In Esther (5:9), when Haman leaves the king's palace after Queen Esther's first party, all happy and feeling on top of the world, gets very upset when he sees Mordechai sitting there, and not bowing to him. However, he controls himself (5:10), and complains to his wife and friends when he gets home.

Why would he restrain himself? He has the king's ear (and ring), he's likely the most powerful in the country after the king and queen (who both, as far as he knows, really really like him); why doesn't he order Mordechai's death right then?

Rashi on that verse kinda answers the question, but not really:

ויתאפק . נתחזק לעמוד על כעסו כי היה ירא להנקם בלא רשות , ויתאפק , אישט''ניר בלע''ז

restrained himself: He strengthened himself to control his anger because he was afraid to take revenge without the sanction of the king. וַיִתְאַפַּק is eseretint in Old French, and he controlled himself.

(Sefaria Hebrew, Chabad translation)

The reason I don't think that this fully answers the question is because the king is not only a friend of Haman's, but he also gave him his ring -- Achashverosh trusted him so much that he gave him carte blanche to say whatever he wanted in the king's name. Haman may as well have written an edict ordering Mordechai's death, and then carried it out.

What made Haman control himself, in Esther 5:10?

  • Related, inverse question: judaism.stackexchange.com/q/56029/5323
    – MTL
    Mar 6, 2015 at 20:00
  • Kinda annoying that I couldn't find Hebrew and English Rashi in the same place, but hopefully either Chabad or Sefaria will get around to filling in the other one soon.
    – MTL
    Mar 6, 2015 at 20:02
  • 1
    Add the English Rashi to Sefaria yourself!
    – Scimonster
    Mar 7, 2015 at 20:49
  • Related, inverse question (#2): judaism.stackexchange.com/q/56295/5323
    – MTL
    Mar 10, 2015 at 16:02

2 Answers 2

  • Haman may have restrained himself because of Mordechai’s status as an adviser of the king. Yalkut Shimoni 1053 says that the position of Mordechai at the king's gate was personally requested by Esther to Achashverosh. If he killed Mordechai at that time, the anger of the King and the Queen would turn against him.

  • The Ginzei Hamelech (quoted here) makes a conection with Haman's fear and Taanis 29a in which brings a tradition that says 'if the advisors of the king had decreed a decree and one of them died, they would annul that decree'. Haman probably thought that if he ordered Mordechai's death at that moment this could put everything to lose in his plan to exterminate the Jews.


medrash (panim acherimm B”.) says...

haman said ... I can kill him on the spot but I won’t because I need all to see and teach him a lesson what happens when you do this to haman

  • Could you quote the source?
    – b a
    Dec 31, 2019 at 0:40

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .