Esther Chapter #7 (a narrative commentary)
As Haman unknowingly walks into his final moments in life, he has been totally humiliated. The man he wished to hang for giving him no respect ends up on a royal horse, dressed in royal garments, and lead through town with Haman shouting his praises. He had also written a decree for all Judean captives in Persia to be slaughter. He put a price on each of their heads.
JIV thought: Had Esther not informed the King of Haman’s plot to kill the Jews (Israelites mostly of the Tribes of Benjamin and Judah), and since Haman did not know that Queen Esther was a Benjamite, King Ahasuerus would have discovered Haman’s vengeance after the fact. Haman would be a dead man in the end but only after a Persian holocaust. (PS: next article we once again find the tables get turned)
Esther 7:1 Haman is hurried from his home to the second banquet provided by Esther for him and the king. He had been delayed by his confessions to his wife and associates that he had failed in his plot against Mordecai. Instead, he had to run in front of him with Mordecai on a royal horse. Haman was ordered to shout the king’s praises. Recall this idea of a reward was Haman’s. In his ego and pride, he thought it would be he who would be on the royal steed.
Esther 7:2 This banquet, contrary to the previous day’s banquet, included fine dining and wine, not just wine and discussion. It is highly probable that Haman no longer had the slightest appetite but was required to make his attendance. He still did not know what the “proverbial sleeve” of Esther had in it. The king wasted no time in again asking Esther what it was that she desired. She answers in verse 3 and 4 of this narrative commentary chapter 7. She asks the king for mercy even though he did not consider her needing any. “She and her people?” Who are these with whom she identifies and why does she identify with them? These thoughts must have come to the mind of the King. Haman may have by now begun to pull pieces together as his appetite for dinner fades.
This probably put great concern and quickening terror in the heart of Haman. He was about to learn that Queen Esther was a Jew; a Benjamite.
This passage reads somewhat like Esther was turning the knife now embedded in Haman. Not in his his back but right in front of him. His eyes growing larger by the second.
Esther 7:4. Esther explains in protracted detail that she and her people had been listed and sold for destruction. Recall that Haman had offered 10,000 pieces of silver for the privilege of destroying his arch enemies that go as far back as to King Agag during the reign of King Saul. This is now close to 500 years after the reign of King Saul in Israel.
Esther 7:5 “And King Ahasuerus answered and said to Esther the queen, Who is he, this one? And where is this one, he who is filled with pride in his heart to do so?” We see in this verse that King Ahasuerus realized such a plot was due to someone’s PRIDE, self-esteem. By now Haman was wishing to anywhere but there. The intended (?) anxiety for Haman continues in the next verse. Rather than simply saying it is Haman, Esther identifies him as a man, a hating man, an enemy of her people (and unknowingly her). Then in verse 6 she says “HAMAN.”
Esther 7:7 “And the king, rising from the banquet of wine in his wrath, went into the palace garden. And Haman stood to beg for his life from Esther the queen, for he saw that evil was fulfilled against him by the king.” This had to be an absolute shock to King Ahasuerus. He departed to think this one through. His wife is a Jew? Haman had deceived him. The people he wanted to destroy, according to Haman were not a small group of previously unidentified rabble-rousers. These are law-abiding citizens of his empire. Haman? A man he had just made superior to all of the 127 satrap province rulers within his kingdom. Haman, a trusted confidant? How could this be? Haman was holding the same position similar to what Daniel held less than 40 years earlier.
In the meantime, while Ahasuerus was thinking it through in the palace garden, Haman through himself at the mercy of Esther. In fact, Esther as reclining on a couch with Haman leaning over her to beg. The king returns to the banquet chambers in verse 8 with some type of decision in his mind. Here is where something like the ‘final nail in one’s coffin’ makes sense. We do not know what the king had in mind upon his return, perhaps prison or clemency, but he finds Haman hanging over Queen Esther on the couch. It was too much of an insult.
“And the king said, Will he also ravish the queen with me in the house?” Whatever the king had in mind was no longer, if at all, a form of leniency. We read in the closing of verse 8: [LITV] “The word went from the king’s mouth and they covered Haman’s face.” Proverbs 5:22 states: ”The evil deeds of the wicked ensnare them.” This defines Haman. “…the chords of their sins hold them fast.”
Harbonah (v9), one of the chamber body-guards who helped cover the face and head of Haman noted the there were gallows built by Haman, just outside Haman’s own house. The judgement was quick. King Ahasuerus (Xerxes) had him taken to the gallows built for Mordecai. In place it was Haman who was hanged. This means all who tended to be around Haman’s house, including Haman’s household, witnessed this execution. This placated the anger of the King.
BUT, Esther and her people have a problem. In Persian law, once passed it could not be retracted. The law had been signed or sealed by using the King’s ring signate given to Haman as the authority to order all ‘Jews’ be killed in one day. This decree had been distributed throughout the entire empire of King Ahasuerus. Now what?
Rev. Dr. Jstark