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Esther 6&7: Victory

Original Publication Date
April 28, 2019
Updated
May 13, 2023 2:51 AM
Tags
EstherChapter StudyWomenPersiaIrony
Bible References
Esther 6; 7
Status
Done
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Table of Contents
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This page was originally posted on my Blogger version of the blog on April 28, 2019 The content below has a few minor tweaks for clarity, and additional references, and some updated information.

Introduction

Esther 6-8 details the change of tides to the Jews favor. Before these chapters, the Jews are at the mercy of Haman's revenge plot, but once Esther requests an audience with the king, everything begins to change.

Reflecting on Past Deeds

A lot of people will tell you that if you do the right thing, it pays off in the end. We don't often talk about what happens between that moment and the pay off, but we know that if we persevere, our actions will justify us. This is exactly what happens to Mordecai. In the beginning of the story, we're told that Mordecai over heard a plot against the king and was able to get word to the king through Esther. Mordecai wasn't obligated to save the king; in fact, as a captive, Mordecai probably had reason to hope the plot succeeded. Yet, Mordecai chose to ally himself with the king and make the situation known to him. How often do we go out of our way to help someone who may even be our enemy (Matthew 5:44)?

The pay off for Mordecai's good deed comes at the height of the crisis. One night, when the king can't sleep, he chooses to read the chronicles about his lifeβ€”it sounds like he wasn't so different from me; I, too, read when I can't sleep. While reading his history, the king remembers Mordecai's act of kindness. Nothing had ever been done to reward Mordecai, which troubles the king. He is determined to right this injustice by honoring Mordecai in some way.

The Tables Turn

As the king reflects on Mordecai, Haman appears. Haman's intent is to get the kings permission to kill Mordecai using the gallows he and his friends built. Ego not only causes Haman to forget this mission, but to cause the exact opposite to occur!

When Haman approaches the king to speak of the matter, the king is absorbed in his own plans to reward Mordecai. As such, the king eagerly inquires of Haman what should be done for the king's most honored. Thinking the king was describing him, Haman rattles off a list of what he wishes would be done for him. Because of Haman, Mordecai gets to wear royal garments and a crown, ride the royal horses, be greeted by a noble prince, and parade through the streets of the city. I like to imagine the look on Haman's face when the king approves of all these gestures by commanding Haman to carry them out for Mordecai.

Haman's wife warns him that he cannot prevail against Mordecai and the Jews.

Esther's Banquet

At the banquet, Esther eventually reveals her desire to save the lives of her fellow Jews. Having heard the explanation of the situation, the king requests the name of who has done such a thing. It is then that Esther reveals Haman to be the instigator of their trouble. Once this is revealed, the servants confirm Haman's treachery by informing the king of the gallows Haman had made for Mordecai.

The king is angered by this revelation and takes time to think on it in his gardens. Meanwhile, Haman pleads for his life with Esther. In doing so, Haman falls to the queen's bed. When the king returns to this image, he accuses Haman of attempting to rape the queen, which only angers him further. The king has Haman executed for his behavior, and Haman is killed in the very gallows he had made for Mordecai.

Discussion

There are two points of interest from these chapters that I want to highlight.

The first is the naming of Haman's wife. There are many women in the Bible that seem important enough to be namedβ€”Noah's wife, for instance or Samson's motherβ€”however, they are not given names. Yet, Zeresh, wife of Haman, is named. Since Zeresh is the one who suggests Haman make gallows for Mordecai, it seems likely that she was supportive of Haman's plot to inflict pain upon the Jews. Perhaps this is why her name is included.

The second point is on how Esther handled the situation. Esther could have spoken to the king privately, or held a private banquet. By including Haman in the conversation, Esther proved she wasn't beating around the bush and that she meant business. Haman was right there to defend himself; he could have easily denied the allegations. Likely, at this point, the king put two and two together about Haman's earlier request to get rid of a particular group of people. This would make Haman's denials worthless, but it only strengthened Esther's credibility. She wasn't gossiping behind Haman's back or slandering his name without giving him the opportunity to counter her accusations. Instead, she tackled the issue head on. Most people would find this quite commendable.

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