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At first reading, Haman is very powerful and wants to use that power to kill the Jews, but he's not actually interested in harming his boss, King Ahasueros ("Achashveirosh" to most of us), in any way. At one point he falls and oops it looks like he's attempting something inappropriate with Queen Esther, but it seems that wasn't his intention.

Are there sources that indicate Haman was out to kill or overthrow Ahasueros? I recall a midrash where Ahasueros sees men cutting down his royal trees, saying "we're just following Haman's orders"; but that was an angelic mirage, not Haman's actual plan. I vaguely recall Malbim implying that Haman was out to get his boss, is that correct? Where did Malbim see that in the text?

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Interesting to note the המן = המלך –  Gershon Gold Mar 16 '11 at 19:43

3 Answers 3

Yosippon (ch. 4) says that Bigsan and Teresh were "Haman's relatives, and among his loyal friends and faithful counselors," and that indeed Haman tried but failed to save them from being executed. A few lines earlier he says that they intended, by assassinating Achashverosh, to ingratiate themselves with the Greeks. So there's reason to assume that Haman was in on their plot too.

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The Manos HaLevi http://hebrewbooks.org/pdfpager.aspx?req=39949&st=&pgnum=300 brings down in the name of R' Yehoshua ben Ilayi that the whole evening Achasverosh saw Haman standing over him with a sword in his hand, and taking his crown and putting it on his head. He was uncertain if it was true or if it was a dream. Then Haman showed up in his Chatzer. So he felt, then it must be true and it is not a dream.

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Certainly the story plays on Achashverosh's paranoia that Haman could be a threat. My question is, was Haman actually plotting anything? –  Shalom Mar 15 '11 at 19:46
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From this Sefer it seems not. –  Gershon Gold Mar 15 '11 at 20:05

There is also the famous discrepancy within Haman's description of what should be done for someone who finds favor in the King's eyes:

וַיֹּאמֶר הָמָן, אֶל-הַמֶּלֶךְ: אִישׁ, אֲשֶׁר הַמֶּלֶךְ חָפֵץ בִּיקָרוֹ. יָבִיאוּ לְבוּשׁ מַלְכוּת, אֲשֶׁר לָבַשׁ-בּוֹ הַמֶּלֶךְ; וְסוּס, אֲשֶׁר רָכַב עָלָיו הַמֶּלֶךְ, וַאֲשֶׁר נִתַּן כֶּתֶר מַלְכוּת, בְּרֹאשׁוֹ. וְנָתוֹן הַלְּבוּשׁ וְהַסּוּס, עַל-יַד-אִישׁ מִשָּׂרֵי הַמֶּלֶךְ הַפַּרְתְּמִים, וְהִלְבִּישׁוּ אֶת-הָאִישׁ, אֲשֶׁר הַמֶּלֶךְ חָפֵץ בִּיקָרוֹ; וְהִרְכִּיבֻהוּ עַל-הַסּוּס, בִּרְחוֹב הָעִיר, וְקָרְאוּ לְפָנָיו, כָּכָה יֵעָשֶׂה לָאִישׁ אֲשֶׁר הַמֶּלֶךְ חָפֵץ בִּיקָרוֹ.

"And Haman said unto the king: 'For the man whom the king delighteth to honour, let royal apparel be brought which the king useth to wear, and the horse that the king rideth upon, and on whose head a crown royal is set; and let the apparel and the horse be delivered to the hand of one of the king's most noble princes, that they may array the man therewith whom the king delighteth to honour, and cause him to ride on horseback through the street of the city, and proclaim before him: Thus shall it be done to the man whom the king delighteth to honour.'"

And A*h*ashverosh's response:

וַיֹּאמֶר הַמֶּלֶךְ לְהָמָן, מַהֵר קַח אֶת-הַלְּבוּשׁ וְאֶת-הַסּוּס כַּאֲשֶׁר דִּבַּרְתָּ, וַעֲשֵׂה-כֵן לְמָרְדֳּכַי הַיְּהוּדִי, הַיּוֹשֵׁב בְּשַׁעַר הַמֶּלֶךְ: אַל-תַּפֵּל דָּבָר, מִכֹּל אֲשֶׁר דִּבַּרְתָּ.

"Then the king said to Haman: 'Make haste, and take the apparel and the horse, as thou hast said, and do even so to Mordecai the Jew, that sitteth at the king's gate; let nothing fail of all that thou hast spoken.'"

In short: Haman says, "Bring out the King's best clothes, horse and crown ... uh ... and place the clothes on this person and let him ride the horse. Yeah, the clothes and the horse. That's the ticket. Who said anything about a crown?"

And A*h*ashverosh responds by saying, "You do realize I'm talking about Mordechai, don't you? Don't leave out that detail. Let him wear the crown, too."

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Translation from Mechon Mamre: mechon-mamre.org/p/pt/pt3306.htm –  Seth J Mar 15 '11 at 19:41
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The straightest reading of the verse, based on grammar and cantillation, is that the horse itself had worn some type of royal crown. One medrish has Haman recommending a crown, but omitting it by the next verse when he sees the look on Achashverosh's face when he says the word "crown." But still: was Haman actually planning treason? –  Shalom Mar 15 '11 at 19:49
    
If the horse wore a special crown it's conceivable that it was reserved for when the king himself was riding it, even to the exclusion of someone walking it to prepare it for the king. Also, plotting and fantasizing aren't necessarily that far off in ancient politics. Beware the 9th of Adar, as someone said today –  Seth J Mar 15 '11 at 20:27

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