Mordecai, the Jew, refuses to bow to Haman. Haman arranges a decree to kill all the Jews in the kingdom.
(See Esther 3:1–15.)
President Thomas S. Monson said:
“Most of you are familiar with the Old Testament account of Esther. It is a very interesting and inspiring record of a beautiful young Jewish girl whose parents had died, leaving her to be raised by an older cousin, Mordecai, and his wife.
“Mordecai worked for the king of Persia, and when the king was looking for a queen, Mordecai took Esther to the palace and presented her as a candidate, advising her not to reveal that she was Jewish. The king was pleased with Esther above all the others and made Esther his queen.
“Haman, the chief prince in the king’s court, became increasingly angry with Mordecai because Mordecai would not bow down and pay homage to him. In retribution, Haman convinced the king—in a rather devious manner—that there were ‘certain people’ in all 127 provinces of the kingdom whose laws were different from others’ and that they would not obey the king’s laws and should be destroyed (see Esther 3:8). Without naming these people to the king, Haman was, of course, referring to the Jews, including Mordecai.
“With the king’s permission to handle the matter, Haman sent letters to the governors of all of the provinces, instructing them ‘to destroy, to kill, and to cause to perish, all Jews, both young and old, little children and women, . . . (on) the thirteenth day of the twelfth month’ (Esther 3:13).”
(“May You Have Courage,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2009, 127.)