Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Why Mordecai Didn't Bow to Haman in Ancient Iran

Queen Esther with Uncle, Mordechai, from the tribe of Benjamin
Mordechai, the Jew 
The Babylonians aka Land of Shinar or of the Kasdim )Chaldees, led by their leader, Nebuchadnezzar, attacked Judah (southern part of Israel) in 597 BCE and again in 586 BCE, when they carried away captives as slaves and destroyed the Temple of Solomon. The slaves later became the property of the Persians-aka Iran, and finally became semi-free there.  Abraham was born in Ur of the Chaldeans, so you might say that the Babylonians took the Jews back to their origins.   The irony is that Abraham had left here and had migrated to Canaan where he later fought Amrahel, king of Shinar as told in Genesis 14 over Lot, his nephew.  In those days all the kings fought each other.  Nebuchadnezzar, a Babylonian, had inherited the Assyrian Empire, and after his conquest of Judah in 597 BCE  and 586 BCE, had exiled many Jews to Babylon.
Queen Esther
Later, we find Mordecai in the 5th century BCE, a Benjamite serving as a palace official at Shushan in the reign of Ahasuerus aka King Xerxes I.  His niece, Esther aka Hadassah, was married to this king.  Ahasuerus learned through Mordecai about an assassination plot against him.   Since most historians have identified Ahasuerus as king Xerxes I, his known wife had been Amestris.

    Amestris  or Ésther
    Rashi thought that Ahasuerus was the successor to Cyrus, near the end of the 70 years of the Babylonian exile.  
    Amestris was the wife of Xerxes I of Persia, mother of Achaemenid,  King of Kings Artaxerxes I of Persia. She was known to have been poorly regarded by ancient Greek historians. Wikipedia
    Here are the ancestors of Esther showing she is the niece of Mordechai
    Descendants of Judge Jair
    1   Judge Jair b: in Gilead
    . 2   Mordechai b: in Shushan, Persia
    . 2   Abihail
    ..... 3   Esther-Hadassah b: in Shushan, Persia
    ......... +Ahasuerus-XerxesI, KingI b: in Shushan, Persia

    Xerxes I (ruled 486-465 BCE), also known as Xerxes the Great, was the king of the Persian Achaemenid Empire. His official title was Shahanshah which, though usually translated as `emperor’, actually means `king of kings’. He is identified as the Ahasuerus of Persia in the biblical Book of Esther (although his son, Artaxerxes I, is also a possibility as is Artaxerxes II).  
Mordecai refused to bow to the vizier, Haman, aka Memucan, Chief minister of Ahasuerus,  which made Haman very angry, so that Haman instigated a plan of vengeance on all the Jews of  Persia, but his scheme was found out by Queen Esther.  In the end, Haman and his 10 sons were hung by King Ahasuerus and his position as chief minister was filled by Mordecai.  Wikipedia said: " Haman is hanged from the gallows that had originally been built to hang Mordecai. The dead bodies of his ten sons Parshandatha, Dalphon, Aspatha, Poratha, Adalia, Aridatha, Parmashta, Arisai, Aridai and Vaizatha (or Vajezatha), are also hanged after they die in battle trying to kill the Jews." I had always thought the extermination attempt had not yet begun when Esther saved them all by getting the courage to tell the king about the plot.  
Haman speaking with King Ahasuerus
       Haman's resentment of the independent attitude of Mordecai led him to detest all Jews and this is why it is believed that he planned their annihilation, which he had set to happen on the 14th of the month of Adar of the year 357 BCE.  .

Haman's history was that he was descended from Agag, king of Amalek and was called "the Agagite."  He was the son of Hammedatha, the Agagite.  His wife was Zeresh.  His seat in the palace was above all the officers who were with him.  All the servants at the king's gate would bow down and prostrate themselves before Haman as the king had so ordered.

Who were the Amaleks?  They were a people almost always hostile to Israel.  They were nomads wandering around between Southern Canaan and nearby areas that later became part of Palestine.  They were the ones who attacked the Israelites in the desert near Rephidim shortly after the Exodus and annihilated the weak and weary.  They were defeated by the Israelite army under Joshua.  From then on, the Israelites regarded Amaleks as an eternal foe, the extermination of which was a national mission.  Saul couldn't kill their king.  During the period of the Judges, the Amaleks penetrated Western lands at various points and their presence was a standing threat to the peace of the country.  They acted like the Hamas led Palestinians of today.

In King David's time, the Amaleks invaded southern Judea and burned the town of Ziklag.  David fought and defeated them heavily, so that only 400 escaped from him.  In the reign of Hezekiah in 720-690 BCE, the tribe of Simeon overwhelmed the Amalekites and settled in their territory.  They are a symbol of everlasting enmity to Israel along with Haman, the Agagite.  who was a descendant of Agag, the king of the Amaleks.

So who was Mordecai and why wouldn't he show this respect of bowing?  Mordecai was descended from Benjamin, so was a Benjaminite.   Benjamin had been the 2nd son of Jacob through Rachel, his first love who had died during childbirth.  Benjamin had an older brother, Joseph.  Now, when land was doled out to the 12 sons of Jacob through Moses and Joshua, Joseph did not receive any as he had already been 2nd in command to the Pharaoh of Egypt and did not need any more land, so his parcel went to his 2 sons, Manassah and Ephraim which is important in seeing who Mordecai, born in Shushan, Persia,  was.

Mordecai's father was Jair, who had been a judge.  He was the son of Shimei, son of Kish, son of Bela, son of BENJAMIN!. Benjamin was the uncle of Manassah   Descendants of Joseph

1   Joseph b: in Canaan, 18th-16th centuries BCE? Hyksos period (2500-1587 BCE)
.. +Asenath b: in Egypt
. 2   Manasseh
. 2   Ephraim

  Of course, Benjamin was the youngest son of Jacob, father of the 12 sons whose descendants were then tribal members of that son.  This makes 6 generations away from Manassah, son of Joseph.
Malala Yousafzai, Pashto woman-winner of Nobel Prize in 2014
 Joseph's line held many important people including the Pashtuns that claim descent from the 10 Lost tribes of Israel from the invasion of Assyrians into Israel that occurred in 722 and 721   BCE-well before the Babylonians who had taken over the Assyrian holdings.  King Saul was from this family.  His father had been Kish, and brother, therefore, was Shimei. Pashtos claim descendency from Joseph.

It was Jair who had been carried into captivity together with King Jeconiah /Jehoiachin (son of Jehoiakim) of Judah who only reigned in 597 BCE for only 3 months and 10 days, having become king at age 18 during the Babylonian siege of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar, who was then also king of Babylon in 605-562 BCE.   Young King Jehoiachin had to remain in detention until the accession of Evil-Merodach in 561 BCE when he was released.  Official Babylonian records relating to his captivity have been recovered.
Nebuchadnezzar  had conquered all the lands from the Euphrates to the Egyptian frontier, including Judah.  He captured Jerusalem after Judah had revolted, and had replaced the young king Jehoiachin with his own nominee, Zedekiah, and had exiled 8,000 of the local aristocracy to Babylon.  8 years later, even Zedekiah had to rebel from the treatment. Zedekiah remained king of Judah from 597 to 586 BCE and was the son of Josiah.  His name was really Mattaniah, and took this aka of Zedekiah when he was appointed king by Nebuchadnezzar.  He was 21 when he was selected to be king and had to swear allegiance to Nebuchadnezzar.

In Zedekiah's  9th year of reigning, he conspired with Egypt after having refused such offers before by others.  Because of this conspiracy, Judah was invaded again by the Babylonians and had then captured Jerusalem.  He was brought to trial and it was horrible.  His sons were killed before his eyes, and then his eyes were put out and he was put in prison till his death.   This history is preserved in the British Museum.  The forces of Nebuchadnezzar under Nebuz-Aradan again invaded Judah and captured Jerusalem in 586 BCE.  This is when they destroyed the first Temple of Solomon, laid waste the cities and exiled masses of the population.  the king was taken to Riblah, where Nebuchadnezzar had him killed.
Esther with her son, King Darius of Persia
Mordecai had also served as a palace official at Shushan during the reign of King Ahasuerus. He had this position before King Ahasuerus found Esther.   Mordecai was the grandnephew of King Saul!  Saul's father had been Kish.  He himself was of royalty.  His 6th great grandfather had been Abraham.  His niece was Queen Esther, though they had to keep this a secret because the King did not know she was Jewish!    Ahasuerus had selected her as his queen because of her beauty, without knowing her background and who she was related to.
Mordecai didn't bow down to Haman, and Haman was frustrated because he knew of Mordecai's position and who he was, and so he plotted to kill all Jews to get even with Mordecai.  Mordecai in turn, knew that Haman was a descendant of Agag, the Amalekite king who was conquered by King Saul, his own ancestor. He wasn't about to start bowing to the evil Agag's descendant now.   Normally, Mordechai would have bowed in accordance with the king's instructions, for bowing to a king or his official is not forbidden by Torah law.  In Mordecai's mind, it also could have been because Haman had either declared himself to be divine, or because his robes were decorated with idols, and then bowing to him would be an act of idolatry.  He had used the religious grounds reasoning when questioned as to why he didn't bow, and so by doing so, caused Haman to want to kill all Jews.  This is the explanation of our sages, Ibn Ezra and Rashi.
Purim Carnival in Ashkelon, Israel
We have the book, The Book of Esther (Megillat Ester) near the end of our Tanach (Bible).  A celebration is also held every year to remember this extermination plot that Esther put an end to.  Purim falls on the 14th of Adar each year.  It is a very happy holiday.  A favorite is the making of a filled cookie called Hamentaschen, filled with many choices, such as raisins, nuts, etc.

Persia changed their name to Iran in 1935,  In 1935 the Iranian government requested those countries which it had diplomatic relations with, to call Persia "Iran," which is the name of the country in Persian. The suggestion for the change is said to have come from the Iranian ambassador to Germany, who came under the influence of the Nazis.  They felt this would also signify  " the Aryan race of its population, as "Iran" is a cognate of "Aryan" and derived from it. They are not Arabs.

Reference:  Esther-3-9.
Amaleks: Exodus 7: 8-13, Deuteronomy 25: 17-19, Exodus 17: 13-16, I Samuel 15;
Tanach, The Stone Edition of ArtScroll Series page 1752-1773
Hadassah magazine February/March 2016, page15- by Paula Shoyer.  Updated March 2, 2016. 


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  2. you can bet the history and the dna are coming full circle again nadene, one last time.
    thanks for all the good reading. i follow along but don't always comment. i watch israel closely.....whoever opposes, even to the point of wanting to annihilate the jewish people and take the land as a spoil, will be very, very sorry they have tried to make that happen. that day is coming. you can see it taking shape on the horizon, but just beyond that is a new day for israel, and all the nations. then the swords will be turned into plowshares when Messiah is here.

    i really do believe we will be the generation to see this.

  3. If we're not, can you imagine what more can happen? Life is amazing. Look at the connection we have had with Iran in the past and today. It's still going on as antagonists. too bad that instead of Ayatollas that came along, we couldn't have had another Ahasuerus. I couldn't write a fictional history book and think up all this, and if I did, no one would believe it. Thanks for reading what I write. I always look forward to your comments. It will be wonderful for people to live in a peaceful environment. I'm grateful that I have lived in one without any war in our land like Europe has had.

  4. This comment is from Admiral Ace Lyons, an older man of the USA Navy who has something short but profound to say.
    http://www.liveleak.com/ll_embed?f=51fe948515b4. He tells us just exactly his thought about what Obama has been doing as far as Iran is concerned.