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Esther - Chapter 5
Esther Received, Verses 1-8
After the three days’ fast Esther dressed in her queen’s apparel and went into the king’s presence. The Authorized Version is not very clear as to the locale. The New American Bible translates verse 1 more understandably, "Now it came about on the third day that Esther put on her royal robes and stood in the inner court of the king’s palace in front of the king’s rooms, and the king was sitting on his royal throne in the throne room, opposite the entrance to the palace." Thus it appears that Esther entering the palace through the front entrance was facing the throne area where the king glancing up would be likely to see her at once.
The hand of God in this matter is clear from the first to last, for the king received Esther with uncharacteristic warmth and good will. She obtained his immediate favor, and he extended to her the golden sceptre. When she had approached and touched the sceptre, indicating that she had come to ask -a favor, the king could see that she was troubled. He very graciously inquired of her the cause, offering to grant her request, whatever it might be, even should she ask for half of his kingdom.
But Esther’s request was very simple and seemingly of minor consequence. She asked that the king and Haman might be pleased to come to the banquet she had prepared for them. The king promptly replied, sending word to Haman to speedily prepare himself to attend Esther’s banquet. Reference is made to the "banquet of wine" in verse 5, which seems to refer to a time following the dinner course when the men were enjoying after-dinner drinks.
Once more the king questioned Esther as to her request for he knew she did not risk her life in coming before him merely to invite him and the prime minister to dinner. Esther had planned subtly to arouse the king’s curiosity as to her intention and to build the pride of Haman in being invited alone to dine with the king and the queen. Perhaps’the admonition of the Lord would be appropriate to Esther’s behavior, "Behold, f send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves; be ye, therefore, wise as serpents, and harmless as doves" (Matthew 10:16)
Esther answered that the king and Haman should attend her banquet again on the following day, at which time she promised to divulge to him what she desired. Her deft handling of the matter was surely directed by the unmentioned God, and the king departed with anticipation, while Haman left with high elation.
Haman Exultant, Verses 8-15
The Scriptures make it clear that the contempt in which both Haman and Mordecai held each other was apparent to all. Mordecai made this clear by not so much as looking at Haman when he strode through the king’s gate, least of all to rise or to move out of his way. At the same time Haman seethed in his soul every time he saw the Jew. Both men were haughty, but for much different reasons. Haman’s pride was in himself, while Mordecai refused to revere Haman because he respected God. Haman was God’s enemy, the very epitome of those who hate Him.
But Haman restraind his anger on this day when Mordecai behaved so irreverently toward him. His heart was overflowing with joyful pride for the signal honor he had in dining with the king and queen. He felt he had moved up a great deal on this day, was even in striking distance of the king’s throne, and he hastened to his home to call his friends and family and deliver the news to them.
Surely there was never a greater egotist than Haman. He never seems to have tired of glorifying himself. Imagine calling a gathering of his friends and relatives for the express purpose of bragging and boasting of one’s accomplishments. Haman bragged of his riches, his many children, how the king had promoted him, and how he had been recently elevated over all the other princes of the realm. Now had occurred the crowning act of all, to have dined alone with the king and queen. To his mind it practically equalized him with the royal couple, and he gloated over it to his audience.
But there was a proverbial fly in the ointment, in the person of that hateful Jew, Mordecai, who refused to give him the homage he loved so much. One is made to wonder why Haman did not command Mordecai to do him homage. Surely his command would have stood, as the prime minister, had he called for an armed guard to take Mordecai and throw him in prison. But Haman’s pride seems to have prevailed here. It would be more satisfying to take vengeance on the whole Jewish nation, whom he loathed. Perhaps he was disappointed to find Mordecai back in the king’s gate so nonchalant, though he had but shortly been very mournful over the decree against the Jews. It is a mark of Mordecai’s trust in the Lord that things would go well through the intervention of Esther. Resting himself on the Lord he could take away his sackcloth and ashes with confidence that the Lord would deliver the Jews.
Haman told his people o1 his feeling toward Mordecai. It was his wife, Zeresh, who came up with a proposal for dealing with Mordecai, pleasing to Haman. She suggested that he proceed at once to build a fifty cubit (seventy-five feet) gallows to hang the old Jew on. Then the first thing on tomorrow he could approach the king to get permission to execute him on it. Haman had no reason to think the king would not grant his petition. After all he had consented to the slaughter of all the Jews on the thirteenth day of the twelfth month. He could surely have no objection to hanging the most troublesome of all the Jews a bit early. This done he could go happily to the banquet of Esther, to which he had been invited, on the following night. Thus pleased with the prospect Haman started his carpenters building the gallows. They had to work all night to have it ready by the following day. Satan never tires contriving ways to destroy God’s people (cf. Matthew 13:19;1 Peter 5:8).
Learn these things from this chapter: 1) one can have great boldness when aware that he is in the right; 2) being too forward in the Lord’s work can result in failure, wisdom must be used; 3) conceit in one will certainly lose him favor with other people; 4) confidence in the Lord is very befitting those who leave their burdens with Him; 5) wicked people have wicked ideas to promote more wickedness.
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Text Courtesy of Blessed Hope Foundation and the Baptist Training Center.
Garner, Albert & Howes, J.C. "Commentary on Esther 5". Garner-Howes Baptist Commentary. https://studylight.org/
the Fourth Week after Epiphany