Esther 5

Chapter five picks up the story three days later. We assume she and her people had fasted and prayed for three days, so she put on her royal robes and crown and approached the throne room (Esther 5:1-2). Seeing her standing in the hallway, the king extended his scepter, inviting her in. This must have given her a little bit of hope.

It was one of his generous days, and Ahasuerus was still in love with Esther. He knew there was a reason she came to see him without an invitation, so he asked what was on her mind. He promised he would give up to half of the kingdom to her, if that was what she wanted (Esther 5:4-8). Wisely, she requested a private audience, with only the king and Haman, at a banquet. The king agreed. At the banquet he asked again what she wanted. In what was probably similar to Gideon’s fleece (Judges 6:36-40), testing God, Esther waited one more day. If the king and Haman would come back the next day for another banquet, she would finally ask what she wanted. Again, the king agreed.

Haman went home exceptionally delighted at the special treatment he had received – a private banquet with the king and queen two days in a row! He threw a party of his own to brag to his wife and friends (Esther 5:9-14). Nothing could spoil the day – except Mordecai. He continued to ignore Haman, which infuriated him, but Haman brushed it off for one more day. During his party he groused about Mordecai to his guests, and one suggested that he kill Mordecai now, instead of waiting for the massacre later that year.

The “gallows” mentioned should not be confused with an American gallows where someone is hung with a rope. A better translation may be a “pole.” History shows that, whereas the Babylonians regularly threw people alive into fire (see Daniel 3), the Persians often impaled their enemies on a sharp pole, where they would hang, possibly for days, bleeding out in the hot Middle Eastern sun. Of all things, this brought a smile to Haman’s face, cheering his mood, and he went about having it built in his own backyard, looking forward to seeing Mordecai on it.

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Daniel Goepfrich

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