|Queen Esther with Uncle, Mordechai, from the tribe of Benjamin|
|Mordechai, the Jew|
|Haman speaking with King Ahasuerus|
Haman's history was that he was descended from Agag, king of Amalek and was called "the Agagite." He was the son of Hammedatha, the Agagite. His wife was Zeresh. His seat in the palace was above all the officers who were with him. All the servants at the king's gate would bow down and prostrate themselves before Haman as the king had so ordered.
Who were the Amaleks? They were a people almost always hostile to Israel. They were nomads wandering around between Southern Canaan and nearby areas that later became part of Palestine. They were the ones who attacked the Israelites in the desert near Rephidim shortly after the Exodus and annihilated the weak and weary. They were defeated by the Israelite army under Joshua. From then on, the Israelites regarded Amaleks as an eternal foe, the extermination of which was a national mission. Saul couldn't kill their king. During the period of the Judges, the Amaleks penetrated Western lands at various points and their presence was a standing threat to the peace of the country. They acted like the Hamas led Palestinians of today.
In King David's time, the Amaleks invaded southern Judea and burned the town of Ziklag. David fought and defeated them heavily, so that only 400 escaped from him. In the reign of Hezekiah in 720-690 BCE, the tribe of Simeon overwhelmed the Amalekites and settled in their territory. They are a symbol of everlasting enmity to Israel along with Haman, the Agagite. who was a descendant of Agag, the king of the Amaleks.
So who was Mordecai and why wouldn't he show this respect of bowing? Mordecai was descended from Benjamin, so was a Benjaminite. Benjamin had been the 2nd son of Jacob through Rachel, his first love who had died during childbirth. Benjamin had an older brother, Joseph. Now, when land was doled out to the 12 sons of Jacob through Moses and Joshua, Joseph did not receive any as he had already been 2nd in command to the Pharaoh of Egypt and did not need any more land, so his parcel went to his 2 sons, Manassah and Ephraim which is important in seeing who Mordecai, born in Shushan, Persia, was.
Mordecai's father was Jair, who had been a judge. He was the son of Shimei, son of Kish, son of Bela, son of BENJAMIN!. Benjamin was the uncle of Manassah Descendants of Joseph
1 Joseph b: in Canaan, 18th-16th centuries BCE? Hyksos period (2500-1587 BCE)
.. +Asenath b: in Egypt
. 2 Manasseh
. 2 Ephraim
Of course, Benjamin was the youngest son of Jacob, father of the 12 sons whose descendants were then tribal members of that son. This makes 6 generations away from Manassah, son of Joseph.
|Malala Yousafzai, Pashto woman-winner of Nobel Prize in 2014|
It was Jair who had been carried into captivity together with King Jeconiah /Jehoiachin (son of Jehoiakim) of Judah who only reigned in 597 BCE for only 3 months and 10 days, having become king at age 18 during the Babylonian siege of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar, who was then also king of Babylon in 605-562 BCE. Young King Jehoiachin had to remain in detention until the accession of Evil-Merodach in 561 BCE when he was released. Official Babylonian records relating to his captivity have been recovered.
In Zedekiah's 9th year of reigning, he conspired with Egypt after having refused such offers before by others. Because of this conspiracy, Judah was invaded again by the Babylonians and had then captured Jerusalem. He was brought to trial and it was horrible. His sons were killed before his eyes, and then his eyes were put out and he was put in prison till his death. This history is preserved in the British Museum. The forces of Nebuchadnezzar under Nebuz-Aradan again invaded Judah and captured Jerusalem in 586 BCE. This is when they destroyed the first Temple of Solomon, laid waste the cities and exiled masses of the population. the king was taken to Riblah, where Nebuchadnezzar had him killed.
|Esther with her son, King Darius of Persia|
Mordecai didn't bow down to Haman, and Haman was frustrated because he knew of Mordecai's position and who he was, and so he plotted to kill all Jews to get even with Mordecai. Mordecai in turn, knew that Haman was a descendant of Agag, the Amalekite king who was conquered by King Saul, his own ancestor. He wasn't about to start bowing to the evil Agag's descendant now. Normally, Mordechai would have bowed in accordance with the king's instructions, for bowing to a king or his official is not forbidden by Torah law. In Mordecai's mind, it also could have been because Haman had either declared himself to be divine, or because his robes were decorated with idols, and then bowing to him would be an act of idolatry. He had used the religious grounds reasoning when questioned as to why he didn't bow, and so by doing so, caused Haman to want to kill all Jews. This is the explanation of our sages, Ibn Ezra and Rashi.
|Purim Carnival in Ashkelon, Israel|
Persia changed their name to Iran in 1935, In 1935 the Iranian government requested those countries which it had diplomatic relations with, to call Persia "Iran," which is the name of the country in Persian. The suggestion for the change is said to have come from the Iranian ambassador to Germany, who came under the influence of the Nazis. They felt this would also signify " the Aryan race of its population, as "Iran" is a cognate of "Aryan" and derived from it. They are not Arabs.
Amaleks: Exodus 7: 8-13, Deuteronomy 25: 17-19, Exodus 17: 13-16, I Samuel 15;
Tanach, The Stone Edition of ArtScroll Series page 1752-1773
Hadassah magazine February/March 2016, page15- by Paula Shoyer. Updated March 2, 2016.