King Xerxes rewarded Haman. Haman was from the family of Agag and his father was Hammedatha.

Chapter 3

v1 Some time later, King Xerxes rewarded Haman. Haman was from the family of Agag and his father was Hammedatha. The king gave more authority to Haman than to any of the other important people.

Verse 1 In Chapter 2, we learned that Mordecai saved the king’s life. In Chapter 6, we shall read that the king did not reward Mordecai until much later. Chapter 3 starts with the news that King Xerxes rewarded Haman. The king made Haman very important. We do not know why the king rewarded Haman.

Haman was from the family of Agag. Agag had been the king of the people called Amalekites. Mordecai was from the family of a man called Kish. Kish was also the name of King Saul’s father. The Amalekites were the enemies of King Saul. (See 1 Samuel chapter 15 and 2 Samuel 1:1-16.)

v2 All the king’s officials who were at the king’s gate gave special honour to Haman. The king had ordered them to do that. Mordecai did not give special honour to Haman.

v3 The king’s officials who were at the king’s gate said to Mordecai, ‘You are not obeying the king’s command.’ v4 They spoke to him every day, but he did not listen to them. Therefore, the officials told Haman in order to see what he would do about Mordecai’s actions. Mordecai had told them that he was a *Jew.

Verses 2-4 People often gave special honour to old or important people. The *Jews did this too. (See Genesis 33:3; 1 Samuel 20:41; 1 Samuel 24:8.) Mordecai did not give special honour to Haman. If the king had give this command, maybe Haman did not really deserve honour. Maybe Mordecai thought that he should only give that sort of honour to God. Mordecai had told the king’s servants that he was a *Jew. A *Jew would not want to give special honour to someone who belonged to the people called Amalekites.

God’s people sometimes have to be different from other people.

v5 Haman saw that Mordecai did not give great honour to him. He was very angry. v6 The king’s officials had told Haman about Mordecai’s nationality. So, Haman did not want merely to kill Mordecai. He wanted to kill all the *Jews (the nation of Mordecai) in all the countries that Xerxes ruled.

Verses 5-6 Haman saw that Mordecai did not give special honour to him. That made Haman very angry. He was so angry that he wanted to kill all *Jews, not just Mordecai. Perhaps he thought that other *Jews would not respect him. They might follow Mordecai’s example.

The devil often makes other people really hate God’s people. This is because God’s people love God. And the devil also opposes God’s people because they obey God.

v7 Xerxes had been king for almost 12 years. In the first month (the month called Nisan), Haman ordered his officials to throw the *Purim. This was to choose a special day and month. The *Purim selected the month called Adar (the 12th month).

Verse 7 Haman wanted to select a lucky date when he could kill the *Jews. So he told his officials to throw the *Purim (special stones with numbers on them). The way that the stones fell on the ground would show the best day and month for some act. God made sure that the *Purim stones chose a date nearly a year later. God had a special plan to save the *Jews from Haman’s plot.

v8 Haman said to king Xerxes, ‘There is a certain nation. Its people live in all parts of your *kingdom. Their laws are different from everyone else’s laws. These people do not obey the king’s laws. It will not benefit the king if he allows them to stay.

v9 Here is an idea that the king might like. The king should issue a law to kill these people. I will put 350 tons of silver into the hands of those who do the king’s work.’ v10 The king took his ring of authority off his hand. He gave it to Haman son of Hammedatha, the *descendant of Agag, who was the enemy of the *Jews. v11 The king said to Haman, ‘The silver and the people are yours. You can do whatever you want with them.’

Verses 8-11 Haman told the king about a certain nation. But he did not say which nation. Haman pretended that he was trying to assist the king.

Haman said that this particular nation did not obey the king’s laws. The *Jews did have the laws of God. But they usually obeyed the king’s laws too. Mordecai was a *Jew but he was also loyal to the king (Esther 2:22).

Haman offered the king a huge sum of money. It seems that Haman was already very rich. But he would probably take all the property of the *Jews that he killed. The king should have been surprised that Haman was willing to give such a large amount.

Xerxes gave his ring to Haman. This action meant that Haman had the king’s authority to carry out his plot.

The king answered ‘The silver is yours.’ This might mean ‘Keep the money.’ But the king was probably just being polite. We know from history that the king was rich and greedy. Mordecai believed that Haman had promised to pay the money (Esther 4:7).

v12 On the 13th day of the first month, Haman called for the king’s writers. He told them what to write. They wrote to all the important people. And they wrote to those who ruled over all the nations in the *kingdom. They wrote in the language of each nation. They put King Xerxes’ name and the mark of the king’s ring of authority on the letters. v13 Men ran and they carried the letters to all the king’s districts. The letters ordered people to kill all the *Jews. This included young people and old people and also women and children. The letters also ordered people to take and to keep the *Jews’ possessions. This should happen on a certain day. That day was the 13th of Adar, which is the 12th month. v14 The letters announced the new law to the people of every district. The law ordered the people to be ready for that day.

v15 This was the king’s command. So the men who ran with the letters went out quickly. They announced the law in the castle at Susa. The king and Haman sat down to drink. But the people in Susa were confused.

Verses 11-15 The king had given his authority to Haman. Haman could make whatever law he wanted to make. He wrote the law in all the languages of the *kingdom. Everyone needed to hear the order to kill the *Jews. When the *Jews heard the law, they had a long time to worry about it. This law confused the people in Susa. They wondered why the king had made such a law. The people were sad. They probably did not hate the *Jews. But Haman and the king sat down to drink. They were pleased.