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Punishment of Haman in the Sistine Chapel

Haman ( Hebrew : הָמָן, Haman ) is one of the central characters in the biblical narrative in the Book of Esters of the Tanakh and the Old Testament ( EU ). He is the son of Hammedata and belongs to the Agagites .


The Persian king Ahasuerus (historically: Xerxes ) has appointed Haman as the highest government official, before whom the royal servants must kneel . When the Jew Mordechai (a cousin and adoptive father of Queen Esther ), who serves at the gate of the royal palace, refuses to do so, Haman issues an edict to the king according to which all Jews may be killed and plundered on Adar 13 .

In the past, however, Mordecai had foiled an attempt on the king's life. When the king finds out, he wants to honor him. So he asks Haman how someone who has served the king particularly well should be honored. Since Haman assumes that it is a matter of his own person, he recommends dressing the person to be honored in a royal robe and leading a high civil servant through the city on a royal horse. Thereupon the king has Mordechai dressed accordingly and orders Haman to lead the horse, which he feels as an offense and wants to prefer the already decided death of Mordechai. On the advice of his wife, he had a particularly high gallows erected in front of his house for this purpose .

Mordechai sent a message to Esther to inform him of the fate that awaits his people, and thus also them, at the behest of Haman. This then promises to help. Esther invited Ahasuerus and Haman to dinner twice. The second time she reveals to the king that because of the edict she too must die. Angry about this, the king has Haman hung on the gallows. Mordecai is appointed senior government official in Haman's place. However, Esther cannot implore mercy for herself and her people because a royal edict cannot be withdrawn. Instead, King Esther allows a further edict to be issued, which in turn allows the Jews to kill their enemies with impunity within one day (in Susa - capital of the empire - in two days) and to plunder their property. As a result, the Jews killed 75,000 people in the Persian Empire ( Esther 9,16  EU ).

regional customs

In Judaism , the book of Esther is read in the synagogue during the Purim service in memory of the events. Whenever Haman's name is mentioned, the custom is to stamp the floor loudly to show that person's disapproval. During the holidays it is customary to eat triangular hamantaschen (short pastries filled with poppy seeds or plum jam). The shape should be reminiscent of Haman's hat.

Haman in the Koran

In the Koran , Haman is described as an advisor to the Pharaoh at the time of Moses. The background to this confusion with the minister of the ruler Ahasuerus is unclear. In the 1970s, the French doctor Maurice Bucaille claimed that he was able to secure the name Haman in Egyptian hieroglyphics. Since the name has a perfect orthographical and professional correspondence with the person in the Koran, this proves the historical perfection of the Koran. This view has not found any resonance in science.

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. ^ G. Vajda in Encyclopaedia of Islam, New Edition, sv HĀMĀN
  2. Raoul Keller: No evidence of divine revelation of the Koran in Egyptian inscriptions , Institute for Islamic Issues, accessed on November 9, 2014