Targum on Esther identifies Memuchan as Haman (in 1:16):

ממוכן הוא המן

Memuchan, who is Haman

Yet on 4:5, when he identifies Hasach as Daniel, he switches the order:

דניאל דמתקרי התך

Daniel, who is called Hasach

(In the subsequent verses in each part of the Megillah, the Targum consistently uses the names in the Megillah.)

Why is it that in 1:16, he starts off with the name used in the Megillah and identifies who it is only after, while in 4:5, he gives the character's actual name and then refers to him as the Megillah does? Why not, in 4:5, say התך הוא דניאל, or in 1:16 המן דמתקרי ממוכן?

  • Maybe memuchan was never called that, but rather the Megillah calls him that for a drash. Daniel on the other hand went by hasach
    – robev
    Mar 1, 2018 at 21:45
  • @robev You mean that nobody ever called him Memuchan besides for the Anshei Kenesses HaGedolah? Interesting. If that can be sourced, it would explain why the Targum doesn't use המן דמתקרי ממוכן, but why doesn't it say התך הוא דניאל?
    – DonielF
    Mar 1, 2018 at 22:00
  • Possibly The first time we meet Daniel he is called Daniel; The first time we meet Homon he is called Memuchan- i.e. at the point the midrash is telling us that it is Homon, we haven't really met him to say 'Homon, who is called Memuchan'
    – user15253
    Mar 2, 2018 at 12:33
  • @Orangesandlemons Targum still could have said התך הוא דניאל
    – DonielF
    Mar 2, 2018 at 14:52
  • 1
    Note another Targum there: ואמר ממוכן דהוא דניאל Aug 2, 2019 at 21:27

4 Answers 4


Perhaps since Memuchan and Haman are both in the Megillah, we identify one as the other "Memuchan hu Haman".

However, when we want to identify Hasach as Daniel, who doesn't appear elsewhere in the Megillah, we note that Daniel is called Hasach, but we can't say that Hasach is Daniel, because Daniel is not present in the Megillah, so it would be awkward to say Hasach hu Daniel. ??

  • +1 I think this would also serve to explain the lingual difference of the description: דמתקרי התך - and where is Daniel called Hatach? Only here in the Megillah.
    – Harel13
    Feb 24, 2021 at 10:03


Daniel really should be written in the Megilla but we can’t (due to gimatria of Haman ) so “we call him hasach

Haman we call a negative name when we can because ................ We do that to all avoda zoro

  • I’m not asking why Haman is mentioned explicitly but Daniel is mentioned obliquely, but rather why the Targum switches the order in which he presents their identities.
    – DonielF
    Aug 2, 2019 at 19:57
  • This does not answer the question. Possibly the reason is the same as the use of Naval and the way the good and the bad are referenced. Aug 2, 2019 at 21:22

In Targum Rishon of Esther 1:16, the character "Memuchan" is Haman the Agagite, whose name keeps reappearing from this point forward throughout the narrative (except in 1:12 where his name of "Memuchan" is mentioned yet one last time).

In Targum Rishon of Esther 4:5 "Hasach" appears, who is Daniel the prophet. The narrative continues to refer to him as "Hasach" several times, until in 4:12 he is killed by Haman, and the reader is once again explicitly reminded in the Targum that this person was in fact Daniel the prophet.

According to the Babylonian Talmud, the emphasis on Daniel's name "Hasach" stemmed for two reasons: (a) the name "Hasach" means cut down (killed by Haman); and (b), the name also means decided, which meant that Daniel's words (prophecy) had carried cosmic force.

b. Megillah (15a)

This image cites one paragraph from the Babylonian Talmud in Megillah Folio 15A, which correlates the servant Hasach with the prophet Daniel.

Please click on the image (above) to enlarge and view online.

The same commentary appears in the relevant Midrash.

Midrash Rabbah 8:4

“ ‘Then Esther called for Hasach.’ Our teachers there say that Hasach is the same as Daniel, and because he was cut down from his greatness they called him Hasach. Our teachers here say that he was so called because he made decisions on affairs of state.”

In summary, the emphasis on the name "Hasach" for Daniel in the narrative was to focus the reader on the humility ("cut down") and greatness of Daniel the prophet, whose words carried divine sanction and power ("he made decisions on affairs of state").

Thus it is that in 1:16, the narrative starts off with the name used in the Megillah and identifies who it is only after, while in 4:5, the narrative gives the character's actual name and then refers to him as the Megillah does.

  • How does this answer the question? Let the Targum write המן הוא ממוכן or להתך דמתקרי דניאל. It would make grammatical sense and would preserve the name order between the two.
    – DonielF
    Jan 31, 2020 at 4:28
  • @DonielF - I misunderstood your question completely. My apologies. Please see my revised commentary. Thanks.
    – Joseph
    Jan 31, 2020 at 6:52
  • I see now that you’re addressing my question, so I’ve retracted my downvote, but I’m still not clear on what exactly it is you’re trying to say.
    – DonielF
    Jan 31, 2020 at 14:44
  • The last paragraph of my posting was the answer to your question. Can you help me to better understand what you are seeking to know?
    – Joseph
    Jan 31, 2020 at 14:59
  • If I’m understanding you correctly, you’re proposing that because of the symbolism in the nickname Hasach, the Megillah, and therefore the Targum, refers to him primarily as Hasach and only secondarily by his real name. Do I have that right? If so, why doesn’t the same thing apply to Haman, whose nickname Memuchan was given due to its symbolism of מוכן לפרענות (Megillah 12b)?
    – DonielF
    Jan 31, 2020 at 21:33

IMHO, The first name is the main name, the second is a nickname.

With Daniel, it's obvious.

With Haman, it seems that researchers believe that "Haman" is some kind of title or virtue's that is attached to the person.

Especially I remember scholar saying that Haman means "(owner of) good thoughts", which make the verse

וּבְבֹאָהּ֮ לִפְנֵ֣י הַמֶּלֶךְ֒ אָמַ֣ר עִם־הַסֵּ֔פֶר יָשׁ֞וּב מַחֲשַׁבְתּ֧וֹ הָרָעָ֛ה אֲשֶׁר־חָשַׁ֥ב עַל־הַיְּהוּדִ֖ים עַל־רֹאשׁ֑וֹ וְתָל֥וּ אֹת֛וֹ וְאֶת־בָּנָ֖יו עַל־הָעֵֽץ׃

"When she (Ester) came before the king, [he] said with the book, the bad thought he thought upon the Jews will return on his head, and they hang him and his sons"

Especially ironic

  • Since when is Haman’s real name Memuchan?
    – DonielF
    Sep 2, 2019 at 11:25
  • @DonielF Explained. Sep 2, 2019 at 13:28
  • What do you make of this Maharsha, which clearly says that Haman was the primary name?
    – DonielF
    Sep 2, 2019 at 15:28
  • @DonielF I give him a lot of respect, and interpreted otherwise. Sep 3, 2019 at 5:21

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