Book of Esther
Chapter 6 Part 11
July 1, 2012
Chapter 6 is pivotal to the Book of Esther. Up to this point we saw Haman as “the man.” He had power and fame in the land. He was so close to the king that he could order an edict to be written that would cause the destruction of an entire people group from the kingdom. But in chapter 6, we will begin to see the hand of God obviously working. As we work through the rest of Esther, we will see and understand Who had been in control of all things.
“On that night could not the king sleep, and he commanded to bring the book of records of the chronicles; and they were read before the king” (Esther 6:1). “On that night” is the night of the day the king had eaten and drank with Esther and Haman at the queen’s banquet. Wouldn’t you think that after such a good time the king would have fallen right to sleep? Again, I believe this was the work of God. As king with a houseful of people, Ahasuerus could have filled those hours in many ways. He could have summoned a wife or concubine. He could have called in the palace dance ensemble. Or he could have talked with someone about the day and what was to come tomorrow. But he called for his chronicles (diaries) to be brought in and read.
I wonder what Esther was doing at that time. Was she sleeping or getting ready for the next banquet? It’s a pretty sure thing that her evening would have included much prayer. Notice that she is not mentioned in this chapter till the last verse that speaks of Haman going to the second banquet.
We know what Haman did after the banquet. He bragged to everyone who would listen about how special he was to have been the only other guest beside the king invited to Esther’s banquet. He drooled at the thought of another time with them the next day. He also stewed over Mordecai’s continual disrespect.
“And it was found written, that Mordecai had told of Bigthana and Teresh, two of the king's chamberlains, the keepers of the door, who sought to lay hand on the king Ahasuerus” (verse 2). Watch God again. The scribe doing the reading could have opened the book to any part, but it was to the part where Mordecai had revealed the conspiracy to kill the king thereby saving his life to which he opened. This account made it clear that if Mordecai had not stepped in, Ahasuerus would be dead.
“And the king said, What honour and dignity hath been done to Mordecai for this? Then said the king's servants that ministered unto him, There is nothing done for him” (verse 3). It’s as though the king suddenly realized what Mordecai had done for him. “Hey, this guy saved my life! What did we do to thank him for it?” They had done not one thing. There was no raise in pay, no promotion, no party to celebrate, no medal awarded for his bravery and faithfulness. It would appear Mordecai had been snubbed after serving the king in the highest possible way.
The king’s servants, men who waited on the king and watched over him through the night, said, “You didn’t do a thing for the guy.” Please understand. This was a momentous event in the king’s life; one that should have caused a great celebration to take place. Bigthana’s and Teresh’s hanging should have been a public event, yet the king had ordered nothing done to thank Mordecai. As I said before, it was all in God’s plan for saving His people.
“And the king said, Who is in the court? Now Haman was come into the outward court of the king's house, to speak unto the king to hang Mordecai on the gallows that he had prepared for him. And the king's servants said unto him, Behold, Haman standeth in the court. And the king said, Let him come in” (verses 4, 5). Watch this now. The king wanted to know if there was anyone of rank in the outer court he could talk with about Mordecai. Isn’t it just too funny that at the same moment Ahasuerus needed to talk with someone about Mordecai’s bravery, Haman arrived to speak with the king about hanging Mordecai? Was it coincidence? Not for a second. The king had a brave man who needed to be honored and Haman had a God-fearing man he needed to hang. Ironically, they are both the same man.
“So Haman came in. And the king said unto him, What shall be done unto the man whom the king delighteth to honour? Now Haman thought in his heart, To whom would the king delight to do honour more than to myself?” (Verse 6) See what pride does to the soul! When Haman came through the door of Ahasuerus’ bed chamber, he was happy thinking his nemesis was about to receive his death sentence. But Haman never got to ask the king for Mordecai’s life. Instead, in his haste to rectify the mistake of not paying tribute to the man who had saved his life, the king asked Haman a question that threw all thoughts of Mordecai out of his head. “How can I honor a man who has pleased me?”
Watch this carefully, now. Haman never asked the king who he wanted to honor or what the honor was for. He immediately thought to himself, “Wow, this is cool! Who else on this planet would the king want to honor other than me?” In his narcissism (vanity, self-love) he could not see past his own nose. Haman was a pride-filled (self-important, superior) haughty (conceited, arrogant) man, and they are always brought low by their own actions. Remember, Haman had already been elevated to the highest position he could have in the kingdom without being the king. He was above everyone else, and that’s what made him require such worship of the people. “Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall” (Proverbs 16:18). (Word definitions added for clarity.)
It just occurred to me that Haman was a type of satan. He wanted man to take their eyes off God and place them on him, and he wanted them to bow and worship him instead of God. Does this mean that Mordecai was a type of Christ because he refused to bow in honor to this mere mortal and reserved his worship for the true God of Heaven? I think so.
“And Haman answered the king, For the man whom the king delighteth to honour,” (verse 7). Can you just see Haman’s mind racing to think of what would look best on him and what words should be proclaimed over him?
“Let the royal apparel be brought which the king useth to wear, and the horse that the king rideth upon, and the crown royal which is set upon his head: And let this apparel and horse be delivered to the hand of one of the king's most noble princes, that they may array the man withal whom the king delighteth to honour, and bring him on horseback through the street of the city, and proclaim before him, Thus shall it be done to the man whom the king delighteth to honour” (verses 8, 9). He didn’t have much time to figure it all out, but it didn’t take Haman long to start making an oral list of the things which should be used in honoring himself. In essence, Haman told the king, “Ok, the greatest honor you can bestow on any man is to call in one of your most noble princes to dress the honoree in the clothes you wear, the crown you wear, and to sit him on the very horse you ride. Have this official take the man (me) through the streets, shouting and proclaiming, ‘Thus shall it be done to the man whom the king delighteth to honour.’ That will show them how important this man is to you.” Can’t you just see Haman gloating at the thought of it? He could already see himself on that horse beautifully dressed in the king’s robe and crown with the people bowing and honoring him as though he were the king himself. His wife, family, and friends would see how important he was then for sure, or so he thought.
Notice what was missing from the get-up? Even Haman knew better than to include the king’s scepter as it was the ultimate visual display of the king’s authority. This only the king could carry.
“Then the king said to Haman, Make haste, and take the apparel and the horse, as thou hast said, and do even so to Mordecai the Jew, that sitteth at the king's gate: let nothing fail of all that thou hast spoken” (verse 10). Jokes on Haman! By this time it was early morning. As it seemed good to the king, he agreed with all that Haman said. Now the king struck Haman with a gut-punch that sent him reeling. “Do it, Haman: Everything you just said. Grab my royal garb, the royal crown, and run to the stables to get my own horse. Bring these things quickly and dress Mordecai and sit him on my horse and ride him through the town so that everyone will know that Mordecai is honored in the king’s eyes.” I’d say this threw a monkey wrench in Haman’s plan to kill Mordecai. Rather, than see his arch enemy killed, it fell on him to bring Mordecai to the place of high honor. This gives new meaning to Romans 7:24, “O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?” I’m sure Haman would rather be dead than give honor to Mordecai before all the people in Shushan.
“Then took Haman the apparel and the horse, and arrayed Mordecai, and brought him on horseback through the street of the city, and proclaimed before him, Thus shall it be done unto the man whom the king delighteth to honour” (verse 11). Of this verse, Matthew Henry wrote, “It is hard to say which of the two put a greater force upon himself, proud Haman in putting this honour upon Mordecai, or humble Mordecai in accepting it: the king would have it so, and both must submit. Upon this account it was agreeable to Mordecai as it was an indication of the king's favour, and gave hope that Esther would prevail for the reversing of the edict against the Jews.” I have nothing to add to that.
“And Mordecai came again to the king's gate. But Haman hasted to his house mourning, and having his head covered” (verse 12). Mordecai took it all in stride. When the procession was over, he dismounted and went back to work. He was no better and no worse, although embarrassed by this attention. The attention did encourage Mordecai to believe Esther would prevail with the king and his people be saved.
On the flip side, Haman ran home with his tail between his legs. His disappointment pulled his head down low. He licked his self-inflicted wound to his pride all the way. His family and friends had seen him, alright, but as the servant, not the served. It was not the position he wanted for himself. Haman was nursing his injured pride.
“And Haman told Zeresh his wife and all his friends every thing that had befallen him. Then said his wise men and Zeresh his wife unto him, If Mordecai be of the seed of the Jews, before whom thou hast begun to fall, thou shalt not prevail against him, but shalt surely fall before him” (verse 13). Haman told his counselors and his wife about going before the king to seek Mordecai’s life and how, instead of that conversation, the king tricked him into giving Mordecai the highest honor in the land. What a wise women Zeresh was. She saw all that had been done and knew Haman was headed for ruin. Apparently she knew the history of the Jews and all that God did for them. She knew that because Mordecai was a Jew and did not pay honor to Haman but only to God that he was protected by God. She understood also, that now that Haman had been the one to give this honor to Mordecai, Mordecai had the advantage. If he chose to, Mordecai could use his new-found favor with the king to destroy Haman. Zeresh knew that Haman’s fall was imminent. She thought in position. I don’t think even Zeresh realized how far Haman would fall.
“And while they were yet talking with him, came the king's chamberlains, and hasted to bring Haman unto the banquet that Esther had prepared” (verse 14). Poor Haman didn’t have much time to wallow in the sympathy of his wife and counselors. Just as he was being warned to watch out for Mordecai a knock came on the door and the king’s chamberlains came to fetch Haman to the banquet. You can believe there was no longer any joy in Haman at having been invited to this second banquet by the queen. He went because he had affect him personally. to. He would have been in deep trouble if he disappointed the queen. As he walked to the queen’s banquet pouting all the way, he was totally oblivious to the turn of events that was about to play out and how it would.