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Esther 5-7

Supplemental notes for the Daily Bible Study Bible Reading Plan

by Wayne Blank

Esther Chapter 5

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).

Esther

"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.

And the king said to her, "What is it, Queen Esther? What is your request? It shall be given you, even to the half of my kingdom." (Esther 5:1-3 RSV)

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)

"Then his wife Zeresh and all his friends said to him, "Let a gallows fifty cubits high be made, and in the morning tell the king to have Mordecai hanged upon it; then go merrily with the king to the dinner." This counsel pleased Haman, and he had the gallows made." (Esther 5:14 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.

Haman

"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.

So the king's servants told him, "Haman is there, standing in the court."

And the king said, "Let him come in."

So Haman came in, and the king said to him, "What shall be done to the man whom the king delights to honor?" And Haman said to himself, "Whom would the king delight to honor more than me?" and Haman said to the king, "For the man whom the king delights to honor, let royal robes be brought, which the king has worn, and the horse which the king has ridden, and on whose head a royal crown is set; and let the robes and the horse be handed over to one of the king's most noble princes; let him array the man whom the king delights to honor, and let him conduct the man on horseback through the open square of the city, proclaiming before him: 'Thus shall it be done to the man whom the king delights to honor.'" (Esther 6:4-9 RSV)

"Then the king said to Haman, "Make haste, take the robes and the horse, as you have said, and do so to Mordecai the Jew who sits at the king's gate. Leave out nothing that you have mentioned." So Haman took the robes and the horse, and he arrayed Mordecai and made him ride through the open square of the city, proclaiming, "Thus shall it be done to the man whom the king delights to honor." (Esther 6:10-11 RSV)

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.

Gallows

"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."

Then Queen Esther answered, "If I have found favor in your sight, O king, and if it please the king, let my life be given me at my petition, and my people at my request. For we are sold, I and my people, to be destroyed, to be slain, and to be annihilated. If we had been sold merely as slaves, men and women, I would have held my peace; for our affliction is not to be compared with the loss to the king." (Esther 7:1-4 RSV)

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?"

And Esther said, "A foe and enemy! This wicked Haman!"

Then Haman was in terror before the king and the queen. And the king rose from the feast in wrath and went into the palace garden; but Haman stayed to beg his life from Queen Esther, for he saw that evil was determined against him by the king.

And the king returned from the palace garden to the place where they were drinking wine, as Haman was falling on the couch where Esther was; and the king said, "Will he even assault the queen in my presence, in my own house?" As the words left the mouth of the king, they covered Haman's face.

Then said Harbona, one of the eunuchs in attendance on the king, "Moreover, the gallows which Haman has prepared for Mordecai, whose word saved the king, is standing in Haman's house, fifty cubits high." And the king said, "Hang him on that." So they hanged Haman on the gallows which he had prepared for Mordecai. Then the anger of the king abated." (Esther 7:5-10 RSV)

Fact Finder: During Bible History, was "hanging" done before or after the person had been executed?
See Gallows


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