Esther 3 Commentary


Haman plots evil (3:1-15)

Some time later, a proud and ambitious man named Haman was promoted to the position of chief minister in the Empire. He apparently demanded that people honour him almost as if he were a god. Mordecai refused, letting it be known that he was a Jew, and claiming that to give Haman such honour was against his Jewish religion. Haman was furious, and decided to get his revenge by killing all the Jews in the Empire (3:1-6). (Esther had now been queen just over four years; cf. 2:16; 3:7).


Being superstitious, Haman cast lots to find out the best day on which to carry out his murderous plan. He gained the king’s permission by pointing out how the wealth seized from the Jews would enrich the royal treasury. The king even gave his ring to Haman, which meant that Haman could put the royal seal on any order he wished to make. However, God was clearly in control of the casting of the lots, with the result that Haman would have to wait eleven months before he could carry out his plan (7-11).

Haman dared not bring forward the date of his ‘lucky day’. He therefore went ahead and issued the decree, announcing that in eleven months time all Jews would be destroyed. God, meanwhile, could work in the affairs of the government and reverse the force of the decree (12-15).

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