Nov. 3. Esther Devises A Plot; Mordecai’s Honor/Haman’s Downfall

Esth. 4:1-7:10

The story of Esther seems to be a story of plots against others with God’s providence being seen in the total outcome. Hearing the news of the king’s decree was devastating to Mordecai and all of the other Jews, including Esther, the queen. They fasted and lay weeping and mourning in sackcloth and ashes. At Mordecai’s urging, Esther determined to save her people or die trying. He had pointed out to her, “Do not think in your heart that you will escape in the king’s palace any more than all the other Jews…Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” Mordecai was trusting in God’s providence to save them.

If anyone entered the king’s inner court without being invited, he would be put to death unless the king extended the golden scepter to him. Esther had been queen about five years when Haman’s plot was ordered. She had not seen King Ahasuerus in thirty days. To show their humility before God, she and the other Jews fasted in preparation for her attempt to see the king.

After three days of fasting, Queen Esther dressed in her royal robes and entered the forbidden inner court. Ahasuerus seemed to be in a good mood. After accepting her bid to see him, he inquired of her desire and promised her up to half of the kingdom. Her request at that time was quite simple. It was an invitation for the king and Haman to attend a banquet that she had prepared that day. With King Ahasuerus, Queen Esther and Haman together at the banquet, the king again asked Esther for her request—up to half of the kingdom. The plot begins to take shape. Esther invited them to return the next day for another banquet and she would reveal her request.

Haman was on “top of the world.” He had riches, a multitude of children and prestige. In addition to that, he had just attended a queen’s banquet with only the king and queen present with him. AND he had been invited by the queen to another banquet the next day with just the three of them to be present. BUT that did not mean anything to him as long as he could see Mordecai, the Jew sitting at the gate and refusing to bow down to his “greatness.” He was pleased when his wife and friends advised him to have a gallows about seventy-five feet high built to hang Mordecai. Pride is a dangerous emotion. It can cause one to commit vicious sins. Don’t be a Haman!

Being unable to sleep that night, Ahasuerus asked for the chronicles to be read to him. When the record of Mordecai’s saving the king’s life had been read, he inquired if anything had been done to honor him for his deed. Haman had come to the outer court to suggest that Mordecai be hanged. He just happened to be at the right place to give the king advice on how to honor the deserving person that he mistakenly thought to be himself. Ahasuerus took his advice and gave Haman the “honor” of leading Mordecai around the town square riding the king’s horse and wearing a royal robe and crown.

The proud Haman was devastated at the unexpected turn of events. After reporting to his wife and friends, he received another discouraging message from her. “If Mordecai, before whom you have begun to fall, is of Jewish descent, you will not prevail against him but will surely fall before him.” He was then taken to the queen’s banquet.

King Ahasuerus again asked Esther for her petition and promised to fulfill it even to half of the kingdom. “…let my life be given me at my petition, and my people at my request.” She related to him the scheme that had been devised to destroy, kill and annihilate her and her people. When asked who and “where is he, who would dare presume in his heart to do such a thing,” Esther said, “The adversary and enemy is this wicked Haman!” Emotions ran high. The king left the room in wrath and Haman was terrified. Esther’s life was in danger and the king had been deceived by his top leader. As Ahasuerus returned to the room, he mistakenly assumed that the pleading Haman had assaulted his queen. When informed of the gallows that Haman had built to hang Mordecai, the king said, “Hang him on it!” After Haman was hanged, “the king’s wrath subsided.