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.”
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 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.
Up until this point, Esther has been the Bible equivalent of a soap opera or high-suspense movie drama. To understand the importance of this piece of the story, we need to review what has happened so far. Our main character, Esther, hid her Jewish identity to become the wife of the King of Persia. Mordecai, Esther’s cousin, saved the King from an assassination plot, which the King forgot about until chapter 6. Haman convinced the King to write a decree for all the Jews to be executed. In chapter 6, Haman went to the King to attempt to have Mordecai hanged, but the King instead had Haman honor Mordecai by bringing him around the city on a horse.
If you go back and quickly skim over chapter 5, try to notice the similarities and differences between the two chapters. These parts of the stories are very similar (and this is intentional). In chapter 5, Esther had a banquet where she asked the King and Haman to return the next day. That night, Haman had a wooden beam put up with the intent of having Mordecai executed on it. In today’s reading, Esther threw another banquet and exposed Haman’s plot. In a dramatic twist, the King had Haman killed on the wooden beam that had been put up for Mordecai’s execution.
So while this story full of murder and plot twists is interesting, what does it have to do with God and with us? This was a scary time for God’s people in this story. They were in exile from their homeland, living in the capital of Persia, and facing almost certain execution. It seemed like the odds were stacked against God and His people. But this provided an opportunity for God’s power to be displayed all the more.
At this point in the story, the problem of the Jews being murdered had not been solved, but God had already begun turning the tables. When things seem at their darkest and most hopeless, God takes the victories of our enemies and turns them into His victories. We can trust what Romans 8:28 says, “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” The rest of this book, and the rest of our lives, will show this to be true.
- What has been your favorite part of the book of Esther so far?
- Which character from this story so far do you relate to the most and why? Characters: Ether, Mordedai, Haman, and the King.
- What can we learn about God from today’s reading?
By the Way
Haman being impaled by the same pole he had built to execute Mordecai is an example of Psalm 9:15-16 coming to fruition:
15 The nations have fallen into the pit they have dug;
their feet are caught in the net they have hidden.
16 The Lord is known by his acts of justice;
the wicked are ensnared by the work of their hands.
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