In Est 3.1-15, after Mordechai’s reputation has been established in Est 2.22, the king elevates Haman to power to make his fall even greater. Haman is the son of Hammedatha the Agagite. He would have never been born had Saul been successful in wiping out the Amalekites. But there is a spiritual lesson here to be learned.
Mordechai and Esther are descendants of Saul and this will be important. The fact that a descendant of Agag the Amalekite, who Saul allowed to live (1 Sam 15.9), and a descendant of Saul will have a confrontation in the Book of Esther shows that the Lord is behind these events to give us a picture of what would happen at the coming of the Messiah (Rom 15.4). Saul is a picture of Adam who fell as the first king over the Kingdom of God, and Mordechai is a picture of the Messiah who will be successful in overcoming the evil of the False Messiah, pictured by Haman.
Mordechai would not bow to Haman at the king’s gate, and this homage was idolatrous in the mind of Mordechai. This filled Haman with anger, so he persuaded the king to pass a law requiring everyone to bow to him, but Mordechai still wouldn’t do it (3.2). Besides, he was an Amalekite and he wasn’t going to submit to that. The rabbis have a tradition that says Haman had an image of a false god around his neck. It has always been permissible for a Jew to bow in respect to an official, but not when there was an idol involved. This alludes to the False Messiah who will have an image of himself made and requiring all people to worship it. This is referred to in Scripture as the Abomination of Desolation.
As a result, Haman begins to plot against Mordechai and all the Jews to have them destroyed, just like Pharaoh, Herod, Hitler and the False Messiah will do. Four years after the king’s marriage to Esther, a lot (pur) was cast before Haman day to day and month to month to find his course of action, and it was decided that they should destroy the Jews on the 13th of Adar, nearly a year away. God overruled the lot giving time for the plan of God to be played out for their redemption (Prov 16.33). Now he must get permission.
Haman complains to the king that there is a “certain people” in his kingdom who are different. He says their laws are different (Torah) and they do not keep the king’s laws, so it would be in the king’s interest that they should be exterminated. The background for this attitude and charges can be seen in Ezra 4.4-7,12-13 with the early returnees. This is also like Antiochus Epiphanes, Hitler, Stalin and others who persecuted the Jews because they follow Yehovah and the Torah. Stalin’s death will be associated with Purim as we shall see later in this teaching.
Haman said he would pay ten thousand talents of silver into the hands of those who carry out this business, and to put into the king’s treasuries because of the loss of the taxes and tribute that the king would lose once the Jews were killed. He would also repay this loss with the spoil that would be taken from the Jews after they have been destroyed (v 9).
So, the king took his signet ring and gave it to Haman as a token of his power to carry out his plan, saying he could do whatever he wanted to do. The king seems very cold here and he doesn’t even care that he just agreed to exterminate a whole people living under his protection, or he thought it was just a few rebellious individuals. Then the king summoned his scribes on the 13th day of the first month (Nisan) and an order was written out, just as Haman had determined. This law could not be revoked now and now the drama begins. Letters were sent out by messengers to destroy, kill and to annihilate all the Jews in one day, the 13th day of Adar, the twelfth month.
The king and Haman sat down to drink and the city of Shushan was in confusion. They were shocked at such a bloody scheme against a people they knew to be law-abiding citizens. With such a bloody mob unleashed nobody knew where it would end.
Now, as we can see, this event happened during the season of Passover, and in one year the Jews were to be exterminated. So we are getting a hint that this story has eschatological implications. Little did Haman know that his moves against the Jews was a move against Yehovah himself.
Est 4.1-17 begins to tell us that on the same day (Nisan 13) Mordechai hears of the plot he goes to Esther through an intermediary named Hatach. He tells him what is going on and wants him to tell her to use her position to help stop Haman. The messenger goes to Esther and gives her the message. But Esther can only see the king if he calls for her, and if he holds out his golden scepter. She also says she hasn’t seen him for 30 days, implying that he may not be as fond of her as at the first, and the messenger returns to Mordechai with the news.
Then Mordechai tells him to tell Esther that she will not escape these evil plans just because she is in the palace. He says in Est 4.14, “For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place and you and your father’s house will perish.”
Now, the word for “silent” in v 14 is used in Num 30.4 when talking about hearing a vow and remaining silent. If done, the vow will stand. Then in Num 30.13 it says a husband can “annul” the vow. The word there is “peram” and it has the same root as “purim” (Est 9.24-26). Mordechai goes on to say in v 14, “And who knows whether you have not attained royalty for such a time as this.” In other words, God’s providence may have placed her there as his instrument to “annul” the vow of Haman to exterminate the Jews. If she doesn’t, the vow will stand.
Esther tells the messenger to tell Mordechai to have the Jews assemble in Shushan. They are to fast for three days, night and day. She will do the same thing, then go into the king without being summoned. And she says, “If I perish, I perish” and literally it says, ” What I have lost, I have lost.” Esther will be committing a crime by doing this, and the penalty is death unless he extends to her his golden scepter.
Spiritually, the scepter is a picture of Messiah (Gen 49.10; Num 24.27). We have said before that the king is a picture of Yehovah whose laws cannot be broken or rescinded (the Torah cannot be “done away with”). The scepter is a picture of Messiah and unless God extends the Messiah to us, we are under the death penalty for our crimes. She must humble herself and hope that he will offer her “life” as she comes before him as a living sacrifice. We must do the same thing before Yehovah.
Now, remember, this was Nisan 13 and they will fast till Nisan 16. There is no indication that the Jews in captivity kept Passover or any festival because they were not in Jerusalem and there was no Temple or functioning priesthood. We know they did not keep Passover here because they were fasting and praying on Nisan 14, the day of Passover. Esther was placed in the palace for such a time as this, and there will be eschatological pictures emerging as we move forward.
Esther 5.1-14 tells us that on “the third day” (Nisan 16) the praying and fasting has been accomplished and now Esther appears in the inner court of the king’s palace, and the king was sitting on his royal throne. Esther already has seen what happens when a queen disobeys the king’s command, and to approach the king without being summoned was as dangerous as not coming when you are summoned.
Yehovah has already given Esther grace in his eyes, and Esther goes in, and the king extended to Esther the golden scepter. By doing this he is taking her under his protection. He asks her, “What is troubling you, Queen Esther?” Perhaps the three days of fasting was showing on her face. He said he would grant to her “even to the half of the kingdom” which was courtly hyperbole.
She had something very important to ask him, but not yet. She requested that the king and Haman come to a banquet. She knew he would be more relaxed when she gave him her request. She may have been showing an interest in Haman to get his jealousy working in her favor against Haman. She was setting a trap for Haman so he would not have anytime to form a conspiracy. The king was fickle and didn’t want him to change his mind about having Haman there.
The name of God (YHVH or Yehovah) is encoded in the phrase, “yavo ha melek v’ Haman ha yom” and it is one of several places where the name can be found (1.20, 5.13,7.7). This is Nisan 16 and the banquet was for later that day. At the banquet the king asks her what her petition is. So she says, “My petition is: if I have found favor in the sight of the king, and it please the king to grant my petition and do what I request, may the king and Haman come to the banquet which I shall prepare for them, and tomorrow I will do as the king says.”
She is planting the seeds of jealousy (possibly) here by placing Haman in the same place as the king when she said, “for them” in v 8. The king knows something is on her mind because she will not have risked her life just to ask him to come to a banquet. So he again asks her about her request (v 6). He knows this is personal to her and says he will grant it “even to the half of the kingdom.”
Well, needless to say, Haman is really pleased with himself about such an honor. His pride is evident in v 9, but as he goes home he sees Mordechai, and he does not stand before Haman, and Haman is again filled with rage. Haman disguised his anger and controlled himself, but he wanted to kill Mordechai even before the date of the evil decree. The False Messiah will also be blinded by his hatred for the Jews in the Birth-pains, and will make war on the Jewish people (Rev 12.1-17).
When Haman got to his house, he sent for his wife Zeresh and his friends, and he recounted to them the “glory of his riches and the number of his sons (ten), and every instance where the king had magnified him, and how he had promoted him above the princes and servants of the king.” His pride is evident as he says, “Even Queen Esther let no one but me come with the king to the banquet which she had prepared; and tomorrow also I am invited by her with the king. Yet all of this does not satisfy me every time I see Mordechai the Jew sitting at the king’s gate.”
Then Zeresh his wife and all his friends said to him, “Have a gallows 50 cubits high (80 feet high so all could see) made and in the morning ask the king to have Mordechai hanged on it, then go joyfully with the king to the banquet.” The advice pleased Haman, so he had the gallows made. All of this was without the king’s permission.
In a Bible Code, starting with the resh (r) in “Mordechai” in v 14 and counting in sequential digression (11,10,9,8,7,6 etc) it spells “ra’ah satan olah” meaning “evil Satan of the Holocaust.” Haman could not wait eleven more months to kill Mordechai, now he only had to wait 24 more hours. But Haman did not realize that all these things coming to a head spelled his own doom. This will also be the case with the False Messiah. Everything he will do will come upon his own head when Yeshua returns.
We will pick up in Est 6.1-14 in Part 4.