Scripture reading – Esther 7; Esther 8

We continue our study in the Book of Esther, and find Haman, the adversary of the Jews, riding an emotional roller coaster.  His wicked schemes have periled not only the Jews (Esther 3), but unknowingly the queen herself (Esther 4). Learning the fate of her people and Mordecai whom she loved as a father (4:7-8), Queen Esther set her heart to seek the king’s favor for her people, and risked her life with the resolve, “if I perish, I perish” (4:16).

King Ahasuerus received his queen, and questioned her saying, “What wilt thou, queen Esther? and what is thy request? it shall be even given thee to the half of the kingdom” (5:3). Revealing she was more than a woman of grace and beauty, Esther demonstrated intelligence and discretion by not declaring her purpose. Instead, she requested the liberty of inviting the king and Haman to a banquet she had “prepared for him” (5:4). Haman, as foolish as he was proud, did not recognize the trap being set for him (5:5).

Esther deferred to reveal her ultimate petition to the king, but instead requested a second banquet for the king and Haman (5:6-8). Departing the meal, Haman came upon Mordecai who refused to bow and acknowledge the wicked man (5:9-10). Returning home, Haman boasted in the wealth and honors bestowed on him; however, he was consumed by Mordecai’s unwillingness to honor him (5:11-13). Following the counsel of his wife and friends, Haman commanded the construction of a 75-foot-tall gallows, and declared he would “speak…unto the king that Mordecai may be hanged thereon” (5:14).

In a twist of irony, rather than a hanging, Haman found himself giving honor to Mordecai, leading him on horseback through the streets of Shushan, announcing to all the king had taken delight in Mordecai (6:1-11). Humiliated, Haman returned home, and told his wife and friends his sorry state of affairs. Yet, his story was interrupted as the king’s servants “hasted to bring Haman unto the banquet that Esther had prepared” (6:14).

Esther 7 – The Tragedy of Folly

One can only wonder what thoughts raced through Haman’s heart as he began that day honoring Mordecai before the people of the capital city. No doubt, he had better expectations upon sitting down for a second banquet with the king and his queen (7:1).

King Ahasuerus had not forgotten Esther’s promise to reveal her request, and once again asked, “What is thy petition, queen Esther? and it shall be granted thee: and what is thy request? and it shall be performed, even to the half of the kingdom” (7:2).

Esther’s Request (7:3-5)

Esther commenced her request with a plea for mercy and grace, saying, “If I have found favour in thy sight, O king, and if it please the king, let my life be given me at my petition, and my people at my request” (7:3). She then declared the thing that troubled her soul, saying, “For we are sold, I and my people, to be destroyed, to be slain, and to perish. But if we had been sold for bondmen and bondwomen, I had held my tongue, although the enemy could not countervail the king’s damage” (7:4).

Taken aback by Esther’s declaration (for she had never revealed she was of Jewish lineage), the king asked, “Who is he, and where is he, that durst presume in his heart to do so?” (7:5).

Haman Exposed (7:6-10)

Then Esther spared no words as she boldly declared how Haman, the king’s own right hand, was her adversary, and the enemy of her people (7:6). The queen’s words left Haman aghast, for he realized his self-promoting plots, and evil schemes had become his undoing (7:6b).

Angered by Esther’s accusation, the king rose abruptly from the banquet and “went into the palace garden” (7:7). Haman, desperate to save himself, “stood up to make request for his life to Esther the queen; for he saw that there was evil determined against him by the king” (7:7). When the king returned from the palace gardens, he found “Haman was fallen upon the bed whereon Esther was” (7:8a). Poor, wicked Haman could neither do or say anything to save himself.

We find there were many against Haman, for even the king’s servants were ready to see that wicked usurper suffer for his misdeeds. “Harbonah, one of the chamberlains, said before the king, Behold also, the gallows fifty cubits high, which Haman had made for Mordecai, who had spoken good for the king, standeth in the house of Haman. Then the king said, Hang him thereon” (7:9). “So they hanged Haman on the gallows that he had prepared for Mordecai. Then was the king’s wrath pacified” (7:10).

Closing thoughts – The sovereignty of God in the affairs of men is the great lesson we take from our study. Haman’s scheme to annihilate the Jews was not only thwarted, but he fell victim to the gallows he had constructed on which to hang Mordecai (7:7-10). Haman was like many self-promoters who plot, plan and scheme their way to the pinnacle of power, only to find they have laid the path of their own ruin and demise.

Principle – Wise men comprehend how none are beyond the reach of God’s sovereign purpose and will. For “the king’s heart is in the hand [power; rule; authority; under dominion] of the LORD, as the rivers [streams] of water: he turneth it whithersoever he will [pleasure; desire; favor]” (Proverbs 21:1).

Copyright © 2022 – Travis D. Smith

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