While the text explicitly states that Zeresh was involved in the plot to kill Mordechai (5:14), it never states that Haman's sons did anything wrong. If Korach's sons can end up being meritorious, why couldn't Haman's if they did nothing wrong independently?

By the end, the ten sons have been hanged and Zeresh hasn't. I know that there is the medrash that Zeresh leaves and is reduced to beggary as per this answer, but that answer indicates that 70 sons remain. So what did these 10 do which merited their death?

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    Why ask about these ten and not the other 800 killed in shushan? – Double AA Mar 24 '16 at 18:28
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    Because the medrash distinguishes them from the other 70 sons and the mother who is textually implicated and the text isolates them instead of including them in the overall count. – rosends Mar 24 '16 at 18:30
  • @DoubleAA I was wondering this earlier. How did the Jews know whom to kill? It would seem from the text that the 10,000 talents of silver (3:9) may have been dispersed ahead of time, paying them for their anticipated act of murder. That would be a clear indication of who was involved... – Isaac Kotlicky Mar 24 '16 at 18:55

Seder Olam, 29 seems to present a reason when states that they were the ones who had written accusations against the inhabitants of Judah and Jerusalem in Ezra 4:6.


I don't (yet) have a source for this answer; but, perhaps "[Haman's] beloved ones" (אהביו; Esther 5:14) who, along with Zeresh, suggested to hang Mordekha'i, refers to his ten sons who were hanged by order of Queen Esther.

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    But Zeresh, who is named explicitly, is not hanged? – rosends Mar 24 '16 at 23:17
  • @Danno Fair question; but, maybe a separate one in its own right? – Lee Mar 24 '16 at 23:20

The megilla states that the second decree was that the Jews were allowed to defend themselves and that the original decree could not be revoked. It would appear that the people killed were the ones who took advantage of the first decree to attack the Jews. The implication is that the police were forbidden by the two decrees to interfere on an official basis, though it also appears that individuals could join the Jews on a personal level.

This would mean that everyone was given free rein on that day and would not suffer the penalty for murder.

The ten sons of Haman appear to have been the ones who were actively involved with their father in his plots. From the way it says that "they were hanged" and that they were left hanging on the second day, it would seem that they were hanged by the decree of Achashveros. Those killed by the Jews were not hanged, but killed in the fighting. That would be why they are separated in the megilla.

My son provided this Bonus Gematriah for Purim

1) 500 people were killed in Shushan, everywhere else, they killed 75,000 people

2) Achshveirosh ruled over 127 countries and if we assume Shushan was one of them, then it comes out that in the remaining 126 countries, they killed 75,000 people.

3) If you do the math (175,000/126), we see each country killed 595 people , which equals 74,970.

4) In Shushan they killed 500 + Haman. Haman is gematriah 95. So in every other country they needed to kill 595 to match what happened in Shushan.

5) You still have to account for an extra 30 people killed. (75,000‐74,970=30). The Medrash says Haman had 30 sons. 10 were hung, 10 were killed and 10 were beggars. We know a poor person is like a dead person. In order to make up the 30 sons killed, an extra 30 people were killed.

  • Since they were then killed by decree, they were not killed in fighting and posed no war-time threat like the others. While we might surmise that they did something, I wonder why it is left unexplained, while Zeresh, who clearly was involved, is only explained in the medrash as escaping and becoming poor (NOT PUR...). – rosends Mar 24 '16 at 20:15
  • @Danno Probably it was left unexplained because it did not have a connection to the story. Since they were killed because of their father, that would have been sufficient (in those times) to be understood. – sabbahillel Mar 24 '16 at 20:17
  • The author of Maoz Tzur says that most of his children were hung from the עץ, rather than 1/3. – Noach MiFrankfurt Mar 24 '16 at 21:28
  • @NoachmiFrankfurt Yes but the medrash that my son was citing said it was divided as explained. – sabbahillel Mar 25 '16 at 1:31
  • @NoachmiFrankfurt Not that many of thew English translations say "his multitude of sons and his household" thus besides being non-literal, it does not say "most" – sabbahillel Mar 25 '16 at 1:52

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