Mordecai is a Jewish hero who helped save his race from a holocaust throughout the vast Persian Empire, which stretched from India to Egypt.

On the other hand, he’s the fellow who got the Persians angry in the first place-one Persian in particular, the prime minister named Haman.

Mordecai refused to bow when Haman walked by. The Bible doesn’t say why. Perhaps it was because Mordecai knew Haman’s family history. Haman was an Amalekite, from the nomadic tribe that tried to stop the Hebrew exodus out of Egypt.

In classic overkill, Haman decided to get even by wiping out Mordecai’s race, March 7 was set for the genocide. Jewish property would go to anyone who killed the property owners.

Haman managed to get the king’s irrevocable authorization, without even identifying the race. What neither Haman nor the king knew was that this order hung a bull’s-eye on Queen Esther. She was not only a Jew: she was Mordecai’s cousin, whom he had raised after her parents died.

Mordecai convinced Esther to ask for a meeting with the king, though Persian law said that anyone who requested a meeting with him would be executed if the king turned the person down. At Esther’s request, Mordecai mobilized the Jews in the capital to fast for three days, praying that the king would accept Esther’s request.

When the king found out what Haman had done, he ordered him hanged on the gallows intended for Mordecai. Then he ordered his soldiers to protect the Jews against any citizens who attacked. Many did attack, but the Jews came out ahead, killing some seventy-five thousand.

Mordecai came out ahead, too. He took Haman’s job as prime minister. So the empire headquartered in what is now Iran had both a Jewish queen and a Jewish prime minister.

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