Biblical Story Of Haman And Lessons
Haman, the son of Hammedatha the Agagite was a Persian nobleman during the reign of King Ahasuerus. He was a highly placed official in the palace of the king in the city of Shushan.
The king promoted Haman and set him above all the princes that were with him. As a result of this promotion, the king commanded all the other officials and servants at the king’s gate to kneel and bow to Haman as a sign of respect to him. Everybody obeyed the king’s command except Mordecai, a Jew who always sat at the gate. This Mordecai was the cousin of the queen, but no one knew of his relationship with the queen.
Being a Jew, Mordecai refused to bow or kneel to Haman; because the Jews only kneeled and bowed to God. This refusal of Mordecai to bow to Haman made him angry and offended. So he decided to punish Mordecai for his insubordination, but he would also punish all the Jews in Shushan with him.
Consequent upon his decision, he set up gallows to hang Mordecai on based on the advice of his wife and friends. He also made the king sign a decree to destroy all the Jews in Shushan.
However, his plans got foiled, and his entire wish for Mordecai and the Jews boomerang, and he was hanged instead, together with his household.
HAMAN’S PLAN TO DESTROY THE JEWS
Haman plotted to exterminate the Jews from the land of Shushan, as a form of punishment against Mordecai who refused to kneel or bow to him. For months, on a daily basis, they cast lots in front of Haman to decide the most appropriate day to carry out this evil act. Then in the twelfth month, he decided to execute his plot.
In addition to the plot, Haman used his position to influence the king to sign a decree that will put an end to the lives of Mordecai and all the Jews in the land. Haman subsequently pledged to pay into the king’s treasury ten thousand talents of silver should the Jews be exterminated. In response, the king removed his ring and gave it to Haman as a sign of his support for whatever he wanted to do.
Haman called the scribes and gave them letters to deliver to all the provinces of the king, giving them charge to destroy all the Jews found therein. The date for the supposed genocide was the thirteenth day of the twelfth month.
MORDECAI ASKED ESTHER FOR HELP
When Mordecai got to know about Haman’s plot to exterminate the Jews, he was very sad. He put on a sackcloth and put ashes on his head, wailing throughout the streets. He got to the palace but was denied access into the court because of the sackcloth he had on.
Meanwhile, in the provinces, the Jews fasted, wailed, wept and put on sackcloth. It was later brought to the knowledge of the queen that his uncle, Mordecai was outside the gates of the palace, crying and wailing in sackcloth. She sent her maids with clothes for him, but he refused. He later sent her a message, informing her about the planned genocide of the Jews. He told her to plead with the king on behalf of the Jews. Esther sent him a message that she had not been called to appear before the king for the past thirty days. Mordecai answered her thus, “Think not within yourself that you shall escape in the king’s house, more than the Jews. If you hold your peace at this time, deliverance shall arise to the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house shall be destroyed; who knows whether you are in the kingdom for such a time as this?”
Esther made a commitment to go in to the king against the law. She instructed all the Jews to fast for three days, she would also fast with her maidens. She said, “If I perish, I perish!”
Esther went in to the king and found favour in his sight. He stretched forth the golden scepter in his hands, and asked her to make any request even to the half of his kingdom. She then asked the king and Haman to come for a banquet she organized. When asked for her request, she said she would ask during the banquet on the next day.
HAMAN’S HATRED FOR MORDECAI
Haman went to his house with joy that he was invited to a banquet by the queen, which he considered as an honour. When he got to the king’s gate and saw Mordecai refused to bow to him, his hatred for him became more intense.
As soon as he got home, he told his wife Zeresh and his friends, he recounted all his promotion, wealth and honor to them; but that he was not satisfied with all those until he saw the end of Mordecai.
His wife and friends advised him to prepare gallows of fifty cubits high, and ask the king for Mordecai to be hanged on it. The suggestion pleased him so much!
HAMAN’S PLOT WAS FOILED
On that same night, the king could not sleep, and he asked for the books of records to be brought and read to him. It was found in the record that Mordecai foiled the attempted assassination of the king. The king asked if anything had been done to honor Mordecai, his servants replied in the negative.
Coincidentally, Haman was in the king’s court at that time. Therefore, he was summoned. The king asked him what honor to be done to a person the king delights in. He thought that he was the person, and he listed what he felt should be done to that man.
The king then commanded him to do what he proposed. Haman did as the king commanded, and heralded Mordecai throughout the streets. He went back to his house mourning. As he was narrating his woes, the king sent for him to come to the banquet.
HAMAN HANGED ON HIS GALLOWS
At the banquet, the king again asked Queen Esther what she wanted. Then Esther told the king of Haman’s plan to exterminate her people. The king was furious and asked her who the mastermind of such an act was. She pointed to Haman.
The king stood up in anger and went to the garden. Haman, seeing he was done for, fell on the queen’s bed to beg for his life. The king walked in and presumed he wanted to rape the queen.
However, one of the king’s eunuchs told the king about the fifty cubit high gallows which Haman prepared to hang Mordecai on. The king therefore commanded him to be hung on it. Then the king’s anger was pacified. Haman’s hatred for the Jews resulted in his own death and destruction. This is evident from the word of God in Proverbs 26:27, that “Whoever digs a pit will fall into it; if someone rolls a stone, it will roll back on them.”
On the day appointed for the destruction of the Jews, it was their enemies who were destroyed instead. The ten sons of Haman were also hanged.
Haman’s house was given to Queen Esther, and she set Mordecai over it.
LESSONS FROM THE STORY OF HAMAN
There are several lessons to learn from the biblical story of Haman. Some of them are:
- Irrespective of our status in life, we are not without enemies. The enemy walks about seeking whom to destroy. It does not matter whether you are oblivious of his existence; the enemy is constantly plotting the eternal extermination of the children of God.
- Mordecai was not ignorant of the enemy and his plans. Christians should likewise not be ignorant of the devices of the enemy. We should be watchful and alert always.
- We are strategically placed wherever we are by God for a purpose. Therefore, as Christians, find your purpose and fulfill it! In our immediate environment, workplace, local assembly, etc, we should ensure our impact is felt. Esther was placed in the palace of King Ahasuerus in order to foil the plot of Haman. Esther used her position to intercede for her people, the Jews.
- In whatever situation we find ourselves, we should not leave God out of the equation. The Jews knew that it was only God that could save them from the hands of the wicked enemy. They therefore cried unto Him, fasted and humbled themselves before the mighty Saviour. He eventually came through for them.
- We should dare to take big risks, as long as the expected result is worth it. Queen Esther took a big risk of going into the king without being summoned. She said, “If I perish, I perish.” She dared to take this risk because she knew that the benefit far outweighed the risk being taken.
- God is capable of catching the enemy in their own wickedness. He is known for turning the plots of the wicked against him. The Scripture says, “Whoever digs a pit shall fall into it….”