Dave Burnette's Commentary

Esther Chapter 3

Written By: God through Inspiration
Penned By: Mordecai
Date Penned: (470 BC)
Overview: God's Sovereignty and Power Through Esther's Life (c 1-10)
Theme: the Jews are threatened (c 3-4)
Message: Haman plans To exterminate the Jews (1-15)

Esther 3 Commentary

(3:2-4) Mordecai Refuses to Bow - Mordecai refused to bow down before Haman. Jews did bow down to government authorities at times as a sign of respect (Genesis 23:7; 1 Samuel 24:8), but Haman's ancestors were ancient enemies of the Jews. Israel had been commanded by God to "blot out the remembrance of Amalek from under heaven" (Deuteronomy 25:17-19; see also Exodus 1716). Mordecai was not about to kneel before wicked Haman and, by his act, acknowledge Haman as a god. Daniel's three friends had the same convictions Daniel 3). We must worship God alone and never let any person, institution, or government take his rightful place as the ultimate authority in our lives. When people demand loyalty or duties from you that do not give God first place, don't give in. It may be time to take a stand.

(3:2) Mordecai's Faith - Mordecai's determination came from his faith in God. He did not take a poll first to determine the safest or most popular course of action; he had the courage to stand alone. Doing what is right will not always make you popular. Those who do right will be in the minority, but to obey God is more important than to obey people (Acts 5:29).

(3:5-6) Haman's Quest For Power - Why did Haman want to destroy all Jews just because of one man's action? (1) Haman was an Agagite (3:1), a descendant of Agag, king of the Amalekites (1 Samuel 15:20). The Amalekites were ancient enemies of the Israelites (see Exodus 17:16; Deuteronomy 25:1719). Haman's hatred was directed not just at Mordecai but at all the Jews. (2) As second-in-command in the Persian Empire (Esther 331), Haman loved his power and authority and the reverence shown him. The Jews, however, looked to God as their final authority, not to any man. Haman realized that the only way to fulfill his self-centered desires was to kill all those who disregarded his authority. His quest for personal power and his hatred of the Jewish race consumed him.

(3:5-6) Mordecai Refuses To Bow - Haman enjoyed the power and prestige of his position, and he was enraged when Mordecai did not respond with the expected reverential bow. Haman's anger was not directed just toward Mordecai but toward what Mordecai stood for--the Jews' dedication to God as the only authority worthy of reverence. Haman's attitude was prejudiced: He hated a group of people because of differences in their beliefs, culture, and history. Prejudice grows out of personal pride- considering oneself better than others. In the end, Haman was punished for his arrogant attitude (7:9-10). God will harshly judge those who are prejudiced or whose pride causes them to look

down on others.

(3:7) Haman Casts Lots - Haman cast lots to determine the best day to carry out his decree. Little did he know that he was playing into the hands of God, for the day of death was set for almost a year away, giving Esther time to make her plea to the king. The Persian word for "lots" was purim, which became the name for the holiday celebrated by the Jews when they were delivered -not killed--on the day appointed by Haman.

(3:9) Haman's Plan Backfires - Haman must have hoped to acquire this tremendous sum of money by plundering the homes and businesses of the Jews who would be killed through his decree. A large number of Jews were living in the kingdom at this time. Little did Haman know that his scheming would backfire.

(3:10-12) Haman's Signet Ring - Officials in the ancient world used signet rings as personal signatures. A signet ring's surface had a raised imprint made of metal, wood, or bone; Ahasuerus's was probably made of silver or gold. Each individual had a personalized imprint. Letters were sealed by pressing the ring into soft wax, and official documents were certified by using this royal signet. By giving Haman his signet ring, Ahasuerus was giving him the king's personal signature and with it the authority to do whatever Haman wished. Little did the king realize that his own ring would sign the death warrant for his queen, Esther.

(3:13) Haman's Death Decree - Haman's death decree was against all Jews in the Persian Empire; thus, it would have included the land of Israel. If his decree had been carried out, all of God's chosen people could have been exterminated, and God's plan to send his Son to earth as a Jew could have been jeopardized. But God's plans cannot be stopped. Haman was doomed to fail.

 Dave Burnette's Life Application

Stand Against the Enemy

Each day we walk through the Bible chapter by chapter making an application of our text to help us grow in the Lord. Many applications can be made from each day's text. Today we start in the book of Esther with Chapter 3 and  we continue the Book of Esther with Chapter 3. In our text today we see the Jews threatened as Haman plans to exterminate the Jews. Just as in the past, the present, and in the future the enemies of God try to have God's People bow to the enemies and worship their false god's. In making application we see the same attacks in our lives. Today ungodliness is all around us and the people of God have the ungodly attempting to have us bow to their false gods just as Haman attempted. God will prevail and He instructs us to stand to these attacks. As we do He fights our battles for us, we are not to bow or retreat in the heat of the battle. Remember David and Goliath, Daniel in Lions den, Shadrach, Meshach, Abednego in the furnace, and all the other examples in the Bible, we are instructed to stand when the enemy comes against us. How about you? Are you faced with ungodly attacks in your life? Let us learn from our text today as those who will come against you because you are a child of the King, to stand, and not bow when faced with the attacks of the enemy.


Esther 3

Esther 3

 1After 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.

 2And 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.

 3Then the king's servants, which were in the king's gate, said unto Mordecai, Why transgressest thou the king's commandment?

 4Now 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.

 5And when Haman saw that Mordecai bowed not, nor did him reverence, then was Haman full of wrath.

 6And 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.

 7In 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.

 8And 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.

 9If 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.

 10And the king took his ring from his hand, and gave it unto Haman the son of Hammedatha the Agagite, the Jews' enemy.

 11And the king said unto Haman, The silver is given to thee, the people also, to do with them as it seemeth good to thee.

 12Then 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.

 13And 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.

 14The 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.

 15The 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.