Who In The World Is Haman?
I’m re-reading a book about George Washington, entitled His Excellency, by Joseph J. Ellis (a great book, by the way). It’s a wonder the Continental Army was able to defeat the British Army, the most formidable military force on the planet. The colonists’ victory was even more remarkable in light of the fact that during the eight-year war for independence, the American soldiers were so pitifully equipped and supplied. At Valley Forge many soldiers really did march through the snow half-naked and barefoot, leaving behind bloody footprints. At one point during the war, Washington complained to Benjamin Harrison about the failure of the Continental Congress to provide adequate resources for the Continental Army. Ellis summarized Washington’s words this way:
Why was the Congress failing to prosecute profiteers and “forestallers” (hoarders who jacked up the prices of supplies needed by the army), who were obviously “pests of society,” all of whom ought to be “hung in Gibbets upon a gallows five times as high as the one prepared by Haman?”
Now here’s what I find interesting about Washington’s comments: He mentioned Haman without any explanation whatsoever. People back then knew about Haman. They knew their Bibles! They could talk about biblical events and characters in everyday conversation as easily as we talk about sports, politics, and the weather. Not only did people then know about biblical characters such as Haman, it wasn’t the least bit unusual for them to mention scriptural matters in letters and in casual conservation. Times have certainly changed, haven’t they? If you asked the average person today who Haman was, I doubt one in a hundred could tell you.
Now that I think about it, do you know who Haman was?