Scripture reading – Esther 6; Esther 7

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* Today’s Bible study will consider Esther 6-7 (a slight departure from the scheduled Scripture reading that included Esther 8). This is the first of two devotions. Tomorrow’s daily devotional will comprise Esther 8-9.

 

Review (Esther 1-5)

The backdrop of Esther 6 is tragic, for King Ahasuerus had signed and sealed a decree to appease the slight one man suffered. Haman, the wicked Amalekite, despised Mordecai, the Jew, for his refusal to bow and revere him. Under the guise of the king’s interests, Haman had persuaded the king to decree the genocide of all Jews.

Haman’s wicked schemes periled not only the Jews (Esther 3) but unintentionally the queen herself (Esther 4). When Queen Esther learned the fate of her people and Mordecai, whom she loved as a father (Esther 4:7-8), she set her heart to seek the king’s favor for her people and risked her life with the resolve, “If I perish, I perish” (Esther 4:16).

King Ahasuerus received his queen into his court. He questioned her and said, “What wilt thou, queen Esther? and what is thy request? it shall be even given thee to the half of the kingdom” (Esther 5:3). She then requested the liberty to invite the king and Haman to a banquet she had “prepared for him” (Esther 5:4). Haman, as foolish as he was proud, did not recognize the trap being set for him (Esther 5:5).

Queen Esther's Banquet

Esther wisely deferred to reveal her petition to the king at the banquet but requested a second banquet for the king and Haman (Esther 5:6-8). Departing the meal, Haman came upon Mordecai, who refused to revere him as his superior (Esther 5:9-10). Haman returned home and boasted of the wealth and honors bestowed on himself. However, Mordecai’s unwillingness to honor him consumed him (Esther 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” (Esther 5:14).

 

Introduction to Esther 6-7

We trust God sovereignly directs the course of nations and humanity to His divine purpose and end. By faith, we are confident that “all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28). Nevertheless, there is an undeniable principle of “Cause and Effect” summed up in these words: “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap” (Galatians 6:7).

 

Esther 6

 

The Providence of God (Esther 6:1-3)

King Ahasuerus (i.e., Xerxes I) endured a long, sleepless night. He did not understand that God was using his insomnia (Esther 6:1) to direct his thoughts to His divine purpose and end. Unable to sleep, the king commanded his servants to retrieve “the book of records of the chronicles; and they were read before the king” (Esther 6:1).

Providentially, for there is no other explanation, the name of Mordecai, Queen Esther’s adopted father, came to the king’s attention. Ahasuerus was reminded that Mordecai had intervened to thwart a plot to assassinate him (Esther 2:21-23). Recalling the occasion, the king wondered aloud, “What honour and dignity hath been done to Mordecai for this?” (6:3). The servants answered the king’s inquiry and said, “There is nothing done for him” (Esther 6:3b).

Haman’s Pride and Humiliation

Haman’s Pride and Humiliation (Esther 6:4-11)

Perceiving Mordecai had not been honored for his service (Esther 6:3), Ahasuerus determined to correct the slight and reward the man who saved his life. Providentially, Haman, the adversary of Mordecai and the Jews, entered the king’s court (Esther 6:4-5). He came “to speak unto the king to hang Mordecai on the gallows that he had prepared for him” (Esther 6:4). “The king’s servants said unto [the king], Behold, Haman standeth in the court. And the king said, Let him come in” (Esther 6:5). In a beautiful twist of divine intervention, Haman listened as the king sought his counsel regarding how he might reward a man in “whom the king delighteth to honour” (Esther 6:6). 

Proud Haman mistakenly believed he was the one the king desired to honor (in his mind, who could be more deserving). Believing he would be the recipient of the king’s gift, Haman described a lavish, public celebration worthy of the king himself! He suggested “the man whom the king delighteth to honour” (Esther 6:7) should be adorned in the king’s robes, paraded through the streets riding the king’s horse, and privileged to wear a royal crown (Esther 6:8).

Believing he was the man to be honored, Haman spared no detail about how the king should reward such a man. He proposed “one of the king’s most noble princes” should lead him about and proclaim, “Thus shall it be done to the man whom the king delighteth to honour” (Esther 6:9).

Ah, the irony when the king commanded Haman, “Make haste, and take the apparel and the horse, as thou hast said, and do even so to Mordecai the Jew, that sitteth at the king’s gate: let nothing fail of all that thou hast spoken” (Esther 6:10). Imagine the humiliation Haman suffered! The man he would have hanged, he honored with his lips, declaring, “Thus shall it be done unto the man whom the king delighteth to honor” (Esther 6:11).

Haman’s Humiliation

Haman’s Demise Foretold (Esther 6:12-14)

The parade ended and Haman rushed to his home and described to his wife and friends “every thing that had befallen him” (Esther 6:13). Then, casting a dark shadow over his life, Haman’s wife and friends warned: “If Mordecai be of the seed of the Jews, before whom thou hast begun to fall, thou shalt not prevail against him, but shalt surely fall before him” (Esther 6:13). Even as that dire prophecy was stated, servants of Ahasuerus came to escort him to what proved to be his last meal, and one “Esther had prepared” (Esther 6:14).

 

Closing thoughts –

The stage was set for the final act of Haman’s life and the LORD’s providential saving of the Jews. As we shall see, a proverb of King Solomon applies in Haman’s case: “Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall” (Proverbs 16:18).

Copyright © 2024 – Travis D. Smith 

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