Esther 3
Haman promoted; Mordecai refuses to bow

 1 ¶ After these things did king Ahasuerus promote Haman the son of Hammedatha the Agagite, and advanced him, and set his seat above all the princes that were with him.
.2 And all the king's servants, that were in the king's gate, bowed, and reverenced Haman: for the king had so commanded concerning him. But Mordecai bowed not, nor did him reverence.
 3 Then the king's servants, which were in the king's gate, said unto Mordecai, Why transgressest thou the king's commandment?

  These things It is 474 BC. The previous "things" may have occurred much earlier.
  Haman A new player in the drama. Tradition (Josephus) considers Haman to be a descendant of Agag 1sa1508. Lineage of both Haman and Mordecai es0205. They and their backgrounds highlight the conflict in the story.
  Kings servants Lower ranking offices including Mordecai.
  Bowed and reverenced Bowing was a gesture of respect, loyalty and submission. As a rule the people of God bowed in respect. 1sa2408, ge2307, ge2729, ge3303. "Reverence" is from shachah and may imply worship as was the case of Daniel's friends da0304,5. Mordecai considered the gesture as worship so did not  bow.
.4 Now it came to pass, when they spake daily unto him, and he hearkened not unto them, that they told Haman, to see whether Mordecai's matters would stand: for he had told them that he was a Jew.
 5 And when Haman saw that Mordecai bowed not, nor did him reverence, then was Haman full of wrath.
.6 And he thought scorn to lay hands on Mordecai alone; for they had shewed him the people of Mordecai: wherefore Haman sought to destroy all the Jews that were throughout the whole kingdom of Ahasuerus, even the people of Mordecai.

  Whether Mordecai's matters would stand There must have been some ethnic prejudice.
  When Haman saw We infer that Haman had not noticed because others also refused to bow or that he had seen and had not acted on the situation. Mordecai's position at the palace gate made the refusal a serious matter.
  All the Jews Genocide or ethnic cleansing is not new. Also, religion is at the root of such actions.
Image shows the proclaiming of the decree (public domain)
.7 ¶ In the first month, that is, the month Nisan, in the twelfth year of king Ahasuerus, they cast Pur, that is, the lot, before Haman from day to day, and from month to month, to the twelfth month, that is, the month Adar.
.8 And Haman said unto king Ahasuerus, There is a certain people scattered abroad and dispersed among the people in all the provinces of thy kingdom; and their laws are diverse from all people; neither keep they the king's laws: therefore it is not for the king's profit to suffer them. 
 9 If it please the king, let it be written that they may be destroyed: and I will pay ten thousand talents of silver to the hands of those that have the charge of the business, to bring it into the king's treasuries.
  7 - Cast Pur The Jews believed that God guided the outcome of casting lots pr1633. He would when He ordered the process. Pagan people also cast lots. We would not expect a divine blessing on the practice in the present case.
  8 - A certain people Many Jews liked the Persian cities of Shushan and Babylon and refused to return when released from captivity ezr0203. The message of the "second angel" is based on the coming out from captivity re1408.
  8 - Neither keep they They probably did keep the laws. This disobedience would not have been tolerated.
  9 - Pay This would have helped the king overlook the wickedness of the plan. It was a lot of money.
.10 And the king took his ring from his hand, and gave it unto Haman the son of Hammedatha the Agagite, the Jews' enemy. 
 11 And the king said unto Haman, The silver is given to thee, the people also, to do with them as it seemeth good to thee.
  10 - Ring Probably a signet ring. Also es0802. A ring was given to the prodigal son lu1522.
.12 Then were the king's scribes called on the thirteenth day of the first month, and there was written according to all that Haman had commanded unto the king's lieutenants, and to the governors that were over every province, and to the rulers of every people of every province according to the writing thereof, and to every people after their language; in the name of king Ahasuerus was it written, and sealed with the king's ring. 
.13 And the letters were sent by posts into all the king's provinces, to destroy, to kill, and to cause to perish, all Jews, both young and old, little children and women, in one day, even upon the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, which is the month Adar, and to take the spoil of them for a prey.
  13 - Letters were sent The Persians had a postal system.
 14 The copy of the writing for a commandment to be given in every province was published unto all people, that they should be ready against that day.
 15 The posts went out, being hastened by the king's commandment, and the decree was given in Shushan the palace. And the king and Haman sat down to drink; but the city Shushan was perplexed.

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