“Mordecai was sitting in the king’s gate.” In the biblical culture of the Old Testament, it was the custom that the elders of a city would sit at the city gate (Gen. 19:1, 9; Deut. 21:19; 22:15; 25:7; Josh. 20:4; Ruth 4:11; 1 Sam. 4:18; Esther 2:19, 21; 3:2; Lam. 5:14; Dan. 2:49). In order for Mordecai to sit in the king’s gate, he would have had to have already been recognized in the city as an important person. He would have been some kind of elder or official with position and power. He did not “just happen to be there,” that would not have been allowed. Even the use of the word “sit” in this context meant he had some kind of powerful or ruling position.
[For more on the elders at the gate, see commentary on Ruth 4:11. For Wisdom being at the city gate, see commentary on Proverbs 1:21. For more on the meaning of “sit” in this context, see commentary on Isaiah 14:13, “sit.”]