(Haʹman) [magnificent; celebrated].
Son of Hammedatha the Agagite. The designation “Agagite” may mean that Haman was a royal Amalekite. (Esther 3:1; see AGAG; AGAGITE.) If, indeed Haman was an Amalekite, this in itself would explain why he harbored such great hatred for the Jews, for Jehovah had decreed the eventual extermination of the Amalekites. (Ex. 17:14-16) This was because they showed hatred of God and his people by taking the initiative to sally forth in attack on the Israelites when they traveled through the wilderness.—Ex. 17:8.
Haman was a servant of King Ahasuerus (Xerxes I) of Persia, who ruled from 486 to 474 B.C.E., according to reliable evidence. Haman was honored and appointed as prime minister over the Persian Empire. Enraged by the Jew Mordecai’s refusal to bow down to him, Haman plotted the destruction of Mordecai and all the Jews in the empire. He painted the Jews as undesirable in the empire, lawbreakers, having laws “different from all other people’s.” He added an economic appeal, saying to the king. “Let there be a writing that they be destroyed; and ten thousand silver talents [about $14,235,900] I shall pay into the hands of those doing the work by bringing it into the king’s treasury.” The king gave Haman his signet ring and replied: “The silver is given to you, also the people, to do with them according to what is good in your own eyes.”—Esther 3:1-11.
Haman was greatly puffed up with pride because of receiving authority from the king to issue a decree for the Jews’ annihilation and spoliation, and, additionally, by later being invited to two banquets held by Queen Esther. (Esther 3:12, 13; 5:4-12) But just when Haman thought he was about to realize his highest ambitions, matters were reversed for him. Haman, egotistically expecting to be exalted, experienced crushing humiliation when the king ordered him to conduct a public ceremony honoring the hated Mordecai, who had previously uncovered a plot against the king’s life. (Esther 6:1-12; 2:21-23) Haman’s wise men and his wife took this as an omen that Haman would go down before the Jew Mordecai.—Esther 6:13.
Haman’s downfall was brought to a crashing climax during the second special banquet held by Queen Esther, who was Mordecai’s cousin. (Esther 2:7) Courageously, in Haman’s presence, she made an appeal to the king. She revealed to the astonished king that his own interests were endangered; in fact, his queen’s life was imperiled by a murderous plot. As the king’s rage mounted, Esther boldly identified the now terrified prime minister as the dastardly plotter, “this bad Haman.” (Esther 7:1-6) Subsequently, the king ordered the murderous Haman to be hanged on the approximately seventy-three-foot- (c. 22.3-meter-) high stake Haman had prepared for the hanging of Mordecai. (Esther 7:7-10) In turn, Haman’s house was given to Esther (Esther 8:7) and Mordecai was made prime minister, with authorization to grant the Jews permission to defend themselves. (Esther 8:2, 10-15) In two days of avenging themselves upon their foes, the Jews gained a smashing victory, killing over 75,000 of their enemies. Haman’s ten sons were killed; then, on the next day, they were hung up before the people as a disgrace.—Esther 9:1-17.
Haman manifested the traits of the Amalekites. He was obviously a worshiper of pagan deities, and he perhaps relied on astrologers when having lots cast to determine the auspicious day for the destruction of the Jews. (Esther 3:7) He carried out the “works of the flesh,” practicing idolatry, spiritism, manifesting his murderous hatred for the Jews, showing a proud, haughty, egotistical spirit with extreme jealousy and envy of others, especially the servants of God. (Gal. 5:19-21) He practiced lying and deception (Esther 3:8) and proved to be a cringing coward when his plans were foiled and he stood condemned. (Esther 7:6-8) Haman showed himself to be a servant of God’s adversary the Devil, according to the principle at Romans 6:16.—See ESTHER; ESTHER, BOOK OF; LOT, I; MORDECAI No. 2; PURIM.