Esther 6:13, Question 7. What exactly do Haman’s advisers advise?

  • According to Iyun Yaakov, Yosef Lekach, Rashi, and the Vilna Gaon, the advisers were advising Haman to beg Mordechai for forgiveness.
  • Furthermore, as the Alshich points out, the Talmud (Yevamos 79b) defines Jews as rachmanim, merciful by nature. Therefore, Mordechai would forgive Haman. Having no other choice, Haman would eventually listen (Esther 7:8), and beg Esther for his life.
  • R’ Moshe ibn Habib is quoted in Dena Pishra as saying that the advisers were suspicious that Esther was Jewish because she decreed that all barbershops were to be closed. Therefore, they advised that Haman beg Achashverosh for forgiveness and revoke the decree against the Jews.
  • Perhaps they also intended that knowing Esther’s origins – a topic concerning which the king had not yet been satisfied – could be an effective advantage to Haman in having influence on Achashverosh.
  • The Malbim says the advisers suggested that Haman make Mordechai overconfident with continued honors, so he would stop praying and fasting. They clearly did not know that Mordechai went back to sackcloth and ashes immediately upon his return from the display of honor Mordechai perceived as merely a dog and pony show.

Esther 1:21, Question 2. Why does the advice seem good to the advisers?

According to the Malbim, although Memuchan’s advice would strip the advisers of their powerful role, they nevertheless agreed because they were eager to finally be masters of their own homes. Furthermore, they were not afraid of losing their positions. On the contrary, they saw how easy it was to influence the king. They might have thought, “If Memuchan could so easily convince the king to kill his beloved wife, imagine what we can convince him to do for us…”1

1You faithful blog readers may have noticed that the Malbim has been giving a fairly simple, political view to many of the questions posted. He adds at this point that this has been a setup to establish Achashverosh as a strong-minded, savvy ruler not easily swayed by his own emotions. The Malbim’s intent is to emphasize the miraculous nature of Achashverosh’s listening to Esther later in the story (7:8). He could just as easily have answered her, “So what that he wants to kill your people? I want to also, and you can be the exception if you like. Otherwise, it was nice knowing you. Tata!”