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Esther 5

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ch. 5:1-8    ch. 5:9-14

Esther's Request To The King (ch. 5:1 - 8)         


After the three days of fasting and prayer was over, Esther took her chance, got all dressed up, and went to visit the king, as we see in verse 1.  We should realize that this was one very bold move on the behalf of Esther. She was putting her own life in danger in order to save her people.  What she was doing was simply illegal.  One could not approach the king without being asked. 


Verse 2 gives Xerxes response to Esther now being in his presence.  What would she hear.  She must have been so relieved to hear that the king was not upset with her.  He set forth his gold scepter.  She touched the tip of it, and now, everything was fine.  That was the custom.


In verse 3 Xerxes asked, "what is it Esther"?  What is your request"?  Xerxes must have thought that there was something serious going on here.  Esther wouldn't normally approach the king like this.  He told Esther that he would give her up to half of the kingdom.  All she needed to do was to tell the king what she wanted.


The idea that the king would give Esther half of the kingdom is a symbolic gesture.  It's an idiom of the day, so most scholars say.  Xerxes was simply saying that he would do his very best to help her out.


Verse 4 tells us that the request that seemed so important was a dinner invitation to both the king and Haman.  Obviously, Esther didn't want to show all her cards all at once.  She had a plan worked out, and dinner was part of that plan. 


Xerxes knew that Ester had something more than just dinner in mind.  We see that in the next verse.  Esther didn't risk her life just to ask him and Haman over for dinner.


Haman is summoned to the king in verse 5.  Both men attend the dinner in verse 6.  Then, while the men were drinking wine, Xerxes asked again what Esther wanted.  He would give her up to half of his kingdom, and again, we know this is simply an idiom of the day.  He was telling Esther that he would do his very best to meet her request.


Esther answers Xerxes in verses 7 and 8.  Her answer must have really made the king scratch his head.  She didn't answer the king's question.  She simply told him that if he was willing to fulfill her request, they were invited back for dinner the next day.  I can't imagine what Xerxes was thinking at this point.


Haman's Rage Against Mordecai (ch. 5:9 - 14)


Verse 9 tells us that Haman "went out that day "happily and in high spirits.  I believe "that day" refers to the day that they just had dinner.  I think the text is saying that Haman left the dinner feeling good, mainly because of the wine, that is, until he saw Mordecai at the king's gate.


Haman was filled with rage because, as was the case, Mordecai refused to give honor to him.  Mordecai refused to bow down before him.  Verse 10 states that Haman restrained himself and went home.


If you remember, the decree went out from King Xerxes that everyone should bow in respect to Haman as he passed by them.  It was therefore a criminal offense not to bow down to Haman.  You might even say it was treason.


In verses 10 through 13 we see what type of a man Haman was.  He was proud and boastful.  At the same time, he had a streak of anger within him.  The Proverb says that "pride goes before a fall', and that is what is about to happen.


The chapter ends with the suggestion from his wife and friends that he should have gallows built and hang Mordecai.  All Bible teachers that I've have read say this was not gallows as we understand gallows today.  What the gallows were hear was simply a long pole where people would be impaled.  This particular pole was to be seventy five feet high.  Mordecai would be stabbed with it, and then the pole would be set in the ground or on a platform, and the dying person would be raised high for all to see.  This was the beginning of crucifixion.  The Persians were really the ones who invented death by crucifixion.  The Romans mastered the process..


Concerning the "friends" you see in verse 10, many Bible teachers believe these are men like the seven eunuchs we saw in chapter 1 who were wise men.  Wise men in Persian times were meant to give council based on the stars, visions, dreams, and any other so-called spirituality they claimed to have.   As an aside, the wise men, or magi,  who came to visit the young Jesus were descendents of these very wise men.  



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