all Israelites are to be killed.
When Morʹde·cai hears about the law, he is very upset. He sends a message to Esther: ‘You must tell the king, and beg him to save us.’ It is against the law in Persia to go see the king unless you’re invited. But Esther goes in without being invited. The king holds out his gold rod to her, which means that she is not to be killed. Esther invites the king and Haʹman to a big meal. There the king asks Esther what favor she wants from him. Esther says that she will tell him if he and Haʹman will come to another meal the next day.
At that meal Esther tells the king: ‘My people and I are to be killed.’ The king is angry. ‘Who dares to do such a thing?’ he asks.
‘The man, the enemy, is this bad Haʹman!’ Esther says.
Now the king is really angry. He commands that Haʹman be killed. Afterward, the king makes Morʹde·cai second in power only to himself. Morʹde·cai then sees to it that a new law is made that allows the Israelites to fight for their lives on the day they are supposed to be killed. Because Morʹde·cai is such an important man now, many people help the Israelites, and they are saved from their enemies.
Bible book of Esther.