3 For Mordechai the Yehudi ranked next to King Ahasuerus and was highly regarded by the Yehudim and popular with the multitude of his brethren; he sought the good of his people and interceded for the welfare of all his kindred.
According to one opinion among the Sages, this verse describes two stages of Mordechai’s life following the Purim miracle. He was “next to King Ahasuerus” until Darius, son of Esther and Ahasuerus, allowed the rebuilding of the Beit Hamikdash. At that point, he stepped down from his governmental position and became “highly regarded by the Yehudim,” returning to the Land of Israel and assuming responsibility for the offerings in the Beit Hamikdash (see Mishna Shekalim 5:1). Mordechai did not let honor and fame stand in the way of his principles. Dismissing the glory, he jumped at the first opportunity to serve his people in Eretz Yisrael.