In the book of Esther, Esther 7:8 most translations translate נָפַל as fallen, subdue, force or violate. A few actually translate it as "rape". Was this just a euphemism or could Haman have, as a dying, desperate man literally raped or attempted to rape Hadassah, or was he simply prostrate at her feet and begging for his life? Could Esther have been left unguarded briefly by her eunuchs? I did not see this question specifically addressed. Thanks in advance for your thoughts and answers.

Esther 7:8 KJV

Then the king returned out of the palace garden into the place of the banquet of wine; and Haman was fallen upon the bed whereon Esther was. Then said the king, Will he force the queen also before me in the house? As the word went out of the king's mouth, they covered Haman's face.

1 Answer 1


The operative verb in Esther 7:8 is כָּבַשׁ (kabash) which means:

to subdue, bring into bondage, assault

The word occurs 14 times in the OT, Gen 1:28, 32:22, 29, Josh 18:1, 2 Sam 8:11, 1 Chron 22:18, 2 Chron 28:10, Neh 5:5, Est 7:8.

It is used to describe:

  • subduing of the land, ie, farming the land as opposed to letting it grow wild
  • subduing or subjugating nations, ie, conquering them
  • forcing people into bondage via debt
  • assaulting someone, meaning, to bash or beat someone

Note that the word is never used to specifically describe rape but that is not excluded because rape is a form of (extreme) assault of a woman. That is, כָּבַשׁ (kabash) might include rape but does not specifically refer to rape.

Thus, in Esther 7:8, I think the word describes Haman trying forcibly to beg the queen (Esther) to save him from the wrath of the king. His actions backfired and resulted in Haman's execution.

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