Haman persuaded Ahashverosh to sign a decree enabling the genocide of the Jews in the Persian empire. This much is clear from the text. But in between Esther's parties, Haman constructs a gallows 50 cubits tall, at his own home, specifically to hang Mordechai. I'm a little befuddled by how he could think he could get away with this. True, he lurked in the king's courtyard that night, probably rehearsing his speech and/or waiting for the king to wake up, so he could request permission for Mordechai's hanging. But wouldn't Ahashverosh find it a little bit odd that Haman had already built the gallows at his own home to hang Mordechai?

Under what kind of system of laws were the Persians operating that Haman could conceive of this as somehow legitimate - or legitimate enough to avoid some kind of inquiry by the king's court into what the heck he had planned and for how long?

  • An absolute monarchy.
    – Double AA
    Commented Mar 10, 2015 at 16:01
  • Related, inverse question: judaism.stackexchange.com/q/56161/5323. Also related: judaism.stackexchange.com/q/56029/5323
    – MTL
    Commented Mar 10, 2015 at 16:02
  • @DoubleAA, an absolute monarch does not tend to have a long and successful reign if his ministers believe they can get away with murder.
    – Seth J
    Commented Mar 10, 2015 at 18:25
  • @Shokhet, that inverse question isn't really the inverse. That asks why he restrained himself when he could, conceivably, have ordered Mordechai's death. My question is about how he could think he could just build a gallows at home to kill Mordechai. This would seem to demonstrate that it isn't an official act at all, but one of a personal (and premeditated) nature.
    – Seth J
    Commented Mar 10, 2015 at 18:28

1 Answer 1


When Haman is introduced (I think it's chapter 3), we see that Mordechai was already violating the king's command that everyone should bow to Haman. The king's assistants knew this, because it says that they asked Mordechai "why are you disobeying the king's commandment?" So, I assume word got to the king right away, and, perhaps, he had no problem getting rid of Mordechai, had Haman mentioned it to him earlier.

By the time Haman came to tell the king about the idea, Mordechai was already seen as an ally for saving the king's life, but Haman didn't know that, yet.

  • See my comment in response to Shokhet. I don't think this really answers the question of why Haman would expect to get away with murder.
    – Seth J
    Commented Mar 10, 2015 at 18:30
  • @SethJ - Ah, good point. I see what you're getting at, now. See GershonGold's answer to my question, judaism.stackexchange.com/questions/56029/… which he posted earlier today. There are two aspects - Haman was given charge to make these decisions as he was 2nd in command behind the king. Even so, see in that answer the notion that his advisers wanted others to build it and others to execute Mordechai so it wouldn't seem that it was personal.
    – DanF
    Commented Mar 10, 2015 at 18:37

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