Preview: CHAPTERS 5-9 [510-509 BCE]
- Esther comes in before the king who receives her kindly.
- She invites the king and Haman to her banquet.
- Haman is hanged upon the gallows that he made for Mordecai.
- The Jews destroy their enemies.
ON the third day Esther dressed herself in her royal robes and went into the inner part of the king’s palace, and stood where the king, as he sat on his throne, could see her. And it was so, when he saw her, that God made him feel kindly toward her, and he held out his golden scepter to Esther.
So she came near to him, and touched the top of the sceptre. Then said the king to her, What is your desire, Queen Esther, and what is your request? It shall be granted you, even to the half of my kingdom.
Esther answered, If the king be willing, I want the king and Haman to come today to a banquet that I have made ready for him. Then the king spoke to his servants, saying, Tell Haman to make haste, that he may do as Esther has said. So the king and Haman came to the banquet that Esther made ready.
Now the king knew that Esther had invited him because she wanted to ask some favor of him, and as they sat at the banquet, he said to her again, What is thy desire? It shall be granted you, even to the half of my kingdom. Esther answered, My desire is, if the king be willing, that the king and Haman come to another banquet which I shall make ready for them tomorrow, and then I will tell the king what it is I would ask of him.
So the king and Haman went from the queen’s house that day. And Haman’s heart was filled with pride because he had been to the queen’s banquet, and was invited to her house again on the morrow. But as he went out, and passed Mordecai at the king’s gate, and saw that he did not bow to him, nor do him reverence, he was filled with anger; yet he said nothing.
When he came to his home, he sent and called for his friends and for his wife. And Haman boasted to them of his riches and greatness, and told them how the king had set him above all the princes, and above all the king’s other servants. He said also, Yes, and Esther the queen allowed no man to come in with the king to the banquet that she had made ready, excepting myself. And tomorrow I am invited to come again with the king to her house.
Yet all these things cannot make me happy while I see Mordecai, the Jew, sitting in the king’s gate. Then his wife, and all his friends, said to him, Let gallows be made, fifty cubits high, and tomorrow ask the king that Mordecai may be hanged on it; then, after that, you go in merrily to the queen’s banquet. And Haman was pleased with what they said to him, and he went out and commanded the gallows to be made.
That night the king could not sleep. And he told his servants to bring him the book, in which was written down an account of the principal things that had happened in his kingdom. And the book was brought and read before him, and there it was found written, that Mordecai had, a long while before, saved the king’s life by telling of two of the king’s officers who had intended to kill him.
Then king Ahasuerus said to his servants, What reward has been given Mordecai, or what honor has been done to him, because he did this? They answered, There has been nothing done for him. While the king was speaking to his servants, some one came into the court of the palace. And the king said, Who is it in the court?
Now Haman had just come there that he might speak with the king, and ask his permission to have Mordecai hanged on the gallows which was made ready for him. And the king’s servants answered, It is Haman who stands in the court. The king said, Let him come in.
So Haman came in, and the king said to him, What shall be done for the man whom the king wants greatly to honor? Then Haman said to himself, The king means me: I am the one whom he wants greatly to honor. Therefore he answered the king, saying, . . .
Let the royal robes that the king wears, and the horse that he rides, and the crown that is set on his head, be brought to the man whom the king wants greatly to honor. And let him wear the king’s robes, and his crown, and let him ride upon the king’s horse; and let one of the king’s most noble princes lead the horse through the streets of the city, and cry out to all the people, So shall it be done to the man whom the king delights to honor!
Then the king said to Haman, Hurry and take the robes and the horse, and the crown, and do to Mordecai, the Jew, as you have said. Leave nothing undone that you have spoken. Then Haman, because he dared not disobey the king, took the king’s robes, and his horse, and his crown, and brought them to Mordecai, and led him on horseback through the streets of the city, and cried out before him to all the people, . . .
So shall it be done to the man whom the king delights to honor.
After all this, Mordecai came and sat down again, humbly, in his place at the king’s gate. But Haman hurried to his home, full of shame, and with his face covered, so that no one might know him. And he told his wife and all his friends what had happened to him. While he was yet talking with them, the king’s messenger came to bring him to the banquet that Esther had made ready.
So the king and Haman came to the banquet of Esther, the queen. And the king said, again, to Esther, What is your petition, queen Esther? and what is your request? for it shall be granted you, even to the half of my kingdom.
Esther answered, If the king be pleased with me, this is my request, that the king will save my life, and the lives of all the Jews. For evil things have been spoken against us, which are not true, and I and my people have been sold to be destroyed, to be slain, and to perish.
King Ahasuerus said, Who is the man that has dared to do these things? Esther answered, Our enemy is this wicked Haman. Then Haman was afraid before the king and the queen, And the king arose from the banquet in great anger, and went out into the palace garden. When he came again into the banqueting room, Haman had fallen down before the queen to beg for his life.
But one of the king’s officers said to the king, Look at the gallows, fifty cubits high, which Haman made ready for Mordecai, who saved the king’s life; it is standing by the house of Haman. And the king said, Hang him upon it. So they hanged Haman on the gallows that he had made ready for Mordecai; and the king’s anger left him.
On the same day, King Ahasuerus gave to Esther the house in which Haman had lived. And Mordecai was called in before the king, for Esther told him that Mordecai was her relation, and how kind he had been to her. And the king took off his ring, which he had before given to Haman, and gave it to Mordecai. And Esther made Mordecai ruler over the house that had belonged to Haman.
But Esther was still troubled, because the decree which Haman had written and sealed with the king’s ring, had been sent out to all the provinces, telling the governors, the rulers, and the people of Persia, that on the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, they should kill and destroy the Jews in every city, and take away whatever belonged to them. Therefore Esther came again to the king, though he had not called for her, and she fell down at his feet and wept there.