Esther 3:1 - 15
ESV - 1 After these things King Ahasuerus promoted Haman the Agagite, the son of Hammedatha, and advanced him and set his throne above all the officials who were with him. 2 And all the king's servants who were at the king's gate bowed down and paid homage to Haman, for the king had so commanded concerning him. But Mordecai did not bow down or pay homage.
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Haman was a court official under the Persian king Xerxes (called Ahasuerus in the book of Esther). (The Persians had conquered the Babylonians after the tribes of Judah and Benjamin had been taken into exile in Babylon.) Haman was a primary opponent of the Jews during their exile, as described in the book of Esther. I would characterize his two main attributes as pride and ambition. His pride caused him to be exceedingly self-conceited toward those whom he perceived as his inferiors, and also hostile toward anyone who did not pay him what he regarded as the degree of respect and deference that befitted his rank. Esther's uncle Mordecai provoked Haman's hostility by refusing to bow before Haman, which Mordecai (as a Jew) believed was a show of humility that he owed to God alone. This caused Haman to become hostile to all Jews, and to plan their annihilation. At the same time, Haman's ambition caused him to be brazenly sycophantic toward those (such as the king) who could promote him, or otherwise be of use to him in his efforts to destroy the Jews. However, Haman was apparently unaware that Mordecai's niece Esther (who had become the king's wife) was a Jew. Based on his hatred of the Jews, Haman persuaded the king to issue a decree ordering their extermination. When Esther found out about the decree, she (in consultation with her uncle Mordecai) undertook a course of action to expose Haman's treachery to the king. After inviting both the king and Haman to a dinner that she had prepared, she informed the king of Haman's plot against her own people. The king reacted angrily and left the dinner. In a desperate attempt to save himself, Haman fell prostrate on the queen's couch to plead for his life. The king returned and interpreted Haman's actions as an attempt to rape the queen, and ordered that Haman be put to death on the same gallows that Haman himself had built in anticipation of putting Mordecai to death. Despite Haman's execution, the king could not rescind or revoke his previous decree ordering the death of the Jews, but issued a separate decree giving the Jews the right to take up arms to defend themselves. As a result, the Jews succeeded in killing all of Haman's ten sons, as well as 75,000 others who had persecuted them, as recorded in Esther 9:1-19.
Haman was haughty (Esther 3:1-2): King Xerxes promoted Haman to prime minister; all the royal officials bowed down whenever Haman passed by. Matthew Henry says: "I wonder what the king saw in man that was commendable or meritorious? It is plain that he was not a man of honor or justice, of any true courage or steady conduct, but proud and passionate and revengeful; yet he was promoted and caressed, and there was none as great as he. Princes' darlings are not always worthies." The LASB says Haman “was blinded by arrogance and self-importance.” PS 131:1 A Song of David. LORD, my heart is not haughty, nor mine eyes lofty: neither do I exercise myself in great matters, or in things too high for me. PR 16:18 Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall. PR 18:12 Before destruction the heart of man is haughty, and before honour is humility. Haman was hateful (Esther 3:3-5): Haman became furious when Mordecai refused to bow down before him. Ham was “the man who hated Jews” (H.L. Locker). The Bible says: “And when Haman saw that Mordecai bowed not, nor did him reverence, then was Haman full of wrath.” (Esther 3:5). “Haman was intoxicated with his greatness. He was full of wrath. Wrath is cruel both to the subject and the object.” -- W. Burrows, B. A. And “the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God.” JAMES 1:20 Like a cancerous tumor, Haman’s hatred for Mordecai soon developed into hatred for the whole Jewish race.—WWW BDB says this wrath of man, this burning anger, this rage, is really wrath, and that “wrath is cruel” (Proverbs 27:4). This is my testimony of what I used to be like: TIT 3:3 For we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another. Haman was heartless (Esther 3:6-15). Compare Romans 1 which says, “men…(18) although they knew God (21) are senseless, faithless, HEARTLESS, ruthless.” (NLT). -- The plot (Esther 3:6-9): In his rage, Haman seeks the king's permission to destroy all the Jews in the empire. He promises the king 375 tons of silver if he agrees to the plan. (“Haman took Mordecai’s action as spit in his face. He was so angry, just killing Mordecai was not going to be enough. He wanted to wipe out every person that had Mordecai’s background. He wanted to kill every Jewish person, man, woman, boy, girl, and the elderly whether they had bowed down to him or not. Can you believe that? Just because a single Jew refused to bow before him, he planned the holocaust! So, he was even willing to pay this large sum of his money to help the people carry out this plot. He convinced the king that a certain group of people were a threat to his kingdom and did not deserve to live because they would not obey the king’s laws. He didn’t mention Mordecai’s name because he probably didn’t want the king to know that this was really about a personal vendetta. He didn’t even mention it was the Jews he was after. He simply called them a certain group of people.”)-- Ovidiu Radulescu
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