Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Esther-Mordecai's Sackcloth

By Mary Vee
Esther 3

From Mordecai's Journal

Photo Courtesy
My name is Mordecai. Everyone who lives in Susa had been summoned to the city square. I assume an announcement from the king is about to be made. This is how the king informed all the people of any news. 

I am a Jew. Long ago, when I was young, I lived in my homeland, Judah. The Jews were taken to be slaves in the Babylonian empire. It's a long story, the Babylonians being conquered and so on, but the empire is still here just under a different power.

As the years went by, many people speaking different languages ended up living throughout the empire's land. We all lived in the same communities and became friends. So there wasn't the Jewish section and the this or that section. The land was one empire with many different people. Over time, it was hard to tell which group people belonged to. We mostly all blended together.

As a strong Jew, though, I could tell who was a Hebrew and who wasn't. Fear for our lives kept me from broadcasting my heritage. I instructed Esther, my niece to keep this secret as well.

Men, women, and children crowded into the city square when the trumpet blew, each trying to get closer to hear what the herald would say. He stepped high up on the fountain, unrolled a scroll, and read this message:

Hear ye, hear ye, On the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, the month of Adar, every Jewish man, woman, and child, young and old, are to be destroyed, killed, and annihilated. Their belongings are to be plundered. This is to be done in one day, the thirteenth day of the twelfth month.

He read the same words in four other languages.

I was stunned. How could this be? What would cause this sudden edict? Have we done something to displease the king?

I grabbed hold of my clothes and ripped them apart and wailed. Back at my home I put on sackcloth and ashes and ran out into the city wailing as I never had before. Nothing that had ever happened, not the burning of our city Jerusalem, not the captivity, not the slavery, nothing could compare to this.

I ran in my pitiful appearance as far as the king's gate and stopped because no one wearing sackcloth was allowed to enter.

News traveled fast. In every province where the edict had been read, the people cried out in great mourning among the Jews. We all fasted, weeped, and wailed. Many lay in sackcloth and ashes. This news read in the first month would be carried out in the twelfth month.

My anger and shock energized me to wail even more. "I prayed, Almighty God, save us. Save us from this edict that will rid the earth of your people."

...come back to read what happens next.

sources: New International Version, New King James Version  

1. Mordecai belonged to what people?
2. Where did Mordecai live?
3. Why didn't he live in Jerusalem?
4. What secret did Mordecai keep?
5. What message did the herald read?
6. How did Mordecai respond to the news?
7. Where did Mordecai go?
8. The answer to this one will be in the next story, but do you know why he went there?

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