Things take a dark turn. Haman enters the story, a high ranking trusted but ruthless official, close to the king. He demands Mordecai bow to him but he won’t, presumably because of the second commandment: there is only one God. Daniel was the same.
Haman decides to destroy all the Jews. The king seems to accept his advice that they are a danger, and gives him his signet ring which enables Haman to issue a kill edict in the Kings name. The King must have connived at that, because he said “do with the people as you will” as he handed the ring over.
An interesting detail is that Haman was willing to pay the King for the destruction of the Jews. The king refuses the money… I dunt know if that is to his credit or not!
The chapter ends with a bitterly poignant picture, the king and Haman having a drink together but the city “bewildered”. Perhaps in sympathy, also partly perhaps they thought “there but for the grace of (an uncaring…) God go we”?
There is a moment as you read, me at least, where you blame Mordecai. You think, OK, don’t acknowledge Haman, get yourself killed, but your stubbornness has signed a death warrant for all your countrymen.
If course Haman is a nasty piece of work, vindictive, proud and arbitrarily cruel, but why not just bow to him and be done with it?
Where does one draw the line and blindly obey God, even though it will most likely provoke unjust violence not only toward yourself but collateral damage for other believers?
There is also the monstrous unfairness of it, Mordecai to be killed for not honoring the Kings representative, the King whose life he just saved in an act of abundant loyalty. Perhaps he should have let the plot to kill the king go through!
The place where you draw the line is where you sell God short. Where you betray him by acting like he means less to you than he really does. Without that, the Jews are not the Jews, and we believers today are ineffective.
And one does act for all. Mordecai had to do what he did.