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Biblical People

Biblical People: Zeresh

Zeresh is the wife of the anti-Semitic Haman. 

Enraged that Mordecai, a Jew, slighted him, Haman plots the annihilation of all Jewish people scattered throughout the Persian Empire. Later, when complaining about Mordecai to his family and friends, Zeresh recommends he erect a seventy-five-foot pole and seek the king’s permission to impale Mordecai on it. Haman delights in this suggestion and follows his wife’s advice. 

His plan is foiled, however, when the king has a different idea. Instead of executing his nemesis, the king commands Haman to honor Mordecai. Completing this distasteful task, the mortified Haman returns home in humiliation. Then Zeresh predicts Haman’s downfall. Since Mordecai is a Jew, she says, Haman doesn’t stand a chance. 

She’s correct. 

A few days later Haman is impaled on the same pole he constructed for Mordecai’s execution. Zeresh’s initial advice to her husband becomes the tool for his death. Zeresh gave her husband the guidance he wanted to hear. What if she had counseled him differently, instead encouraging him to rise above his vendetta and not seek revenge?

When we give advice to others, do we offer them the easy answer or the right one?

[Discover more about Zeresh in Esther 5:9–14 and Esther 6:12–14.]


Read about other biblical women in Women of the Bible, available in audiobook, e-book, paperback, and hardcover.

A lifelong student of the Bible, Peter DeHaan, PhD, wrote the 700-page website ABibleADay.com to encourage people to explore the Bible. His main blog and numerous books urge Christians to push past the status quo and reconsider how they practice their faith in every area of their lives.