Well-respected Mordecai as ‘Marduka’?

Well-respected Mordecai

Part One: As ‘Marduka’?

 

by

Damien F. Mackey

  

“And Mordecai the Jew was next in rank to King Ahasuerus. He was a man held in respect among the Jews, esteemed by thousands of his brothers, a man who sought the good of his people and cared for the welfare of his entire race”.

Esther 10:3

 

With the assistance of a significantly revised Neo-Babylonian dynasty through to the early Medo-Persian period, I have been able historically to identify the King Belshazzar of Daniel 5 as King Evil-Merodach, son of Nebuchednezzar II ‘the Great’, and the un-named second ruler in Belshazzar’s kingdom as Jehoiachin (or Coniah), whom Evil-Merodach had exalted over the other princes in Babylon (2 Kings 25:27-30).

 

These are all historically verifiable kings.

 

Now, if Jehoiachin (Coniah) is also, as I have identified him:

 

Haman un-masked

https://www.academia.edu/37584041/Haman_un-masked

then that leads us into the Book of Esther, and to Mordecai, who, with Queen Esther herself, would expose the machinations of Haman.

 

Is there any evidence that this Mordecai, too, was a real historical person?

 

There may be. David J. Clines, in his article “The Quest for the Historical Mordecai” (https://www.academia.edu/2454296/The_Quest_for_the_Historical_Mordecai), writes of one “Marduka” in Susa during the Persian period whom various scholars have considered as a possible candidate for Mordecai. I am interested here in what Clines writes about these various opinions, since Clines himself seems pre-disposed to dismiss the Book of Esther as merely “a romance”:

 

…. it appears to be necessary to insist that evidence for a Persian official at Susa named Marduka, if that is really what we have, is next to useless in any debate about a historical Mordecai. For if on other grounds it seems probable that the book of Esther is a romance and not a historical record, it is quite irrelevant to the larger question of the historicity of the writing to discover that one of its characters bears a name attested for a historical person. Fictitious characters usually do.

 

Clines tells of these other estimations of Marduka:

 

In the standard works, commentaries, encyclopaedias and monographs, wherever the historicity of the Book of Esther is discussed, there is usually to be found some reference to the possible extra-biblical evidence for Mordecai. Here is an extract from a typical encyclopaedia article in The Interpreter’s Dictionary of the Bible:

 

Reference must be made to a single undated cuneiform document from the Persian period, found at Borsippa, which refers to a certain Marduka who was a finance officer of some sort in the Persian court at Susa during the reign of Xerxes I. While a connection between such an individual and the Mordecai of the book of Esther is in no sense established, the possibility of such a historical event as is related in Esther cannot be dismissed out of hand. ….

 

Carey A. Moore, the author of the Anchor Bible commentary on Esther, is a little more positive about the implications of the reference to Marduka. This official, who ‘served as an accountant on an inspection tour from Susa’, could be, he suggests, ‘the biblical Mordecai because, in all likelihood, Mordecai was an official of the king prior to his being invested in [Est.] 8.2 with the powers previously conferred on Haman’. To Moore, ‘at first glance all of this seems rather persuasive, if not conclusive’. While he is indeed careful to point out the uncertainties that surround the identification of Marduka with Mordecai, he nevertheless concludes that

 

since the epigraphic evidence concerning Marduka certainly prevents us from categorically ruling out as pure fiction the Mordecai episodes in the Book of Esther, it is safest for us to conclude that the story of Mo[r]decai may very well have to it a kernel of truth. ….

 

Robert Gordis, rather more boldly, appears to have no reservations whatever about the identification of Mordecai with Marduka.

For him, the attestation of the names Marduka and Mrdk … is ‘the strongest support thus far for the historical character of the book’. …. He writes:

 

A Persian text dating from the last years of Darius I or the early years of Xerxes I mentions a government official in Susa named Marduka, who served as an inspector on an official tour … [T]he phrase yōšēb bĕša‘ar hammelekh, ‘sitting in the king’s gate,’ which is applied to Mordecai repeatedly in the book, indicates his role as a judge or a minor official in the Persian court before his elevation to the viziership.

 

The conclusion to be drawn is rather obvious:

 

That there were two officials with the same name at the same time in the same place is scarcely likely. ….

 

From Edwin M. Yamauchi we even gain the impression that the identification of Marduka with Mordecai has now become the consensus scholarly view:

 

Mardukâ is listed as a sipîr (‘an accountant’) who makes an inspection tour of Susa during the last years of Darius or early years of Xerxes. It is Ungnad’s conviction that ‘it is improbable that there were two Mardukas serving as high officials in Susa.’ He therefore concludes that this individual is none other than Esther’s uncle. This conclusion has been widely accepted. ….

 

Siegfried H. Horn concurs:

 

The result of this disco[c]very has been a more favorable attitude toward the historicity of the book of Esther in recent years, as attested by several Bible dictionaries and commentaries published during the last decade. ….

 

So secure is the identification of Mordecai with Marduka in his eyes that he can even invite us to reconstruct the personal history of Mordecai on the basis of what we know about Marduka:

 

It is quite obvious that Mordecai, before he became gatekeeper of the palace, must already have had a history of civil service in which he had proved himself to be a trusted official … the trusted councillor of [t]he mighty satrap Uštannu, whom he accompanied on his official journeys.

 

Since my re-setting of Mordecai’s engagement with Haman has it occurring far earlier than the standard time for it, in the reign of “Xerxes” (C5th BC) – and nearer to the return from Captivity – it thus becomes necessary to demonstrate a compatible revised chronology of Marduka.

 

 

Queen Esther as a new Moses?

Image result for queen esther

 

“Like Moses, Queen Esther was liberator and lawgiver. Moses promulgated the Torah, including the institution of the ritual calendar and notably the celebration of Passover, the memorial festival of the Exodus. Similarly, Esther experienced the grave threat of Purim and sanctioned the celebration of Jewish victory. In the wilderness of … Ahasuerus’

Persian Empire, centuries after Moses, “the command of Queen Esther

fixed these practices of Purim, and it was recorded in writing” (Esther 9:32)”.

Charles E. Hambrick-Stowe

  

It is more usual, I would suggest, to think of Jesus Christ as a ‘new Moses’, that being the very theme of my (Damien Mackey’s) recent article:

 Unique identity of Jesus Christ. Part Three: Jesus as the New Moses

https://www.academia.edu/38629887/Unique_identity_of_Jesus_Christ._Part_Three_Jesus_as_the_New_Moses

 

But Queen Esther?

Well that, at least, is the opinion of Charles E. Hambrick-Stowe, who has also likened the biblical Ruth to Abraham, in “Ruth and the New Abraham, Esther the New Moses” (1983):

http://www.religion-online.org/showarticle.asp?title=1674

 

Regarding Ruth, I have followed an israelofgod.org lead (http://www.israelofgod.org/ruth.htm) in identifying her as ethnically an Israelite, and only geographically a Moabite. See my article:

 

Bible Critics Can Overstate Idea of ‘Enlightened Pagan’

https://www.academia.edu/26423097/Bible_Critics_Can_Overstate_Idea_of_Enlightened_Pagan

Charles E. Hambrick-Stowe gives his intriguing new approach to Ruth and Esther:

 

Christians are accustomed to thinking of Jesus Christ as the second Adam and the new Moses, and of John the Baptist as Elijah redivivus. Preachers and theologians are adept at tracing literary images: linking Old and New Testament figures whose lives reflect eternal patterns and renew the ancient message. Some still think in terms of type and antitype. These are usually valid constructions, for the Bible itself presents a scheme of prophecy and fulfillment.

 

Rarely, however, are the women of the Bible included in these analyses. The two books of the Bible named for women, Ruth and Esther, are, respectively, charming and alarming in content. But they are commonly relegated to secondary importance in the canon. It is said that Ruth simply explains David’s (and hence, Christ’s) ancestry; that Esther recounts how the Festival of Purim secured a place on the Jewish calendar. I would argue, however, that these two books belong in the mainstream of the biblical narrative. Their message is vitally important to a proper grasp of our hope for salvation. In startling ways, Ruth and Esther are women who in their generations became primary carriers of God’s saving grace. As did other Old Testament leaders, and Jesus himself, these two women embody the spirit of the founders of the Israelite nation. Ruth becomes the new Abraham, Esther the new Moses.

 

In order for us to understand Ruth and Esther in these roles, the Bible must be perceived as an integrated whole. The unity of Scripture lies in the central theme running through every book from Genesis to Revelation, which may be summarized in the Lord’s word to Jeremiah: “I will be their God, and they shall be my people” (Jer. 31:33). This promise recapitulates God’s covenant with Abraham: “I will establish my covenant . . . to be God to you and to your descendants” (Gen. 17:7), and with Moses: “I will take you for my people, and I will be your God” (Exod. 6:7). In Jesus Christ, who spoke of “the new covenant in my blood,” the promise is fully revealed and available to the whole world. It is finally expressed in the vision of “a new heaven and a new earth” in Revelation, where “they shall be his people, and God himself will be with them” (Rev. 21:3).

 

Subthemes of the covenant — experiences of pilgrimage and promise, bondage and freedom, duty and blessing, famine and plenty, barrenness and fertility — weave their way through both testaments. Even books frequently dismissed as of little importance take on meaning within the whole. The Song of Songs, for example, becomes intelligible as Scripture when the key verse enunciating the marriage covenant is recognized: “My beloved is mine and I am his” (2:16).

The Letter of James, easily ignored by evangelicals following Luther’s denunciation of the book as “straw,” speaks of the reciprocity of covenant life: “‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself’. . . Draw near to God and he will draw near to you” (2:8; 4:8). Individual and people are inseparable when joined in God’s covenant relationship.

 

In the Book of Esther, the crucial passage which reveals the salvific thread running through the entire story is found in a scene of high drama. When Queen Esther unmasks herself as a Jew, she pleads before her Persian king-husband: “Let my life be given at my petition, and my people at my request. For we are sold, I and my people, to be destroyed” (7:3-4). In Ruth, the covenant theme pervades the book and is explicitly evoked in Ruth’s words to Naomi: ” . . . your people shall be my people, and your God my God” (1:16).

 

The covenant — this oneness of God with the people and of God’s people with one another — is the backbone of books written over more than a thousand years, in widely varying political and religious circumstances, and in diverse geographical locations. For believers, the Bible’s unity demonstrates not only that scores of human authors were heirs of a common tradition, but that each of them was guided through life and inspired to write by the same God. In this context, the true significance of Ruth and Esther can begin to instruct God’s covenant people today.

 

The Bible is silent as to what it was within Ruth that impelled her loyalty and courage, her desire to “go out to a place which [s]he was to receive as an inheritance.” There must have been some experience of call, as with Abraham; just as “he went out, not knowing where he was to go” (Heb. 11:8), Ruth “left [her] father and mother and [her] native land and came to a people that [she] did not know before” (Ruth 2:11). We may surmise that Ruth had learned much about the worship of Yahweh and of the blessings of the covenant from living with her late husband in Naomi’s household.

 

Abraham was the first Jew. Abram’s and Sarai’s name change symbolized their new identity as Hebrews. God’s creation of his people is, of course, a major strand of the covenant theme. “Once you were no people but now you are God’s people” (I Pet. 2:10). Israel, God proclaimed through Isaiah, was “borne by me from your birth, carried from the womb. . . . I have made, and I will bear; I will carry and will save [that is, deliver]” (Isa. 46:3-4). When Abram and Sarai were reborn as God’s new people Abraham and Sarah, they could become fruitful and multiply. Similarly, when Ruth entered the covenant she was blessed with goodness, plenty and fertility.

 

Ruth’s not being Jewish [sic] when the story opened attests to the universalistic impulse shown in the Old Testament; God created Israel to be a light to the nations. The Book of Ruth suggests less an outward evangelistic thrust than a quiet and loving ingathering, exhibiting at a personal level the later grand vision of Isaiah, that in “the latter days . . . many peoples shall come . . . that [God] may teach [them] his ways” (Isa. 2:2-3). Like Abraham long before, Ruth came as a foreigner and became God’s chosen in the land of promise.

Abraham and Ruth shared the experiences of barrenness and of famine. Abram “went down to Egypt to sojourn there, for the famine was severe in the land” (Gen. 12:10). The stage was set for the Book of Ruth when “there was a famine in the land, and a certain man of Bethlehem in Judah went to sojourn in the country of Moab.” For a decade, Elimelech and Naomi flourished. But then suddenly barrenness appeared; when Naomi was past menopause, her husband and her two sons died, and God had granted no children to the two Moabite daughters-in-law. Naomi’s decision to return to Judah was marked by desperation; she was as bitter as Job over God’s infraction of the covenant.

It was Ruth, the non-Jew [sic], who, insistent on accompanying Naomi, looked forward with hope. Her decision and her vow established her in the covenant, for Ruth’s promise was not only to her mother-in-law but also to her new God and to her new people. The spectacle of the two single, childless women making their way across the desert calls up the image of Naomi’s biological and Ruth’s spiritual ancestors: “So Abram went up from Egypt, he and his wife, and all that he had” (Gen. 13:1). The women’s journey took an equal amount of courage, or perhaps even more.

 

In Canaan, as Yahweh had promised, the aged Abraham and Sarah were miraculously blessed with fertility. For Ruth, the promise of a fruitful future is tied to the barley harvest; her good fortune as a reaper under the wing of Boaz and Yahweh portended her greater future happiness. God’s firm promise of personal fertility in the marriage covenant became clear after their night on the threshing floor; the six measures of barley that Boaz poured into Ruth’s mantle for her to carry home symbolized Boaz’ own seed.

 

Those who gathered to fulfill the covenant responsibilities for widows significantly demonstrated that Ruth was now fully within the covenant circle. Then, with her marriage to Boaz, Ruth entered the most intimate covenantal relationship of God’s people.

 

God, not the man and woman themselves, caused conception with Ruth and Boaz, as with Abraham and Sarah (and other biblical couples). “The Lord visited Sarah as he had said, and the Lord did to Sarah as he had promised. And Sarah conceived, and bore Abraham a son (Gen. 21:1-2). “So Boaz took Ruth and she became his wife; and he went in to her, and the Lord gave conception, and she bore a son” (Ruth 4:13). The “son in his old age” theme in the Abraham story is here applied to Naomi and expressed in the glad words of the neighbor women in Bethlehem: “He shall be to you a restorer of life and a nourisher of your old age.” God had kept his promise to Abraham, and Naomi rightly understood herself as an heir of this promise.

 

The most important comparison, however, is not that of Ruth with Sarah, or Naomi with Sarah and Abraham. Rather, it is that of Ruth with Abraham. These two are the primary actors in their respective stories. The faith of both Abraham and Ruth was ultimately rewarded with blessings both spiritual and material. Both had the courage and took the initiative to set out for the new land. God’s promise to Abraham and Sarah was fulfilled first in the birth of Isaac, and then in the birth of Obed, the grandfather of King David. It was David who made the nation of Israel — and hence, the name of Abraham — great, thus fulfilling God’s covenant with Abraham. In Ruth’s bold faith, in her journey to the new land, in her embrace of the covenant, in her marriage and motherhood, God’s promises to Abraham were once more confirmed. Ruth was the New Abraham of her generation.

 

 

Like Moses, Queen Esther was liberator and lawgiver. Moses promulgated the Torah, including the institution of the ritual calendar and notably the celebration of Passover, the memorial festival of the Exodus. Similarly, Esther experienced the grave threat of Purim and sanctioned the celebration of Jewish victory. In the wilderness of Xerxes’ (Ahasuerus’) Persian Empire, centuries after Moses, “the command of Queen Esther fixed these practices of Purim, and it was recorded in writing” (Esther 9:32).

 

In another parallel, both Moses and Esther were Jews who rose to prominence in a foreign court and, unlike Joseph in Egypt, for example, both at first were secret Jews.

 

Moses probably never exercised much authority in Pharaoh’s court [sic], though if he had remained in Egypt he surely would have. He lived as Egyptian royalty for more than 20 years, until he “had grown up.” Yet somehow he knew he was not Egyptian but Hebrew. The psychological dilemma posed by his true identity was resolved when “one day. . . he went out to his people and looked upon their burdens; and he saw an Egyptian beating a Hebrew, one of his people” (Exod. 2:11). It seems unlikely that this was the first time Moses had seen the slaves at labor, or that this was the first beating he had observed. But the moment had come when he felt compelled to identify himself with his biological, rather than his adopted, people.

 

In Midian Moses was perceived by the daughters of the priest Reuel as “an Egyptian,” but he had left that life behind forever. However, when he returned to Egypt with God’s word of liberation, he was instantly received with respect and deference at court. No longer a secret Jew, nevertheless, “the man Moses was very great in the land of Egypt, in the sight of Pharaoh’s servants and in the sight of the people” (Exod. 11:3).

 

Esther attained her position in the Persian court at Susa by winning the beauty contest to replace the uppity, deposed Queen Vashti. Like the Hebrews in Egypt, Esther and her uncle Mordecai were living abroad, though not as slaves. Their residence in Persia was the aftermath of the Babylonian exile, and generally their lot was quite good. In contrast to Exodus, the immediate goal of the Book of Esther was not to return to the homeland, but to attain success and prosperity in the foreign land. Mordecai’s ambition, personally and for his people, prompted him to put Esther in the running for a place at court as a wife of Ahasuerus. After the king selected her, she did not make known “her people or kindred, for Mordecai had charged her not to make it known.”

 

Esther, like Moses, was unable to live long in stately comfort (as Moses was unable to live in Midian obscurity). When the oppression of their people became intolerable, both responded to God’s call to become liberators. Though Moses’ burning bush experience was dramatic while Esther’s moment of decision went unrecorded, God was the true liberator in both stories. Under both Egyptian and Hamanite tyranny, the cries of the Jewish people preceded God’s intervention (Exod. 2:23 and Esther 4:3).

 

After Mordecai told Esther about Haman’s planned pogrom, she still had a choice, for he explained: “If you keep silence at such a time as this, relief and deliverance will rise for the Jews from another quarter, but you and your father’s house will perish.” That “other quarter” was probably not envisioned as God’s direct intervention, for Mordecai was a realist who believed in the necessity of human agency; God’s invisible providence undergirded human endeavor. The book is quite modern in this regard. “Who knows,” Mordecai challenged, “whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?”

Esther was ready to rise to heroism and replied that she would go to the king at risk of her life. Heretofore a woman who had always obeyed the orders of others, she now became God’s woman, acting courageously and intelligently to preserve the covenant people. Now it was Mordecai who “went away and did everything as Esther had ordered him” (Esther 4:13-17).

 

Esther had become the most clever and powerful person at court. When she “put on her royal robes and stood in the inner court” and “found favor,” the king “held out to Esther the golden scepter” and she “touched the top” (Esther 5:1-2). She was as much in control of events as Moses had been with his supernatural rod.

 

The genocide planned by Haman seems as modern as Hitler’s. The Jewish preventive retaliation helps us understand modern Israel’s motives and behavior in the 1982 invasion of Lebanon. In Egypt, Scripture says, the God of Moses had acted directly to save his people. But how different was Esther’s and Mordecai’s military victory from the Passover deaths that enabled Moses and Aaron to lead the people to freedom? The violent salvation of the Jews recounted in Esther was the latest chapter in a tradition established at the time of the Exodus.

 

It is possible, too, that “the destroyer’’ that ranged from house to house at midnight in Egypt was in fact a human hand acting through God’s agency. The sheer numbers of Israelites in the country made them far from militarily weak; and they “went up out of the land of Egypt equipped for battle” (Exod. 13:18). Was an Israelite militia in action in Egypt, as was the case much later in Persia? Was Moses the commander-in-chief of this army, just as Esther was in Persia? The effect of the redemption was the same.

 

As Passover celebrates Israel’s deliverance through the Exodus, Purim was proclaimed by Esther to be a festival of the survival of the Jews after the failure of the Hamanite pogrom. There is a close connection between the messages of the two festivals. The edict authorizing Haman’s troops “to destroy, to slay, and to annihilate all Jews” was granted by the king on the day before Passover. The two festivals of Passover and Purim are specifically, consciously linked throughout the Book of Esther, even in minor details. Scripture takes pains to explain why there are two days for each festival. And both were judaized versions of pagan holidays (a process familiar to Christians, who celebrate Christmas at the winter solstice). Moses and Esther, as lawgivers, shared an ability to take popular days of springtime revelry and transform them into memorials to the survival of God’s people and the indestructible covenant.

 

The significance of these women for the era in which the sign of the covenant was circumcision cannot be underestimated. If women — and “foreign” [sic] women at that — could be, for their generations, the new Abraham and the new Moses under the old covenant, what possible barriers of gender, nationality, race or class can stand under the covenant of grace in Jesus Christ?

 

Jesus Christ fulfills God’s promises to every generation of covenant people. He reveals the truly redemptive pattern of sacrificial love. On the cross Jesus incorporated the suffering of all victims of the world’s oppression, while completely repudiating the tempting solution of retaliatory violence. In Christ’s gospel of love for the enemy and of God’s overarching plan of salvation, we latter-day Ruths and Esthers may find grace for ourselves and a future for this earth. God calls us to the task — like Ruth and Esther, but in a Christian framework — of leading others toward liberation, the blessings of covenant, and the promise of security and peace on our planet.

Ruth clothed herself with the qualities of Abraham. Esther bore the responsibilities of a Moses. Now, as St. Paul put it, “as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise” (Gal. 3:27-29).

 

The promise toward which Ruth and Esther, Abraham and Moses, and the entire “cloud of witnesses” in Scripture reach is the consummation of the covenant — the final, complete unity of God and God’s people in the “new heaven and new earth” of Revelation. The Books of Ruth and Esther, with their tales of suffering, crisis and eventual triumph, testify that we are not trapped helplessly in a destructive global fate. With bold faith, the two women took events into their own hands to secure the future of the covenant. Their stories shine as examples of the human side of covenant responsibility, and so also reveal the divine side of protection and blessing. Ruth and Esther, read through the prism of Christ, point us beyond global fatalism toward the hope of the earth.

 

 

 

 

Mordecai as a dragon

by

Damien F. Mackey

 

A reader writes (e-mail):

…. The crest on the door of the Vatican is a Dragon. I think that is a clue to what is inside. ….

Damien Mackey’s response:

Then you’d have trouble with the Book of Esther, in which the holy Mordecai, the Jew, is depicted as a great dragon. Mordecai in his dream (Apocr. Esth. i. 4-11) sees two dragons coming to fight each other (representing Mordecai and Haman, ib. vi. 4); the nations make ready to destroy the “people of the righteous,” but the tears of the righteous well up in a little spring that grows into a mighty stream (comp. Ezek. xlvii. 3-12; according to Apocr. Esth. vi. 3, the spring symbolizes Esther, who rose from a poor Jewess to be a Persian queen).

The sun now rises, and those who had hitherto been suppressed “devoured those who till then had been honored” (comp. Esth. ix. 1-17).

A Vatican emblem is a dragon, but this has nothing to do with Satan. The Bible says Yahweh spews fire from his mouth and smoke from his nostrils in II Samuel, that he has enormous wings in Psalms. In Numbers, he orders Moses to make a bronze fiery serpent image. Etc.

[End of e-mail exchange]

 

Historically, some think that Mordecai may have been a Persian official of the name, Marduka.

See e.g. my article on this:

 

Well-respected Mordecai. Part One: As ‘Marduka’?

https://www.academia.edu/38686545/Well-respected_Mordecai._Part_One_As_Marduka_

Now, if the highly pious Jew, Mordecai, had actually borne the name of the pagan god, Marduk, then those (e.g. Creationists) seeking to identify other biblical characters (like Joseph, Egypt) in foreign lands may be wrong in thinking that these pious souls could not possibly have had names that included pagan gods.

 

According to Wikipedia (article “Mordecai”), though, there are various possibilities to account for the name, “Mordecai”: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mordecai

 

The name “Mordecai” is of uncertain origin but is considered identical to the name Marduka or Marduku (Akkadian: 𒀫𒌓), attested as the name of officials in the Persian court in thirty texts (the Persepolis Administrative Archives) from the period of Xerxes I and his father Darius, and may refer to up to four individuals, one of which might have served as the prototype for the biblical Mordecai.

The Talmud (Menachot 64b and 65a) relates that his full name was “Mordechai Bilshan” (which occurs in Ezra 2:2 and Nehemiah 7:7). Hoschander interpreted this as the Babylonian “Marduk Belshunu” (… dMardukBel-šu-nu, meaning “Marduk is their lord”) “Mordecai” being thus a hypocorism.

Another interpretation of the name is that it is of Persian origin meaning “little boy”. Other suggested meanings of “contrition” (Hebrew root m-r-d), “bitter” (Hebrew root m-r), or “bruising” (Hebrew root r-d-d) are listed in Hitchcock’s Bible Names Dictionary of the late 19th century. There is also speculation that the name is derived from Aramaic mar dochi; mar being a title address for a gentleman, and dochi meaning “one who incurs merit” (cf. Hebrew zoche).

The Talmud provides a Midrashic interpretation of the name Mordechai Bilshan as mara dachia (“pure myrrh”) alluding to Exodus 30:23 and ba’al lashon [4] (“master of languages”) reminding us that as a member of the Great Assembly he was familiar with many foreign languages.

[End of quote]

 

Biblically, I have identified Mordecai with Joakim, the husband of Susanna:

 

Well-Respected Mordecai. Part Two: As Joakim, Husband of Susanna

https://www.academia.edu/23107025/Well-Respected_Mordecai._Part_Two_As_Joakim_Husband_of_Susanna

and:

https://www.academia.edu/30510006/Well-Respected_Mordecai._Part_Two_As_Joakim_Husband_of_Susanna_b_A_Euphemism_for_Marriage

 

Susanna, for her part, is Queen Esther herself according to e.g. my article:

 

Well-Respected Mordecai. Part Five (a): Susanna and Esther identified as one

https://www.academia.edu/28497584/Well-Respected_Mordecai._Part_Five_a_Susanna_and_Esther_identified_as_one

Some have gone so far as to connect: https://ononion.wordpress.com/2013/02/20/161/

 

The Book of Esther and the Enuma Elish

 

Posted on February 20, 2013 by Aliyah bat Stam

 

It has often been suggested — and by often, I mean every single Pagan I have ever talked to has mentioned it, and half of the Jews who knew anything about Judaism have said it to me, personally, at least once– that the Book of Ester was actually a veiled myth about Marduk and Ishtar.

 

Can you blame them?

 

Purim is widely known to be a Jewish adaptation of a Babylonian drinking holiday. Just listen to the names, too. Mordechai and Esther. They sound like the dames of those two deities.

 

I decided to do some investigation into this Babylonian drinking holiday, and was lead back to an ancient Babylonian tale about how the hero, Marduk, defeated Tiamat. In it, there are indeed many similarities to the Purim story.

 

The antagonist, Tiamat, is terrorizing the good gods (or the ones that the reader is supposed to be rooting for). In the third tablet we learn,

 

  1. “All the gods have turned to her,
  2. “With those, whom ye created, they go at her side.
  3. ”They are banded together, and at the side of Tiamat they advance;

20 . “They are furious, they devise mischief without resting night and day.

  1. ”They prepare for battle, fuming and raging;
  2. “They have joined their forces and are making war.”

 

“The gods” here are sort of a faceless multitude.

 

Likewise, in the Book of Ester, there is a faceless multitude waiting to do evil to the Jews:

 

“And the letters were sent by posts into all the king’s provinces, to destroy, to kill, and to cause to perish, all Jews, both young and old, little children and women, in one day, even upon the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, which is the month Adar, and to take the spoil of them for a prey.” (Esther, 3:13)

 

In both, there is also a wine feast that is instrumental in swinging the tide of history over to the side of the “good guys.”

 

In the Enuma Elish, Tablet 3:

 

  1. They made ready for the feast, at the banquet [they sat];
  2. They ate bread, they mixed [sesame-wine].
  3. The sweet drink, the mead, confused their […],
  4. They were drunk with drinking, their bodies were filled.
  5. They were wholly at ease, their spirit was exalted;
  6. Then for Marduk, their avenger, did they decree the fate.

 

and in the Book of Esther:

 

“Now it came to pass on the third day, that Esther put on her royal apparel, and stood in the inner court of the king’s house, over against the king’s house: and the king sat upon his royal throne in the royal house, over against the gate of the house.

And it was so, when the king saw Esther the queen standing in the court, that she obtained favour in his sight: and the king held out to Esther the golden sceptre that was in his hand. So Esther drew near, and touched the top of the sceptre.

Then said the king unto her, What wilt thou, queen Esther? and what is thy request? it shall be even given thee to the half of the kingdom.

And Esther answered, If it seem good unto the king, let the king and Haman come this day unto the banquet that I have prepared for him.”(Esther, 5:1-4)

 

An aside: Scepter? Do you mean his staff? His power rod? The big long thing he likes to have in his hand? Yeah. It’s tip. She touched it. Oh yes, the Jewish people went there.

 

The stories also have a very similar ending, too.

 

From the Enumah Elish (fourth tablet):

 

  1. When the gods, his fathers, beheld (the fulfilment of) his word,
  2. They rejoiced, and they did homage (unto him, saying), ” Marduk is king! ”
  3. They bestowed upon him the sceptre, and the throne, and the ring,

 

and then,

 

  1. He seized the spear and burst her belly,
  2. He severed her inward parts, he pierced (her) heart.
  3. He overcame her and cut off her life;
  4. He cast down her body and stood upon it.
  5. When he had slain Tiamat, the leader,
  6. Her might was broken, her host was scattered.
  7. And the gods her helpers, who marched by her side,
  8. Trembled, and were afraid, and turned back.
  9. They took to flight to save their lives;
  10. But they were surrounded, so that they could not escape.
  11. He took them captive, he broke their weapons;
  12. In the net they were caught and in the snare they sat down.
  13. The […] … of the world they filled with cries of grief.

 

And in the book of Ester:

 

“8:1 On that day did the king Ahasuerus give the house of Haman the Jews’ enemy unto Esther the queen. And Mordecai came before the king; for Esther had told what he was unto her.

8:2 And the king took off his ring, which he had taken from Haman, and gave it unto Mordecai. And Esther set Mordecai over the house of Haman.”

and then,

“8:17 And in every province, and in every city, whithersoever the king’s commandment and his decree came, the Jews had joy and gladness, a feast and a good day. And many of the people of the land became Jews; for the fear of the Jews fell upon them.”

 

and then, just in case the Hebrew Mythos left it unclear as to who, exactly, is wearing the pants:

 

“And the king said unto Esther the queen, The Jews have slain and destroyed five hundred men in Shushan the palace, and the ten sons of Haman; what have they done in the rest of the king’s provinces? now what is thy petition? and it shall be granted thee: or what is thy request further? and it shall be done.

Then said Esther, If it please the king, let it be granted to the Jews which are in Shushan to do to morrow also according unto this day’s decree, and let Haman’s ten sons be hanged upon the gallows.” (Esther, 9:12-13)

 

Do not. Mess. With Jewish. Women. Ever.

 

 

Aaron Koller, in Esther in Ancient Jewish Thought (pp. 115-116), likens Mordecai to other biblical dreamers, Joseph and Daniel: https://thetorah.com/a-more-religious-megillat-esther/

 

As a dreamer, and especially as a dream interpreter, Mordecai is brought in line with Daniel and, more importantly, with their predecessor Joseph.[6]  This not only established Mordecai as reminiscent of earlier biblical heroes, but also establishes his religious bona fides: he, like Joseph and Daniel, was the recipient of divine revelation and (by implication) divine approval.  Certainly, the author of Addition A was biblically-oriented:[7] the dream contains many intertextual references to other biblical books.  These include use of the imagery of the dragon, fountain, battle, and the contrast between dark and light from Jeremiah 28.[8] ….