Esther 3

Haman is angry with Mordecai

1 After some time, King Xerxes gave one of his officers greater authority. The officer's name was Haman. He was the son of Hammedatha, a descendant of Agag. Haman became the most important officer who served the king. 2 The king commanded that all the royal officers at the king's gate must bend down low down to Haman. So they all gave Haman honour when he passed them. Only Mordecai would not bend down and give honour to Haman.

3:2We do not know why Mordecai refused to give honour to Haman. Perhaps it was because Haman's father was a descendant of Amalek, through Agag. The Israelites and the Amalekites were always enemies. See Exodus 17:16.

3 The officers at the king's gate asked Mordecai, ‘Why do you not obey the king's command?’ 4 They warned Mordecai every day. But he would not agree to bend down low to Haman. So the officers told Haman about this. Mordecai had told them that he was a Jew. So they wanted to know if Haman would let Mordecai do this.

5 When Haman realized that Mordecai would not give him honour, he became very angry. 6 But he did not want to destroy only Mordecai. Now he knew that Mordecai was a Jew, he decided to destroy all the Jews who lived in Xerxes' whole kingdom.

Haman decides to kill all the Jews

7 Haman asked his advisors when would be the right time to make this happen. He asked them in the first month of the year (Nisan), during Xerxes' 12th year as king. Haman's advisors threw dice to decide the right time to destroy the Jews. The dice chose the 12th month of the year (Adar). The dice were called ‘Purim’.

8 Then Haman said to King Xerxes, ‘There is a group of people who live in many regions of your kingdom. They have different customs to all the other people. They refuse to obey the laws of your kingdom. It is not good for you to let them live among all the other people in your kingdom. 9 If you agree, we should send out a command to destroy them. Then I will give 10,000 talents of silver to the king, so that your officers can do this work.’

3:910,000 talents of silver was a very large amount of money.

10 The king took his special ring from his finger and he gave it to Hammedatha's son, Haman, the Jews' great enemy. 11 He said to Haman, ‘Keep your money. You should do anything that you want with these people.’

3:10Any law with the mark of the king's special ring on it had the king's authority. When the king gave his special ring to Haman, he was giving Haman his royal authority.

12 On the 13th day of the first month, Haman asked the king's secretaries to come to him. They wrote Haman's commands in letters to the king's rulers and officers in every region. They wrote the letters in the languages that people spoke in the different regions. Haman used the authority of King Xerxes and he marked the letters with the king's special ring.

3:12Haman used the king's authority to send his command to destroy the Jews. But the king did not know that it was the Jews that Haman wanted to destroy. And he did not know that Queen Esther was a Jew.

13 Men delivered the letters to all the regions of the kingdom. Haman's command said that on the 13th day of the 12th month (Adar) people should completely destroy and kill all the Jews. They should kill old people and young people, women and children. Then they should take all the Jew's valuable things for themselves. 14 Haman sent copies of his command to every region, so that it would be read aloud to the people. Everyone would know what the law said, and everyone would be ready on the right day.

15 King Xerxes told his men to take the letters quickly to all the people. They also read the law to the people in Susa city. Then Haman and the king sat down to drink wine together. But the people in the city were very upset.