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We have here the prosecution of the history concerning Esther's going in before the king. She adorns herself in her royal apparel, and approacheth the king. He receives her graciously.
(1) ¶ Now it came to pass on the third day, that Esther put on her royal apparel, and stood in the inner court of the king's house, over against the king's house: and the king sat upon his royal throne in the royal house, over against the gate of the house. (2) And it was so, when the king saw Esther the queen standing in the court, that she obtained favour in his sight: and the king held out to Esther the golden sceptre that was in his hand. So Esther drew near, and touched the top of the sceptre.
Highly interesting as the account here is of Esther's appearing before the king, and anxious as we feel ourselves while prosecuting the history, until the event of her success is known yet there is a subject which this tale naturally tends to awaken in the mind vastly more interesting, namely, of every poor sinner's appearing before GOD. Reader! hath not your own heart suggested the thought, and did not the relation of the state in the which Esther stood, lead your mind to consider how the sinner must one day stand, before the judgment seat of CHRIST. Precious JESUS! what unspeakable mercies hast thou bestowed upon thy people, in that their approach to GOD in thy blood and righteousness, is warranted, their acceptance insured, and the golden sceptre not only always held forth, but they are received as partakers of thy throne, and will one day sit down with thee in it, and be there forever. Revelation 3:21 .
(3) Then said the king unto her, What wilt thou, queen Esther? and what is thy request? it shall be even given thee to the half of the kingdom.
Reader! do not overlook the hand of the LORD in this business. It was GOD which disposed the king to be so gracious. When a man's ways please the LORD, he maketh even his enemies to be at peace with him.
(4) And Esther answered, If it seem good unto the king, let the king and Haman come this day unto the banquet that I have prepared for him. (5) Then the king said, Cause Haman to make haste, that he may do as Esther hath said. So the king and Haman came to the banquet that Esther had prepared.
There was a great deal of wisdom as well as modesty in this request. Such an opportunity as a banquet would afford, would better favor the petition she had further to present than immediately preferring it now. When highly favoured souls have the presence of the LORD JESUS, and, like the beloved apostle John, lie in CHRIST'S bosom, they feel more confidence to tell JESUS all their secrets.
(6) And the king said unto Esther at the banquet of wine, What is thy petition? and it shall be granted thee: and what is thy request? even to the half of the kingdom it shall be performed. (7) Then answered Esther, and said, My petition and my request is; (8) If I have found favour in the sight of the king, and if it please the king to grant my petition, and to perform my request, let the king and Haman come to the banquet that I shall prepare for them, and I will do tomorrow as the king hath said.
It should seem that Haman had no consciousness that Esther was a Jew, for if he had it would have struck him, that Esther was implicated in the warrant of the king, for the general execution of all the Jews. Probably, the LORD overruled this to his more sure destruction. And I cannot but think, that the same gracious LORD overruled the mind of Esther, from some cause which she perhaps could not even to herself explain, why she postponed making known what her request was, the first day of the banquet. The opening of the next chapter informs us, that the same night, which was the night preceding the second banquet, the king's sleep departed from him, and by a providence he had no consciousness of, he was led to the perusal of the chronicles of his kingdom, where Mordecai's loyalty was brought to his recollection, in saving the king's life from a conspiracy, as mentioned in the second chapter. Hence, therefore, this became a great strengthening to promote the gracious designs of GOD, in the deliverance of his church and people from Haman's cruelty. Reader! nothing is more profitable than to watch even the smallest leadings of GOD'S providences. The least token, the least word sometimes dropped, when it is to accomplish the designs of GOD, become the introduction to a train of the greatest events. Esther's postponing her request no doubt was productive of great mercy. Reader! do not fail to recollect, how enhanced the LORD'S blessings frequently are by their delay. We are, like children, all in haste to gather the fruit, though unripe, and would be injurious. GOD keeps it till it is more suited for us, and our hearts more suited to receive it.
(9) ¶ Then went Haman forth that day joyful and with a glad heart: but when Haman saw Mordecai in the king's gate, that he stood not up, nor moved for him, he was full of indignation against Mordecai. (10) Nevertheless Haman refrained himself: and when he came home, he sent and called for his friends, and Zeresh his wife. (11) And Haman told them of the glory of his riches, and the multitude of his children, and all the things wherein the king had promoted him, and how he had advanced him above the princes and servants of the king. (12) Haman said moreover, Yea, Esther the queen did let no man come in with the king unto the banquet that she had prepared but myself; and tomorrow am I invited unto her also with the king. (13) Yet all this availeth me nothing, so long as I see Mordecai the Jew sitting at the king's gate.
The sacred historian hath drawn the portrait of this man in a short compass to a full length painting, and of the most finished kind, in a description of misery. He confesses, in the midst of all the possessions the highest rank in the court of eastern magnificence could afford, that such dreadful malignity rankled within, that the whole was nothing, so long as he saw a poor Jew whom he envied, sit without doing him reverence in the king's gate. Reader! pause over this, and remark how wretched must be the state of a man's heart, which is open to such dreadful corroding passions! how little to be esteemed then must be all outward things, when a profusion of them cannot ensure happiness. And above all think, I charge you, how infinitely precious must be that blessed and only remedy, which the gospel of JESUS affords, for changing the heart, and curing such guilty passions.
(14) Then said Zeresh his wife and all his friends unto him, Let a gallows be made of fifty cubits high, and tomorrow speak thou unto the king that Mordecai may be hanged thereon: then go thou in merrily with the king unto the banquet. And the thing pleased Haman; and he caused the gallows to be made.
The subject is here wrought to the most finished point of everything that is interesting; and everything as far as human malice, aided by diabolical stratagems, could effect evil, seems hovering over the poor Jews. Thus the LORD frequently permits the malice of bad men, to go to the greatest length for the exercise of his people's faith, the greater disappointment and ruin their foes, and the more illustrious display of his own glory. Surely the wrath of man shall praise him, the remainder of wrath will he restrain. Psalms 76:10 .
Who can read this history of Esther's going in before the king, full of fear, doubt, and a thousand misgivings; and not call to mind the state, in which many of GOD'S people go in before JESUS their king and GOD in Zion! and who can behold the kindness and complacency with which the king received Esther, and not have his heart led out, to contemplate the everlasting love, and kindness, and favor, which the LORD JESUS showeth to all his poor petitioners. Surely any of the LORD'S redeemed ones have cause to blush, who keep back through fear from JESUS, when we here behold Esther going in unsent, uncalled, and contrary to the law, and yet finding favor; while every poor sinner that feels his need of JESUS is called, invited, nay even commanded to come, and the golden sceptre is always held out, and JESUS waits to be gracious. Reader! let this sweet view be productive of all its designed effects in our hearts. We have no uncertainty, no ifs or peradventures, respecting our reception. We have no Hamans to oppose us; for though Satan the adversary, is said to stand resisting, yet blessed be our GOD he is rebuked. But we have a sure, a successful, an all-prevailing advocate with the FATHER, who ever lives, both to plead, and to ensure our acceptance. Oh! for grace then to go always with holy boldness, not in slavish fear, nor in bondage frames, for this is highly unbecoming the redeemed of the LORD; but let us come, as those whom the Son of GOD hath made free, and in whom GOD our FATHER hath called us to the privilege and adoption of sons. Oh! how very delightful would all seasons, and especially holy ordinance seasons prove, if by faith in GOD'S dear Son, the redeemed of the LORD would at all times draw nigh in the blood of the cross.
Reader! as Esther made a pause before she ventured to bring her petition too hastily to an issue; so let you and I, in all great events concerning the LORD'S providences in the world. Though this chapter closeth with a dark and lowering aspect, yet it is in the LORD'S hands. He is everlastingly pursuing the salvation of his people. Heaviness may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning. Leave all events with JESUS. Hast thou trusted him with thy soul; depend upon it he careth also for the body. Leave every concern in his hands. He doeth all things well. Remember that sweet scripture, Be careful for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known unto GOD. And the peace of GOD which passeth knowledge, shall keep the heart and mind in CHRIST JESUS.
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Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on Esther 5". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". https://studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 21 / Ordinary 26