Queen Esther had come from humble beginnings. She was a young and very beautiful Jewish girl who was raised by her cousin Mordecai because her parents had died when she was a little girl.
King Xerxes of Persia at the time was in search of a new bride and had decreed that every girl in the kingdom was to enter into a beauty contest, so that he may pick his bride.
Reluctantly Esther had entered and had ultimately been selected by the king for his bride. However, she had kept her Jewish heritage a secret from the king.
Haman, who was a court official for King Xerxes, made everyone he encountered bow down before him. However, Mordecai bowed before God and no one else and this infuriated Haman.
Haman plotted to have Mordecai put to death. Knowing that Mordecai was a Jew, Haman tricked the king into signing a decree that would allow him to kill every Jew in the land.