The prayer of Mordecai on why he did not bow to Haman (Greek text only)

“You know all things.

You know, O Lord,

That it was not in insolence

Or pride or for any love of glory

That I did this.

I refused to bow down to this proud Haman.

I would have been willing to kiss the soles of his feet,

To save Israel!

But I did this,

That I might not set human glory

Above the glory of God.

I will not bow down to anyone but you.

You are my Lord.

I will not do these things in pride.”

The Greek text prayer of Mordecai continued. The Lord knows all things. He knew that Mordecai did not act out of pride or glory. Mordecai refused to bow to the proud Haman. However, he said that he was willing to kiss the soles of his feet to save Israel. It must be remembered that this whole affair is an off shoot of Mordecai making Haman angry by not offering obeisance. He was not seeking human glory. Mordecai remained adamant that he would not bow down to anyone but the Lord.   Yet without that incident, would Haman have tried to eliminate all the Jews? We will never know.

Haman is in charge (Esth 3:1-3:6)

“After these events, King Artaxerxes promoted Haman son of Hammedatha, a Bugean. He advanced Haman. He granted him precedence over all the king’s officials. He set his seat above all the princes who were with him. All who were at court used to do obeisance to Haman. The king had so commanded this to be done. Mordecai, however, did not do obeisance. Then the king’s courtiers said to Mordecai.

‘Mordecai, why do you disobey the king’s command?’

Day after day, they spoke to him, but he would not listen to them. Then they informed Haman that Mordecai was resisting the king’s command. Mordecai had told them that he was a Jew. When Haman learned that Mordecai was not doing obeisance to him, he was infuriated. However, he thought it beneath him to lay hands on Mordecai alone. Having been told who Mordecai’s people were, Haman plotted to destroy all the Jews, the people of Mordecai, throughout the whole kingdom of King Artaxerxes.”

It was not clear why Haman was promoted to this important role at the royal court. He was a Bugean or Agagite that probably refers to an Amalekite or an Assyrian, but it is not clear. This group may have been traditional enemies of the Jews. Since he was in charge of the other officials, it was only right that they obeyed him and offered obeisance. Judith did this to General Holofernes in chapter 10 of that work. This was a common courtesy. Mordecai gave his reason for not doing obeisance to Haman because he was a Jew. Day after day, the others told Mordecai to do it. When Haman found out about this he was furious. However, he did not want to single out Mordecai since that might look pompous. Instead he decided to destroy Mordecai’s people, all the Jews. Some have referred to this as the original genocide. Once again, it is hard to conceive of why he should have made such a jump from one person to his whole ethnic background unless it was just old fashioned stereotyping. Anti-Semitism has a long history and can be found here in the Bible itself. The European experience of anti-Semitism from Italy, France, England, Spain, Portugal, and Holland reached its apex in Germany in the 20th century.

Judith meets General Holofernes (Jdt 10:20-10:23)

“Then the guards of General Holofernes and all his servants came out. They led her into the tent. General Holofernes was resting on his bed, under a canopy which was woven with purple and gold, emeralds, and other precious stones. When they told him of her, he came to the front of the tent, with silver lamps carried before him. When Judith came into the presence of General Holofernes and his servants, they all marveled at the beauty of her face. She prostrated herself and did obeisance to him. However, his slaves raised her up.”

The guards and slaves of the general took her into the tent. General Holofernes was lying on his bed that had a canopy of purple, gold, emeralds, and other precious stones. He came out to greet her with sliver lamps. Everyone marveled at her beauty. She then presented herself prostrate, giving him the proper obedience. However, the general’s slaves picked her up.