THE REQUEST IS REVEALED!
Lord, keep my motives pure.
Read ESTHER 7
7 So the king and Haman went to Queen Esther’s banquet, 2 and as they were drinking wine on the second day, the king again asked, “Queen Esther, what is your petition? It will be given you. What is your request? Even up to half the kingdom, it will be granted.”
3 Then Queen Esther answered, “If I have found favor with you, Your Majesty, and if it pleases you, grant me my life—this is my petition. And spare my people—this is my request. 4 For I and my people have been sold to be destroyed, killed and annihilated. If we had merely been sold as male and female slaves, I would have kept quiet, because no such distress would justify disturbing the king.[a]”
5 King Xerxes asked Queen Esther, “Who is he? Where is he—the man who has dared to do such a thing?”
6 Esther said, “An adversary and enemy! This vile Haman!”
Then Haman was terrified before the king and queen. 7 The king got up in a rage, left his wine and went out into the palace garden. But Haman, realizing that the king had already decided his fate, stayed behind to beg Queen Esther for his life.
8 Just as the king returned from the palace garden to the banquet hall, Haman was falling on the couch where Esther was reclining.
The king exclaimed, “Will he even molest the queen while she is with me in the house?”
As soon as the word left the king’s mouth, they covered Haman’s face. 9 Then Harbona, one of the eunuchs attending the king, said, “A pole reaching to a height of fifty cubits[b] stands by Haman’s house. He had it set up for Mordecai, who spoke up to help the king.”
The king said, “Impale him on it!” 10 So they impaled Haman on the pole he had set up for Mordecai. Then the king’s fury subsided.
a Esther 7:4 Or quiet, but the compensation our adversary offers cannot be compared with the loss the king would suffer
b Esther 7:9 That is, about 75 feet or about 23 meters
New International Version (NIV)
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“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever… Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise” (Heb. 13:8,15).
The storytelling skill seen here is brilliant. We have no idea whether or not Esther knows about Haman’s latest threat, but it doesn’t matter. The king has already indicated that her request will be granted, and she begins by simply asking for herself and her people to be spared from death. The king wants to know who could be responsible for such a threat and is told it is Haman. Interestingly, neither Esther nor the king himself indicate that he has personally affirmed Haman’s request and therefore shares in the responsibility. Maybe the king’s rage, causing him immediately to leave the room, does suggest that he may realize his own involvement—but on his return, Haman’s excessive pleading to Esther gives him the excuse to get rid of Haman without exposing his own involvement! Harbona’s intervention probably shows that the arrogant Haman is not exactly a popular figure with the rest of the court. His own actions result in a lifting up over the people, a literal one—on the execution pole he has designed to execute Mordecai. With Haman dead “the king’s fury subsides” (10). Is this because now no one can blame him for agreeing to the wholesale destruction of Esther’s people?
The ongoing critique of self-centered, arrogant leadership continues in this chapter, and neither the king nor Haman come out of it smelling like a rose. The chapter raises more questions for readers about how leaders should behave, but it also demonstrates that we reap what we sow—in terms of the way we treat inferiors like Harbona, as well as the plans we devise to eliminate those who do not honor us as we think we deserve!
Lord, make me brave enough to speak out against injustice and also help me to take responsibility for even the unintended consequences of my own actions.
Lord, we continue to marvel over Your ability to turn the tables so quickly and decisively on those who get in Your way.