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Monday, June 24th, 2024
the Week of Proper 7 / Ordinary 12
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Bible Commentaries
Esther 3

Brown's Commentary on Selected Book of the BibleBrown's Commentary

Verses 1-15

John Brown

Esther 3

Haman Ancient Day Hitler


A. So far in our study of Esther, we have seen Queen Vashti give up her crown for not parading herself in front of the Kings drunken friends.

1. Last week we saw how cousin Mordecai arranged for Esther to participate in a beauty contest for the selection of a new queen.

a) Esther won, she is now queen and cousin Mordecai sits at the gate as an elder to the king!

b) In that position he uncovered and revealed a plot to kill the king, which gained him favor with King Xerxes.

B. This morning the focus turns to an evil character by the name of Haman.

1. A "little" man by all the standards that make up a real man!

a) He is petty, self-centered, and full of hate and his focus is God's people the Jews!


A. Est_3:1 (NKJV) After these things King Ahasuerus promoted Haman, the son of Hammedatha the Agagite, and advanced him and set his seat above all the princes who [were] with him.

1. In 1Sa_15:2-11 (NKJV) the Lord said. . .`I will punish Amalek [for] what he did to Israel, how he ambushed him on the way when he came up from Egypt.

3 attack Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and do not spare them. But kill both man and woman, infant and nursing child, ox and sheep, camel and donkey.' "

4 So Saul gathered the people together and numbered them in Telaim, two hundred thousand foot soldiers and ten thousand men of Judah.

5 And Saul came to a city of Amalek, and lay in wait in the valley.

6 Then Saul said to the Kenites, "Go, depart, get down from among the Amalekites, lest I destroy you with them. For you showed kindness to all the children of Israel when they came up out of Egypt." So the Kenites departed from among the Amalekites.

7 And Saul attacked the Amalekites, from Havilah all the way to Shur, which is east of Egypt.

8 He also took Agag king of the Amalekites alive, and utterly destroyed all the people with the edge of the sword.

9 But Saul and the people spared Agag and the best of the sheep, the oxen, the fatlings, the lambs, and all [that] [was] good, and were unwilling to utterly destroy them. But everything despised and worthless, that they utterly destroyed.

10 Now the word of the Lord came to Samuel, saying,

11 "I greatly regret that I have set up Saul [as] king, for he has turned back from following Me, and has not performed My commandments." . . .

a) Please keep in mind as we do this study, that if Saul had done what the Lord had asked him to do, this man Haman wouldn't even be in the picture!

(1) Refusing to do what the Lord asks (of any of us), always puts someone in jeopardy.

(a) If you're are single, it puts your future in jeopardy.

(b) If you're married, it puts your marriage in jeopardy.

(c) If you're a parent, it puts your family in jeopardy.

(i) The Lord doesn't just "idly" say or request something.

(ii)Even if we don't understand the reasoning, we must trust that he has a reason for what he asks of us!

(d) In this case, it was the safety of all the Jews in Persia!

(2) Haman is now "above all the princes who [were] with him "second-in-command" to the King!

B. Est_3:2 (NKJV) And all the king's servants who [were] within the king's gate bowed and paid homage to Haman, for so the king had commanded concerning him. But Mordecai would not bow or pay homage.

1. Try to get the picture here.People didn't just bow at the waist in those days, they went down on all fours with their face touching the ground!

a) It was pretty obvious to everyone, that Mordecai was the only one standing!!!

2. Here's a guy who in the past, hasn't has enough guts to admit that he was a Jew, but there is enough of the Lord in him that won't let him bow to Haman!

a) You see, God's people were commanded not to bow as an act of worship to anything, nor anyone but the Lord Himself!!

b) And even though this guy is in many ways out of the will of the Lord, he just can't bring himself to bow to Haman!

(1) Remember when you were in the world?

(2) Even as a pagan, there were some things that you just couldn't bring yourself to do nor say!

(a) For me it was using the Lord's name in vain.

C. Est_3:3-4 (NKJV) Then the king's servants who [were] within the king's gate said to Mordecai, "Why do you transgress the king's command?"

4 Now it happened, when they spoke to him daily and he would not listen to them, that they told [it] to Haman, to see whether Mordecai's words would stand; for [Mordecai] had told them that he [was] a Jew.

1. For the first time, there is something in Mordecai's life that is important enough to reveal the fact that he is Jewish!

a) In doing so he is proclaiming Deu_6:4 (NKJV) "Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord [is] one!

(1) In a pagan society, that is a pretty bold statement!!

(2) So, like good little gossips and "trouble makers" the kings servants go running back to Haman to see if Mordecai's reasoning will hold up!

D. Est_3:5-6 (NKJV) When Haman saw that Mordecai did not bow or pay him homage, Haman was filled with wrath.

6 But he disdained to lay hands on Mordecai alone, for they had told him of the people of Mordecai. Instead, Haman sought to destroy all the Jews who [were] throughout the whole kingdom of Ahasuerus--the people of Mordecai.

1. One of the beautiful properties of light is that it makes things visible!

a) As Mordecai begins to stand for the truth, Haman's "dark side" comes to the surface!

(1) Eph_5:11-13 (NKJV) And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose [them].

12 For it is shameful even to speak of those things which are done by them in secret.

13 But all things that are exposed are made manifest by the light, for whatever makes manifest is light.

b) Do you begin to see the resemblance to Hitler and Nasser, and all the other satan-empowered "little men" who can't stand it if one person in the world won't bow down to them?!?

c) Haman turns his hate to every Jew in the kingdom!

E. Est_3:7 (NKJV) In the first month, which is the month of Nisan, in the twelfth year of King Ahasuerus, they cast Pur (that [is], the lot), before Haman to determine the day and the month, until [it] [fell] [on] [the] twelfth [month], which [is] the month of Adar.

1. Here's the picture, Haman wants to succeed in his destruction of the Jews so he consults his "gods."

a) In an excavation of the ancient city of Susa in 1880-90, they discovered a quadrangular prism with the numbers 1,2,5, and 6 engraved on its sides.

b) It is believed that this is the "lot" they are talking about here, used to determine exactly when they would have the greatest success in killing the Jews.

(1) Pro_16:33 (NKJV) tells us that The lot is cast into the lap, But its every decision [is] from the Lord.

(2) So, the Lord has it fall on the last month of the year giving 11 months for the plan to be exposed!

F. Est_3:8-9 (NKJV) Then Haman said to King Ahasuerus, "There is a certain people scattered and dispersed among the people in all the provinces of your kingdom; their laws [are] different from all [other] people's, and they do not keep the king's laws. Therefore it [is] not fitting for the king to let them remain.

9 "If it pleases the king, let [a] [decree] be written that they be destroyed, and I will pay ten thousand talents of silver into the hands of those who do the work, to bring [it] into the king's treasuries."

1. Remember, the king had just come out of a very expensive war that he lost!

a) It doesn't take much for Haman to convince the king of his plan.

b) He promises to pay the assassins ten thousand talents of silver, and bring all the confiscated property into the kings treasury!!

c) Like many politicians, the money clouded the kings vision and he didn't even ask who these people were!

(1) But it is estimated that over 2 million lives were lost in his last war and that didn't seem to bother him a bit!

(2) Little did he know that Haman's planned massacre included his wife Esther whom he loved very much, for she too was Jewish!!

G. Est_3:10 (NKJV) So the king took his signet ring from his hand and gave it to Haman, the son of Hammedatha the Agagite, the enemy of the Jews.

1. In total ignorance, the king signs the death warrant for his Queen!

a) In that culture, when the Kings signet ring was pressed in the hot wax it was the same as his signature!

b) King Xerxes was giving Haman "power of attorney" by giving him his ring!

(1) Whatever Haman needed to carry out his plan he now had the power to obtain!

H. Est_3:11-13 (NKJV) And the king said to Haman, "The money and the people [are] given to you, to do with them as seems good to you."

12 Then the king's scribes were called on the thirteenth day of the first month, and [a] [decree] was written according to all that Haman commanded--to the king's satraps, to the governors who [were] over each province, to the officials of all people, to every province according to its script, and to every people in their language. In the name of King Ahasuerus it was written, and sealed with the king's signet ring.

13 And the letters were sent by couriers into all the king's provinces, to destroy, to kill, and to annihilate all the Jews, both young and old, little children and women, in one day, on the thirteenth [day] of the twelfth [month], which [is] the month of Adar, and to plunder their possessions.

1. The annihilation of the Jews becomes the "Law of The Medes and the Persians!"

a) And it is estimated that it had to be translated into at leas 127 different languages and distributed!

(1) The message was the same in all languages: On the thirteenth [day] of the twelfth [month], which [is] the month of Adar, Jews were fair game!

I. Est_3:14-15 (NKJV) A copy of the document was to be issued as law in every province, being published for all people, that they should be ready for that day.

15 The couriers went out, hastened by the king's command; and the decree was proclaimed in Shushan the citadel. So the king and Haman sat down to drink, but the city of Shushan was perplexed.

1. As the word went out, it put the city in an uproar as you can imagine!

a) These people hadn't done anything wrong.

b) Most of them were good, law-abiding, productive citizens and now their live meant nothing!

c) And as J. Vernon McGee says, "The king and old Haman sat down together and had cocktails that evening."


A. Not doing what the Lord wants us to do puts someone in jeopardy!

B. No matter how far you "run from the Lord" you can't get away!

1. Mordecai was out of the Lords will, but he still couldn't bow to Haman!

C. If you are living in darkness, every time you are around a Bible believing Christian, living in the light of Christ, you're going to feel worse!

D. You can "cast lots" with your life if you want, but God is still in control!

E. Be careful who you give your signet ring to!!

1. The king gave Haman his ring because he put his faith in a weasel!

2. When we are not walking in Christ, we hang out with people we shouldn't!

a) We marry people we shouldn't.

b) We go in business with people we shouldn't

c) And before you know it there is a slaughter taking place in our lives.

d) We become like Haman.

(1) "Little people" full of destruction, hate and rage.

Bibliographical Information
Brown, John. "Commentary on Esther 3". Brown's Commentary on Selected Books of the Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/jbs/esther-3.html.
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