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The book of Esther says that Mordecai was a Benjamite in one place and a Jew in others. Which was he?

In Esther 2:5-6 we are told:

2:5 Now there happened to be a Jewish man in Susa the citadel whose name was Mordecai. He was the son of Jair, the son of Shimei, the son of Kish, a Benjaminite, 2:6 who had been taken into exile from Jerusalem with the captives who had been carried into exile with King Jeconiah of Judah, whom King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon had taken into exile.

Mordecai is called both a Jew and a Benjaminite in verse 5 of chapter 2. He is also said to be a Jew in 5:13; 6:10; 8:7; 9:29, 31; 10:3.

There really is no contradiction. The term “Jew” is here applied to all the descendants of Jacob (or Israel, as God renamed him). Benjamin was one of the sons of Jacob. So one could be a Benjaminite and a Jew, just as one could be a McRae and a Scotsman.

Related Topics: Terms & Definitions