3 After these events King Ahasuerus promoted Haman, the son of Hammedatha the Agagite, and advanced him and established his authority over all the princes who were with him. 2 All the king’s servants who were at the king’s gate bowed down and paid homage to Haman; for so the king had commanded concerning him. But Mordecai neither bowed down nor paid homage. 3 Then the king’s servants who were at the king’s gate said to Mordecai, “Why are you transgressing the king’s command?” 4 Now it was when they had spoken daily to him and he would not listen to them, that they told Haman to see whether Mordecai’s reason would stand; for he had told them that he was a Jew. 5 When Haman saw that Mordecai neither bowed down nor paid homage to him, Haman was filled with rage. 6 But he disdained to lay hands on Mordecai alone, for they had told him who the people of Mordecai were; therefore Haman sought to destroy all the Jews, the people of Mordecai, who were throughout the whole kingdom of Ahasuerus.
Haman is revealed as the villain in this story. The king appointed him as second in command to the extent that all the servants at the gate were ordered by the king to bow down and pay homage to Haman. He was so arrogant and power hungry that he actually wanted people to bow before him as if they were worshipping him as some sort of god. Mordecai, however, not wanting to violate the commands of God to worship only Him and to not have any idols (Exodus 20:3-6), refused to bow before Haman. The other servants of the king asked Mordecai why he was breaking the king’s command, for they could likely see that he was putting himself in great danger. They had to know that Haman was so hungry for power and control that there was no way that he would let Mordecai’s rebellion and non-compliance go without punishment. Day after day they pleaded with Mordecai to change his mind and conform, but he would not listen to them. Mordecai explained that he was a Jew and that this was not consistent with the worship of God, and they went to Haman to see if Mordecai’s reason would be enough to exempt him. But Haman had no concern for Mordecai or the God of the Jews, and he was filled with rage toward Mordecai. He just wanted power for himself, and the Jewish God could be an impediment to achieving his goal. Thus, he purposed to destroy all of the Jews through the whole kingdom of Persia. His hate was so deep because of his great pride that he was willing to commit mass genocide just to keep his ego growing.
7 In the first month, which is the month Nisan, in the twelfth year of King Ahasuerus, Pur, that is the lot, was cast before Haman from day to day and from month to month, until the twelfth month, that is the month Adar. 8 Then Haman said to King Ahasuerus, “There is a certain people scattered and dispersed among the peoples in all the provinces of your kingdom; their laws are different from those of all other people and they do not observe the king’s laws, so it is not in the king’s interest to let them remain. 9 If it is pleasing to the king, let it be decreed that they be destroyed, and I will pay ten thousand talents of silver into the hands of those who carry on the king’s business, to put into the king’s treasuries.” 10 Then 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. 11 The king said to Haman, “The silver is yours, and the people also, to do with them as you please.”
In the twelfth year of King Ahasuerus, five years after Esther had become queen, Haman finally decided to put his plan into action. He had been waiting for eleven months, from the first month to the twelfth month, for the lot to fall in a sign of good favor before he made his move. This was a nod to the pagan gods of Persia, hoping that they would empower and bless his diabolical plan against the Jews and their jealous God. So, believing fortune was on his side, he went to the king. He told the king that it was dangerous to keep the Jews alive in the kingdom because they followed laws that were different from those of all other people. Their jealous God demanded worship alone, whereas other deities of other conquered nations could easily be absorbed into a plurality of pagan worship. God doesn’t do that, for He stands above as the one true God. Haman argued that the king’s interests demanded that he issue a decree to have the Jews destroyed. He even wanted to pay the people who carried out the killing with silver from the king’s treasury. Perhaps he figured that plundering the Jews would more be a significant return on that investment (v. 13). The king bought into the plan, and told Haman that he could do as he pleased with the king’s silver and with the Jews. With the king’s signet ring, Haman could make the law and see that it was accomplished according to his desires, he being the enemy of the Jews.
12 Then the king’s scribes were summoned on the thirteenth day of the first month, and it was written just as Haman commanded to the king’s satraps, to the governors who were over each province and to the princes of each people, each province according to its script, each people according to its language, being written in the name of King Ahasuerus and sealed with the king’s signet ring. 13 Letters were sent by couriers to all the king’s provinces to destroy, to kill and to annihilate all the Jews, both young and old, women and children, in one day, the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, which is the month Adar, and to seize their possessions as plunder. 14 A copy of the edict to be issued as law in every province was published to all the peoples so that they should be ready for this day. 15 The couriers went out impelled by the king’s command while the decree was issued at the citadel in Susa; and while the king and Haman sat down to drink, the city of Susa was in confusion.
Very shortly thereafter in the next month Haman put his plan into action. He summoned the king’s scribes to have them write up the law so letters could be sent to each province in its script and to each people and language group in their respective languages. The law was written in the king’s name and sealed with his ring. There was no doubt that the order was official, there was no confusion as to the message, and the Jews in Persia were in imminent danger of being wiped out. The order would be carried out on the thirteenth day of the month Adar, eleven months away. All the Jews, men and women and children, no matter how young or old, would be killed and their possessions taken as plunder. The law was visible for all to see so that the people could be ready for the day in which thousands of Jews were to be exterminated. The countdown was on. This threw the city of Susa into confusion, for people had to wonder why this was happening. Any other foreigners had to be concerned that this would happen to them sometime, too. Great instability and fear throughout the land would have resulted. But the king and Haman sat down to drink, content and merry about their plan.