Esther Chapter 3 (a narrative commentary)
Esther 3:1 After these things King Ahasuerus promoted Haman the son of Hammedatha the Agagite, and raised him setting his seat above all the rulers with him. For the sake of education, this is the same position to which Daniel was promoted some 40 to 50 years earlier by King Darius. Haman was a distant descendant of Esau. Idumeans or Edomites (Esau) were and remain enemies of Israel. H. J. Wolf identifies their hate as “vehement” (Exodus17:14-16). The Middle East saying of a thousand years is like a day when it comes to vengeance or revenge. The difference between Haman and Daniel are many but per their in-common political position, Haman demanded reverence where Daniel simply did his job. This is evidenced in Esther 3:2 [LITV]
“And all the king’s servants who were in the king’s gate were bowing and worshiping Haman, for the king had so commanded for him. But Mordecai did not bow nor worship”
AHA NOTE: An Agagite is to reference an Amalekite sub-tribe. Amalek was a grandson of Esau. In 1 Samuel 15:1–9, Samuel identifies Amalek as the enemy of Israelites, saying “Thus says the Lord of hosts: I will punish Amalek for what he did to Israel, how he ambushed him on the way when he came up from Egypt”. God then commands Saul to destroy the Amalekites from which the Agagites descended. According to 1 Samuel 15 [a must-read chapter], King Agag, King of the Amalekites was defeated by King Saul. Descendants of King Agag became the Agagites. The time of Esther is over 500 years after King Saul defeated the Amalekites but saved the life of King Agag. Agag thereby became the progenitor of the Agagites, thus descended Haman.
Esther 3:4-6 demonstrates Haman’s ancestral hate for the Hebrew Israelites. Another Aha moment: Haman being of Agagite lineage through King Agag, a bible student should consider the extremely deep hate of Esau for those of Jacob’s lineage. Why?
AHA MOMENT: King Saul was a Benjamite. Mordecai and Esther were also Benjamites! Haman knew their connection!
Esther 3:4 shows the pious of Haman. He seems to have been so self-centered he did not even notice when he entered the King’s gates that Mordecai refused to bow. Verse 4 tells us that it is Haman’s servants who pointed out this issue to Him.
Esther 3:6a explains he immediately had it in mind to destroy all the Jews in Shushan and the empire over which King Ahasuerus ruled. The Modern King James expresses this well.
“And he scorned to lay hands [not] only on Mordecai, for they had revealed to him the people of Mordecai. And Haman sought to destroy all the Jews In the Kingdom”.
Haman found out that Mordecai was a Jew at the same time as he was told that Mordecai refused to bow at his presence. There is nothing evident in all of scripture that counters or commands a person to not offer a courtesy bow to authority, just not to an idol. It is customary in many cultures and countries to offer a slight bow as a greeting.
Esther 3:7 is from where the Jews get or customarily have a holiday called Purim. The word Pur in Hebrew is pûrı̂ym. It means a casting of lots or sometimes simply ‘lots’. *Jews write it as Purim. It is a significant Jewish holiday, giving of gifts, drinking wine, celebrating, dressing up in costumes, and parties. We would call it the casting of dice. This fun holiday of joy and celebration includes the reading of the Book of Esther. Like all Judaism holidays the dates shift when compared to our current calendar. In 2021 (depending upon when this article is published on the web of ahamoments.com) it is or was February 25-27.
*Keep it in mind that those in Babylon were from the tribes of Judah and Benjamin plus a few stragglers from the ten Israeli tribes in the Northern Kingdom of Israel. All Jews are Israelites but not all Israelites are Jews.
Esther 3:8 is revealing in how Haman defines or choses the words he uses to seek King Ahasuerus’ permission to kill off the Jews (Judeans and Benjamites) within his kingdom.
And Haman said to King Ahasuerus, there is a certain people scattered abroad and dispersed among the people, in all the provinces of your kingdom. And their laws are different from all people, neither do they keep the king’s laws. And it is not for the king’s gain to allow them to live. [MKJV]
” …a certain people…”. The word Haman used made it sound like it was a small group of rabble-rousers scattered throughout the Kingdom. The king must have accepted this. Probable reason? He had not previously known of these Haman defined few troublemakers. Within the deceiving words so carefully chosen by Haman. He left the impression that somehow these people did not keep the laws of the Kingdom. This is a false implication. Most Jews kept the laws of the land, mostly to not draw attention to themselves. Within Judaism there are laws of worship that have no conflict with the laws of the Medes and Persians. Haman left that detail out of his plea to the King.
NOTE: The name Haman and Hitler had similar intention. This intention of both evil men is common amongst the Muslim nations and Hamas.
Esther 3:9 If it pleases the king, let it be written to destroy them; and I will pay ten thousand talents of silver to the hands of those who do the work, to bring it into the king’s treasuries.
Add this to one’s thoughts of Esther, Haman, the Jews, Mordecai, etc. This is not an offer by Haman to pay a bribe out of his own pockets. He knew that much wealth had been obtained by the business-minded character of the Jewish people. The ancient saying of “follow the money trail” applies here. In most situation throughout history, the Israelites have been and continue to be blessed with financial success. Much if not most of Hollywood is run by Jews. Banks and financial institutions, newspaper, magazine and electronic publications are operated by if not owned by Jews. Haman expected to collect the ten thousand talents of silver by *taking the properties and assets of the Jews he planned to slaughter.
NOTE: *It is estimated that 30% of Hitler’s war machine was financed by confiscated properties of the Jews in Germany. There is little reason to consider elsewise per Haman’s anticipated windfall of wealth. His portion would far exceed King Xerxes’ wealth. AKA: Ahasuerus.
Esther 3:11 Joseph Benson in his commentary on this verse puts it this way:
[King Ahasuerus) The silver is given to thee [Haman] — Keep it for thy own use, I do not desire it. I accept thy offer for the deed.
King Xerxes (Ahasuerus) probably had no clue of the financial bonanza awaiting Haman once he confiscates Jewish properties. One should consider that Haman knew it well. Note that in verse 12 Haman was very inclusive in all legal wording and matters considering the destruction of these “rabble-rousers” he suggested to be destroyed. The identities of these people to who Haman wished to destroy never came up in his conversation with the King.
Esther 3:13…a summary of Haman’s completeness of their destruction and elimination.
- sent by the runners
- into all the king’s provinces,
- to destroy, to kill, and to cause to perish, all Jews, both young and old, little children and women,
- in one day,
This evil man of Esau lineage wanted to be as complete as possible, all in one day. He left little ground, if any, uncovered for their elimination. Instead, the opposite happened (keep reading in our next few chapter narrative commentaries).
Esther 315b “And the king and Haman sat down to drink. But the city, Shushan, was perplexed”. This casual approach by King Ahasuerus (Xerxes) showed how little he knew or understood about the designs of Haman. The city of Susa (Shushan) was perplexed. This confused the citizens of Susa. Why is this simple thought of perplexation in all of their minds? Perhaps the people remembered Daniel. He administered out of the city of Susa only a few years earlier.
Next narrative commentary: Esther 4. Queen Esther comes back into the events once again.
Rev. Dr. Jstark