The book of Esther consists of a unique story of Esther, King Xerxes, her cousin Mordecai and Haman. Haman hatched a plot to kill Mordecai but through circumstances, it backfired on him.
Impale Haman on it!” the king ordered. So they impaled Haman on the pole he had set up for Mordecai, and the king’s anger subsided. Esther 7:9-10
Esther’s story almost sounds like a fairy tale. The queen of the empire publically disrespected the king. So to keep wives from doing the same to their husbands, the king took immediate action.
(In a written decree.) It should order that Queen Vashti be forever banished from the presence of King Xerxes, and that the king should choose another queen more worthy than she. Esther 1:19
Even though this story isn’t a fairy tale, I still can’t help but to start it with the following words,
“Once upon a Time.” The king decreed that a search would begin throughout the kingdom for a new queen. The king’s men selected many beautiful women as candidates including Esther.
They were taken to the king’s harem and placed in Hegai’s care. Hegai became very impressed with Esther and treated her kindly and giving her special attention.
He quickly ordered a special menu for her and provided her with beauty treatments. He also assigned her seven maids specially chosen from the king’s palace. Esther 2:9
Because Esther’s parents died when she was young, Mordecai adopted her and raised her as his own daughter. But the two of them kept Esther’s national origin a secret.
She (Esther) had not told anyone of her nationality and family background, because Mordecai had directed her not to do so. Esther 2:10
Esther Became the New Queen
They were one of the Jewish families exiled from Jerusalem to Babylon by Nebuchadnezzar. Her beauty and personality though caused everyone to admire her, especially the king.
And the king loved Esther more than any of the other young women. He was so delighted with her that he set the royal crown on her head and declared her queen instead of Vashti. Esther 2:17
After Esther became queen, Mordecai overheard two of the king’s eunuchs plotting to assassinate King Xerxes. So he reported what he heard to his cousin Esther.
She then told the king about it and gave Mordecai credit for the report. Esther 2:22
The king investigated the report and found it to be true. This incident will become significant as the story of Esther and Haman progresses. So let’s press the fast-forward button to move along.
The king promoted Haman over all the other nobles. Thus people throughout the entire kingdom bowed down to him. Everyone except Mordecai, who refused to bow before him.
Haman’s Hatred for the Jews
Haman hated the Jews and he despised Mordecai even more. So he concocted a plan to kill all the Jews which included Mordecai. To do so though, he needed a decree signed by the king.
Then Haman approached King Xerxes and said, “There is a certain race of people scattered through all the provinces of your empire who keep themselves separate from everyone else. Their laws are different from those of any other people, and they refuse to obey the laws of the king. So it is not in the king’s interest to let them live. Esther 3:8
The king believed him and instructed his secretary to write a decree exactly as Haman dictated. Then sent it to the king’s highest officers, the governors, and to the nobles of each province.
Mordecai began mourning for his people when heard about Haman’s plot to have the Jews killed. During that time he had an opportunity to send a message to Queen Esther about the situation.
He wanted Esther to approach the king. But only those with an invitation could enter his inner court, including the queen. The uninvited would die if he didn’t hold out his gold scepter.
Esther decided to approach the king even if it meant her death. You see, it had been thirty days since he last called for her. But before she went to see him she sent this reply to Mordecai.
Go and gather together all the Jews of Susa and fast for me. Do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. My maids and I will do the same. Esther 4:16
The Plot Thickens in this Story of Esther and Haman
The king did receive Esther and asked what she requested. She prepared a banquet for the king and wanted Haman to come as well. After the meal, she invited them to come to a second one.
That night the king couldn’t sleep and was reminded of when Mordecai exposed the plot to assassinate him. He also found out he did nothing to reward him. The next day…
The attendants replied to the king, “Haman is out in the court.” “Bring him in,” the king ordered. So Haman came in, and the king said, “What should I do to honor a man who truly pleases me?” Esther 6:5-6
In Haman’s mind, this was shaping up to be the best day of his life. He thought for sure the king wanted to honor him. Plus he intended to ask the king to impale Mordecai.
The king took Haman’s suggestions of how he should honor someone. Then he revealed who was getting honored and told him to do just as he said. Not Haman but for Mordecai the Jew.
So Haman took the robes and put them on Mordecai, placed him on the king’s own horse, and led him through the city square, shouting, “This is what the king does for someone he wishes to honor!” Esther 6:11
The story took a turn when Esther revealed to the king and Haman that she was Jewish. Then she asked the king to spare her life and the lives of her people. She continued by saying;
“This wicked Haman is our adversary and our enemy.” Haman grew pale with fright before the king and queen. Then the king jumped to his feet in a rage and went out into the palace garden. Esther 7:6-7
The Application from Esther and Haman and their Story
The story ended with Haman impaled while the lives of Esther and all the Jews were saved. Something interesting about this book of the bible is, God isn’t mentioned in it at all.
There are, however, some great insights in it that we can apply to our lives. Let me list a few.
- God used both men and women to carry out His will.
- He also will utilize the young and old.
- The steps of a righteous person are ordered by the Lord.
- We can learn from Haman’s life that God honors the humble but he hates the proud.
I have written only a condensed version of the story of Esther and Haman. Take the time to read this book, it’s short and I’m sure the Lord will speak to your heart. The Book of Esther.
Lord, through the years many have tried to kill, slaughter, and annihilate your people. But have always failed. Use us, Lord, as a catalyst in helping to build your kingdom.
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