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International Standard Bible Encyclopedia

 

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HAMAN

ha'-man (haman; Haman): A Persian noble and vizier of the empire under Xerxes. He was the enemy of Mordecai, the cousin of Esther. Mordecai, being a Jew, was unable to prostrate himself before the great official and to render to him the adoration which was due to him in accordance with Persian custom. Haman's wrath was so inflamed that one man's life seemed too mean a sacrifice, and he resolved that Mordecai's nation should perish with him. This was the cause of Haman's downfall and death. A ridiculous notion, which, though widely accepted, has no better foundation than a rabbinic suggestion or guess, represents him as a descendant of Agag, the king of Amalek, who was slain by Samuel. But the language of Scripture (1 Sam 15:33) indicates that when Agag fell, he was the last of his house. Besides, why should his descendants, if any existed, be called Agagites and not Amalekites? Saul's posterity are in no case termed Saulites, but Benjamites or Israelites. But the basis of this theory has been swept away by recent discovery. Agag was a territory adjacent to that of Media. In an inscription found at Khorsabad, Sargon, the father of Sennacherib, says: "Thirty-four districts of Media I conquered and I added them to the domain of Assyria: I imposed upon them an annual tribute of horses. The country of Agazi (Agag) .... I ravaged, I wasted, I burned." It may be added that the name of Haman is not Hebrew, neither is that of Hammedatha his father. "The name of Haman," writes M. Oppert, the distinguished Assyriologist, "as well as that of his father, belongs to the Medo-Persian."
John Urquhart

Bibliography Information
Orr, James, M.A., D.D. General Editor. "Definition for 'HAMAN'". "International Standard Bible Encyclopedia". bible-history.com - ISBE; 1915.

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