Esther Chapter 6
In our previous narrative commentary, Esther chapter 6, we explained how the saying of Pride goes before a fall is scriptural. Haman was walking too tall for his own good. Not according to King Ahasuerus but before God.
Charles Spurgeon puts it regarding the King in Esther 7: “Ahasuerus is master of one hundred and twenty and seven provinces, but not master of ten minutes’ sleep.”. God speaks through dreams and sometimes uses one’s sleeplessness to make him or her think through thoughts, plans, activities, life’s demands and plans. Ahasuerus was no exception.
Esther 6:1,2 [NKJV]
Est 6:1 That night the king could not sleep. So one was commanded to bring the book of the records of the chronicles; and they were read before the king.
Est 6:2 And it was found written that Mordecai had told of Bigthana and Teresh, two of the king’s eunuchs, the doorkeepers who had sought to lay hands on King Ahasuerus.
Kings and rulers forever have kept journals or had inscribed their accomplishments and histories.
This practice of recording history even goes back to the Epic of Gilgamesh Tablets discovered in Nineveh in the 1850’s. These tablets identify the Flood of Noah and appear to be records of previous rulers during the Genesis creation up to and including the time of Noah. We might call them autobiographies. Historians and archaeologists deduce facts of history by reading these written works be they biographic or autobiographic. These first two verses tell us two things. The king could not sleep, and he had something read to him to bring slumber his way. God had other plans even though God is not mentioned anywhere in the Book of Esther. This is a curiosity of canonization to include or exclude other documents.
Esther 6:4 takes us to the next day (after the first banquet provided by Queen Esther). We find Haman talking to the King. It is the next morning. Haman had not yet requested to have Mordecai hang from his customized gallows. King Ahasuerus had had little or no sleep from the previous night. However, the previous evening and during his time listening to the appointed reader of the chronicles or records of the official activities of the King’s court and rule, King Ahasuerus realized he had not rewarded Mordecai for preventing an assassination plan by two of his eunuchs [Esther 2:22].
According to the chronicles being read to King Ahasuerus, he was reminded that Mordecai had told of Bigthana and Teresh, two of the king’s eunuchs, doorkeepers to the King’s gate (doors) who planned to “lay hands-on King Ahasuerus”. Here is where pride goes before a fall. Ahasuerus asks Haman his thoughts of how to reward a person of a superior noble act. Haman is convinced it is him to whom the king is referring as the one of such noble character. Now Esther 6 lays out a sequence of events.
Esther 6:3 King Ahasuerus asks his servants if he had rewarded Mordecai for his great deed of stopping the king’s assassination at the hands of those who guarded the entrance to his own palace house. They replied that they do not recall of any reward being given. No wonder in the reading of the Kingdom chronicles the previous night there was no record of reward or honor of recognition given to Mordecai. However, the records did identify Mordecai as central to disclosing to the king through his wife Esther this assassination plan.
Esther 6:4 Haman had just entered the outer area of the king’s palace. He had come to ask the king to hang Mordecai on the hanging post Haman had commanded to be built. The king said, “Who just came into the courtyard?” Haman was immediately summoned to advise the king. The king is direct. He quickly seeks Haman’s advice before any additional conversation. What kind of a regards should the king give to a person of such great valor, honesty, awareness…
This passage now finds the king explaining to Haman what was on his mind but left the identity of the one to be rewarded anonymous. Haman’s pride will lead him up to having to eat crow then choke to death. Haman thought: how could things get any better. Not only was he recently promoted, honored to drink wine with the King alone, now in his deluded thoughts would be paraded in public due to his new-found status within the kingdom and royal court.
Verses 6 is the question presented to Haman. “Haman, what should be done for a man the king wants to honor?” Haman thought to himself, “Who is there that the king would want to honor more than me? I’m sure that the king is talking about honoring me.” Haman must have thought, how could things get any better. Now the KING is asking me how to reward such a great one as myself. I will be able to advise him to the greatest extent of my mind. An assumption about to go very wrong.
Esther 6:7-9 is Haman’s advice; an opportunity afforded him and him alone. Put on him royal robes worn by the king (so others will recognize the significance of the one wearing them). Have him ride one of the royal steeds of the king. Have the horse accordingly identified as a royal steed. Have one of the king’s high officials “anoint this person” by publicly putting the royal robes on this honored man. Let this high official, one who will be recognized by the Shushan citizens, run in front of the honored one announcing that this is what the king does for those few the King honors.
Now FOR the crow!!!
Esther 6:10 “Go quickly,” the king commanded Haman. “Get the robe and the horse and do just as you have suggested for Mordecai the Jew. He is sitting near the king’s gate. Do everything that you suggested.” How can this be thought Haman? This is Haman’s mortal enemy including the fact he was a Jew he planned to hang that very day before that evening’s banquet at Queen Esther’s. This is the very same people Haman had written a decree to destroy in one day throughout Ahasuerus’ empire. Haman’s own servants had pointed out that Mordecai refused to bow before Haman when he entered the King’s gate. These servants of Haman would see this humiliation. He is painted into a corner and there is no way out. This is amplified in the next couple verses.
Esther 6:12,13 Haman does as commanded. To not would mean he defied the order by the king. That would demand his life. Mordecai then returns to his usual spot at the outer court gates. Haman in utter shame and obvious disgrace hides his head and flees to his own house. Such devastation can not be hidden in one’s face or body gestures. He is questioned by his wife and those around him. What happened they ask? V13a “And Haman told his wife Zeresh and his friends everything that had [just] happened to him”. V13b “If Mordecai is of the seed of the Jews, before whom you have begun to fall, you shall not prevail against him, but [your] falling shall come before his”. (emphasis mine)
The final verse in Esther 6 is dynamic. Haman still had that appointment along with the king to have a banquet at the Queen’s place. This time however, servants of the King had to go get him. He lost track of time explaining his great humiliation to his wife and those around him. We see this in two words of verse 14…they hurried to bring Haman to the banquet which Esther had prepared. In a sense this tardiness probably had the king on edge. How dare one of his subjects keep HIM waiting. The proverbial hook is in Haman’s mouth. Now Esther will set it in chapter 7.
Rev. Dr. Jstark