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Bible Encyclopedias

Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature


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(Heb. Haman', הָמָן , perh. from the Pers. homam, magnificent, or the Sanscr. heman, the planet Mercury; Sept. Ἀμάν ), a favorite and chief minister or vizier of the king of Persia, whose history is involved in chat of Estherand Mordecai (Esther 3:1 sq.), B.C. 473. (See AHASUERUS). He is called an Agagite; and as Agag was a kind of title of the kings of the Amalekites, (See AGAG), it is supposed that Haman was descended from the royal family of that nation (see Gesenius, Thes. Heb. p. 20). He or his parents probably found their way to Persia as captives or hostages; and that the foreign origin of Haman was no bar to his advancement at court is a circumstance quite in union with the most ancient and still subsisting usages of the East. Joseph, Daniel, and Mordecai afford other examples of the same kind. After the failure of his attempt to cut off all the Jews in the Persian empire, he was hanged on the gallows which he had erected for Mordecai. Most probably he is the same Aman who is mentioned as the oppressor of Achiacharus (Tobit 14:10). The Targum and Josephus (Ant. 11, 6, 5) interpret the description of him the Agagite as signifying that he was of Amalekitish descent; but he is called a Macedonian by the Sept. in Esther 9:24 (comp. 3:1), and a Persian by Sulpicius Severus. Prideaux (Connexion, anno 453) commutes the sum which he offered to pay into the royal treasury at more than £2,000,000 sterling. Modern Jews are said to be in the habit of designating any Christian enemy by his name (Eisenmenger, Ent. Jud. 1, 721). The circumstantial details of the height which he attained, and of his sudden downfall, afford, like all the rest of the book of Esther, a most faithful picture of the customs of an Oriental court and government, and furnish invaluable materials for a comparison between the regal usages of ancient and modern times. (See Kitto's Daily Bible Illust. ad loc.). (See ESTHER, BOOK OF).

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Bibliography Information
McClintock, John. Strong, James. Entry for 'Haman'. Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature. Harper & Brothers. New York. 1870.

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