Haman’s Plot against the Jews
1After these things King Ahasuerus (Xerxes) promoted Haman, the son of Hammedatha the [a]Agagite, and advanced him and [b]established his authority over all the officials who were with him. 2 All the king’s servants who were at the king’s gate [in royal service] bowed down and honored and paid homage to Haman; for this is what the king had commanded in regard to him. But Mordecai [a Jew of the tribe of Benjamin] neither bowed down nor paid homage [to him]. 3 Then the king’s servants who were at the king’s gate said to Mordecai, “Why are you disregarding the king’s command?” 4 Now it happened when they had spoken to him day after day and he would not listen to them, that they told Haman to see whether Mordecai’s reason [for his behavior] would stand [as valid]; for he had told them that he was a Jew. 5 When Haman saw that Mordecai neither bowed down nor paid homage to him, he was furious. 6 But he disdained laying hands on Mordecai alone, for they had told him who the people of Mordecai were (his nationality); so Haman determined to destroy all the Jews, the people of Mordecai, who lived throughout the kingdom of Ahasuerus.
7 In the first month, the month of Nisan (Mar-Apr), in the [c]twelfth year of King Ahasuerus, Haman cast Pur, that is, the lot, cast before him day after day [to find a lucky day to approach the king], month after month, until the twelfth month, the month of Adar (Feb-Mar). 8 Then Haman said to King Ahasuerus, “There is a certain people scattered [abroad] and dispersed among the peoples in all the provinces of your kingdom; their laws are different from those of all other people, and they do not observe the king’s laws. Therefore it is not in the king’s interest to [tolerate them and] let them stay here. 9 If it pleases the king, let it be decreed that they be destroyed, and I will pay ten thousand talents of silver into the hands of those who carry out the king’s business, to put into the king’s treasuries.” 10 Then the king removed his signet ring from his hand [that is, the special ring which was used to seal his letters] and gave it to Haman, the son of Hammedatha the Agagite, the enemy of the Jews. 11 The king said to Haman, “The silver is given to you, and the people also, to do with them as you please.”
12 Then the king’s scribes (secretaries) were summoned on the thirteenth day of the first month, and it was written just as Haman commanded to the king’s satraps (chief rulers), and to the governors who were over each province and to the officials of each people, each province according to its script (writing), each people according to their own language; being written in the name of King Ahasuerus and sealed with the king’s signet ring. 13 Letters were sent by couriers to all the king’s provinces to destroy, to kill and to annihilate all the Jews, both young and old, women and children, in one day, the thirteenth [day] of the twelfth month, which is the month of Adar (March 7, 473 b.c.), and to seize their belongings as plunder. 14 A copy of the edict to be decreed as law in every province was published to all the peoples, so that they would be ready for this day. 15 The couriers went out hurriedly by order of the king, and the decree was issued at the citadel in Susa. And while the king and Haman sat down to drink, the city of Susa was perplexed [by the unusual and alarming decree].
- Esther 3:1 The origin of this ethnic term is unclear. It probably refers to descendants of King Agag of the Amalekites, who were longstanding tribal enemies of the Jews. If so, it would explain the natural animosity between Haman and Mordecai.
- Esther 3:1 Lit set his seat.
- Esther 3:7 At this time Esther had been queen about four or five years.