At the command of the king all the servants bow down before Haman (verse 22All the king’s servants who were at the king’s gate bowed down and paid homage to Haman; for so the king had commanded concerning him. But Mordecai neither bowed down nor paid homage.). Haman has been given a position to be acknowledged by all. Only those who belong to God’s people do not and are not allowed to do so. For them this command of the king is a test. So it is also with the power that satan has received from God. All who are in the power of satan bow before him. For the children of God it is a test. To whom do they bow?
The power of Haman puts the people of God to the test. Thus God uses satan, of whom Haman is a picture, to test His people. The Lord Jesus has also had to deal with satan who comes to him with his temptations. In this way God’s children have to deal with an enemy who wants to cause them to abandon confidence in God with all the means at his disposal.
The hatred of the world is the part of everyone who clearly takes his place as a Christian. Such a Christian spreads light and hates the world that is in darkness. If we do not experience this so strongly, it may be because we have already adapted to a certain extent to the world.
Mordecai is someone who does not go with the masses. He does not bow down before this ruler (verse 33Then the king’s servants who were at the king’s gate said to Mordecai, “Why are you transgressing the king’s command?”). Nor has the Lord Jesus, of whom Mordecai is a picture, ever done so (Mt 4:8-108Again, the devil *took Him to a very high mountain and *showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory;9and he said to Him, “All these things I will give You, if You fall down and worship me.”10Then Jesus *said to him, “Go, Satan! For it is written, ‘YOU SHALL WORSHIP THE LORD YOUR GOD, AND SERVE HIM ONLY.’”). Mordecai resembles the friends of Daniel, who also violate the king’s commandment and refuse to kneel before the image he has made (Dan 3:1818But [even] if [He does] not, let it be known to you, O king, that we are not going to serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.”).
If there is a sudden situation where we have to confess our faith, we will experience God’s power. Daniel’s three friends are not unprepared to confront Nebuchadnezzar because of the image he has made. They have learned to pray and in practice to keep themselves clean from the impurity of the world. That is why there is inner strength to remain standing under the pressure of Nebuchadnezzar. The time of need reveals whether there is anything of God present in it.
Those who do not bow down will be held accountable by those who do. This happens in order to exert pressure to also bow down before the great ruler. The faithful Christian will use this opportunity to give an account for the hope that is in him (1Pet 3:15-1615but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always [being] ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence;16and keep a good conscience so that in the thing in which you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ will be put to shame.).
That pressure is being exerted on Mordecai is shown in verse 44Now it was when they had spoken daily to him and he would not listen to them, that they told Haman to see whether Mordecai’s reason would stand; for he had told them that he was a Jew.. For they speak to him “daily” about his ‘inflexibility’. But he does not listen. He keeps himself deaf. In this he resembles the true servant of the LORD, the Lord Jesus, Who also kept himself deaf to everything that was said to Him that would make Him unfaithful to His God (Isa 42:1919Who is blind but My servant,
Or so deaf as My messenger whom I send?
Who is so blind as he that is at peace [with Me],
Or so blind as the servant of the LORD?
Again we see a clear parallel with Joseph. Joseph is also addressed “day after day” by Potiphar’s wife, whereby her intention was to seduce him to have sexual intercourse with her. And there too we read that he “did not listen to her to lie beside her [or] be with her” (Gen 39:1010As she spoke to Joseph day after day, he did not listen to her to lie beside her [or] be with her.). It is important not to listen to wrong advice or encouragements to sin.
When Mordecai stands firm in his refusal to bow to Haman, the servants tell Haman. It seems to have escaped Haman that Mordecai does not bow down to him. The reason they tell Haman is that Mordecai is a Jew. Mordecai does not bow down because he is a Jew. It is also important for us to say that we are not participating in certain things because we belong to the Lord Jesus.
Mordecai did not conceal his origins, but confessed it. That is precisely why they want to see if his words will hold up. In this way our confession will also be tested. We can count on being the special target of satan’s attacks if we confess our faith in the Lord Jesus and belong to the church of the living God.
We will see that in the rest of this history. Drawn attention by the servants to the inflexibility of Mordecai towards him, Haman now pays special attention to Mordecai. If he sees that he indeed does not bow down before him, he is “filled with rage” (verse 55When Haman saw that Mordecai neither bowed down nor paid homage to him, Haman was filled with rage.). From this moment on there is nothing more for him than anger toward Mordecai, an anger that seeks a way out.
The only thing that can calm his anger is Mordecai’s death. And not only that. Also the whole people of Mordecai must be exterminated (verse 66But he disdained to lay hands on Mordecai alone, for they had told him [who] the people of Mordecai [were]; therefore Haman sought to destroy all the Jews, the people of Mordecai, who [were] throughout the whole kingdom of Ahasuerus.). Inspired by this thought, Haman searches for a way to “to destroy all the Jews, the people of Mordecai”. And not locally, only in the citadel of Susa, but “throughout the whole kingdom of Ahasuerus”.
Here we clearly see that Haman is a picture of satan. If the people were killed, the Messiah could not be born. We also see this with Herod, who is a willing instrument in the hand of satan when he wants to kill the Lord Jesus when He is just born (Mt 2:1616Then when Herod saw that he had been tricked by the magi, he became very enraged, and sent and slew all the male children who were in Bethlehem and all its vicinity, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had determined from the magi.).
Haman wants to kill the whole people of the Jews (Psa 83:4-54They have said, “Come, and let us wipe them out as a nation,
That the name of Israel be remembered no more.”
5For they have conspired together with one mind;
Against You they make a covenant:
). The people are associated with Mordecai and share Haman’s hatred of Mordecai. Here we see the connection between the Lord Jesus and His people. Christ and His own are one. Thus Saul is told by the glorified Lord: “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me? (Acts 9:44and he fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?”) while he was persecuting the church. That the devil’s wrath concerns both the Lord Jesus and His people, we see also in the end time, when the dragon, that is the devil, wants to devour not only the Child, that is Christ, but also all who belong to Him, that is the believing remnant of Israel (Rev 12:4b,174And his tail *swept away a third of the stars of heaven and threw them to the earth. And the dragon stood before the woman who was about to give birth, so that when she gave birth he might devour her child.17So the dragon was enraged with the woman, and went off to make war with the rest of her children, who keep the commandments of God and hold to the testimony of Jesus.).
How did Haman come to this attitude? He has seen that there is one person who dares to defy him. However, in his pride and wrath it is too little for him that only one person pays. His injured pride calls for revenge. He is not satisfied with just one person. He wants to be like God, like satan once did, and submit everything to himself. Whoever dares to resist him must be killed. Satan never offers an alternative, nor can he. He has a depraved nature and destroys whoever is in his power (cf. Jn 10:10a10The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have [it] abundantly.). Whoever does not bow down, he seeks to perish. Whoever bows down before him, whoever he holds in his grasp, that person is dragged into ruin.
In order to come to the execution of his gruesome murder plan, Haman lets the lot cast in his presence (verse 77In the first month, which is the month Nisan, in the twelfth year of King Ahasuerus, Pur, that is the lot, was cast before Haman from day to day and from month [to month], until the twelfth month, that is the month Adar.). He lets this be done, guided by his superstitious, pagan, dark thinking, to determine the most suitable day for the realization of his plan of extermination. This occult course of events proves once more that Haman is a servant of satan. However, God is above him and satan.
Surely it is remarkable that fate finally falls on the thirteenth day of the twelfth month. The casting of the lot begins in the first month, the month of Nisan, that is the month of Passover, which is reminiscent of the redemption of God’s people from Egypt. For each day of that month the lot is cast, but no day turns out to be suitable. So it is with every day of the second month and every day of the following months. Until finally the lot designates the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, the month of Adar, as the favorable day.
The time in which the lot is cast is “the twelfth year of King Ahasuerus”, a dating that indicates that the authority is in the hands of the nations and not in those of God’s people. However, the months are mentioned with the Hebrew name, a dating that applies to God’s people. Here we see that behind this demonic act God controls everything. Haman will have seen the outcome as a favorable omen, because it gives him time to carry out his depraved intention. However, he has no awareness that this delay will be both his downfall and the deliverance of the Jews. He does cast the lot, but the LORD decides (Pro 16:3333The lot is cast into the lap,
But its every decision is from the LORD.).
In Israel the lot makes the will of God known to the people. We see this for example in the history of Achan (Jos 7:16-1816So Joshua arose early in the morning and brought Israel near by tribes, and the tribe of Judah was taken.17He brought the family of Judah near, and he took the family of the Zerahites; and he brought the family of the Zerahites near man by man, and Zabdi was taken.18He brought his household near man by man; and Achan, son of Carmi, son of Zabdi, son of Zerah, from the tribe of Judah, was taken.) and in the division of the land (Joshua 15-19). In the Bible the lot is cast out for the last time when a successor is to be chosen for Judas, the traitor of the Lord Jesus (Acts 1:2626And they drew lots for them, and the lot fell to Matthias; and he was added to the eleven apostles.). We do not need the lot, because we have the complete Word of God. Now God’s will is given to us in His Word, which is made clear to us by the Holy Spirit.