Esther 5:9-8:2

Wednesday, March 1st, 2017

Esther 5



I remind you that Esther has replaced Vashti as queen in the Persian Empire. I also remind you that her cousin and guardian was Mordecai. I also remind you that a wicked man named Haman hated the Jews and had arranged for their extermination from the Persian Empire. As we come to chapter 5, we find Esther getting ready to expose Haman before King Ahasuerus. Esther invites the king and Haman to a banquet. At the first banquet she invites the king and Haman to a second banquet on the next day.


            B.  Plot exposed by Esther – 5:1 - 7:10


                        1.   Banquet prepared – 5:1-4


                        2.   Second banquet prepared – 5:5-8


                        3.   Haman gloated and built gallows – 5:9-14


Esther 5:9 Then went Haman forth that day joyful and with a glad heart: but when Haman saw Mordecai in the king’s gate, that he stood not up, nor moved for him [i.e. nor trembled before him], he was full of indignation [i.e. he was filled with anger (or rage)] against Mordecai.


Esther 5:10 Nevertheless Haman refrained [i.e. controlled, restrained] himself: and when he came home, he sent and called for his friends, and Zeresh his wife.


Esther 5:11 And Haman told them of the glory of his riches [i.e. of his vast wealth, of his great riches], and the multitude of his children [According to 9:10, he had 10 sons, but there is no mention of daughters], and all the things wherein [i.e. everything in which] the king had promoted him, and how he had advanced him [i.e. elevated him, promoted him] above the princes and servants of the king.


Esther 5:12 Haman said moreover, Yea, Esther the queen did let no man come in with the king unto the banquet that she had prepared but myself [i.e. but me]; and to morrow am I invited unto her also with the king.


Esther 5:13 Yet all this availeth me nothing [i.e. does not satisfy me], so long as I see Mordecai the Jew sitting at the king’s gate.


Esther 5:14 Then said Zeresh his wife and all his friends unto him, Let a gallows be made of fifty cubits high, and to morrow speak thou unto the king [i.e. ask the king, suggest to the king] that Mordecai may be hanged thereon [i.e. be hanged on it, be impaled on it]: then go thou in merrily with the king unto the banquet. And the thing pleased Haman; and he caused the gallows to be made.


5:14 – (RSB) gallows. Pole or post, like a crucifixion. . . . fifty cubits high = 75 ft high, an excessive height, almost the height of the city walls so that all could see how great was Haman’s power.


(BKC) The gallows probably was an impaling stake, a common method of execution in the ancient world. . . . The purpose in suggesting such a tall stake was so it would be a lesson to all who saw it. The person on the stake would be visible from all directions, since he would be higher than all the trees. This spectacle would solemnly emphasize that Haman was in control (cf. 6:1) and that no one should try to stand in his way.


(BKC) Haman undoubtedly felt that with Mordecai gone there would be no organized opposition from the Jewish camp.


Haman undoubtedly thought he had it all figured out, but he had not counted on God’s involvement.


Esther 6


                        4.   Mordecai honored by Xerxes – 6:1-14


Esther 6:1 On that night could not the king sleep, and he commanded to bring the book of records of the chronicles; and they were read before the king.


6:1 – (RSB) could not ... sleep. Lit., sleep fled from him. Once again God overruled.


I remind you of something which occurred at the end of chapter 2.


Esther 2:21-2321 In those days, while Mordecai sat in the king’s gate, two of the king’s chamberlains [i.e. eunuchs], Bigthan and Teresh, of those which kept the door [i.e. guarded the door], were wroth [i.e. were furious], and sought to lay hand on [i.e. sought to assassinate] the king Ahasuerus. 22 And the thing was known to Mordecai, who told it unto Esther the queen; and Esther certified [i.e. informed] the king thereof [i.e. about it] in Mordecai’s name. 23 And when inquisition was made of the matter, it was found out [i.e. when the report was investigated and found to be true]; therefore they were both hanged on a tree [i.e. hanged on a gallows, impaled on sharpened poles]: and it was written [i.e. recorded] in the book of the chronicles before the king.


Esther 6:2 And it was found written, that Mordecai had told of Bigthana and Teresh, two of the king’s chamberlains [i.e. eunuchs], the keepers of the door [i.e. the doorkeepers], who sought to lay hand on the king Ahasuerus [i.e. to attack (or assassinate) King Ahasuerus].


(BKC) Of all the texts that could have been selected by the librarian (from the records of Xerxes’ 12 years of rule up to that time), the one that contained the account of Mordecai’s uncovering the assassination plot (2:21-23) was read to the king.


God was in control of the situation.


Esther 6:3 And the king said, What honour and dignity hath been done to Mordecai for this? Then said the king’s servants that ministered unto him, There is nothing done for him.


Esther 6:4 And the king said, Who is in the court? Now Haman was come into the outward court of the king’s house [i.e. the outer court of the king’s palace], to speak unto the king to hang [i.e. about hanging or impaling] Mordecai on the gallows that he had prepared for him.


6:4-5 – (RSB) By divine arrangement, Haman was at court early to seek permission to have Mordecai executed on the gallows he had had built during the night.


Esther 6:5 And the king’s servants said unto him, Behold, Haman standeth in the court. And the king said, Let him come in.


Esther 6:6 So Haman came in. And the king said unto him, What shall be done unto the man whom the king delighteth to honour? Now Haman thought in his heart, To whom would the king delight to do honour more than to myself [i.e. than me]?


Esther 6:7 And Haman answered the king, For the man whom the king delighteth to honour,


Esther 6:8 Let the royal apparel be brought which the king useth to wear, and the horse that the king rideth upon, and the crown royal which is set upon his head [i.e. the horse which has the royal crown (or crest) set on its head]:


6:8 – (RSB) Assyrian reliefs depict the practice of setting crown-like headdresses on horses.


Esther 6:9 And let this apparel [i.e. this robe] and horse be delivered to the hand of one of the king’s most noble princes, that they may array [i.e. robe, put on] the man withal whom the king delighteth to honour, and bring him on horseback through the street of the city, and proclaim before him, Thus shall it be done to the man whom the king delighteth to honour.


Although Haman left home that morning excited about things he expected to happen that day, things would not turn out the way he anticipated; and they began to go downhill right from the start. Note how rapidly his excitement was taken from him.


Esther 6:10 Then the king said to Haman, Make haste [i.e. hurry], and take the apparel [i.e. the robe] and the horse, as thou hast said [i.e. as you suggested], and do even so to Mordecai the Jew, that sitteth at the king’s gate: let nothing fail of all that thou hast spoken [i.e. leave nothing undone of all that you have spoken].


Esther 6:11 Then took Haman the apparel [i.e. the robe] and the horse, and arrayed [i.e. put them on] Mordecai, and brought him on horseback through the street of the city, and proclaimed before him, Thus shall it be done unto the man whom the king delighteth to honour.


(BKC) What a turn of events: what irony for Haman! He who wanted respect from Mordecai had to give respect to Mordecai. Haman had to carry out the king’s order even though it embarrassed and angered him greatly.


Esther 6:12 And Mordecai came again to the king’s gate. But Haman hasted to his house [i.e. hurried home] mourning, and having his head covered.


Esther 6:13 And Haman told Zeresh his wife and all his friends every thing that had befallen him [i.e. that had happened to him]. Then said his wise men and Zeresh his wife unto him, If Mordecai be of the seed of the Jews, before whom thou hast begun to fall, thou shalt not prevail against him, but shalt surely fall before him.


6:13 – (RSB) Haman’s wife and his wise men apparently just now suspected that Mordecai was a Jew and predicted doom for Haman if this were so.


Esther 6:14 And while they were yet talking with him, came the king’s chamberlains [i.e. the king’s eunuchs], and hasted to bring [i.e. and quickly took] Haman unto the banquet that Esther had prepared.


6:14 – (RSB) Guests were customarily sent for and escorted to oriental banquets.


Esther 7


                        5.   Xerxes told of plot, Haman hanged – 7:1-10


Esther 7:1 So the king and Haman came to banquet with Esther the queen.


Esther 7:2 And the king said again unto Esther on the second day at the banquet of wine, What is thy petition, queen Esther? and it shall be granted thee: and what is thy request? and it shall be performed, even to the half of the kingdom.


Esther 7:3 Then Esther the queen answered and said, If I have found favour in thy sight, O king, and if it please the king, let my life be given me at my petition, and my people at my request:


Esther 7:4 For we are sold, I and my people, to be destroyed, to be slain, and to perish. But if we had been sold for bondmen and bondwomen [i.e. male and female slaves], I had held my tongue, although the enemy could not countervail [i.e. compensate for] the king’s damage.


7:4 – (RSB) sold. Referring to Haman’s bribe (3:9; 4:7).


Esther 3:9 If it please the king, let it be written [i.e. let a decree be issued, let it be decreed] that they may be destroyed: and I will pay ten thousand talents of silver to the hands of those that have the charge of the business, to bring it into the king’s treasuries.


Mordecai informed Esther regarding this.

Esther 4:7 And Mordecai told him [i.e. Hatach, Esther’s attendant] of all that had happened unto him, and of the sum of the money that Haman had promised to pay to the king’s treasuries for the Jews, to destroy them [i.e. to destroy the Jews].


Esther 7:5 Then the king Ahasuerus answered and said unto Esther the queen, Who is he, and where is he, that durst presume in his heart to do so [i.e. who has dared to do such a thing]?


Esther 7:6 And Esther said, The adversary and enemy is this wicked Haman. Then Haman was afraid [i.e. was terrified] before the king and the queen.


Esther 7:7 And the king arising from the banquet of wine in his wrath [i.e. in a rage] went into the palace garden: and Haman stood up to make request [i.e. to plead] for his life to Esther the queen; for he saw that there was evil determined against him by the king.


Esther 7:8 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 [i.e. had fallen across the couch where Esther was, apparently pleading for his life]. Then said the king, Will he force [i.e. assault] the queen also before me in the house? As the word [i.e. the word to execute Haman] went out of the king’s mouth, they [i.e. the king’s attendants] covered Haman’s face [i.e. with a cloth].


7:8 – (RSB) When the king returned, he found Haman pleading for his life before Esther, who was reclining on the bed (couch) at the banquet table. The king placed the worst possible construction on the situation. . . .


Esther 7:9 And Harbonah, one of the chamberlains [i.e. eunuchs], said before the king, Behold also, the gallows fifty cubits high, which Haman had made for Mordecai, who had spoken good for the king, standeth in the house of Haman. Then the king said, Hang him thereon [i.e. hang him on it, impale him on it].


Esther 7:10 So they hanged Haman on the gallows that he had prepared for Mordecai. Then was the king’s wrath pacified [i.e. subsided].


(BKC) The tables were now turned, but the Jews were still left with a major problem. The king’s edict to eradicate them was still in effect. Per a Persian decree there would still be a great slaughter of many innocent people because of the wicked actions of a now-dead man.


Esther 8


            C.  Jews delivered, and took revenge – 8:1 - 9:19


                        1.   Mordecai received royal position – 8:1-2


Esther 8:1 On that day did the king Ahasuerus give the house of Haman the Jews’ enemy unto Esther the queen. And Mordecai came before the king; for Esther had told what he was unto her [i.e. had disclosed how he was related to her – her cousin and guardian].


Esther 8:2 And the king took off his ring [i.e. his signet ring], which he had taken from Haman, and gave it unto Mordecai. And Esther set Mordecai over the house of Haman.


8:2 – (RSB) Haman’s property was given to Esther, who made Mordecai its administrator.


This sermon is the 3rd part of the series, Study of Esther. Other sermons in this series are: