Haman

Haman  (also known as  Haman the Agagite המן  האגגי, or  Haman the Evil  המן הרשע) is the main antagonist in the Book of Esther , who, according to the Hebrew Bible , was a vizier in the Persian empire under King Ahasuerus , traditionally identified as Xerxes I .  [2]  As his name indicates, Haman was a descendant of Agag , the king of the Amalekites , a people who were wiped out in certain areas by King Saul and David .  [3]

Haman in the Hebrew Bible

Esther denouncing Haman by Ernest Normand

Haman is described as the sound of Hammedatha the Agagite.  [3]  In the story, Haman instigates a plot to kill all of the Jews of ancient Persia. Haman attempts to convince Ahasuerus to order the killing of Mordecai and all the Jews of the lands he ruled. The plot is foiled by Queen Esther , the king’s recent wife, who is herself a Jew. Haman is hanged from the gallowsthat was originally built, on the advice of his wife Zeresh, to hang Mordecai. The dead bodies of his ten sounds Parshandatha, Dalphon, Aspatha, Poratha, Adalia, Aridatha, Parmashta, Arisai, Aridai and Vaizatha (or Vajezatha), are also hanged after they die in battle trying to kill the Jews (Esther 9: 5- 14). Haman is upset that Mordecai refuses to bow down to him, as told in chapter 3:

. . . and advanced him, and set his seat above all the princes who were with him. And all the king’s servants, who were in the king’s gate, bowed, and did obeisance to Haman; for the king had so commanded concerning him. But Mordecai did not bow, or do not obey him. (Esther, 3: 1-2)  [4]

And when to Haman saw Mordecai That Did not bow  [3]  or do _him_ obedience, Then Was Haman full of wrath. But he disdained to lay hands on Mordecai alone; for they had told him about the people of Mordecai; So that Haman sought to destroy all the Jews who were throughout the world of Ahasuerus, the people of Mordecai  . (Esther, 3: 5-6)  [4]

Queen Esther, learning that her people are in danger, risks her own life to spare the Jews living in Ancient Persia.

King Ahasuerus asked Queen Esther, “Who is he? Where is the man who has dared to do such a thing?” 6 Esther said, “The adversary and enemy is this vile Haman.” Then Haman was terrified before the king and queen. 7 The king got up in a rage, left his wine and went out into the palace garden. But Haman, realizing that the king had already decided his fate, stayed behind to beg Queen Esther for his life. 8 Just as the king returned from the palace garden to the banquet hall, Haman was falling on the couch where Esther was reclining. The king exclaimed, “Will he even molest the queen while she is with me in the house?” 9 As soon as they left the king’s mouth, they covered Haman’s face.

9 Then Harbona, one of the eunuchs attending the king, said, “A gallows 50 feet high by Haman’s house.” He had it made for Mordecai, who spoke up to help the king. 10 The king said, “hang him on it!” So they hanged Haman on the gallows he had prepared for Mordecai. Then the king’s fury subsided.  (Esther, 7: 6-10)  [5]

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9 Then Harbona, one of the king’s eunuchs, said, “Haman has set up a sharpened pole that stands tall in his own courtyard.” He intended to use it to impaleMordecai, the man who saved the king from assassination. ” “Then impale Haman on it!” the king ordered. So they impaled Haman on the pole he had set up for Mordecai, and the king’s anger subsided.  [6]

Haman in other Jewish sources

Midrash

Main article: Haman in rabbinic literature

In Rabbinical tradition , Haman is considered to be an archetype of evil and persecutor of the Jews. The Haman naturally became the center of many Talmudic legends. Being at one time in extreme want, he sold himself as a slave to Mordechai (Mega 15a). He was a barber at Kefar Karzum for the space of twenty-two years (ib 16a). Haman had an idolatrous image embroidered on his garments, so that those who bowed to him at the command of the king bowed to the image (Esth. R. vii.).

Haman was also an astrologer , and when he was about to fix the time for the genocide of the Jews he first cast lots to ascertain which was the most auspicious day of the week for that purpose.  [3]  Each day, however, proved to be under the influence of the Jews.  [3]  He then sought to fix the month, but found that the same was true of each month; thus, Nisan was favorable to the Jews because of the Passover sacrifice; Iyyar , because of the small Passover.  [3]  But when he arrived at Adar he found that his zodiacal sign was Pisces, and he said, “Now I shall be able to swallow them as fish which swallow one another” (Esth R. vii, Targ Sheni iii.).  [3]

Haman had 365 counselors, but the advice of none was so good that of his wife, Zeresh.  [3]  She has been induced to build a gallow for Mordechai, which would have been more effective than ever before.  [3]  As God foresaw that Haman himself would be hanged on the gallows, He asked which tree would be willing to serve the instrument of death. Each tree, declaring that it has been used for some reason, by the unclean body of Haman. Only the thorn-tree could find no excuse, and even offered itself for a gallows (Esth.R. ix.Mr. Abba Gorion vii, Buber ed., Wilna, 1886; in Targum Sheni this is narrated somewhat differently).

Haman’s lineage is given in the Targum Sheni as follows: “Haman the sound of Hammedatha the Agagite, his of Srach, his of Buza, his of Iphlotas, his of Dyosef, his of Dyosim, his of Prome, his of Ma’dei, his of Bla’akan, his of Intimros, his of Haridom, his of Sh’gar, his of Nigar, his of Farmashta, his of Vayezatha, (his of Agag, his of Sumkei,) his of Amalek , his of the concubine of Eliphaz , firstborn son of Esau “. There are several generations of Agag , who was executed by Samuel the prophet in the time of King Saul , and Amalek, who lived several hundred years earlier.

Josephus

Haman is mentioned by Josephus in his Antiquities of the Jews . Josephus’ account of the story is drawn from the Septuagint translation of the Book of Esther and other Greek and Jewish sources, some no longer extant.

Septuagint

In the LXX , Haman is called ” Macedonian ” by Xerxes (see Esther 16:10). Scholars have had two different explanations for this naming. 1. Macedonian was used to replace the word “Mede”, and emphasized it when he said that he was no Persian blood in him. (In practice the Persians and the Medes co-ruled an empire, but there was great friction between them.) 2. Another opinion is that Xerxes was calling him a Macedonian Spy, due to his insistence on causing civil war within Persia between the Jews and the Persians .

Purim traditions

Main article: Purim

The Jewish holiday of Purim commemorates the story of the deliverance of the Jews and the defeat of Haman. On that day, the Book of Esther is very much alive and tumult is raised at every mention of Haman’s name. A special noisemaker called in Hebrew a  ra’ashan  (רעשן) (in Yiddish : “gregger” or “hamandreyir”) is used to express disdain for Haman. Pastry Known As Oznei Haman (אזני המן, bed  Ears of Haman  ) (in Yiddish; Hamentashen) are traditionally eaten on this day.

Etymology and meaning of the name

Persian name  Omanes  [7]  recorded by Greek historians. Several etymologies have been proposed for it: It has been associated with the Persian word  Hamayun  meaning “illustrious”.  [7]  (naming dictionaries typically list it as meaning “magnificent”), or with the sacred drink Haoma .  [7]  or with the Persian name Vohuman meaning “good thoughts”.  [1]  The 19th century Bible critic Jensen associated with the Elamite God Humban , a view dismissed by later scholars.  [8]  Ahriman , a Zoroastrian spirit of destruction, has also been proposed as an etonym.

In popular culture

Haman appeared in  The Greatest Adventure: Stories from the Bible  episode “Queen Esther”. The 1994 animated television movie  Scooby-Doo! in Arabian Nights  depicts Haman as an evil vizier to the sultan in his story segment, ” Aliyah-Din “. Mr. Lunt portrayed this biblical figure in the 2000  VeggieTales  episode “Esther the Girl Who Became Queen”. In the  South Park  episode ” Jewbilee ,” Haman is depicted as the primary antagonist, trying to enter the mortal world.

References

  1. Jump up^   Robert J. Littman (January 1975). “The Religious Policy of Xerxes and the” Book of Esther ” ” . The Jewish Quarterly Review.
  2. ^ Jump up to: b  Jacob Hoschander,  The Book of Esther in the Light of History  , Oxford University Press, 1923
  3. ^ Jump up to: i   Hirsch, Emil;  Seligsohn, M .;  Schechter, Solomon (1904).  “HAMAN THE AGAGITE”  .  In  Singer, Isidore  ;  et al.  Jewish Encyclopedia  .  6  .  New York: Funk & Wagnalls Company.  p.  189-190.  Retrieved 13 February 2017 
  4. ^ Jump up to: b   “Esther – Chapter 3 – Esther” . Chabad.org . Retrieved 2013-06-06 .
  5. Jump up^  “Esther – Chapter 7 – Esther” . Chabad.org . Retrieved 2013-06-06 .
  6. Jump up^  http://www.newlivingtranslation.com/05discoverthenlt/ssresults.asp?txtSearchString=ESTHER+7%3A9-10
  7. ^ Jump up to: c  Encyclopaedia Judaica CD-ROM Edition 1.0 1997,  Haman
  8. Jump up^  A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the Book of Esther Lewis Bayles Paton, The Biblical World, Vol. 33, No. 2 (Feb., 1909)

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