Q. Is it true that the Talmud says that Esther and Haman are mentioned in the Torah? How can this be when the Torah predates the Purim story?A. From the strictly historical point of view, characters from the M’gillah could not have been mentioned, since the Purim story took place centuries after the Torah was written.
But the sages were not joking or just cracking puns (Chullin 139b) when they saw a hint of Esther in the verse, “I will surely hide (astir) My face” (Deut. 31:18).
They were saying that God is always there even if He seems to have hidden His face, and He emerges from “hiding” in order to save His people. Likewise there is a hint of Haman in the verse, “Did you eat from (ha-min) the tree?” (Gen. 5:11), which indicates that the evil instinct goes back to the beginning of history.