• Old Testament

    Who was Haman the Agagite in Esther?

    The story of Esther takes place during the reign of King Xerxes. In Esther 3:1 we are introduced to Haman the Agagite, who is promoted within King Xerxes’ retinue to second in command. Immediately following the introduction of Haman into the narrative, we find out that since Mordecai does not bow before him, Haman wants to destroy not only Mordecai, but Mordecai’s entire race—the Jews! This desire to destroy the Jews is not a passing fancy for Haman. He follows through with his desire and pays off the king to make a decree that all the Jews be destroyed (Esther 3:8-11). Haman is clearly portrayed as a violent individual, and yet, it seems there may be more to the story. Some scholars have noted that the term “Agagite” is rare, and it is likely related to the king of the Amalekites. This connection is drawn from Numbers 24:7 where Balaam…

  • Old Testament

    Who was Ahasuerus in the Book of Esther?

    Sometimes different Bible translations can lead to interesting questions. For example, if we were to compare the NIV and the ESV translations, we would come across a seemingly large difference. According to the NIV Xerxes was king during the time of Esther, but according to the ESV Ahasuerus was king. NIV This is what happened during the time of Xerxes… ESV Now in the days of Ahasuerus… Why does the NIV say the king was Xerxes, while the ESV says the king was Ahasuerus? Many translations struggle with the issue of how to identify the king of Esther. To complicate matters somewhat, the LXX and Josephus identify the king as Ἀρταξέρξης (Artaxerxes), thus giving us three options. The Hebrew text reads אֲחַשְׁוֵרוֹשׁ (Ahasuerus), a name which is confirmed by other Greek translations, the Latin Vulgate, the Targums, and the Syriac translation. On the other hand, the name Xerxes is actually…