In the book of Ester (6:1), Achashverosh can't sleep and asks to bring the book of records to him. Rashi says that the reason why is in case he was done a favor by someone and didn't repay it and that person was plotting against him or ignoring a plot against him. It turns out that he forgot to repay Mordechai's favor of saving the king's life, so he immediately sets out to repay it.

My question is why the king thought that Mordechai would be so bothered that his favor wasn't repayed, but he didn't think that Mordechai would be bothered by the fact that there was an outstanding decree to destroy every single Jew, Mordechai included.

  • This is a question on the Midrash.
    – mevaqesh
    Commented Aug 1, 2016 at 19:56
  • @mevaqesh Rashi's explanation can be taken as pshat.
    – b a
    Commented Sep 25, 2016 at 17:05
  • Rashi admitted that his commentary incorporates too much Midrash to even fit his own standard of peshat (let alone that of the likes of Rasag, Ibn Ezra, Rashbam, etc.) You can take his commentary however you like. Furthermore, Rashi himself quotes mutually exclusive Midrashim, so it does not appear that even he assumes that they are to be taken as factual.
    – mevaqesh
    Commented Sep 25, 2016 at 17:53
  • @mevaqesh His explanation is pshat. That has nothing to do with whether or not he is a pashtan.
    – b a
    Commented Sep 30, 2016 at 10:56
  • His explanation is pshat. That is a meaningless tautology.
    – mevaqesh
    Commented Sep 30, 2016 at 14:42

1 Answer 1


2 potential answers, neither of which has been researched. First, psychological: Achashverosh didn't want to owe anyone anything. He didn't actually care about Mordechai or his people; he cared about his record (the potentially public knowledge that he doesn't repay his debts).

Second, textual: As far as I can tell, Haman never identifies his target as the Jewish people He describes a people and asks for permission to kill them. His scribes, in his name, identify the Jews but the king never mentions them. Maybe Haman didn't identify the because he knew the king would object because of his debt to Mordechai.

  • Concerning your second answer, please see Anaf Yosef, introduction to Ester Rabbah 1 who mentions what you said (not in answer to this question though).
    – b a
    Commented Feb 24, 2013 at 19:12
  • I noticed your point #2 in the reading this morning -- the king gave over his authority but may have never even seen the decree. (Ester apparently hadn't seen it either, so there might not have been much buzz in the palace.) Commented Feb 24, 2013 at 20:12

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .