December 09, 2002 Copyright © by United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
I: Prologue Chapter A
- 1 In the second year of the reign of the great King Ahasuerus, on the first day of Nisan, Mordecai, son of Jair, son of Shimei, son of Kish, of the tribe of Benjamin, had a dream.
- He was a Jew residing in the city of Susa, a prominent man who served at the king's court,
- and one of the captives whom Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, had taken from Jerusalem with Jeconiah, king of Judah.
- 2 This was his dream. There was noise and tumult, thunder and earthquake-confusion upon the earth.
- Two great dragons came on, both poised for combat. They uttered a mighty cry,
- and at their cry every nation prepared for war, to fight against the race of the just.
- It was a dark and gloomy day. Tribulation and distress, evil and great confusion, lay upon the earth.
- The whole race of the just were dismayed with fear of the evils to come upon them, and were at the point of destruction.
- Then they cried out to God, and as they cried, there appeared to come forth a great river, a flood of water from a little spring.
- The light of the sun broke forth; the lowly were exalted and they devoured the nobles.
- Having seen this dream and what God intended to do, Mordecai awoke. He kept it in mind, and tried in every way, until night, to understand its meaning.
- Mordecai lodged at the court with Bagathan and Thares, two eunuchs of the king who were court guards.
- He overheard them plotting, investigated their plans, and discovered that they were preparing to lay hands on King Ahasuerus. So he informed the king about them,
- and the king had the two eunuchs questioned and, upon their confession, put to death.
- Then the king had these things recorded; Mordecai, too, put them into writing.
- 3 The king also appointed Mordecai to serve at the court, and rewarded him for his actions.
- 4 Haman, however, son of Hammedatha the Agagite, who was in high honor with the king, sought to harm Mordecai and his people because of the two eunuchs of the king.
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1  King Ahasuerus: Xerxes I (486-465 B.C.). Mordecai: a Babylonian name, after the god Marduk. The genealogy of Mordecai is designed to reflect opposition to Israel's enemy, as narrated in 1 Sam 15:7ff, where Saul (whose father's name was Kish, of the Tribe of Benjamin) conquered Agag the Amalekite; in Esther A:17 Haman is said to be the son of an Agagite. Further emphasis on the Benjaminite-Agagite opposition can be seen in Shimei, the Benjaminite who reviled David (2 Sam 16:5ff). Jair appears to be the minor Judge, a Transjordanian Manassehite (Judges 10:3). The chronology of the book would make Mordecai well over one hundred years old, since he was deported with Jehoiachin about 598 B.C.; cf Esther 2:5f.
2  The interpretation of this dream is given in Esther F:1-6.
3  Rewarded him: this reward comes only later; see the sequence of events from the Hebrew text of Esther at Esther 2:22f, and Esther 6:3 below.
4  Haman . . . the Agagite: opposed Mordecai the Benjaminite, by whom, however, he was overcome (Esther 7:9f), just as King Agag, the Amalekite, was conquered by King Saul, ancestor of Mordecai (1 Sam 15:7ff).
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