The Mystery of the Lost Ark: Part 9
During that time, Xerxes elevated a man called Haman above all the princes of Persia. Every citizen, rich or poor, bowed down in respect to the man who was second only to the king, himself. However, Mordecai refused to bow before the pompous Haman. Because Mordecai was responsible for foiling an assassination attempt on His Majesty’s life, he was held in high esteem by the king. Thus Haman would seek revenge through a back door. He would target Mordecai’s race rather than the man directly.
So Haman approached Xerxes and informed him about a despicable people who refused to observe the laws of Persia. He urged the king to destroy these enemies of the empire. Xerxes gave his most trusted prince his signet ring and bade Haman to do as he pleased with the delinquent race.
On the 13th day of the first month of Xerxes’ twelfth regnal year, Haman composed an edict, sealed with the king’s ring, which called for the ethnic cleansing of all Jews in the kingdom of Persia. The holocaust was scheduled to take place eleven months later, on the 13th day of the twelfth month which the Jews call Adar. Copies of the genocide decree were dispatched by courier to all 127 provinces in the Persian Empire commanding them to destroy, kill, and annihilate the Jews and to plunder their possessions and treasures.
When Mordecai learned of the edict, he was deeply grieved and mourned publicly in the city of Susa dressed in sackcloth and ashes, the customary garb of Jews bereft of hope. Upon hearing of Mordecai’s grief, Esther sent her servant to determine the cause of his anguish. Through her servant, Mordecai begged Esther to intervene before the king on behalf of the Jewish race.
However, it was unlawful to approach Xerxes uninvited and Esther had not been summoned for some thirty days. Royal bodyguards, armed with axes, were stationed around the king’s throne to lop off the heads of any intruders. The only salvation for uninvited guests was if Xerxes held out his golden sceptre to them and there were no guarantees even for members of the royal harem. Besides, a decree issued and sealed by the king was irrevocable under Persian law, even by the king, himself. Esther relayed that message to Mordecai through her servant, Hathach.