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Biblical Personalities: Charvona

“Also, the gallows which Haman erected for Mordechai (Esther 7:9).” He said to the king, “Haman wanted to kill your Majesty also, and to take the kingdom from you (Targum Sheini 7:9).”


The wicked Charvona was also in the Council of Haman, but as soon as he saw that the plot had failed, he changed sides (Megillah 16a).

Charvona was clearly an opportunist. He was not committed to one side or the other; only to the side that would succeed. However, once he turned against his former friend, Haman, he was not satisfied with withdrawing his support, he began to accuse him before the King of the very things Achashveirosh most feared. He was not just an opportunist; he was a sophisticated opportunist. Despite this, and despite the fact that he originally was one of Haman’s friends and supporters. We still say after the reading of the Megillah, “Also Charvona should be remembered for good!”

I believe that there are two important points to Charvona: one, an opportunist knows how to seize the moment, exactly the lesson that Mordecai wanted to teach Esther: “Who knows whether you became Queen for just this moment!”

Two, the moment Charvona took the opportunity to turn against Haman, he was sending a message to all of Haman’s friends and supporters. He was the first not directly involved character of the story to acknowledge the fact Haman had lost. He was the first external acknowledgment and he transformed the moment into a reality. This is why we remember him for good.

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