(of Persian origin), magnificent, the name of the vizier (i.e., the prime minister) of the Persian king Ahasuerus ( Esther 3:1 , etc.). He is called an "Agagite," which seems to denote that he was descended from the royal family of the Amalekites, the bitterest enemies of the Jews, as Agag was one of the titles of the Amalekite kings. He or his parents were brought to Persia as captives taken in war. He was hanged on the gallows which he had erected for Mordecai the Jew ( Esther 7:10 ). (See ESTHER .)
(magnificent ), the chief minister or vizier of King Ahasuerus. ( Esther 3:1 ) (B.C. 473.) After the failure of his attempt to cut off all the Jews in the Persian empire, he was hanged on the gallows which he had erected for Mordecai. The Targum and Josephus interpret the inscription of him--the Agagite --as signifying that he was of Amalekitish descent. The Jews hiss whenever his name is mentioned on the day of Purim.
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 Samuel 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."
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