One of the more interesting encounters in the megilla takes place between Achashveirosh and Haman right after Haman decides to kill the Jewish people. Having decided on a date, Haman approaches Achashveirosh and makes the following offer (3:9):
אִם עַל הַמֶּלֶךְ טוֹב יִכָּתֵב לְאַבְּדָם וַעֲשֶׂרֶת אֲלָפִים כִּכַּר כֶּסֶף אֶשְׁקוֹל עַל יְדֵי עֹשֵׂי הַמְּלָאכָה לְהָבִיא אֶל גִּנְזֵי הַמֶּלֶךְ
Achashveirosh takes his ring off, gives it to Haman, and makes the following response (3:11):
וַיֹּאמֶר הַמֶּלֶךְ לְהָמָן הַכֶּסֶף נָתוּן לָךְ וְהָעָם לַעֲשׂוֹת בּוֹ כַּטּוֹב בְּעֵינֶיךָ
Seemingly, Achashveirosh is telling Haman that he doesn’t want the money; Haman can do whatever he wants without paying the King to do so.
The problem with this interpretation is that it directly conflicts with later psukim in the megilla. When Mordechai is telling Esther about the situation the Jewish people have been placed into, he uses the following phrase (4:7):
וַיַּגֶּד לוֹ מָרְדֳּכַי אֵת כָּל-אֲשֶׁר קָרָהוּ וְאֵת פָּרָשַׁת הַכֶּסֶף אֲשֶׁר אָמַר הָמָן לִשְׁקוֹל עַל גִּנְזֵי הַמֶּלֶךְ בַּיְּהוּדִים לְאַבְּדָם
Similarly, when Esther is about to reveal to Achashveirosh the extent of Haman’s plans, she again refers to the Jewish nation “being sold” (7:4):
...כִּי נִמְכַּרְנוּ אֲנִי וְעַמִּי
All these words strongly suggest that money had changed hands, but the earlier p’sukim don’t seem to agree with this. What is the selling that has taken place?