The Book of Esther
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. 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. Then the king's servants, which were in the king's gate, said unto Mordecai, Why transgressest thou the king's commandment? 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. And when Haman saw that Mordecai bowed not, nor did him reverence, then was Haman full of wrath. 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.
Mordecai Refuses to Bow
Haman had become elevated to a favored position in the kingdom and demanded respect and reverence from those in the king’s gate. Mordecai, knowing that Haman was a preferred courtier in the king’s palace, still refused to show homage or bow before Haman. The custom of the Eastern world was to bow in recognition of age and honor. The people of Israel were of the same eastern courtesies giving obeisance supremely to God and the king, bowing to express indebtedness or when seeking favor. Whether or not Mordecai was following the Mosaic Law in the second command of God, or continuing a family feud between the Benjamites and the Agagites, the latter of the two seems to be more likely. Mordecai’s stubborn refusal to bow before Haman for any reason showed a general lack of respect for Haman as a man. Mordecai made it known to the kingdom he was a Jew and his continued obstinacy provoked a reaction from Haman.
Haman didn’t take notice of Mordecai’s willful refusal to bow before him until the men in the gate made it known to him to watch and see if Mordecai bows. Haman’s reaction was furious and he sought vengeance towards Mordecai and his race. It seems evident that Haman and those in Shushan had anit-Semitic attitudes towards the Jews which could be the reason why Mordecai and Esther were quiet about their ethnic background. Haman was being used satanically to focus his evil fury upon the Jews in an attempted genocide which was an unsuccessful effort to change the course of God’s redemptive plan for Israel. Ephesians 6:12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. The word wrestle or struggle is a term used in hand-to-hand combat depicting deception and trickery which Satan and his hosts render to do against God’s people.
Thought: Since the Garden of Eden, Satan has tried to thwart the redemptive plan of God when appearing before Eve as an angel of light to bring doubt to her mind and lead her to suppose the true interpretation of what God said. We must see that God’s plans never fail and His providential care of His people, Israel, through the covenant He gave them would stand. God has a plan for our lives as well and nothing that Satan does will alter His purpose for us. We must trust Him at His Word and know that He is in control of all situations.