Journey Through The Scriptures

The Life of Esther

Lesson 2: Haman Hatches a Murderous Plot

(Scripture to Read: Esther 3:1–15)

This chapter introduces us to Haman, an official in the court of King Ahasuerus of Persia. Haman was an Amalekite, enemies whom God had commanded Israel to destroy (Exodus 17:14). The rabbis said Amalek stands for all those who represent evil, not just physical descendants like Haman. Thus Israel’s duty even today is to ask, "Who are Amalek, and what is our duty toward them?" Haman was honored by the king, and became enraged when Mordecai refused to bow before him. Mordecai evidently believed that such an act would have been the same as bowing to a foreign god, a violation of God’s command to Israel (Exodus 20:5).

Haman’s hatred became so intense that he turned his fury against all the Jews in Persia. The king’s callous lack of interest in knowing which people Haman wanted to destroy, and his failure to investigate Haman’s charges, gave this evil man what he wanted. He had the king’s authority to issue an unchangeable decree to destroy all the Jews in the kingdom on one day—an early example of bitter anti-Semitism. Persia had such an effective system of government and communication that every province in the kingdom got the order in their own language, in plenty of time to prepare for that horrible day.

Study Questions

  1. What great victory did God give the Israelites over the Amalekites in the days of Moses (Exodus 17:8-16)? Do you believe God is still fighting for His people Israel today?
  2. The date chosen for the Jews to be killed was almost a year after the pur, or lot, was thrown. How did God use this delay to thwart Haman’s plan?
  3. Haman offered to pay an enormous amount of silver, worth millions of dollars, to those who would kill the Jews. What does this offer reveal about Haman’s position in Persia?
  4. When God first promised Abram and his descendants the land of Israel, Abram responded by building an altar to worship God (v. 7). Why was Abram’s act important?
  5. What two particular actions of King Ahasuerus gave Haman the confidence that he had the king’s full approval for his evil plan (see. vv. 10 and 15)?

Something to Think About

The story of Esther is another example of the ancient scourge of anti-Semitism. Haman’s determination to annihilate the Jews as "undesirables" reminds us that hatred can grow and spread in any environment against the Jews.

We ask for your prayers for the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews as we seek to stand strong against the anti-Jewish hatred that is erupting with renewed anger and violence in many parts of the world today.