Reimagined from Reality: Mordecai

Find out about this blog series – Reimagined from Reality – in the Introduction post and the Finding the Story post.

This week we are diving into the character of Mordecai, which I think is the second most misrepresented character (besides Xerxes) in this story. While many stories show him to be pious and deeply devot to his faith, that stems from a lot of presumptions, and I wanted to lean into those unanswered motivations we see for Mordecai within the text.

Mordecai has a great lack of motivation in the book of Esther, so I was really excited to explode all of those mysteries into a full-blown, 3-d character. I really wanted to lean darker with these motivations, as it makes his redemption in the 3rd act so much more powerful if he is repenting for his own personal sin and lack of faith.

Here’s what we know about Mordecai, and how I reimagined those facts into the character of Arsin Fairwing:

  • Mordecai was an official in the king’s court. (Sitting at the gate was a place of authority and privilege) (Esther 2:9)
    • Arsin is a scribe to a city viceroy.
    • Arsin is extremely ambitious in all areas of life, from his political career to his goals for Roxana.
    • He is also not as keen on associating with other fairies, as Florencia is a very human-dominated empire and he wants more advantagous connections.
  • Mordecai did not return to Jerusalem with many other jews after they were freed. [2] (Book of Ezra)
    • It should be noted that most scholars agree that the ‘Mordecai’ mentioned in the book of Ezra was not the same Mordecai from the book of Esther.
    • Arsin stays in Florencia when other fairies return to their homeland because of the advantages and opportunities in Florencia.
    • Arsin is not very concerned with the traditional fairy way of doing things, and is more eager to imitate Florencian/human culture.
  • Mordecai was alive at the same time as Daniel. (Esther 2:5-6) This is a BIG clue to his character for me – if we was alive in Susa at the same time as Daniel, Mordecai – as a Jew in the palace – would have no doubt been aware of who Daniel was, and how God honored his faithfulness and protected him.
    • Jadon Greenlock was a fairy in the previous king’s court who was thrown into the wyvern caverns for his faith, but miraculously survived.
    • Arsin is aware of Jadon, but doesn’t share this story with Roxana until he has found his faith.
  • Mordecai may or may not have sent Esther to the palace willingly – we don’t know. (Esther 2:5-11)
    • Arsin prevents Roxana from trying to escape – as they both know if she was caught, she would be punished – and instead insists that she goes willingly. He knows she is beautiful and smart, and is hopeful that she may become queen.
    • Arsin does try to find out how Roxana is doing in the harem, but it is mostly to ease the guilt he has for sending her in the first place.
  • Mordecai tells Esther to hide her heritage. This would have been DESPITE knowing about Daniel, and would have meant not only not acting like a Jew, but also doing things that went against God’s commands (such as dietary commands). [1] (Ester 2:10)
    • Arsin is not religious, publicly or privately, and is often condesending of fairies who are. He has a huge lack of faith in Ehyen (God) at the beginning of the story, encouring Roxana to be more like the Florencians and less like a fairy, which is heightened when she is sent to the palace.
    • Arsin tells Roxana to hide her heritage partially to protect her, but also because he believes it increases her chances to be chosen as queen. He is not concerned with her refraining from performing the religious rites, because they have never been a priority.
  • And the big one – the Aggigites and the Israelites were extremely bigoted against each other. Scholars argue that when Mordecai refused to bow to Haman, it was out of a bigoted pride to disrespect his enemy and not a desire to honor God. [1, 2, 3, 4] This is reaffirmed by the fact that Mordecai’s refusal is what triggers Haman to issue the edict to eradicate the jews, as God often used enemies to punish Israelites for sin. God honors Mordecai (in a hilarious scene) and humbles Haman after Mordecai repents. (Esther 3:2)
    • Arsin is racist against satyrs (the Aggigites), and refuses to bow to Haman purely out of spite.
    • Arsin argues that he cannot bow for religious reasons, but given his lack of faith, Roxana sees his actions as they really are: taking God’s name in vain, hypocrisy.

So that’s where we will stop for now because there is seriously so much under the surface with Mordecai that I know I won’t do it all justice.

Let me know your thoughts in the comments! Find out anything you didn’t know or haven’t considered before?

In two weeks, we dive into one of my favorite ignored characters, the Second Favorite…

References

[0] The Book of Esther
[1] Why Did Esther Hide Her Jewish Identity? Part1 Part 2 by Rabbi Chaim Jachter
[2] Bible.org: Was it realy feasible for Mordecai or Esther to return to Jerusalem during their time in Persia and how does this affect their disobedience for not returning?
[3] Biblical Horizons: Why Was Mordecai Angry?
[4] Wikipedia: Agagite

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