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Bible Commentaries

Garner-Howes Baptist Commentary

Esther 6

Verses 1-5

Esther - Chapter 6

King’s Insomnia, Verses 1-5

When God is working on behalf of His people he can interfere with a king’s sleep. On this particular night Ahasuerus had insomnia while Haman’s carpenter’s must have kept the neighbors awake with all the hammering going on as they erected a seventy-five foot gallows in his backyard. The king did an odd thing to fill up has sleepless hours. One might suspect he would send for a musician to play sweet music or sing soft melodies. Maybe he thought the reading of the chronicles would be so boring he would fall asleep. Anyway, it was doubtless of the Lord, that he sent for the records to have them read.

The king must have gone through the night sleepless, for it was toward morning when the servants reading the chronicles came across an item that captured his attention. They read how Bigthan and Teresh, the keepers of the king’s gate, had been convicted of conspiracy against the king’s life through the information of Mordecai, and had been put to death (Ezra 2:21-23). This incident had occurred about five years earlier (cf. Ezra 2:16; Ezra 3:7). There has been no indication to this point that Mordecai had become well known to the king, nor his relationship to the queen.

Ahasuerus stopped the servants and inquired what kind of honor had been accorded Mordecai for his life-saving information. The servants were aware that nothing had been done for him, and so informed the king. Thus it entered his mind, doubtless prompted by the divine will of God, to bestow belated honor on Mordecai for his deed. However the king evidently wished to consult with some of the counselors and inquired who was in the area and available. Again the divine hand of God arranged it so that Haman had come early to the palace to secure Mordecai’s death warrant from the king and was waiting in the outer court for the opportunity. When told that Haman was waiting outside the king had him sent in promptly (Romans 8:28)

Verses 6-14

Haman Humiliated, Verses 6-14

When Haman came into the king’s presence the king put the question to him as to what should be done for the man the king desired to honor. The proud heart of Haman, greedy for prestige, could think of no one the king would want to honor more than himself. In his own mind he could have imagined the king had called him for that very purpose. Momentarily his mind left his enemy, Mordecai, and the evil plan he had come to propose. How vividly Haman demonstrated the truth of Solomon’s proverb, "Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall!" (Proverbs 16:18).

It is surely not possible that the laudatory proposal of Haman, for the man the king desired to honor, came from his mind spontaneously. In his proposition he seems to reveal a secret desire to be a king. It is his opportunity, he thinks, to fulfill a longing he privately nourished to rule others. For this honor he would regale himself as the king of Persia in the king’s own robes, ride on the king’s horse, even wear the royal crown atop the king’s head. He would have one of the most noble princes walk around the city leading the king’s horse with himself in the saddle, and the nobleman proclaiming, "Thus it shall be done to the man whom the king desires to honor."

It is possible, perhaps probable, that king Ahasuerus could see through the veneer of Haman’s, pride, even to suspect his secret ambition. It would help to explain in swift judgment meted out to him before the day ended. But Ashasuerus accepted his proposal and gave a shocked and chagrined Haman the commission to carry out his purpose. He should hastily go and take all the things he had proposed, omitting not a thing, and do this honor for Mordecai the Jew who sat in the king’s gate.

Sometime the king had found out Mordecai was a Jew, perhaps that very night. Did the king give thought to the cursed law he had allowed Haman to concoct against this hero and his people? There is no indication of it here, though the swift justice which befell Haman shortly again indicates that likelihood. However the king was still unaware of his beloved Esther’s nationality, as was Haman as well.

What a scene! The proud Haman spending a tiresome day leading the king’s horse around the city with Mordecai astride! Everywhere he was to inform the people, "Thus shall it be done for the man whom the king desires to honor!" How shamefully deplorable it was for Haman! For the people knew the animosity between Haman and Mordecai. Sweet vengeance it must have been for Mordecai. Comically entertaining it must have been to the people. But Haman had sown to the wind in his opposition to God, now he is reaping the awful whirlwind (Hosea 8:7).

When the day finally ended Mordecai returned to his place in the king’s gate instead of suffering in prolonged death on the great gallows standing at the house of Haman. But Haman covered his head in shame and went mourning to his house. The crowd was still there. No doubt they had come to see the spectacle of Mordecai hanging atop the gallows. But there had been no hanging yet, and they had surely heard the awful report going round the city that Prince Haman was leading the king’s horse around Shushan with Mordecai the Jew honored as the man in whom the king was delighted.

The words of Zeresh and Haman’s friends were no longer encouraging but dire prediction. Since Mordecai was a Jew, Haman had begun to fall before this Jew, and he had proposed the extermination of the Jews he would not be able to prevail in his scheme. All day Haman must have had similar thoughts as he led the horse with Mordecai and gave out the king’s proclamation. His superstitious nature, the curses of his demonic culture, must have created to him a morbib fear of the future already. And these closest to him felt the same way, they could offer him no comfort.

Before Haman’s befuddled brain could seek a way out of his predicament the messengers arrived to convey him to Esther’s banquet. He was emotionally unprepared. He must have spent a sleepless night urging on the building of the gallows for Mordecai. Then he must have been physically worn out from leading the horse all over Shushan and lustily crying out the king’s command. He , was psychologically drained by his humiliating defeat by Mordecai. Read Proverbs 11:5.

From this chapter learn these lessons: 1) God’s overruling hand is apparent with men the world deems great; 2) God can avert the evil intended against His people; 3) pride blinds the haughty to their own best interest; 4) awful doom awaits the defiant sinner at the end of his life’s day; 5) the lost will realize too late, they can never turn back.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of Blessed Hope Foundation and the Baptist Training Center.
Bibliographical Information
Garner, Albert & Howes, J.C. "Commentary on Esther 6". Garner-Howes Baptist Commentary. https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ghb/esther-6.html. 1985.