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Esther found herself as the only Jew in Persia (the Persian Empire existed between the Babylonian Empire and the Greek Empire; see also Nebuchadnezzar's Dream) who had any possibility of altering the king's decree "to destroy, to slay, and to annihilate all Jews, young and old, women and children, in one day, the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, which is the month of Adar, and to plunder their goods" (Esther 3:13 RSV).
"On the third day Esther put on her royal robes and stood in the inner court of the king's palace, opposite the king's hall. The king was sitting on his royal throne inside the palace opposite the entrance to the palace; and when the king saw Queen Esther standing in the court, she found favor in his sight and he held out to Esther the golden scepter that was in his hand. Then Esther approached and touched the top of the scepter.
The Persian king obviously regarded Esther very highly, so Esther devised to make her request to save her people while the man who was personally responsible for the annihilation decree, Haman, would be present.
"But Esther said, "My petition and my request is: If I have found favor in the sight of the king, and if it please the king to grant my petition and fulfil my request, let the king and Haman come tomorrow to the dinner which I will prepare for them, and tomorrow I will do as the king has said." (Esther 5:7-8 RSV)
Mordecai was a man who was loyal to the king of Persia, rather than the corrupt prime minister, Haman. For that, Haman sought not only to have Mordecai executed, but also every Jew in Persia.
"And Haman went out that day joyful and glad of heart. But when Haman saw Mordecai in the king's gate, that he neither rose nor trembled before him, he was filled with wrath against Mordecai." (Esther 5:9 RSV)
Esther Chapter 6
That night, the king, who was obviously ignorant of his own country's history, was given to read "the book of memorable deeds" of his nation. In it, he found the record of how loyal Mordecai had prevented the assassination (see also Assassins) of a previous Persian king.
"On that night the king could not sleep; and he gave orders to bring the book of memorable deeds, the chronicles, and they were read before the king. And it was found written how Mordecai had told about Bigthana and Teresh, two of the king's eunuchs, who guarded the threshold, and who had sought to lay hands upon King Ahasuerus. And the king said, "What honor or dignity has been bestowed on Mordecai for this?" The king's servants who attended him said, "Nothing has been done for him." (Esther 6:1-3 RSV)
The king proclaimed that Mordecai should receive his long overdue recognition for his heroic act. Ironically, it was conceited Haman who was chosen to honor the man who Haman was intending to execute.
"And the king said, "Who is in the court?" Now Haman had just entered the outer court of the king's palace to speak to the king about having Mordecai hanged on the gallows that he had prepared for him.
Esther Chapter 7
Honoring Mordecai did not change the king's previous decree about the destruction of the people of Judah however. That would be accomplished at the banquet that Esther had requested of the king, where Haman would be brought to answer for his deceptive advice to the king.
"So the king and Haman went in to feast with Queen Esther. And on the second day, as they were drinking wine, the king again said to Esther, "What is your petition, Queen Esther? It shall be granted you. And what is your request? Even to the half of my kingdom, it shall be fulfilled."
With the loyalty of Esther and Mordecai proven, it was now plain who the real enemy of the king was - Haman.
"Then King Ahasuerus said to Queen Esther, "Who is he, and where is he, that would presume to do this?"