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When Esther was chosen by the Persian king her uncle Mordechai told her to keep her identity a secret, which she did:

Esther had not yet made known her kindred nor her people; as Mordecai had charged her; for Esther did the commandment of Mordecai, like as when she was brought up with him. (Esther 2:20)

When Mordechai refused to bow down to Haman he explained why:

Now it came to pass, when they spoke daily unto him, and he hearkened not unto them, that they told Haman, to see whether Mordecai's words would stand; for he had told them that he was a Jew. Esther 3:4)

Because of this insult Haman persuades the king to issue a decree against the Jews, Mordechai's people. So at this point Haman and the king know that Mordechai is a Jew.

Mordechai then spends a while hanging around the city gate communicating with Esther and urging her to plead for her people.

But later, when Esther pleads directly for her people, the fact that Haman's decree would have targeted Esther seems to come as a surprise to Achashverosh.

If the court functionaries knew that Mordechai and Esther were related then it would seem that the secret would already be blown. But if they didn't know there was a connection, wouldn't the communication between Esther and Mordechai arouse suspicion?

Did they know they were related but they kept the secret from the king, or did they not know?

marked as duplicate by Yishai, Y     e     z, Scimonster, Gershon Gold, Isaac Moses Dec 12 '14 at 15:17

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See Rashi on Esther 8:1. In short, Achashverush did not know the relationship until Esther told him at that point.

As for the officers - very interesting question. After Mordechai tells Esther about the decree, Esther uses Hasach, who, apparently was a servant of Esther rather than Achasverush, at least directly. He's relaying messages between Esther and Mordechai that include Mordechai's message in Esther 4:14, where he says, "If you keep silent .. you and your father's household ... and who knows if it was for this reason that you were made queen".

At the least, Hasach obviously discovers that Esther is Jewish - something Achashverush didn't know. (It seems that Hasach is very loyal to Esther in keeping this secret from the king!) Mordechai does not state anything about his relationship to Esther when he says "your father's house" or by stating the question as to why she became queen. However, perhaps since this is stated so personally, maybe Hasach suspected, at the least, that somehow Mordechai was related to Esther, esp. since they are having such a "personal" conversation? My surmising on the possibility, and considering that we see that Hasach was good at keeping secrets from the king.

  • You know, now that you mention the messages, I have no idea if these were verbal messages or they were passing notes. Which doesn't mean he couldn't have read notes if they did the latter, but verbal messages guarantee the messenger knows. – Monica Cellio Dec 11 '14 at 22:25
  • According to the opinion that Hasach was Daniel, then it makes sense that he would keep the secret – Arithmomaniac Mar 5 '15 at 16:10

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