Mordecai's Refusal to
Bow Enrages Haman
Esther 5:1 Now
it came about on the third day that Esther put on her royal robes and
stood in the inner court of the king's palace in front of the king's
rooms, and the king was sitting on his royal throne in the throne room,
opposite the entrance to the palace.:
PROVEN BY PERFORMANCE
As Lawson says "Esther was
not one of those who resolve and promise well, but do not perform."
Beloved, are you good to your word
like Esther? Do you say you will do something (like pray for someone)
and follow through on your promise? May God grant that our yes be yes
and our no be no, for the sake of our good and His glory. Amen.
Sidlow Baxter writes...
That word "providence" comes
from the Latin provideo, which means that I see a thing
beforehand (pro = before; video = I see); so that the root
meaning of providence is foresight. Inasmuch, however, as
foresight always occasions activity in relation to that which is
foreseen, providence comes to have the acquired meaning of activity
arising from foresight resight. Strictly speaking, there is only One who
has foresight, and He alone, therefore, is able to act on the basis of
foreknowledge. Providence, then, in its one absolute sense, is the
Divine foreknowledge and the Divine activity which arises there from;
and such providence implies that God wields absolute power over all the
works of His hands. It is this which we see demonstrated in the
Book of Esther. The crisis about which the book is written is
providentially anticipated and then providentially overruled
just at the crucial moment. No miraculous intervention is resorted to.
All the happenings recorded are the outworking of circumstances in their
Yet while there is no miracle
recorded, the whole thing, in its ultimate meaning, is a mighty miracle
- the mighty miracle whereby a sovereign Deity so manipulates all
non-miraculous events as to bring about a predetermined outcome; and
this miracle is all the more miraculous just because it achieves the
predetermined outcome without the need for using miracles!
Truly, this mysterious reality which
we call providence, this sovereign manipulation of all the ordinary,
non-miraculous doings which make up the ordinary ongoing of human
affairs, so as to bring about, by natural processes, those results which
are Divinely predetermined, is the mightiest of all miracles; and it is
this, we repeat, which is strikingly demonstrated in this Book of
Esther. It is this which explains why the name of God does not occur in
the Book of Esther. (Explore the Book)
Comment: The 1828 Webster's
Dictionary defines providence - "In theology, the care and
superintendence which God exercise over His creatures. He that
acknowledges a creation and denies a providence, involves himself in a
palpable contradiction; for the same power which caused a thing to exist
is necessary to continue its existence. Some persons admit a general
providence, but deny a particular providence, not considering
that a general providence consists of particulars. A
belief in divine providence, is a source of great consolation to
good men. By divine providence is often understood God Himself."
Now it came about (came to
pass) - This time phrase occurs 65 times in the NAS. It is like a marker
of the providential workings of God in history (His story).
Now it came about (KJV =
now it came to pass) - Ge 6:1;
8:13; 21:22; 22:1, 20; 26:32; 27:1, 30; 30:25; 34:25; 42:35; 48:1; Ex
2:11, 23; 4:24; 6:28; 12:29; Lev 9:1; Josh 1:1; 5:1, 13; 9:1; 10:1;
23:1; Jdg 1:1; 6:7; 9:42; 19:1; Ru 1:1; 1Sa 1:12; 18:1, 10; 20:35; 23:6;
28:1; 2Sa 1:1; 7:1; 13:23; 15:1, 7; 16:16; 21:18; 1Ki 6:1; 9:1; 13:20;
17:17; 21:1; 2Ki 6:24; 14:5; 18:1; 25:27; 1Chr 19:1; 20:4; 2Chr 8:1;
20:1; 21:19; 24:4; 25:3; Neh 4:1; Est 5:1; Isa 7:1; Jer 52:4, 31; Ezek
1:1; 11:13. (KJV "now it came to pass" 24 times = Josh 10:1KJV;
Ru 1:1KJV; 1Sa 14:1KJV; 2Sa 1:1KJV; 2Ki 18:1KJV; 1Chr 17:1KJV; 1Chr
19:1KJV; 2Chr 24:11KJV; 2Chr 25:3KJV, 2Chr 25:14KJV; Neh 6:1KJV; Neh
7:1KJV; Neh 13:3KJV; Esther 1:1KJV; Esther 3:4KJV; Esther 5:1KJV; Isa
36:1KJV; Jer 26:8KJV; Jer 36:16KJV; Jer 41:1KJV, Jer 41:13KJV; Ezek
1:1KJV; Lk 8:22KJV; Lk 10:38KJV)
McEwan has an interesting
comment on "now it came about"...
These words call for special notice
in a book which strikingly illustrates the providence of God both in
regard to nations and individuals. They remind us that there is
nothing stationary--that what comes is moving on. Seasons of trial
and perplexity would be overwhelming if they had the character of
fixedness. It is happily not so. As you have stood gazing on a mountain,
bathed in sunlight, you may sometimes have observed a dark shadow
creeping along the side of it, as though hastening to accomplish its
mission, and quickly gliding away out of sight, leaving the landscape
all the more beautiful because of your remembrance of it. So is it with
what is painful and sad in providence. Events of this kind have come at
intervals, but it was only to pass--not to abide--like the floating of
little clouds between us and the sun, and when past, giving to human
life, as to nature, a greater richness and variety. Biographies are but
commentaries on these familiar words. Indeed, men themselves but come to
pass. (Biblical Illustrator)
Beloved, are you experiencing a
season of suffering? May these words "now it came about" (came to pass -
i.e., it will "pass!") remind you that suffering and affliction is
momentary and for believers is preparing for us an eternal weight of
glory far beyond all comparison (2Cor 4:17-note),
which means we need to depend on the Spirit to give us the eyes to see
the eternal in the momentary (2Cor 4:18-note).
On the third day - In
Esther 4:16 they had fasted for 3 days so this event would coincide with
the third day. And remember that it has also been 33 days since King
Xerxes has seen Esther. What might she look like after 3 days of no
eating or drinking? While we are not to put on a gloomy face when we
fast, we still might physically look less attractive then when we are
fully fed. This was apparently of no concern to Esther. In Daniel God
granted he and his 3 friends favor and compassion (Da 1:8-9) when
they sought to not eat the king's royal food. Notice the commander's
fear about their appearance, specifically that their faces might be "looking
more haggard." (Da 1:10). And notice what their appearance looked
like after 10 days of eating vegetables and drinking water (Da 1:15).
Why? God showed them favor and compassion.
A part of a day was counted as a
whole day, explaining how the fast could extend for three days, night
and day (Esther 4:16), and yet terminate on the third day.
Put on her royal robes
(Literally "put on royalty" robes is not in Hebrew) - What had she been
doing? Fasting, but now that the fast was over she donned her best
apparel. John Brug quips "After she had prepared herself
spiritually with fasting....Esther prepared herself physically for her
encounter with the king."
In a much less dangerous context, we
see Ruth at Naomi's suggestion also preparing herself to meet her
kinsman redeemer Boaz (Ru 3:1-4)
Paul Ferguson writes that
Esther's approach Ahasuerus was particularly difficult and fraught with
(1) Esther has to break the law in
which the penalty for doing so is death.
(2) Esther has to admit that she has
been deceiving Ahasuerus about her ethnic background for five years.
(3) Esther has to persuade the proud
Ahasuerus to effectively reverse an irreversible law in so doing he will
lose a huge amount of promised revenue.
(4) Esther has to oppose and overcome
one of the most cunning and powerful foes in Persia Haman.
(5) Esther has to lead Ahasuerus down
a path in which he will inevitably lose face.
In the book of Esther there are a
number of places where the Septuagint has Greek text which does not
correspond to the Hebrew Masoretic text. While I feel we must base our
observations primarily on the Hebrew, it is nevertheless interesting to
read the English translation (of the Greek)...
when she had ceased praying (Ed:
Never stated in the Hebrew in Esther), that she put off her mean dress,
and put on her glorious apparel. And being splendidly arrayed, and
having called upon God the Overseer and Preserver of all things, she
took her two maids, and she leaned upon one, as a delicate female, and
the other followed bearing her train. And she was blooming in the
perfection of her beauty; and her face was cheerful, and it were
benevolent, but her heart was straitened for fear. And having passed
through all the doors, she stood before the king: and he was sitting
upon his royal throne, and he had put on all his glorious apparel,
covered all over with gold and precious stones, and was very terrible.
And having raised his face resplendent with glory, he looked with
intense anger: and the queen fell, and changed her colour as she
fainted; and she bowed herself upon the head of the maid that went
before her. But God changed the spirit of the king gentleness, and in
intense feeling he sprang from off his throne, and took her into his
arms, until she recovered: and he comforted her with peaceable words,
and said to her, What is the matter, Esther? I am thy brother; be of
good cheer, thou shalt not die, for our command is openly declared to
thee, Draw nigh.
Comment: What are we to make
of this commentary added by the scholars who translated the Hebrew text
into Greek? Frankly, I do not know. It is interesting, even intriguing,
but I think we must be cautious in arriving at any definitive
conclusions based on the Septuagint. I suppose we will have to wait that
day when we know fully just as we have fully known! (1Cor 13:11)
Ron Mattoon on the third
On the third day, Esther puts on her
royal apparel and stands at the inner court of the king's house where
the king was sitting upon his throne. The third day in the Bible is the
day of resurrection life, blessing, and glory.
• On the third day of Creation, the
submerged earth came out of the waters and brought forth vegetation.
• Hezekiah was sick unto death. He
cried out to God in tears, begging for deliverance and healing. The Lord
answered his prayer and on the third day he would go up to the house of
the Lord (2 Kings 20:5).
• Jonah preached repentance to
Nineveh after three days in the whale motel.
Resurrection, life, and blessing were
about to come to pass for Israel because Esther was willing and ready to
give herself as a living sacrifice (Romans 12:1). We have the hope of
resurrection because Jesus Christ gave Himself as a sacrifice for our
When the king saw Esther the queen standing in the court, she obtained
favor in his sight; and the king extended to Esther the golden scepter
which was in his hand. So Esther came near and touched the top of the
We must not miss how much
conviction and courage Esther displayed in this situation. Would we be
willing to stand for our convictions in the face of evil? Chuck Swindoll
Do you teach your children to stand
up for what they believe? Are you teaching your grandchildren how to be
people of character, regardless? That is the way they will learn it. Let
me probe one question deeper. Are you modeling authentic character? That
leaves the message permanently etched in their minds. (Esther: a woman
of strength and dignity)
She obtained favor in his sight
("received grace" Young's Literal)
- Hebrew reads "she obtained grace in his eyes." Favor is shown repeatedly to Esther 2:9, 15, 17, 5:8, 7:3, 8:5 Esther also was the recipient of
favor. Surely these multiple bestowals of favor reflect the providential
hand of God working behind the scenes (seen).
John MacArthur on the
phrase "she obtained favor"...
This actually means that Esther first
found favor with the God of Israel (cf. Pr 21:1, cp Da 5:23).
The king extended to Esther the
golden scepter - Esther 4:11 explains that entering the king's
presence without having been summoned is tantamount to taking one's life
in their hands. Is this not the providence of God working to
preserve His chosen people from annihilation? If the king had chosen to
not receive Esther, the Jews would have had to be delivered by some
other means. But the king's heart was disposed toward Esther for as King
Solomon writes us...
The king's heart is like channels of
water in the hand of the LORD. He turns it wherever He wishes. (Pr 21:1)
21:1-2 Comments by J Vernon McGee,
Proverbs 21:1 - F B Meyer;
Proverbs 21:1 - George Lawson)
(Read of God's sovereignty over a king in Ezra 6:22)
So Esther came near and touched
the top of the scepter - Surely Esther's heart trembled as she
waited for the uplifting of the scepter! How different is the believer's
access to the Throne of Grace! "Perfect love casts out fear." (1Jn 4:18)
based on Ro 4:25-note)
having been justified (declared righteous, in right standing before God)
by faith, we have (present
tense = our
continual possession is) peace (eirene)
with God through (the Mediatorial role of) our Lord Jesus Christ, 2
through Whom (His Mediatorial role = 1Ti 2:5) also we have obtained
our introduction (See word study on this great Greek word -
prosagoge) by faith into this
grace in which we stand (perfect
pictures this as our permanent privileged position!); and we exult in
hope of the glory of God (Future glory when we are glorified and made
like Christ - Titus 2:13-note,
The writer of Hebrews
repeatedly invites believers to draw near boldly (confidently, without
fear of rejection like Esther must have entertained) to God's Throne...
Let us therefore (based on
Jesus' sinlessness and His mediating Priesthood - Heb 4:15-note)
draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, that we may
receive mercy and may find grace to help in time of need. (Heb 4:16-note)
Thou art coming to a King,
Large petitions with thee bring;
For His grace and power are such
None can ever ask too much.
Since therefore, brethren, we have
confidence to enter the holy place by the blood of Jesus, 20 by a new
and living way which He inaugurated for us through the veil, that is,
His flesh (Ed: The supernaturally Rent Veil in the Temple
as Christ gave up his spirit on the day of crucifixion [Mt 27:45, 50,
51; Mk 15:38, Lk 23:45, cp Ep 2:13-14-note]
was a clear sign of the dawn of the "new age", the inauguration of the
New Covenant in His blood![ Lk 22:20, 1Co 11:25]), 21 and since we have
a great priest over the house of God, 22 let us draw near with a
sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts
sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure
water. (Heb 10:19-21-note,
These truths beg several questions.
Esther drew near to "intercede" for her people -- Are you availing
yourself of the privileged opportunity to draw nigh to the Throne of
Grace (not the "throne of law" to which Esther drew near)? Are you
interceding for the lost...in your family, your school, your sphere of
influence, etc? Are you begging God to send revival and a third great
awakening to America before He irrevocably "withdraws His scepter of
grace and mercy" so to speak? Esther was willing to risk her life
declaring "If I perish, I perish." (Esther 4:16) Are you willing to lose
your life, to die to self and to selfish interests, for the sake of the
Gospel, the power of God to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and
also to the Greek? (Mk 8:34, 35)
Then the king said to her, "What is troubling
you, Queen Esther? And what is your request? Even to half of the kingdom
it shall be given to you.": (What: Esther
5:6 Esther 7:2, 9:12 1Ki 2:20 3:5 Mt 20:20-22 Lk 18:41)
THE RIGHT PLACE
THE RIGHT RESULT
What is troubling
you - Troubling is added by the NAS translators but is not in
the original Hebrew text. The Hebrew literally reads "What to you?" The
ESV accurately renders it "What is it, Queen Esther?"
What is your request -
Notice that she deferred her real wish until Esther 7:2, 3.
Even to half of the kingdom it
shall be given to you (cp Herod's similar offer Mk 6:23, see also
frightened Belshazzar's offer to Daniel - Da 5:9, 16) - This
statement is a
hyperbole or exaggeration and was
not intended to be interpreted literally, but was a rhetorical statement
meant to create a strong impression. In this case it meant that the king
would be generous.
Ahasuerus making such an offer, but on a different occasion. I think
commentators who take this literally like J Vernon McGee are wrong ("To
make her feel at ease, he hands her a blank check and invites her to
fill in the amount." - McGee)
Guzik rightly observes
Esther showed tact by not blurting
out her ultimate request right away. She wanted to first win the king’s
confidence in her - and she wanted Haman at the banquet to ultimately
expose his wickedness.
John Brug observes that...
Xerxes’ promise reminds us of one
made by King Herod Antipas to a dancing girl. Herod also promised,
“Whatever you ask I will give you, up to half my kingdom” (Mark 6:23).
What that girl asked for—and got—was the head of John the Baptist on a
The historian Herodotus records
another occasion on which Xerxes made a rash promise to a young woman
whom he desired. Herodotus characterizes Xerxes as a rash, impetuous man
with a roving eye, who was easily swayed by feminine beauty. The Lord
used even the flaws of Xerxes’ character to set up the situation in
which God would provide deliverance for his people. (The People's Bible)
Esther said, "If it pleases the king, may the king and Haman come this
day to the banquet that I have prepared for him.":
The banquet that I have
prepared - This is banquet #1 (Esther 5:4-8) which would be followed
by banquet #2 (Esther 6:14-7:1) between which God would providentially
interject the events of Esther 6:1-2ff! God is behind the scenes and
controls the scenes He is behind, including every act, every scene,
every moment of our lives! If you truly believe this (for it is true),
it will be a source of great comfort amid the variegated slings and
arrows that fly in each of our lives, many times when we least expect
them. It is then that the great truth that the Great God is in control
of these slings and arrows that our heart can rest and be at peace in
And Haman - She is
setting him up for his climatic calamity!
Sidlow Baxter notes that...
As a matter of fact the name of God
does occur in this Book of Esther, in a most remarkable way. The name
"Jehovah" is secretly hidden four times in an acrostic form, and the
name Ehyeh ("I am that I am") once. In several ancient manuscripts the
acrostic consonants which represent the name are written larger, to make
them stand out, as though we might write it in English thus - JeHoVaH.
There are no other acrostics in the book, so that the intentionalness of
these five is clear. The five places where the acrostics occur are
Esther 1:20; 5:4,13; 7:7,5 (Explore the Book)
Comment: The significance of
this observation is unclear and since I don't read Hebrew, I cannot
comment on the veracity (although it mentioned by other commentaries).
In short, this information is included only for completeness, but in my
opinion does not add to the profundity of the divine providence in a
narrative that otherwise has no clear mention of Jehovah.
Then the king said, "Bring Haman quickly that we may do as Esther
desires." So the king and Haman came to the banquet which Esther had
Quickly (04116) (mahar)
means to hasten or make haste. It is interesting that a proverb uses
this same word (mahar) to describe evil men like Haman as those whose
"feet run to evil, and they hasten to shed blood." (Pr 1:16) This
Hebrew word is also used in God's list of seven things He hates "A heart
that devises wicked plans, feet that run rapidly to evil." (Pr
King Ashasuerus uses the same word
in Esther 6:10 calling on Haman to do quickly all that he had
recommended for the man whom the king would honor.
Esther 5:6 As
they drank their wine at the banquet, the king said to Esther, "What is
your petition, for it shall be granted to you. And what is your request?
Even to half of the kingdom it shall be done.":
As they ate and drank - The
king, queen and Haman. How this must have bolstered his ego as if it
needed any inflating!
This is the king's second query to
Esther regarding her petition and request and his offer of
up "to half of the kingdom" which would encourage her that increase
her assurance that the king would grant her request.
Ahasuerus knew Esther did not risk
her life for a dinner date.
Henry Morris comments...
With such a carte blanche promise
from the king, it seems surprising that Esther did not immediately make
the appeal for her people, instead of requesting a second banquet.
Whether or not she temporarily lost her courage, the delay was
providential (Ed: In other words, it was not an "accident" but God
was in the details!) for it was on the sleepless night in between that
Ahasuerus learned of Mordecai's earlier report to Esther which had saved
the king's life (Esther 2:21-23; 6:1,2).
Esther 5:7 So
Esther replied, "My petition and my request is::
Warren Wiersbe sees three
evidences of God's providence in this section...
At the banquet, we see three more
evidences of the sovereignty of God.
First, the Lord restrained Esther
from telling Ahasuerus the truth about Haman. While there may have
been fear in her heart, I don’t think that’s what held her back. The
Lord was working in her life and directing what she said, even though
she wasn’t aware of it. God was delaying the great exposure until after
the king had honored Mordecai.
We also see the sovereign hand of God
at work in the way the king accepted the delay and agreed to come to the
second banquet. Monarchs like Ahasuerus aren’t accustomed to being told
to wait. “To man belong the plans of the heart, but from the Lord comes
the reply of the tongue” (Pr 16:1NIV). “Many are the plans in a man’s
heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails” (Pr 19:21NIV). Whatever
plans Ahasuerus had made for the next evening were canceled to make time
for the queen’s second feast.
A third evidence of God’s sovereignty
is that none of Esther’s attendants who knew that she was a Jewess tried
to convey this important information to Haman. Had Haman known the
queen’s nationality, he would have immediately devised some plan to
prevent her from interfering. Palace intrigue is a dangerous game, and
any of the attendants could have profited by telling Haman what they
knew. (Be committed. An Old Testament study. Ruth and Esther)
Spurgeon comments on
Esther's failure to ask the King at the first banquet...
Being told to ask what she pleases,
she invites the king to come to a banquet, and bring Haman with him.
He comes, and for the second time invites her to ask what she wills to
the half of his kingdom. Why, when the king was in so kind a spirit,
did not Esther speak? He was charmed with her beauty, and his royal word
was given to deny her nothing, why not speak out? But no, she merely
asks that he and Haman will come to another banquet of wine to-morrow.
O, daughter of Abraham (Esther), what
an opportunity hast thou lost! Wherefore didst thou not plead for thy
people? Their very existence hangs upon thy entreaty, and the king has
said, “What wilt thou?” and yet thou art backward! Was it timidity? It
is possible. Did she think that Haman stood too high in the king’s favor
for her to prevail? It would be hard to say. Some of us are very
unaccountable, but on that woman’s unaccountable silence far more was
hanging than appears at first sight. Doubtless she longed to bring out
her secret, but the words came not.
God was in it; it was not the
right time to speak, and therefore she was led to put off her disclosure.
(Ed: I think Spurgeon is "spot on" -- Compare Pr 16:9) I dare say she regretted it, and wondered when she should be able to
come to the point, but the Lord knew best. After that banquet Haman went
out joyfully at the palace gate, but being mortified beyond measure by
Mordecai’s unbending posture, he called for his wife and his friends,
and told them that his riches and honors availed him nothing so long as
Mordecai, the Jew, sat in the king’s gate. They might have told him,
“You will destroy Mordecai and all his people in a few months, and the
man is already fretting himself over the decree; let him live, and be
you content to watch his miseries and gloat over his despair!”
But no, they counsel speedy
revenge. Let Mordecai be hanged on a gibbet (gallows) on the top of the
house, and let the gallows be set up at once, and let Haman early in the
morning ask for the Jew’s life, and let his insolence be punished.
Go, call the workmen, and
let the gallows be set up at a great height that very night.
It seemed a small matter that Haman
should be so enraged just at that hour, but it was a very important item
in the whole transaction, for had he not been so hasty he would not have
gone so early in the morning to the palace, and would not have been at
hand when the king said, “Who is in the court?” (Ed:
God's Providence!) (A Good Start: A Book
for Young Men and Women)
Esther 5:8 if
I have found favor in the sight of the king, and if it pleases the king
to grant my petition and do what I request, may the king and Haman come
to the banquet which I will prepare for them, and tomorrow I will do as
the king says.":
A SECOND BANQUET
If I have found favor in the
sight of the king and if it pleases the king - Favor is the Greek
word charis or grace which is unmerited favor. Esther is
very careful and diplomatic with King Xerxes. Yes, she has been allowed
to touch the golden scepter, but she knows that the king is still
Come to the banquet which I
will prepare for them - A second banquet. In the providence of God,
the events of Esther 6 resulting in Mordecai's being honored by the King
occur before Esther's second banquet.
Why does Esther put off her
request until the second banquet?
While we cannot be absolutely dogmatic there are some reasonable
considerations. (1) God is behind the scenes controlling the scenes He
is behind - there are other events God has planned that will influence
the king's response to Esther's request (See Esther 6). (2) Haman is the
second most powerful person in the world at that time. (3) This
revelation will strike a serious blow at King Xerxes' pride for he will
realize that Haman has deceived him and used him which makes the king
look foolish. So the timing has to be "perfect" for Esther to make a
request that directly challenges the powerful Haman.
As Solomon writes...
The mind of man plans his way,
the LORD directs his steps.
Arnot on Pr 16:9 Providence)
Criswell Comments: This is a
magnificent expression of the sovereignty of God, whereby Yahweh
inevitably and without exception accomplishes His will and purpose
through free-willed agents acting freely but responsibly. Man must be a
free agent to be in the image of God, and God must be immutable, i.e.,
unchanging, in order to be God (Mal. 3:6). Permitting or overruling the
acts of man without infringing upon his freedom or interrupting His
responsibility (e.g., the brothers of Joseph in Gen. 37:26-28; 45:5) is
an awesome expression of God's providence.
Then Haman went out that day glad and pleased of heart;
saw Mordecai in the king's gate and that he did not stand up or tremble
before him, Haman was filled with anger against Mordecai.:
Glad and pleased of heart -
Haman was like "The famous actor John Barrymore (who) said, “One of
my chief regrets during my years in the theater is that I couldn’t sit
in the audience and watch me.” (Wiersbe)
The proverbs warns us
A man’s pride will bring him low,
a humble spirit will obtain honor.
discussion of Humility Before Honor)
did not stand up or tremble before him (this clause is not found in
the Septuagint) - In Esther 3:4-5 Mordecai
would not bow, but now he won't even stand up! Think about this for a
moment - Haman is in essence the prime minister, second in command of
the mightiest country in the world. And Haman refuses to stand. When a
judge enters the court, all stand, as a measure of respect. Mordecai's
message to Haman is clear -- "I have no respect for you!"
Haman was filled with anger
- His anger controlled him. The Lxx uses the word thumoo which means to
be provoked to anger. The root word thumos speaks of agitated, vehement
anger that rushes out unrestrained.
Miserable Haman! Honored by both the
King and Queen of Persia, the disapproval of one man makes him feel
worthless. This is an accurate description of how empty the rewards of
this world are. Haman’s deep seated insecurities and need to be honored
by everybody means that he can never be happy; God meant this hunger for
acceptance in each of us to be ultimately fulfilled in Jesus Christ -
because we are accepted in the Beloved (Ephesians 1:6), accepted before
God because of who we are in Jesus.
A bigger man would have ignored it,
but a man's size is seen by the significance of the things that irritate
him. As one writer put it
Haman couldn't stand the thought of
this one man s refusal to obey him. Like a bubble, the more an ego
swells the more fragile it becomes. By this point, Haman's ego was so
inflated and fragile that Mordecai's action drowned out the applause of
the crowd. Those who live like Haman, in deliberate pursuit of
self-importance, will live perpetually on Haman's emotional roller
coaster. Soaring high when honored, bottoming out when not, Haman and
all those like him will forever be enslaved to the whims of others. They
can never have the security of joy and peace that Jesus promises us in
Remember that what fills your
heart and mind will control your attitudes, your actions and especially
Haman controlled himself, however, went to his house and sent for
friends and his wife Zeresh.:
Haman controlled himself
(cp Esther 3:6) - Did Haman refrain himself from killing Mordecai on the spot?
That is possible but clearly he is still filled with anger as his
subsequent actions attest (cp Esther 5:13) I think Guzik is
correct when he writes that...
This is a remarkable evidence of the
hand of God. God would not allow the fury of Haman to take action until
all the proper pieces were set in place to ultimately defeat his plan.
means to restrain oneself, to hold back, to exhibit self-control (Ge
43:31, 45:1 - both describing Joseph's self control). It is interesting
that this word is used to describe the Lord's holding Himself back!
(Isaiah 42:14, Isa 63:15, Isa 64:12)
Davis writes that...
The Scripture notes that Haman
“restrained himself” (wayyit'appaq) rather than let his own anger toward
Mordecai get the best of him. The use of this verb in Scripture
generally suggests a sense of struggle, an overcoming of what might
naturally be expected to happen in a particular situation. Cassel
indicates that this term may even convey the idea of wrestling with
something, in this case, oneself.20 Haman thus finds his emotions more
difficult to control here than he did in 3:6. This increased difficulty
may account for Haman’s readiness to act immediately (5:14) to eliminate
his problem, whereas previously (3:6, 7, 12) he had been willing to
delay the initiation of his revenge. (Ruth & Esther: God behind the
Then Haman recounted to them the glory of
riches, and the number of
sons, and every instance where the king had magnified
and how he had promoted
above the princes and servants of the king.:
(Glory of his riches - Esther 1:4 Ge 31:1 Job 31:24,25 Ps
49:6,16,17 Isa 10:8 Jer 9:23,24 Da 4:30 Mk 10:24 Lk 12:19,20 1Ti 6:17) (His
sons - Esther 9:7-10,12,13 Job 27:14,15 Ho 9:13,14) (Promoted
- Esther 3:1)
His - Note the repetition
of masculine pronouns in Esther 5:10-11. Haman is like the rich man in
the parable whose favorite word was "I" (Lk 12:16-21)!
Haman recounted to them the
glory of his riches - This is always a dangerous "move" to make in
the eyes of the Almighty Who alone is glorious and Who is jealous for
His Name. Haman's pride is bursting at the seams so to speak! He should
have read the Scriptures...
Pride goes before destruction (ruin,
affliction), and a haughty (literally something tall, figuratively here
and in Ps 10:4 = explains the root of foolish pride = no fear of God!,
Jer 48:29) spirit before stumbling (a fall, trip on something ~ tripping
over one's self exaltation, sense of self worth and falling,
experiencing calamity). (Pr 16:18 - see William Arnot's exposition of
Joseph Parker on
Proverbs 16:18 Pride) (See
also 1Cor 10:12, Gal 6:3)
William Barclay commented -
Pride is the ground in which all the other sins grow, and the parent
from which all the other sins come.
Realistically the pride of man is
utterly foolish for as Puritan William Jenkyn said, “Our father was
Adam, our grandfather dust, and our great-grandfather—nothing.”
Warren Wiersbe - Someone has
said that pride is the only known disease that makes everybody sick
except the person who has it. Unless cured, pride is a sickness unto
His sons - Ten sons (Esther
Haman also said, "Even Esther the queen let no one but me come with the
king to the banquet which she had prepared; and tomorrow also I am
invited by her with the king.: (Tomorrow -
Job 8:12,13 20:5-8 Ps 37:35,36 Pr 7:22,23 27:1 Lk 21:34,35 1Th 5:3)
Even Esther the queen let no
one but me come with the king to the banquet - Haman is confident he
is in good graces with the king and queen.
Paul Ferguson writes
The fact that Haman was invited to
this private banquet fed his pride and confidence. To his mind both the
king and queen regarded him higher than the rest. Seemingly he was now
set for life. Other than the king and servants, it was unusual for any
man to be in the presence of the queen. What Haman does not know is that
this banquet will be the means of his death. One of life's paradoxes is
that the way up is often the way down. He will learn the truth of Psalm
7 concerning the wicked man
He has dug a pit and hollowed it out,
And has fallen into the hole which he made. His mischief will return
upon his own head, And his violence will descend upon his own pate.
Haman was stepping ever
closer to the edge of the precipice for Solomon writes...
He who trusts in his own heart is a
fool, but he who walks wisely will be delivered. (Pr 28:26, read Jesus'
parable of the rich man = Lk 12:16-21)
As Warren Wiersbe puts
Haman was confident that he was set
for life, when in reality he was just a few hours away from death.
Two other men come to mind whose
false confidence led to their death: King Belshazzar and Judas Iscariot.
King Belshazzar held a great feast during which he blasphemed the God of
Israel; and by sending handwriting on the wall, God announced his doom.
That very night Babylon was conquered and Belshazzar was slain (Da 5).
Judas, an apostle of the Lord, was
not a true believer (John 6:70-71) but a traitor and a thief (Jn 12:6).
In the Upper Room, he sat in the place of honor at the table, and none
of the other disciples knew what was in his heart. But Jesus knew what
Judas was and what Judas would do, and He hid this knowledge from the
disciples. In fact, Jesus even washed Judas’ feet! Confident that he had
everything under control, Judas betrayed Jesus to the enemy and ended up
committing suicide (Mt 27:1-10).
The only safe place to put your
confidence is in the Lord. (Ibid)
"Yet all of this does not satisfy me every time I see Mordecai the Jew
sitting at the king's gate.":
GOES FROM "WALKING ON AIR"
TO BEING BROUGHT DOWN TO EARTH!
NLT - Then he added, "But
all this is meaningless as long as I see Mordecai the Jew just sitting
there at the palace gate."
term of contrast
(remember that terms of contrast like
but, yet always signal a "change of direction" so be sure and examine
the context for added insight on the passage) contrasts all the world
has to offer with Haman's anger against Mordecai. The point is clearly
that the things of this world cannot satisfy our soul.
Haman’s problem wasn’t Mordecai, it
was the emptiness in his own heart. Even if he solved the “Mordecai
problem,” it would not fill the emptiness in his heart. i. “The soul was
made for God, and nothing but God can fill it and make it happy.”
Wiersbe sees Haman's heart
attitude as harboring malice toward Mordecai...
Malice is that deep-seated
hatred that brings delight if our enemy suffers and pain if our enemy
succeeds. Malice can never forgive; it must always take revenge.
Malice has a good memory for hurts and a bad memory for
kindnesses. In 1Corinthians 5:8, Paul compared malice to
yeast, because, like yeast, malice begins very small but
gradually grows and finally permeates the whole of life. Malice
in the Christian’s heart grieves the Holy Spirit and must be put out of
our lives (Eph 4:30–32; Col 3:8). The insidious thing about malice
is that it has to act; eventually it must express itself. But when you
shoot at your enemy, beware! For the ammunition usually ricochets off
the target and comes back to wound the shooter! If a person wants to
self-destruct, the fastest way to do it is to be like Haman and
cultivate a malicious spirit.
All of this does not satisfy me
(For "satisfy" Lxx has
aresko = to please, give pleasure)
- Haman cannot even enjoy his time of boasting and glorying in his
presumed prestige and position! Haman's deep discontent even in face of
worldly prestige and wealth (at least that is what he thought) reminds
us of Solomon's wise words (learned from his experience of "having it
Vanity of vanities,” says the
Preacher, “Vanity of vanities! All is vanity....I have seen all the
works which have been done under the sun, and behold, all is vanity and
striving after wind. (Eccl 1:2, 14)
Paul Ferguson writes
This is a profound illustration of
the dissatisfaction of the things of this world. There is always a fly
in the ointment. We may think such people have everything from our
outward observation, but they are often the most miserable people on the
earth. One of our great problems is we weigh things with the wrong
Treasury of Scripture Knowledge
Pride will ever render its possessor
unhappy. Haman, though possessed of immense riches, glory, and honour,
and the prime favorite of his king, is wretched, because he could not
have the homage of that man whom his heart even despised! Oh, how
distressing are the inquietudes of pride and vanity.
Mordecai the Jew - First
time this specific phrase is encountered (6x - Esther 5:13, 6:10, 8:7,
9:29, 9:31, 10:3)
Sitting at the king's gate
- How did the king know? It does not say. The implication is that the
king knew about Mordecai and/or that Mordecai had some official capacity
in Xerxes' administration. Alternatively the kings chronicles could have
recorded this detail (Esther 2:21-23).
Then Zeresh his wife and all his friends said to him, "Have a gallows
fifty cubits high made and in the morning ask the king to have Mordecai
hanged on it; then go joyfully with the king to the banquet." And the
advice pleased Haman, so he had the gallows made.:
OF ADVICE FROM
UNGODLY FRIENDS & WIFE
His wife - Ferguson
observes that "This shows the dangers of having ungodly friends and an
ungodly wife e.g. Solomon s wives, Jezebel, Job s wife. Two wives are
working at either end of this drama Esther and Zeresh. Only one of them
has God on her side."
He had the gallows made -
Little did Haman know, he was making the very gallows on which he would
hang, preparing his own execution!
Gallows (cp Esther 2:23)
- This was not like we normally picture gallows, but was a stake on
which the victim would be impaled unto death!
Adam Clarke describes the
A pointed stake is set upright in the
ground, and the culprit is taken, placed on the sharp point, and then
pulled down by his legs till the stake that went in at the fundament
passes up through the body and comes out through the neck. A most
dreadful species of punishment, in which revenge and cruelty may glut
the utmost of their malice. The culprit lives a considerable time in
The ESV Study Bible notes
that this is "a dangerous development. Events may be moving too swiftly
for Mordecai to be saved."
Fifty cubits high - This is
about 75 feet high which equates with a building 8 stories high! Woe!
How they could have built this structure so quickly is amazing. Perhaps
it was a building that already existed on top of which was placed a
stake to impale Mordecai. A towering gallows matches Haman's "towering" rage!
In the morning ask the king to
have Mordecai hanged on it - Here is the most important line - "ask
the king" which prepares us for God's moving the heart of the king like
channels of water in Esther 6:1ff. This new development helps us
understand the providential importance of Esther’s delay in offering her
petition to the king, because after the events described in Esther
6:1-10, it would obviously be impossible for Haman to get permission to
In First Kings, King Ahab became
sullen (1Ki 21:5) because Naboth would not sell him his vineyard (1Ki
21:6). Ahab's wife Jezebel gave him advice similar to Haman's wife -- to
kill the one who was making them discontent and sullen. (1Ki 21:8-16).
The same irrational, violent hatred
that made Haman want to see Mordecai hang to his death is the same
irrational, violent hatred that made man want to hang Jesus on a cross.
God's Word in proverbs
speaks about evil, conniving men like Haman...
For the ways of a man are before the
eyes of the Lord, And He watches all his paths. 22 His own iniquities
will capture the wicked, And he will be held with the cords of his sin.
23 He will die for lack of instruction, And in the greatness of his
folly he will go astray. (Pr 5:21-23)
Never had things looked so dark for
the children of God outwardly. Suspense is heightened, as the curtain
closes upon yet another scene. Will evil prevail? However, the greater
the evil the greater will be the effect of the deliverance. The greater
glory also will be reflected on God. The message from Esther is that the
plan of God always succeeds, even without thunder and lightning. The
seemingly invisible God is always invincible. If God be for us then no
one can stand against us. John Newton said well so long ago in his hymn,
Fading is the worldling’s pleasure,
All his boasted pomp and show;
Solid joys and lasting treasure
None but Zion’s children know.
During that night the king could not sleep so he gave an order to bring
the book of records, the chronicles, and they were read before the king.:
During that night - Which
night? The same night that Haman was having a gallows constructed for
Mordecai's death! This was 5 years after Mordecai had uncovered the plot
to king the king (compare Esther 2:16 and Esther 3:7) in Esther 2:21-23.
The king could not sleep -
Literally the Hebrew reads "the king's sleep fled away." This is the
night before Esther's banquet (Esther 5:8). So here we see once again
God overruling and bringing about a remarkable instance of the veiled
providential control of God over circumstances of human history. From a
human standpoint, on a king's insomnia lay the fate of the Jewish race,
the coming of the Redeemer, and the entire work of redemption of
mankind. And yet the outcome was never in doubt, for God was in control
of the details, making the most trivial of events work together for
Haman's defeat and Israel's preservation.
Spurgeon quipped that...
Ahasuerus is master of one hundred
and twenty and seven provinces, but not master of ten minutes’ sleep.
Why couldn't King Ashasuerus
sleep? Clearly the king's
somnolence represents God's hand of providence interweaving events in
such a way as to bring recognition to Mordecai thus saving his life from
Haman's murderous plot.
God uses the mundane to bring
about the miraculous. In Daniel 2 God disturbed King Nebuchadnezzar's
sleep with a "supernatural nightmare" which proved to be a summary not
only of Nebuchadnezzar's kingdom but of all subsequent world history
(focusing on the human kingdoms of the world that interacted
significantly with Israel) until the Second Coming of the Messiah....
Now in the second year of the reign
of Nebuchadnezzar, Nebuchadnezzar had dreams; and his spirit was
troubled and his sleep left him. (Da 2:1)
Comment: Similarly, in the
story of Joseph we find that his personal fortunes were reversed because
of the pharaoh's dreams (Ge 41:1-45), dreams that were clearly
related to the providential hand of God moving the heart of the king
like channels of water (Pr 21:1).
So - A
term of conclusion-
How important is this conclusion to mankind?
He gave an order to bring the
book of records - Such a seemingly small detail. Instead of counting
sheep, the king requests the book of records which you suggests they
might be quite boring. The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge however has
this note on the records...
As chronicles were composed among the
Persians, a more instructive and interesting work could not be brought
before the king; because they were all written in verse, and were
generally the work of the most eminent poets of the empire.
Book of records - The
Hebrew literally reads "the book of remembrances, the words/matters of
the days." This book was a written record of facts and events that were
important to the kingdom of Persia (Esther 2:23; cf. Ezra 4:15 Mal
3:16). It is futile to speculate on the cause of the king's
sleeplessness, but we know for certain that God was behind it. The
entire chapter shows how a series of seemingly trivial circumstances fit
together to overrule the evil intentions of Haman.
And it was found written: This was a
remarkable example of Providence in action. King Ahasuerus can not
sleep, and he can choose 20 different diversions to fill his sleepless
night - but he commands that a book be brought to him and read. The one
commanded to bring the book could have brought any one book of the
records of the chronicles, but he brought one particular book. The book
could be opened to any page, but it was opened to the exact page telling
the story of Mordecai and how he saved the King from assassination. God
guided every step along the way.
What caused the monarch’s
Why did it happen on that night of
all others? Ahasuerus is
master of one hundred and twenty and seven provinces, but not master of
ten minutes’ sleep. What shall he do? Shall he call for soothing
instruments of music, or beguile the hours with a tale that is told, or
with a merry ballad of the minstrel? No, he calls for a book. Who would
have thought that this luxurious prince must listen to a reader at dead
of night. “Bring a book?” What book? A volume perfumed with roses,
musical with songs, sweet as the notes of the nightingale? “No, bring
the chronicles of the empire.” Dull reading, that! But there are one
hundred and twenty seven provinces,—which volume shall the page bring
from the recorder’s shelves? He chose the record of Shushan (Susa) the
royal city. That is the centre of the empire, and its record is lengthy,
in which section shall the reader make a beginning? He may begin where
he pleases, but ere he closes the book the story of the discovery of a
conspiracy by Mordecai has been read in the king’s hearing.
Was not this a singular accident?
Singular if you like, but no accident. Out of ten thousand other records
the reader pitches upon that one of all others.
The Jews tell us that he began at
another place, but that the book closed and fell open at the chapter
upon Mordecai (Ed: There is no evidence of this from the
Scripture. It embellishes the story, which really needs no
embellishment!). Be that as it may, this is certain, that the Lord
knew where the record was, and guided the reader to the right page.
Speaking after the manner of men, there were a million "chances" against
one that the king of Persia should, in the dead of the night, be reading
the chronicle of his own kingdom, and that he should light upon this
particular part of it. But that was not all, the king is interested,
he had desired to go to sleep, but that wish is gone, and he is in haste
to act. He says, “This man Mordecai has done me good service, has he
been rewarded?” “No.” Then cries the impulsive monarch, “He shall be
rewarded at once. Who is in the court?” It was the most unlikely thing
in the world for the luxurious Ahasuerus to be in haste to do justice,
for he had done injustice thousands of times without remorse, and
chiefly on that day when he wantonly signed the death warrant of that
very Mordecai and his people. For once, the king is intent on being
just, and at the door stands Haman,—but you know the rest of the story,
and how he had to lead Mordecai in state through the streets.
It seems a very small matter
whether you or I shall sleep to-night, or toss restlessly on our beds,
but God will be in our rest or in our wakefulness; we know not what His
purpose may be, but His hand will be in it, neither doth any man sleep
or wake but according to the decree of the Lord.
Daniel records King Darius'
failure to sleep because of anxiety over Daniel's almost certain death
in the lion's den...
Then the king went off to his palace
and spent the night fasting, and no entertainment was brought before
him; and his sleep fled from him. (Da 6:8)
Sidlow Baxter sums
up God's providence in chapters 1-5...
Whatever else we may see in Esther
1-5, we miss their supreme significance if we fail to see in them a most
remarkable providential predisposing of all contributory factors in
anticipation of a foreseen crisis. (Ed: If you are like me, you
probably need to read that statement again). The feast of Ahasuerus to
his lords and satraps, his inebriate (drunken) jollity (cheerful, cp Est
1:10) and indecent request, Vashti's valorous refusal and her
dethronement - these things seemed far from having any connection
whatever with the as-yet-undreamed-of peril to the Jews which was to
head up through the anti-Jewish hatred of Haman, who at this time had
not even risen to public eminence. Yet these things were being so
overruled as to subserve the unsuspected Divine preparation for that
which was to come later. Indeed, the crisis had been anticipated years
before ever Ahasuerus's feast-making took place, in the bestowment of an
extraordinary feminine beauty upon Mordecai's cousin; and now, as a
result of the vacancy created by Vashti's deposal, the matchless Esther
is elected to be queen, so that she is in the place of influence when
the critical moment comes, to avert the seemingly inescapable disaster,
and to turn the tables on Israel's wicked enemies.
Oh, this wonderful fore-planning of providence! It is here brought
vividly out to view so that through our seeing it thus clearly
demonstrated in this one notable episode we may believe in the fact of
its operation through all the vicissitudes of our life, and through all
the history of the human race, and especially in those trying times when
rampant evil seems to have snatched the reins of government from higher
control. (Explore the Book)
Esther 6:2 It
was found written what Mordecai had reported concerning Bigthana and
Teresh, two of the king's eunuchs who were doorkeepers, that they had
sought to lay hands on King Ahasuerus.:
It was found written what
Mordecai had reported - No accident here! Notice he is not referred
to as Mordecai the Jew in this or the next passage.
Have you ever felt like the
good you have done has gone unrecognized just as Mordecai's had
seemingly been ignored for almost 5 years? Then be encouraged by the
words to persecuted saints in the book of Hebrews...
For God is not unjust so as to forget
your work and the love which you have shown toward His name, in having
ministered and still ministering to the saints. (Hebrews 6:10-note)
(1) King's Insomnia - God was
awake (Ps 121:3-4-note)
and wanted Ashasuerus awake so He could "speak" to him.
(2) King's Choice - Not
concubines from the harem or court musicians but a book!
(3) King's Choice of the Specific
Book - The king's chronicles were undoubtedly only one of many
Wiersbe comments: Can God
direct in the books that people pick up and read? Yes, He can. Late in
February 1916, a British student bought a book at a used-book stall in a
railway station. He had looked at that book and rejected it at least a
dozen times before, but that day he purchased it. It was Phantastes by
George MacDonald, and the reading of that book eventually led to that
young man’s conversion. Who was he? C. S. Lewis, perhaps the
greatest and most popular apologist for the Christian faith of the
middle-twentieth century. He wrote to a friend that he had picked up the
book “by hazard,” but I believe God had directed his choice. God can
even direct what we read in a book.
A young man in North Africa sought
peace, first in sensual pleasures and then in philosophy, but only
became more miserable. One day he heard a neighbor child playing a game
and saying, “Take it and read! Take it and read!” The young man
immediately picked up the Scriptures and “happened” to open to Romans
13:13-14; and those verses brought him to faith in Christ. We know that
young man today as Augustine, Bishop of Hippo, and author of
numerous Christian classics. (Be Committed)
(4) The King's reader turned to
the specific page which recorded Mordecai's role in saving the
king's life about 5 years earlier.
(5) The King's delay in honoring
Mordecai - "God's delays are not denials!" Even the King's question
in Esther 6:3 emphasizes that it was the practice to bestow honor for
favors done on the king's behalf! And yet it had not occurred in
Mordecai's case. What if Mordecai had already been rewarded 5 years
earlier? It is distinctly unusual that Mordecai had not been rewarded
five years earlier as was the usual practice in among the Persians as it
was a way to maintain loyalty. This reminds us of Joseph's life
when after befriending the Pharaoh's butler, he assumed he would be
released from prison, but instead had to wait 2 more years for God's
perfect timing (Ge 40:23, Ge 41:1, 9-25). In Exodus we see that God had
ordained a specific day for the Jews to leave Egypt (Ex 12:40-42).
David had come to understand God's providential control of the days
of our life writing...
My times are in Your hand;
Deliver me from the hand of my enemies
and from those who persecute me.
(Ps 31:15, see context Ps 31:1-14-note)
Spurgeon comments: The
sovereign Arbiter of destiny holds in His own power all the issues of
our life; we are not waifs and strays upon the ocean of fate, but are
steered by infinite wisdom towards our desired haven. Providence is a
soft pillow for anxious heads, an anodyne (comfort) for care, a grave for despair. Deliver me from the
hand of mine enemies, and from them that persecute me. It is lawful
to desire escape from persecution if it be the Lord's will; and when
this may not be granted us in the form which we desire, sustaining grace
will give us deliverance in another form, by enabling us to laugh to
scorn all the fury of the foe.
Wiersbe comments: In writing
"my times are in Your hand," David teaches us several lessons. First,
time is important. If you waste time, you're wasting eternity. If you
waste time, you're wasting opportunity. All I can give to God is my
body, my ability and my time. And if I don't give Him my time, He can't
use my body or my ability. Time is valuable--don't waste it. Invest it.
Second, David reminds us how
important surrender is. Who controls the available time we have when
we're not working or doing the things that must be done to maintain
life--that unregistered, undirected time? If we surrender to the Lord,
He can control that time. I learned many years ago to turn my entire day
over to Him at the beginning of every day. If I have interruptions, He's
in control. If my plans are changed, He's in control.
Third, this leads to God's blessings
for us. When our times are in His hand, we can trust Him; He has
blessings especially prepared for us. "Oh, how great is Your goodness,
which You have laid up for those who fear You" (Psalm 31:19). God has
some wonderful blessings prepared for you today. But you are not going
to enjoy them unless you truly say, "Lord, my times are in Your hand."
Time is perhaps your most basic
resource. How you use God's gift of time has a profound effect not only
on your life but on the lives of others. It's important that you
surrender your time to His care. When you give God your time, you
surrender it to His control. He will bless you for it (Prayer,
Praise and Promises)
for Pastors regarding Ps 31:15...
character of the earthly experience of the saints, "My times," that is,
the changes I shall pass through, etc.
2. The advantage of this variety.
a. Changes reveal the various aspects
of the Christian character.
b. Changes strengthen the Christian character.
c. Changes lead us to admire an unchanging God.
for all seasons.
a. This implies the changes of life
are subject to the divine control.
b. That God will support his people under them.
c. And, consequently, they shall result in our being abundantly
deportment which should characterize us. Courageous devotion to God in
times of persecution; resignation and contentment in times of poverty
and suffering; zeal and hope in times of labour.
(6) Haman just happens to enter
the outer court - Haman was there to seek permission to hang
Mordecai, not knowing he would soon be forced to honor him.
Illustration of Providence
- In 1937 Walt Disney released the first full-length animated movie:
Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. Producing an animated movie was a
gargantuan task. Disney artists drew over one million pictures. Each
picture flashed onto the screen for a mere one-twenty-fourth of a
second. As we watch the movie run at regular speed, it seems so simple.
We have no idea all that goes into it. Our lives are like that movie.
God puts infinite thought, skill, and careful attention into every
detail. Yet as our lives run at “regular speed,” we have no idea how
much God’s providence fills every single second. (750 engaging
illustrations for preachers, teachers & writers)
Confession of Faith (1647) states
God, the great Creator of all things,
doth uphold, direct, dispose, and govern all creatures, actions, and
things, from the greatest even to the least, by his most wise and holy
providence, according to his infallible foreknowledge and the free and
immutable counsel of his own will, to the praise of the glory of his
wisdom, power, justice, goodness, and mercy.
The longer I live, the more
convincing proofs I see of this truth, that God governs in the affairs
of man; and if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without his notice,
is it probable that an empire can rise without his aid?
Solomon writes that...
There is no wisdom and no
And no counsel against the LORD.
Esther 6:3 The
king said, "What honor or dignity has been bestowed on Mordecai for
this?" Then the king's servants who attended him said, "Nothing has been
done for him.":
Nothing has been done for him
- As noted above, to not bestow a reward or honor was distinctly
unusual and undoubtedly reflects the hand of God in the affairs of men,
including kings (Pr 21:1).
Esther 6:4 So
the king said, "Who is in the court?" Now Haman had just entered the
outer court of the king's palace in order to speak to the king about
hanging Mordecai on the gallows which he had prepared for him.:
If this Book of Esther shows us
anything, it shows us that God manages the affairs of men, even without
their knowledge. God knows what He is doing and in the courts of heaven
there are no coincidences or surprises. Esther wasn’t lucky
to be queen; Mordecai wasn’t lucky to have overheard the
assassination plot; it wasn’t luck or chance
that made Haman enter the royal courts at this time with this heart. All
of these events were orchestrated by God and not by luck.
This becomes difficult, of course, when bad things happen to us.
It is easy to see God’s management of all things when we see good things
happen. But what about the bad? Even then, we must trust God’s total
plan, realizing that all things work together for god to those who love
God, to those who are the called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28).
We understand that Paul says all things work together; any one event,
taken in isolation may seem to make no sense, but when we see all things
working together we then see the ultimate wisdom of God’s plan.
So the king said, "Who is in
the court?" - Why was Haman at the King's court so early in the
morning? Because he was enraged at Mordecai, had constructed a gallows
and wanted to speak to the king about hanging him. But he was too late!
God's timing had been perfect as it always is! The King's restless night
and record reading re Mordecai's saving his life and not being yet
rewarded had been orchestrated by the hand of God.
Now Haman had just entered the
outer court of the king's palace - Why was Haman there? Because he
wanted to hang Mordecai. Haman was in a hurry to carry out his evil
plan, which reminds us of the proverb...
that devises wicked plans,
Feet that run rapidly to evil
In order to speak to the king
about hanging Mordecai on the gallows - Haman is a few minutes too
late. God beat him to the punch! God always does!
Esther 6:5 The
king's servants said to him, "Behold, Haman is standing in the court."
And the king said, "Let him come in.":
Let him come in -
Presumably now he has been allowed into the king's bed chamber.
Swindoll sets the scene...
Is this a great moment or what? The
sun is barely over the horizon, and here comes Haman, rushing to the
palace as early as he can so he will be the first to have an audience
with the king and finish off his hated enemy. Suddenly, out of the inner
court, comes the voice of the king, “Call him in. Call Haman in.” The
king is calling for him. This will be even easier than he anticipated.
Now is my chance, he thinks. He glances out the window with a sinister
sneer, Just a minute, gallows, somebody will be on you. And with the
stride of a peacock he struts into the court of the king.
Esther 6:6 So
Haman came in and the king said to him, "What is to be done for the man
whom the king desires to honor?" And Haman said to himself, "Whom would
the king desire to honor more than me?":
What is to be done for the man
whom the king desires to honor? - Who is Haman going to immediately
think of but himself!
Haman said to himself
(Hebrew = "said to his heart") -
Haman was deluded. He was deceived by his own pride and sense of self
worth and thought that surely the king was describing him. In God's
ironic providence, He ordains that Haman would actually specify the
manner in which Mordecai would be honored and Haman who would be hanged!
Solomon was right...
The righteous is
delivered from trouble,
But the wicked takes his place.
In another set of Proverbs
Solomon describes first Haman, then Mordecai...
destruction the heart of man is haughty,
But humility goes before honor.
A man’s pride
will bring him low,
But a humble spirit will obtain honor.
"On which side of the
commas do you live?"
Whom would the king desire to
honor more than me? - "God often allows fallen man to set his own
trap; allowing Haman to make his pride and arrogance be the cause of his
ultimate humiliation." (Guzik)
Then Haman said to the king, "For the man whom the king desires to
Invited to advise the king in such an
intimate setting could only have stoked the inflated ego of Haman.
Doubtless he strutted in like a peacock. Haman was intoxicated with
vanity and blinded by pride. It seemed a day of double blessing Mordecai
dead and he honored. Ahasuerus hid the identity of Mordecai in just the
same way Haman had done so to the king over the Jews. Haman is beginning
to reap what he sowed.
For the man whom the king
desires to honor - This is fascinating. Clearly Haman thinks he is
getting to describe his own reward. Clearly he is going to go for the
proverbial "gusto" and get all he can get! What if the kill had ask what
is to be done for Mordecai the Jew? Surely Haman's suggestions would
have been toned down substantially!
Is this too not Divine providence,
for the king now knew Mordecai's name? The more we observe these
details, the more we see God's hand behind the seen (scene)!
Esther 6:8 let
them bring a royal robe which the king has worn, and the horse on which
the king has ridden, and on whose head a royal crown has been placed;:
On whose head a royal crown has
been placed - This is not referring to a crown on the honoree's head
but on the horse's head. Thus the NET Bible refers to a royal horse "one
bearing the royal insignia!" NIV renders it "a horse the king has
ridden, one with a royal crest placed on its head." New Jerusalem Bible
"a horse from the king's stable, sporting a royal diadem on its head."
Haman could not have thought of
anything more imaginative to promote self. It was said that the Persians
regarded the royal robe as having magical properties. Haman had money
and power so what he craved was to be honored like the king. Maybe he
thought it would allow him to be Ahasuerus s successor. We are never
satisfied with the things of this world. Without God s peace it is all
Esther 6:9 and
let the robe and the horse be handed over to one of the king's most
noble princes and let them array the man whom the king desires to honor
and lead him on horseback through the city square, and proclaim before
him, 'Thus it shall be done to the man whom the king desires to honor.'":
To one of the king's most noble
princes - Little did Haman know he was guaranteeing that he would be
the one to carry out these honors.
Then the king said to Haman, "Take quickly the robes and the horse as
you have said, and do so for Mordecai the Jew, who is sitting at the
king's gate; do not fall short in anything of all that you have said.":
As you have said...do so -
The king could have sent one of his eunuchs. Instead he chooses to send
his second in command to carry this out. Is God in control or what? The
one who virtually cursed Mordecai's name must now proclaim it as he
leads him through the city!
Mordecai the Jew - Second
use of this specific phrase (6x - Esther 5:13, 6:10, 8:7, 9:29, 9:31,
10:3). King Ashasuerus clearly knows Mordecai's ethnicity! Does he not
know that Haman's decree would include Mordecai?
Sitting at the king's gate
- King repeats Mordecai's location. It is as if the king is accentuating
Mordecai's loyalty by repeating the phrase "king's gate" (Found 12x in
11v in Esther 2:19, 21; 3:2, 3:3; 4:2, 4:6; 5:9, 5:13; 6:10, 6:12). Does
this not give us a picture of a man who is loyal to the king?
Do not fall short in anything
of all that you have said - God so ordains these events that Haman
the one who sought to curse Mordecai and his people would end up
blessing Mordecai with his words and deeds!
This reminds me of Romans 12 where
we read God's charge to believers to...
17 Never pay back evil for evil to
anyone. Respect what is right in the sight of all men.
18 If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men.
19 Never take your own revenge, beloved, but
room for the wrath of God, for (term
it is written, "VENGEANCE IS MINE, I WILL REPAY," says the Lord.
20 "BUT IF YOUR ENEMY IS HUNGRY, FEED HIM, AND IF HE IS THIRSTY, GIVE
HIM A DRINK; FOR IN SO DOING YOU WILL HEAP BURNING COALS UPON HIS HEAD."
21 Do not be overcome
imperative with a negative)
by evil, but overcome
evil with good. (Ro 12:17-note,
So Haman took the robe and the horse, and arrayed Mordecai, and led him
on horseback through the city square, and proclaimed before him, "Thus
it shall be done to the man whom the king desires to honor.":
So - A
term of conclusion-
What is being concluded?
Haman took the robe and the
horse, and arrayed Mordecai - Note the striking irony of this
picture. Haman the enemy of the Jews being forced to royally robe
and honor Mordecai the Jew!
Led him on horseback through
the city square - As Haman leads Mordecai through the streets the
people honor the very one who refused to honor Haman!
Thus it shall be done to the
man whom the king desires to honor - The very thing Mordecai
would not do for Haman (bow down), evil Haman was now forced to tell
others to do for Mordecai! One can only imagine what went through
Haman's mind as he was forced to reap the bitter fruit of the evil seeds
he had sown!
The ultimate humiliation was for
Haman to honor Mordecai in such a public way; humiliation is only really
humiliation when it is public.
Notice how Haman's fate parallels
the NT teaching that all who reject Christ will one day be forced to
honor Him, even as Haman was forced to honor Mordecai! Paul writes...
= the conclusion is based on the truths in Php 2:5-8-note)
also God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above
every name, 10 that at the name of Jesus EVERY KNEE SHOULD BOW, of those
who are in heaven, and on earth, and under the earth, 11 and that every
tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the
Father. (Phil 2:9-11-note,
cf Rev 1:7-note)
Then Mordecai returned to the king's gate. But Haman hurried home,
mourning, with his head covered.:
MOURNING, WARNING AND
HASTY DEPARTURE TO ESTHER'S BANQUET
Then Mordecai returned to the
king's gate - How did the pomp and circumstance impact Mordecai? Did
it go to his head? In fact Scripture does not record that Mordecai
uttered a word regarding this great honor. And so it does not surprise
us that he returned to his place at the king's gate! He continued in the
role he had before he was honored.
Why was Mordecai not ecstatic? He
was still a Jew. He was still under sentence of a Persian law that could
not be repealed!
Wiersbe rightly observes
Applause doesn’t change truly humble
people, for their values are far deeper. God can trust His blessings
with the humble because they seek to honor only the Lord. (Ibid)
How clearly the character of the man
comes out in that single touch of description--that one item of
information given us, that he came again to the king's gate. A proud
ambitious man would have said to himself, “No more of the king’s gate
for me! I shall direct my steps now to the king’s palace, and hold
myself ready for honour, office, emolument (compensation), which surely
must now be at hand.” Mordecai seems to have said with himself, “If
these things are designed for me in God’s good providence, they will
find me. But they must seek me, for I shall not seek them. Those who
confer them know my address: ‘Mordecai, at the king’s gate,’ will still
find me. Let the crowd wonder and disperse. I have had enough of their
incense. Let Haman go whither he will, he is in the hands of the Lord.
Let my friends at home wait; they will all hear all in time . . . I can
wait best at the old place and in the accustomed way—at the king's
book of Esther, its practical lessons)
Chuck Swindoll applies this
to our lives asking...
Have you recently been promoted? Has
God’s providence smiled on you so that your name is now honored in
circles where you were once not even known? Have you come to a place of
popularity and prosperity? Are you now esteemed in the eyes of others?
If so, the real question is:
Are you still comfortable at the king’s
gate, or must you now live at the palace? Must you now be treated with
special care and be given kid-glove treatment and not bothered with
Haman hurried home, mourning,
with his head covered (cf 2Sa 17:23 1Ki 20:43 21:4 2Ch 26:20
Job 20:5) - Covering one's head was an expression of deepest grief and
trouble, a way of expressing mourning (2Sa 15:30; Jer 14:3-4). And so we
see a reversal of destinies in only 3 days! Mordecai the Jew was
mourning in Esther 4:1-3 and now Haman the Agagite, the enemy of the
Jews is mourning!
Guzik on meaning of Haman
This means that Haman acted as if
someone dear to him had died. In fact, his pride had been dealt a
Wiersbe observes that the
contrast between Mordecai's reaction and Haman's reaction
the difference between reputation
and character. Haman was a famous man, a man of reputation, only
because the king had made him so; but he was not a man of character. His
reputation depended on his office, his wealth, and his authority, all of
which could easily be taken from him. (Ibid)
Comment: Indeed, reputation is
what others think you are while character is what God knows you are!
Haman recounted to Zeresh his wife and all his friends everything that
had happened to him. Then his wise men and Zeresh his wife said to him,
"If Mordecai, before whom you have begun to fall, is of Jewish origin,
you will not overcome him, but will surely fall before him.":
Haman recounted to Zeresh his
wife and all his friends - In only 24 hours, God has turned Haman's
world upside down. Recall his boastful words in Esther 5:11 "Then
Haman recounted to them the glory of his riches..."
No word of repentance or
acknowledgement by this proud man that he had brought this on himself.
If God humbles you, pay attention.
You will not overcome him...Surely
fall before him - How quickly his own wife changed her tune from "Kill
Mordecai" to "Mordecai will kill you!" While these Persian
pagans likely did not know Genesis 12:3 ("The one who curses you, I will
curse!"), the truth of that passage was like Persian law...irrevocable!
And his wise men and wife proved to be prophetic!
Ferguson reminds us that...
God is always faithful to His
covenantal promises. The eighteenth century German emperor, Frederick
the Great asked his personal physician, Zimmermann:
Zimmermann, can you name me a single
proof of the existence of God?
Zimmermann succinctly replied,
Your Majesty, the Jews!
Throughout the centuries of
persecution, discrimination, and genocide, God has preserved His people.
God on His saints looks watchful down
His ear attends their cry
The wicked sink beneath His frown
Their very name shall die
But He, at length, the just will crown
With victory and joy!
While they were still talking with him, the king's eunuchs arrived and
hastily brought Haman to the banquet which Esther had prepared.:
While they were still talking
with him - Can you envision this scene? Haman does not even have
time to reply nor contrive a counter plan.
The king's eunuchs arrived and
hastily brought Haman to the banquet which Esther had prepared -
Only 24 hours earlier, Haman's wife had encouraged him to "go joyfully
with the king to the banquet." (Esther 5:14) As the saying goes "What a
difference a day makes!"
Esther 7:1 Now
the king and Haman came to drink wine
with Esther the queen.:
Came to drink - Wine is not
in the original Hebrew text. The NET Note writes that "The expression is
a metaphor for lavish feasting" which explains some of the other
translations - "Came in to feast" (HCSB), " went in to feast" (ESV),
"went to dine" (NIV)
Remember that neither the king nor
Haman knew yet that Esther was a Jewess. Now can you better understand
the significance of the repeated detail that she was not to make known
her people (Esther 2:10, 20)? And so while Haman was undoubtedly
disturbed by the previous events, he most likely thought that he was
safe from any serious sequelae. After all he been restrained from asking
the king for permission to hang Mordecai, and risk invoking the king's
anger. He had to undergo the humiliation of honoring Mordecai, but after
all he was a Jew and his death sentence was recorded by royal edict
which could not be repealed. Haman would simply have to wait for his
revenge. Solomon's description of the evil man in Ecclesiastes
would have been fitting for Haman who thought he had escaped danger...
Because the sentence against an evil
deed is not executed quickly, therefore (term
the hearts of the sons of men among them are given fully to do evil.
Ferguson notes that...
We now find the drama heightened at
this point in the narrative. The plot is filled with danger, hesitation,
courage, and deliverance. Esther is now having to stand in the gap for
her people (Eze. 22:30). If she had refused this calling, she would have
missed out on the blessing of being an integral part of redemptive
history, but God would have found another way to complete His plan.
There is an obvious parallel here between the life of Ruth and Esther.
Both women yielded to God to work through them and both played a
significant role in redemptive history....
Solomon tells us in the third chapter
of Ecclesiastes that there is a time to keep silent but there is also
the right time to speak. Somehow Esther discerned that this was the
time. Did she sense the Hand of providence in the events of that day
with the elevation of Mordecai? Now is that moment with Haman unnerved,
Ahasuerus curious and charmed, and after God had providentially reminded
the king of the faithfulness and loyalty of his Jewish subjects. Also
Ahasuerus had promised three times his help to Esther so it would not be
easy for him to back out of this commitment.
And the king said to Esther on the
also as they drank their
wine at the banquet,
"What is your
petition, Queen Esther? It shall be granted you. And what is your
request? Even to half of the kingdom it shall be done.":
And the king said to Esther
- Obviously the king had been waiting to hear Esther's petition since
the previous evening's banquet.
Second day - The day after
Esther's first banquet.
What is your petition -
This is the third time the king has asked Esther this question. I think
Chuck Swindoll is accurate in his assessment of "why three
times?" and why he is asking again...
He’s already asked that two other
times: when she first approached him and he held out his scepter, and
then at the first banquet, but Esther never answered him, because the
time wasn’t right. Esther had a sensitive ear, a wise heart; she sensed
something wasn’t quite right. So, she didn’t push it. She knew when to
act—and she knew when to wait.
Are you as sensitive as that? Do you know
when to listen? Do you know when to speak up—and when to keep quiet? Do
you know how much to say as well as when to say it? Do you have the
wisdom to hold back until the right moment?
At the banquet - This is
the sixth banquet in Esther!
Then Queen Esther replied, "If I have found favor in your sight, O king,
and if it pleases the king, let my life be given me as my petition, and
my people as my request;:
If I have found favor in your
sight - Favor is shown repeatedly to Esther 2:9, 15, 17, 5:8,
7:3, 8:5. Notice her words - "favor in your sight...pleases the king" -
she was surely aware that the king might refuse her request and so she
was duly cautious, submissive and humble. The word "favor" is translated
by the Greek word
which is grace and speaks of unmerited favor.
Let my life be given...my
people - This parallels Moses' words to Pharaoh in Exodus 7:16.
My life - Esther's wisdom
is shown in the way in which she presents her petition. Notice how she
first focuses the king's attention on the fact that her life was
in danger, a tact that surely would appeal to the king's feelings for
her. In other words she did not just blurt out that "There is a man
in your kingdom who plans to destroy all the Jews!" In fact, in the
entire petition (vv 3-4) she does not implicate an single individual as
responsible for the evil plan.
My people as my request -
Some feel that Esther now reveals her people. However the text does not
state clearly that she says she is Jewish, even as Haman had hidden the
identity of the people when he made his request of the king (Esther
Esther 7:4 for
we have been sold, I and my people, to be destroyed, to be killed and to
be annihilated. Now if we had only been sold as slaves, men and women, I
would have remained silent, for the trouble would not be commensurate
with the annoyance to the king.":
We have been sold - What
did Esther mean by this statement? Recall that Haman had in essence
"bought off" the king by offering to pay him a huge sum in Esther 3:9, a
fact which was specifically relayed to Esther in Esther 4:7.
It is interesting that Esther
wisely avoids the detail that this was "written in the name of King
Ahasuerus and sealed with the king's signet ring." (Esther 3:12)
NET Note adds that...
The passive verb (“have been sold”)
is noncommittal and non-accusatory with regard to the king’s role in the
decision to annihilate the Jews.
Destroyed...killed...annihilated - The same phrase that is found in
Esther 3:13 (cp Esther 8:11). We see Mordecai's wisdom in sending her a
copy of the actual decree. Here she recounts the words of that decree.
Then King Ahasuerus asked Queen Esther, "Who is he, and where is he, who
would presume to do thus?":
Who is he and where is he?
- As noted above, Esther never implicated a single individual (certainly
not the king), but the
king comes to that conclusion on his own.
Who would presume to do thus
- Hebrew reads = “has so filled his heart”; NAB paraphrases it “who has
dared to do this.” So the king still does not connect the dots and associate Haman with
this plot, nor does he see his role in this drama.
Esther said, "A foe and an enemy is this wicked Haman!" Then Haman
became terrified before the king and queen.:
THE END OF HIS ROPE
A foe and an enemy is this
wicked Haman - Haman had been referred to as the enemy of the
Jews. And he now knows that Esther is a Jew - she had not used the
name Jew, but Haman knew who was to be destroyed, killed and
annihilated! One can only imagine his horror at this realization.
Then Haman became terrified
(afraid, overwhelmed) - Haman's life progressed from honor
(Esther 5:9) to humiliation (Esther 6:18) to horror
(Esther 7:6) in less than 24 hours! The psalmist was right when he
recorded that "Behold, He who keeps (guards, protects) Israel Will
neither slumber nor sleep." (Psalm 121:4).
Solomon rightly said
Everyone who is proud in heart is
an abomination to the Lord;
Assuredly, he will not be unpunished.
Esther 7:7 The
king arose in his anger from drinking wine and went into the palace
garden; but Haman stayed to beg for his life from Queen Esther,
saw that harm had been determined against him by the king.:
Haman stayed to beg for his
life from Queen Esther - The boastful bully is now reduced to a
whimpering coward! Can you see the incredible irony brought about by the
"behind the scenes" work of God? Haman had been filled with rage toward
a Jew who had refused to bow and now he is bowing before a Jewish woman
begging for his life!
For - A
term of explanation.
In this case it explains Haman's groveling for his life.
The irony here is that the man who
was so angry because one Jew refused to bow to him has in the space of a
few days prostrated himself before Mordecai and Esther. Haman s wife s
prediction is being realized (Esther 6:13). From being a proud peacock
he shows himself a whimpering coward.
Esther 7:8 Now
when the king returned from the palace garden into the place where they
were drinking wine, Haman was falling on the couch where Esther was.
Then the king said, "Will he even assault the queen with me in the
house?" As the word went out of the king's mouth, they covered Haman's
Now when the king returned
- Do not miss this "time phrase," because it is significant and once
again shows God providentially in control of this scene. When does the
king just happen to return? It is when Haman is "falling on the couch
where Esther was" and that was the final straw for the king! Haman's
fate was sealed. Had Haman gone out with the king instead of staying to
beg the queen, this scene would not have occurred. Even if he had not
fallen on the queen's couch, he would not have been accused of trying to
sexually assault her. And yet Haman did and he did it at the wrong time
- just as the king entered the room! God's providence is moving to
avenge His people the Jews and His timing is always perfect!
A clearly non-inspired Jewish
writing says that the angel Gabriel pushed Haman so he fell on Esther’s
couch just as king Ahasuerus was coming back into the room.
Haman was falling on the couch
where Esther was (NET = "Haman was throwing himself down on the
couch where Esther was lying") The Greek verb used here is epipipto
which means literally to fall on someone or throw one's self on someone
(Acts 20:10 - Eutychus who had fallen 3 floors and was dead until
revived by Paul), even to embrace (Lk 15:20, Acts 20:37, Ge 45:14).
Epipipto means to cause pressure by pushing against or falling on.
To make contact, to approach impetuously.
They covered Haman's face
- In Esther 6:12 Haman covered his head in humiliation, but now others
cover his head to prepare for execution! Covering one's head of a
condemned prisoner was a custom in ancient times.
Women's Study Bible...
It was a Persian custom to recline
during a meal. Had Haman followed harem protocol, he would have left
Esther’s presence with the king. Although it was a common Near Eastern
gesture of contrition to seize the feet or even kiss them, such behavior
was completely inappropriate with a woman of the harem, much less the
queen herself! So strict was harem protocol that the king’s
interpretation of Haman’s behavior would have probably been the same
even if Haman had merely knelt before Esther with no physical contact.
(Thomas Nelson Publishing)
Then Harbonah, one of the eunuchs who were before the king said, "Behold
indeed, the gallows standing at Haman's house fifty cubits high, which
Haman made for Mordecai who spoke good on behalf of the king!" And the
king said, "Hang him on it.":
Harbonah (See Esther 1:10
presumably the same individual) - Somehow in the
previous 24 hours it had become known to this eunuch that Haman had
made gallows to kill Mordecai. Obviously Haman had
made this known. It reminds me of a saying during World War II that
"Loose lips sink ships!"
Mordecai who spoke good on
behalf of the king - This is the king's first knowledge of Haman's
plan to kill Mordecai and was the proverbial final straw.
Hang him on it - While on
numerous previous occasions in the book of Esther the king had sought
and followed the advice of advisers, on this occasion (surely now with
even greater anger) decreed Haman's death sentence without hesitation.
How wealthy was Haman? What relief could his wealth provide now? (See
Ps. 49:6-8, 16-17-note)
Note the progression produced
Haman > Honored
> Humiliated > Horrified > Hanged
In Psalm 73 Asaph addresses the
truth that the wicked may prosper for a moment, but just as quickly will
swept away in judgment, even as came to pass in the life of wealthy but
anti-Semitic Haman (Read Ps 73:10-20-note).
SOWING AND REAPING
Haman had sown anger against
Mordecai, but now reaped anger from the king. The principle of sowing
and reaping is timeless and obviously applies not just to unbelievers
like Haman but also to believers...
Do not be deceived
imperative with a negative),
God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap. For
the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption,
but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal
life. (Gal 6:7-note,
cp Hos 8:7-Chuck
Picture of Ungodly Life;
Charles Simeon-Consequences of Sin)
Job echoes this
According to what I have seen, those
who plow iniquity And those who sow trouble harvest it. (Job 4:8)
For the day of the Lord draws near on
all the nations. As you have done, it will be done to you. Your
dealings will return on your own head. (Ob 1:15)
Solomon also records
sows iniquity will reap vanity,
And the rod of his fury will perish.
Warren Wiersbe summarizes
several Biblical examples of the law of sowing and reaping...
Jacob killed an animal and lied to
his father, pretending to be Esau (Ge 27:1-29); and years later Jacob’s
sons killed an animal and lied to him, pretending that Joseph was dead
(Ge 37:31-35). Pharaoh gave orders to drown the Jewish baby boys (Ex
1:22), and one day his army was drowned in the Red Sea (Ex. 14:26-28).
David secretly took his neighbor’s wife and committed adultery (2Sa
11:2-17), and David’s own son Absalom took his father’s concubines and
openly committed adultery with them (2Sa 16:20-23). Furthermore, David’s
daughter Tamar was raped by her half brother Amnon (2Sa 13:7-17). David
killed Bathsheba’s husband (2Sa 11:14-25), and three of David’s own sons
were slain: Absalom (2Sa 18:32-33), Amnon (2Sa 13:23-36), and Adonijah
(1Ki 2:13-25). Saul of Tarsus encouraged the stoning of Stephen (Acts
8:1); and when he became Paul the missionary, he was stoned at Lystra
Comment: While the preceding
is all "bad news", the truth is that sowing good seeds will also be
fully recompensed in this life and/or the life to come! (Mt 10:42, Mt
25:31-46, 2Cor 5:10-note)
So they hanged Haman on the gallows which he had prepared for Mordecai,
and the king's anger subsided.:
A DAY MAKES
IN THE HAND OF GOD
So - A
term of conclusion
They hanged Haman - Another
strikingly ironic reversal, one that Solomon alluded to when he wrote
The righteous is
delivered from trouble,
But the wicked takes his place.
Haman is also a fitting
illustration of the truth of the wise saying of Solomon...
My son, do not walk in the way
with them. Keep your feet from their path,
For their feet run to evil, And they hasten to shed blood.
Indeed, it is useless to spread the net In the eyes of any bird;
But they lie in wait for their own blood; They ambush their own lives.
So are the ways of everyone who gains by violence; It takes away the
life of its possessors. (Proverbs 1:15-19)
Beloved, you can mark it down that
every enemy that has ever tried to destroy Israel has been destroyed.
This Genesis 12:3 principle applies to individuals (like Haman, like
Hitler, etc) and also to nations. God always keeps His Word. Woe to the
nation that begins to "curse" Israel, and that warning even applies to
America who has been such a friend for so long to Israel. Should America
ever become Israel's enemy, she has just made herself God's enemy! Woe!
America's leaders to always seek to bless Israel (1Ti 2:1-2).
Pray for the peace of Jerusalem (Ps 122:6).
Bob Deffinbaugh writes
Many people object to divine judgment
as though it were unjust. Retribution is entirely just. Retribution sees
to it that people get what they deserve, no more and no less. Justice
and retribution are in perfect harmony; they are nearly synonymous. God
is just, and so He judges men according to their deeds (John 5:28-29;
Romans 2:5-10; Revelation 20:12-13). This means that some will suffer
more in eternity than others (Luke 12:42-48). It also means that
Christians will be rewarded individually, according to what they have
done. When men are punished by God, God is praised for giving them what
they deserve (Revelation 16:4-7). God is a God of retribution (Jeremiah
51:56), and He deals with men so that they receive what they deserve
(Proverbs 1:24-33; 5:21-23; 14:14). In biblical terminology, men reap
what they sow (Galatians 6:7; see also 2 Corinthians 9:6). Haman reaped
what he had sown, and so shall we. (Sleepless
The king's anger subsided
(abated, pacified) - The Hebrew verb for subsided is shalak
(07918) which is used only 5 times in the OT (Ge 8:1; Nu 17:5; Esther
2:1; Esther 7:10; Jer 5:26). Shalak is used twice to describe King
Ashasuerus' anger (Esther 2:1, 7:10). The first use describes the flood
waters that covering the earth as "subsided."
Guzik notes that...
The death of a substitute satisfied
the wrath of the king. In the case of Mordecai and Haman, it was the
guilty dying in the place of the innocent; in the case of us and Jesus,
it is a matter of the innocent dying in the place of guilty.
Ferguson has an excellent
conclusion to the dramatic providential events in these first seven
It seemed that things had gone
silence in the heavens, but God is still at work in the stillness. He is
the hidden helm turning the ship beneath the waves. The book of Esther
is a book of perfect timing. What is impressive is not what Esther did
or did not do but what God does. The Jews were not spared because of
good fortune or the quick thinking of Esther or Mordecai. It was all
about God s faithfulness to His covenantal promises.
All the threads that providence is
weaving can suddenly come together to bring about God s desired and
determined end. Ahasuerus may have been the most powerful man in the
known world, who could alter nation s histories at a whim. However, all
his actions were all divinely arranged by God to achieve perfectly God s
greater purpose. As Swindoll observed,
We can see the movement of God s hand throughout the lives of Esther and
Mordecai. We can see His moving in the heart of King Ahasuerus. We can
see Him as He works His own will even through the wicked plots of Haman.
The book of Esther is not simply an entertaining story, but also is
instructive about how our God works in the world. We may be tempted to
see Satan s plans as invincible and unstoppable as we read this book of
Esther, but God proves that He can override even the most complex of
The truths of Psalm 73 are
graphically illustrated in the life and demise of Haman. Victory often
comes only at the point of apparent defeat. The Cross seemed hell s
greatest victory but proved to be its greatest defeat. God is God and He
will not share His Sovereignty with any creature. To cite Swindoll
Don t ever try to convince me that
some situation in this life is absolutely permanent. God can move in the
heart of a king. He can move an entire nation. He can bring down the
once-impenetrable Iron Curtain. He can change the mind of your stubborn
mate. He can move in the affairs of your community. He can alter the
decisions of presidents and prime ministers and present-day kings and
dictators. No barrier is too high, no chasm too wide for Him, because He
is not limited by space or time, by the visible or the invisible.
Trapped in our limited perspective of
time and finite understanding we may lose our orientation in the fogs of
life, but not God. We panic and issue snap judgments on our
circumstances. Discerning God s fingerprints in the silence is what
spiritual maturity is all about. The wise reader of Esther is led to the
obvious conclusion that these circumstances did not just happen, but
were wonderfully orchestrated by an unseen power. Not everyone can
behold this for as Deffinbaugh wrote,
God is the ultimate manifestation of
skill. He is a wonder to behold as He works. But His work can only be
seen through the eyes of faith. The Christian, whose spiritual eyes have
been opened, watches God work with wonder and amazement. The unbeliever
sees the same results but fails to recognize what has been done as God s
work. When God works providentially, His will and His purposes are
perfectly accomplished, but those without faith do not see His handiwork
as anything more than the result of natural forces, of great human skill
at best. Many look at the deliverance of the Jews in Esther and see no
more than the cleverness of Esther at manipulating the king.
We must believe in advance what we
can only discern truly with the benefit of eternal hindsight. Any other
practice adopted will lead to envy, cynicism and bitterness with our
circumstances. Habakkuk suffered from this till God reminded him to live
by faith not by sight. It shows every reader to follow Paul s advice
Therefore judge nothing before the
time, until the Lord come, who both will bring to light the hidden
things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts:
and then shall every man have praise of God (1 Cor. 4:5).
God can still be trusted! He is still
on His throne!