Commentators (such as this one) frequently imply that the ten sons of Haman were executed as an act of revenge. Indeed, the Book of Esther does say:

Then Esther said: “If it pleases the king… let Haman's ten sons be hanged upon the gallows.” And the king commanded it so to be done… and they hanged Haman's ten sons. [Esther 9:13-14]

But this quote may lead to the (false) conclusion that Haman’s ten sons (babes in arms for all we know) were killed on account of their father’s actions. In reality, Haman’s ten sons had already died in battle fighting the Jews. Esther just wanted to have their bodies hung. This is made clear in an earlier quote:

The Jews struck all their enemies with the stroke of the sword… and did what they would to those who hated them… [Esther 9:5]

The ten sons of Haman…, the enemy of the Jews, they slew [in battle], but on the plunder they did not lay their hand. [Esther 9:10]

Is this point highlighted anywhere?

  • That is a great question which is discussed in midrash. Additionally, which will be expounded upon in my next sefer, the ten sons of haman were not "babes in arms", they actually played a direct role in the "stop work order" issued on the construction of the beis hamikdash (see sefaria.org/…) additionally, some midrashim\meforshim debate if they were hanged on one tree, one on top of each other, or possibly that they were killed in battle. It is definitely a deep rabbit hole.
    – The Targum
    May 8 at 13:58

1 Answer 1


According to the Gemara Megillah 15b those were different sons. Rav says there were 30 sons: 10 died in battle, 10 were hanged, and 10 became impoverished. The Rabbis say 70 became impoverished. And Rami bar Abba says there were 208 sons total. Ram Halaiv to Esther 9:10 and Perush Rabbi Avigdor Kohen Tzedek there say the same, that the 10 listed were killed in battle but others were hanged alive.

However, Rashi and the Perush "Chakhmei Tzarfat" to Esther 9:13 bring the pshat you suggest that the 10 who were hanged were the same ones already killed in battle. The Rid brings both explanations.

  • But the biblical quotes talk about THE ten sons of Haman: וְאֵת֙ עֲשֶׂ֣רֶת בְּנֵֽי־הָמָ֔ן May 5 at 19:48
  • According to the editors of the Torat Chaim that's why Rashi reads the verse the way he does.
    – Avraham
    May 5 at 19:55
  • On what grounds do the others say differently? May 5 at 20:02
  • 1
    If Haman had so many sons perhaps the 10 sons of Haman refer to sons he had with his wife and others were from women of a lesser status?
    – Dude
    May 8 at 13:45
  • 1
    @Dude nice chiddush!
    – Avraham
    May 8 at 15:37

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