Is the Megilla a satire? It certainly sounds like one, but why would a satire be included in the Tanach? In the following shiur, we attempt to 'unmask' the message of this satire by considering the historical (and prophetic) setting of the Megilla.
We begin our study with one of the most well-known psukim of the Megilla:
"Ish Yehudi haya b'Shushan HaBira, ushmo Mordechai..." (Esther 2:5)Even though this pasuk is proudly read aloud by the entire congregation, most people do not appreciate its 'sting.' However, an ear tuned to the prophecies of Zecharya and familiar with Tanach immediately catches its irony:
The phrase "Ish Yehudi" is mentioned only one other time in Tanach - in Zecharya 8:23. There it describes a Jew leading a group of non-Jewish followers seeking God in Jerusalem.
The word "HaBira" in Divrei HaYamim I describes specifically the Bet HaMikdash (Temple) that King David has prepared for his son Shlomo to build (see 29:1 and 29:19). Prior to the time period of Megillat Esther, the Hebrew word Bira finds no other mention in Tanach.
The name Mordechai is probably the most provocative word in the entire Megilla, for it stems from the name of the Babylonian deity - Marduk (see Yeshayahu 39:1). No decent Jew (prior to the Babylonian exile) would have dared giving his son such a 'goyishe' name.
To decipher the prophetic message of the Megilla, we must take the following steps: