Haman

HAMAN (hā'măn, Heb. hāmān). The great enemy of the Jews in the days of Esther. He is called “the Agagite,” undoubtedly because he came from Agag, a territory adjacent to Media. Xerxes (kjv Ahasuerus) had promoted Haman to a high position in the court, but Mordecai, the noble Jew, refused to bow down to him. Therefore, Haman plotted to destroy the Jewish race, but God intervened. Esther foiled Haman’s plot (Esth.7.1-Esth.7.10) and Haman died on the gallows he had made for Mordecai.


HAMAN hā’ mən (הָמָ֧ן; ̔Αμάν; In Add Esth 12:6; 16:10, 17 [KJV, ASV] his name appears as AMAN).

Son of Hammedatha the Agagite; the prime minister of Persia under Xerxes. He became the bitter enemy of Mordecai, the uncle of Esther, because Mordecai could not as a Jew prostrate himself before him like the other subjects of the king. He therefore determined in revenge not only to kill Mordecai but to exterminate all the Jews in the Persian empire, and received from Xerxes a decree to do this. He prepared a gallows on which to hang Mordecai.

When Mordecai heard of this plot, he urged Esther, who was the queen of Xerxes, to intercede in behalf of her people. At a banquet to which she invited the king and Haman she told the king of Mordecai’s services to the king and had the king bestow upon Mordecai the right to royal honors. At a second banquet she told the king of Haman’s purpose to slaughter all the Jews. Xerxes ordered Haman to be hung on the gallows which Haman had prepared for Mordecai; and Haman’s ten sons were killed too. The Jewish Feast of Purim celebrates the deliverance of the Jews from Haman’s plot to kill them. The whole story is told in Esther 3-9.

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (1915)

A Persian noble and vizier of the empire under Xerxes. He was the enemy of Mordecai, the cousin of Esther. Mordecai, being a Jew, was unable to prostrate himself before the great official and to render to him the adoration which was due to him in accordance with Persian custom. Haman’s wrath was so inflamed that one man’s life seemed too mean a sacrifice, and he resolved that Mordecai’s nation should perish with him. This was the cause of Haman’s downfall and death. A ridiculous notion, which, though widely accepted, has no better foundation than a rabbinic suggestion or guess, represents him as a descendant of Agag, the king of Amalek, who was slain by Samuel. But the language of Scripture (1Sa 15:33) indicates that when Agag fell, he was the last of his house. Besides, why should his descendants, if any existed, be called Agagites and not Amalekites? Saul’s posterity are in no case termed Saulites, but Benjamites or Israelites. But the basis of this theory has been swept away by recent discovery. Agag was a territory adjacent to that of Media. In an inscription found at Khorsabad, Sargon, the father of Sennacherib, says: "Thirty-four districts of Media I conquered and I added them to the domain of Assyria: I imposed upon them an annual tribute of horses. The country of Agazi (Agag) .... I ravaged, I wasted, I burned." It may be added that the name of Haman is not Hebrew, neither is that of Hammedatha his father. "The name of Haman," writes M. Oppert, the distinguished Assyriologist, "as well as that of his father, belongs to the Medo-Persian."