“Who is Haman?”
BIBLE READING: Esther 1-3
Who is Haman? He's suddenly introduced into the record here. What is behind the immediate antagonism that we find between Mordecai and Haman in the story? We get a clue in the parentage that's given for this man. He was Haman, the son of Hammedatha, the Agagite. What is an Agagite? Here we will need to do a little detective work.
If you haven't learned the extreme excitement of studying your Bible as though you were Perry Mason, you've missed a great deal of life. You need to do much detective work in studying the Bible.
The man is an Agagite. That means he is a descendant of a man named Agag. Where do you find Agag in the Scriptures? In the fifteenth chapter of First Samuel, we have the account of how King Saul, the first king of Israel, was ordered by Samuel, the prophet of God, to mount an expedition against the Amalekites, and we read in Chapter 15:
And Samuel said to Saul, "The LORD sent me to anoint you king over his people Israel; now therefore hearken to the words of the LORD: 'Thus says the LORD of hosts, I will punish what Amalek did to Israel in opposing them on the way, when they came up out of Egypt. Now go and smite Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have; do not spare them, but kill both man and woman, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and ass.'" (1 Samuel 15:1-3 RSV)
And so Saul gathered the people and went down to battle, and we read in Verse 8:
And he took Agag the king of the Amalekites alive, and utterly destroyed all the people with the edge of the sword, but Saul and the people spared Agag, and the best of the sheep and of the oxen and of the fatlings, and the lambs, and all that was goods and would not utterly destroy them; all that was despised and worthless they utterly destroyed. (1 Samuel 15:8-10 RSV)
Because of this failure Samuel was sent of God to tell Saul that the kingdom was to be taken from him and given to another since he had refused to obey the command of God to destroy Agag, the king of the Amalekites. If we trace further back, we discover that Amalek was the enemy of Israel when they came through the wilderness on the way from Egypt into Canaan. In the seventeenth chapter of the book of Exodus we read concerning Amalek, these words:
Then came Amalek and fought with Israel at Rephidim. And Moses said to Joshua, "Choose for us men, and go out, fight with Amalek; tomorrow I will stand on top of the hill with the rod of God in my hand." So Joshua did as Moses told him, and fought with Amalek; and Moses, Aaron, and Hur went up to the top of the hill. Whenever Moses held up his hand, Israel prevailed; and whenever he lowered his hand, Amalek prevailed. But Moses' hands grew weary; so they took a stone and put it under him, and he sat upon it, and Aaron and Hur held up his hands, one on one side, and the other on the other side; so his hands were steady until the going down of the sun. And Joshua mowed down Amalek and his people with the edge of the sword.
And the LORD said to Moses, "Write this as a memorial in a book and recite it in the ears of Joshua, that I will utterly blot out the remembrance of Amalek from under heaven." And Moses built an altar and called the name of it, The LORD is my Banner, saying, "A hand upon the banner of the LORD! The LORD will have war with Amalek from generation to generation." (Exodus 17:8-16 RSV)
Going back even farther you will discover that Amalek was the grandson of Esau, that Esau of whom God said, "Jacob have I loved but Esau have I hated," (Malachi 1:2b-3a). All through the Bible, Amalek, Agag, and the descendants of Esau picture to us an enemy that oppose all that God would do. Now there's such a principle of evil at work in every human heart. In the kingdom over which you reign, there is a Haman who is an Agagite. Let’s do our best to get rid of our Agagite before he gets the best of us.-Selected