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.