Esther 3:2

2 All the royal officials at the king’s gate knelt down and paid honor to Haman, for the king had commanded this concerning him. But Mordecai would not kneel down or pay him honor.

Esther 3:2 in Other Translations

KJV
2 And all the king's servants, that were in the king's gate, bowed, and reverenced Haman: for the king had so commanded concerning him. But Mordecai bowed not, nor did him reverence.
ESV
2 And all the king's servants who were at the king's gate bowed down and paid homage to Haman, for the king had so commanded concerning him. But Mordecai did not bow down or pay homage.
NLT
2 All the king’s officials would bow down before Haman to show him respect whenever he passed by, for so the king had commanded. But Mordecai refused to bow down or show him respect.
MSG
2 All the king's servants at the King's Gate used to honor him by bowing down and kneeling before Haman - that's what the king had commanded.
CSB
2 The entire royal staff at the King's Gate bowed down and paid homage to Haman, because the king had commanded this to be done for him. But Mordecai would not bow down or pay homage.

Esther 3:2 Meaning and Commentary

Esther 3:2

And the king's servants that were in the king's gate
Or court, all his courtiers; for it cannot be thought they were all porters, or such only that

bowed and reverenced Haman;
gave him divine honours, as to a deity; for such were given to the kings of Persia F11, and might be given to their favourites, and seems to be the case; for, though Haman might not erect a statue of himself, or have images painted on his clothes, as the Targum and Aben Ezra, for the Persians did not allow of statues and images F12; yet he might make himself a god, as Jarchi, and require divine worship, with leave of the king, which he had, yea, an order for it:

for the king had so commanded concerning him;
which shows that it was not mere civil honour and respect, for that in course would have been given him as the king's favourite and prime minister by all his servants, without an express order for it; this, therefore, must be something uncommon and extraordinary:

but Mordecai bowed not, nor did him reverence;
which is a further proof that it was not mere civil honour that was required and given; for that the Jews did not refuse to give, and that in the most humble and prostrate manner, and was admitted by them, ( 1 Samuel 24:8 ) ( 2 Samuel 14:4 ) ( 18:28 ) ( 1 Kings 1:16 ) , nor can it be thought that Mordecai would refuse to give it from pride and sullenness, and thereby risk the king's displeasure, the loss of his office, and the ruin of his nation; but it was such kind of reverence to a man, and worship of him, which was contrary to his conscience, and the law of his God.


FOOTNOTES:

F11 Vid. Salden. Otia Theolog. l. 3. Exercitat. 1. sec. 4, 5.
F12 Laert. Prooem. ad Vit. Philosoph. p. 5, 6.

Esther 3:2 In-Context

1 After these events, King Xerxes honored Haman son of Hammedatha, the Agagite, elevating him and giving him a seat of honor higher than that of all the other nobles.
2 All the royal officials at the king’s gate knelt down and paid honor to Haman, for the king had commanded this concerning him. But Mordecai would not kneel down or pay him honor.
3 Then the royal officials at the king’s gate asked Mordecai, “Why do you disobey the king’s command?”
4 Day after day they spoke to him but he refused to comply. Therefore they told Haman about it to see whether Mordecai’s behavior would be tolerated, for he had told them he was a Jew.
5 When Haman saw that Mordecai would not kneel down or pay him honor, he was enraged.