7) Amalek is mentioned among the enemies of Israel - just as Greek writers of the 6th century of this era applied the old term Scythians to the Goths (Noldeke), - and the traditional hostility between Saul and Amalek is reflected still later in the book of Esther where Haman the Agagite is pitted against Mordecai the Benjamite.
In goo `Abu Said al-Jannabi, who had been sent to Bahrein by Haman, had secured a large part of this province and had won the city of Katif (Ketif) which contained many Jews and Persians.
It was most probably written during the Greek period towards the end of the 3rd century B.C. The book of Esther, which describes, with many legendary traits, how the beautiful Jewess succeeded in rescuing her people from the destruction which Haman had prepared for them, will not be earlier than the closing years of the 4th century B.C., and is thought by many scholars to be even later.
According to Jewish tradition it is held in celebration of the deliverance of the Jews from the massacre plotted against them by their enemy Haman in the time of Artaxerxes, who fixed upon the former date by casting "lots" (= Hebrew loan-word Purim) .
The Megillah or Roll of Esther is read both at home and in the synagogue, and wherever, during the reading, the name of Haman is mentioned, it is accompanied with tramping the feet.
In former times Haman was burnt in effigy, holding on to a ring and swinging from one side of the fire to the other (see L.
Even the fact that this latter was celebrated on the first of Nisan, or a fortnight after the Jewish date for Purim, is confirmed by the Book of Esther itself, which states that "In the first month, which is the month Nisan, they cast Pur, that is, the lot, before Haman" (Esther iii.
It became customary to burn an effigy of Haman at the conclusion of the feast, and this was regarded as in some ways an attack on Christianity and was therefore forbidden by the Theodosian code, XVI.
But Jewish sources of the 10th century state that the custom of burning an effigy of Haman was still kept up at that time (L.
Sachau, 273) and Makrizi, and indeed the custom was carried on down to the present century by Jewish children, who treated Haman as a sort of Guy Fawkes.
The earliest mention, however, of this burning of Haman in effigy cannot be traced back earlier than the Talmud in the 5th century.
Execration of Haman, as the typical persecutor of the Jews, took various forms. In Germany wooden mallets were used in the synagogue to beat the benches when Haman's name was read out from the scroll of Esther, and during the festivities these mallets were sometimes used on the heads of the bystanders.
Cakes were made of a certain shape to be eaten by the children, which were called, in Germany, Hamantaschen (Haman-pockets) and Hamanohren (Haman-ears), and in Italy, Orecchie d'Aman.
In Italy a puppet representing Haman was set 'up on high amidst shouts of vengeance and blowing of trumpets.
In Caucasus the women made a wooden block to represent Haman, which, on being discovered by the men on their return to the synagogue, was thrown into the fire.
One would suppose that the most ignorant Jew could never have mistaken Haman, the minister of Ahasuerus, for the minister of Pharaoh, as happens in the Koran, or identified Miriam, the sister of Moses, with Mary (= Mariam), the mother of Christ.
Melicertes being Phoenician, Palaemon also has been explained as the "burning lord" (Baal-haman), but there seems little in common between a god of the sea and a god of fire.