INTRODUCTION TO ESTHER CHAPTER 3
Haman is promoted to 2nd in command and power goes to his head. He struts like a banty roster and shows his authority like a lighted billboard. He remembers that the Jews were ordered to destroy the Amalekites and now he plans their destruction. They throw the dice till they arrived at a lucky day and set it as the time to destroy all the Jews.
EXPOSITION TO ESTHER CHAPTER 3
1 After these things did king Ahasuerus promote Haman the son of Hammedatha the Agagite, and advanced him, and set his seat bove all the princes that were with him.
Haman was descended from Agag the king whom Samuel had told King Saul to destroy.
I Samuel 15:2-5 “Thus saith the LORD of hosts, I remember that which Amalek did to Israel, how he laid wait for him in the way, when he came up from Egypt. Now go and smite Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and spare them not; but slay both man and woman, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and ass. And Saul gathered the people together, and numbered them in Telaim, two hundred thousand footmen, and ten thousand men of Judah. And Saul came to a city of Amalek, and laid wait in the valley.”
2 And all the king’s servants,that were in the king’s gate, bowed and reverenced Haman: for the king had so commanded concerning him. But Mordecai bowed not, nor did him reverence.
Probably on religious grounds Mordecai refused to bow for it was considered worship and he was not about to worship an Agagite.
3 Then the king’s servants, which were in the king’s gate, said unto Mordecai, Why transgressest thou the king’s commandment?
Mordecai decides to obey God rather than man and is willing to suffer the consequences. His precedence set a standard for God’s people for all time.
These meddlesome servants were prying into the matter and trying to stir up trouble.
4 Now it came to pass, when they spake daily unto him, and he hearkened not unto them, that they told Haman, to see whether Mordecai’s matters would stand: for he had told them that he was a Jew.
His conscience forbade him to bow before Haman. They want Haman to see if his excuse as a Jew would be valid.
5 And when Haman saw that Mordecai bowed not, nor did him reverence, then was Haman full of wrath.
Haman was as angry as an open wound.
6 And he thought scorn to lay hands on Mordecai alone; for they had shewed him the people of Mordecai: wherefore Haman sought to destroy all the Jews that were throughout the whole kingdom of Ahasuerus, even the people of Mordecai.
Haman was as wily as a weasel at work. Thoughts were planted in his mind and now he formulates a larger plan on how to get rid of Mordecai by exterminating the entire Jewish race.
7 In the first month, that is, the month Nisan, in the twelfth year of king Ahasuerus, they cast Pur, that is, the lot, before Haman from day to day, and from month to month, to the twelfth month, that is, the month Adar.
They kept casting lots to see which month would be their lucky time to eliminate the Jews and the lot fell on the month of Adar which corresponds to our March or April.
8 And Haman said unto king Ahasuerus, There is a certain people scattered abroad and dispersed among the people in all the provinces of thy kingdom; and their laws are diverse from all people; neither keep they the king’s laws: therefore it is not for the king’s profit to suffer them.
Haman is careful not to use the word Jew but like trial lawyer he describes them as scattered─dispersed—diverse and profiles them as a people that have no respect for the king’s laws. His recommendation to the king is that they should not be permitted to continue in Persia.
9 If it please the king, let it be written that they may be destroyed: and I will pay ten thousand talents of silver to the hands of those that have the charge of the business, to bring it into the king’s treasuries.
Haman submits a plan in which he will finance the project and bring revenues into the treasury. Their property and possessions would be impounded and placed into the royal treasury.
10 And the king took his ring from his hand, and gave it unto Haman the son of Hammedatha the Agagite, the Jews’ enemy.
The plan is working like a well oiled machine. The king trusts the judgment of Haman and seeks no other council. All Haman needs to do is prepare the documents by his staff and he will stamp the approval on all of them.
11 And the king said unto Haman, The silver is given to thee, the people also, to do with them as it seemeth good to thee.
The king tells Haman to keep his money and do what he thinks best to this group of people who Haman describes as weird.
12 Then were the king’s scribes called on the thirteenth day of the first month, and there was written according to all that Haman had commanded unto the king’s lieutenants, and to the governors that were over every province, and to the rulers of every people of every province according to the writing thereof, and to every people after their language; in the name of king Ahasuerus was it written, and sealed with the king’s ring.
Persia boasted one of the first efficient communication systems. The king kept men and horses stationed a day’s journey apart on all major highways. Each messenger rode for a day and relayed the message on to the next station. “Nothing mortal travels so fast as these Persian messengers,” wrote the historian Herodotus. The pony express of the USA was patterned after the system in Persia. Neither snow, nor rain, nor heat, nor night, could stop their course.
13 And the letters were sent by posts 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, even upon the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, which is the month Adar, and to take the spoil of them for a prey.
The orders were to wipe the Jews of the face of this earth and to take all of their property and belongings.
14 The copy of the writing for a commandment to be given in every province was published unto all people, that they should be ready against that day.
A copy of the edict was sent to all provinces and to all authorities and posted in the town square and public buildings.
15 The posts went out, being hastened by the king’s commandment, and the decree was given in Shushan the palace. And the king and Haman sat down to drink; but the city Shushan was perplexed.
The king and Haman are having a drink and celebrating that the Jews are going to be exterminated. The city was shocked and confused over such a decision. Everyone was at a loss and baffled that the Jewish race was to be massacred and all of their possessions given to the royal treasury.