Part IX - Haman's Downfall
by Rabbi Yehudah Prero
After Haman paraded Mordechai around the city, Mordechai returned to his
vigil by the gate of the king. Haman went home a despondent man. He told his
family and friends what had happened. They asked him if he had been in any
dispute with friends of Mordechai before the king, for which the king found
in Mordechai's favor and granted him this honor as the judgment . He told
them that there was no dispute, and that the king on his own decided to honor
Mordechai. Once they heard that the king bestowed this honor on Mordechai
without any push to do so, they told Haman that what had happened was the
work of the G-d of the Jews. Once the Jew started to rise, their enemies
would start to fall. They told Haman that Mordechai's reward was not just a
coincidence, but a bad omen, indicating that Haman's downfall might be
They advised him to take down the gallows he had erected for the purpose of
hanging Mordechai, as they feared that his plan might backfire and that he
would end up on the gallows. Haman would hear nothing of this. He was
convinced that the honor given to Mordechai was a fluke, and there was
nothing to worry about. He refused to take down the gallows.
While Haman's family was attempting to convince Haman to reconsider his
decision not to take down the gallows, the king's messengers came to take
Haman to the banquet Esther was hosting. He was rushed to the banquet. Esther
was now prepared to confront Haman. She had gotten the sign that she was
looking for that indicated that now was the time she was to try and save the
Jews: Mordechai's honor at the expense of Haman's. When Achashverosh asked
Esther what she wanted, she told him. She said that her nation has been sold
for destruction, to be killed and annihilated. Achashverosh asked Esther who
is the one who dared to do this. As she was about to say that Haman was the
person, an angel had to come and move her hand, which was pointed at
Achashverosh. Because she was intently concentrating on her prayers to Hashem
that she find favor in Achashverosh's eyes, she was thinking about
Achashverosh. When the words describing Haman, "an adversary and enemy,"
started coming from her mouth, she still had Achashverosh on her mind, and
therefore pointed at him. At this final moment in which the Jews' salvation
depended on Esther presenting her case before the king, Esther did something
which could have gotten her killed. If it was not for the miracle of an angel
coming to redirect Esther's hand so it would point at Haman, Esther and the
entire Jewish nation could have been killed. It was truly because of the
prayers and repentance of the people of Shushan that Esther succeeded in her
When Haman heard the accusation made against him, he trembled with fear.
Achashverosh was greatly angered that Haman would try to do such a thing. He
went up into the palace garden to cool down his anger. He did not really want
to kill Haman, and he hoped that by cooling down his anger, he could come up
with something else. However, when he was in the garden, he saw some men
cutting down his trees. He asked these men (who were in reality angels) who
told them they could cut down the tress, and they answered that Haman told
them to do it. Achashverosh's anger with Haman flared up once again, and he
came back inside the palace to confront Haman.
While Achashverosh was outside, Haman fell in front of the couch on which
Esther was resting, begging for forgiveness. When Haman heard the king
returning, he tried to stand back up, but an angel held him down on the couch
where Esther was sitting. Achashverosh was stunned: Haman was trying to
assault the queen in his presence! Achashverosh had still not decided to kill
Haman. However, Charvonah, an attendant of the king (who the Medrash says was
actually the prophet Eliyahu) pointed out to Achashverosh the tall gallows
that Haman had erected for hanging Mordechai. Achashverosh misunderstood what
Charvonah said. He thought that Charvonah told him "There is the gallows that
Haman erected for Mordechai which he talked about, and is good for the king."
When Achashverosh heard that Haman wanted to kill him as well, he ordered
that Haman be hung on the very gallows which he built. What Charvonah
actually said was "There is the gallows that Haman erected for Mordechai, who
spoke good about the king." Due to this lack of communication(a result of
the hand of G-d), Haman's fate was sealed.
Haman caused his own downfall. First, he convinced the king to change the
rule about judging matters that were relevant to himself. If the king had not
had the power to judge matters in which he was an interested party, Haman's
case would have gone to a tribunal, and he would not have been killed.
However, because Haman convinced Achashverosh that Achashverosh should have
the power to decide these matters, Haman had no recourse once his death
sentence was pronounced by the king. In addition, if he had not erected an
inordinately tall gallows, Charvonah would not have been able to point it out
to Achashverosh, and Haman's death sentence might not have happened so
swiftly, leaving him no time to beg for mercy. It was only because Haman
wanted the whole city to see Mordechai hanging that Charvonah saw the gallows
from afar and pointed it out to Achashverosh. Lastly, if Haman had only
listened to his wife's request to take down the gallows, the gallows would
not have been there for Charvonah to see. Haman's obstinacy caused him to
leave the gallows up, and caused his downfall.
For questions, comments, and topic requests, please write to Rabbi Yehudah Prero.
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