“After these events, King Xerxes honoured Haman son of Hammedatha, the Agagite, elevating him and giving him a seat of honour higher than that of all the other nobles. All the royal officials at the king’s gate knelt down and paid honour to Haman, for the king had commanded this concerning him. But Mordecai would not kneel down or pay him honour.Then the royal officials at the king’s gate asked Mordecai, ‘Why do you disobey the king’s command?’ Day after day they spoke to him but he refused to comply. Therefore they told Haman about it to see whether Mordecai’s behaviour would be tolerated, for he had told them he was a Jew.5 When Haman saw that Mordecai would not kneel down or pay him honour, he was enraged. Yet having learned who Mordecai’s people were, he scorned the idea of killing only Mordecai. Instead Haman looked for a way to destroy all Mordecai’s people, the Jews, throughout the whole kingdom of Xerxes.In the twelfth year of King Xerxes, in the first month, the month of Nisan, the pur (that is, the lot) was cast in the presence of Haman to select a day and month. And the lot fell on the twelfth month, the month of Adar.” NIV

Matthew Henry observes: ‘A very black and mournful scene here opens, and which threatens the ruin of all the people of God. Were there not some such dark nights, the light of the morning would not be so welcome.’ Haman showed himself to be a petty tyrant (with the emphasis on ‘petty’). He was petulant – the archetypal playground bully, but carrying a lot more firepower than the average bully.

‘It is soon resolved that Mordecai must die. The head must come off that will not bow to Haman; if he cannot have his honours, he will have his blood.’ Matthew Henry.

But Haman would not be content to rid himself of Mordecai. For the sake of a personal grudge he would wipe out a whole nation. It was diabolical.

Anti-semitism is a gross evil. The many attempts to eradicate the Jewish people throughout history is evidence of the hatred of the devil, and the principalities and powers themselves, towards God’s own people. But although they can do great damage, they will never succeed, for God is on the throne and will work out His purposes for them and through them.

‘But God was over all. The strongest assaults are vain against him, Ps 2:4. He will not let high-handed wrong proceed beyond a certain point, 2 Kings 19:28. Let us shelter behind him and be at peace, Isa.54:14.’ F.B.Meyer: ‘Devotional Commentary’, p.212.