Esther 2:6 says Mordecai was captured and brought to Babylon after Nebuchadnezzar destroyed Jerusalem. That makes him a contemporary to Daniel yet he is Esther’s older cousin. Am I wrong about the timing? Please clear up the chronology for me. Thank you .


Here is Esther 2:5-6.  Now there was at the citadel in Susa a Jew whose name was Mordecai, the son of Jair, the son of Shimei, the son of Kish, a Benjamite, 6who had been taken into exile from Jerusalem with the captives who had been exiled with Jeconiah king of Judah, whom Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon had exiled.  
According to this passage it was Mordecai’s great grandfather who was carried into captivity with the captives who were taken to Babylon when Jeconiah was exiled.  Jeconiah was also know as Jehoiachin.  He was exiled in 597 BC, which would make Mordecai’s great grandfather a contemporary of Daniel.  The length of a generation can vary quite a bit–from a bit under twenty years to sometimes well past forty years for male descendants.  Let us guess that Mordecai may have been born somewhere fairly close to 500 BC.  Scholars place the book of Esther during the reign of Xerxes, which would put it in perhaps 470 – 460 BC, which would make Mordecai an older adult.  Because we do not know the age of his great grandfather when he was exiled and we do not know the ages of Jair, Shimei and Kish when they had their sons, it is very difficult to calculate the age of Mordecai from this data, but very approximately it fits the date of Esther well.
John Oakes

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