“Now it happened on the third day that Esther put on her royal robes and stood in the inner court of the king’s palace, across from the king’s house, while the king sat on his royal throne in the royal house, facing the entrance of the house. 2 So it was, when the king saw Queen Esther standing in the court, that she found favor in his sight, and the king held out to Esther the golden scepter that was in his hand. Then Esther went near and touched the top of the scepter. 3 And the king said to her, ‘What do you wish, Queen Esther? What is your request? It shall be given to you—up to half the kingdom!’ 4 So Esther answered, ‘If it pleases the king, let the king and Haman come today to the banquet that I have prepared for him.’ 5 Then the king said, ‘Bring Haman quickly, that he may do as Esther has said.’
“So the king and Haman went to the banquet that Esther had prepared. 6 At the banquet of wine the king said to Esther, ‘What is your petition? It shall be granted you. What is your request, up to half the kingdom? It shall be done!’ 7 Then Esther answered and said, ‘My petition and request is this: 8 If I have found favor in the sight of the king, and if it pleases the king to grant my petition and fulfill my request, then let the king and Haman come to the banquet which I will prepare for them, and tomorrow I will do as the king has said.’ 9 So Haman went out that day joyful and with a glad heart; but when Haman saw Mordecai in the king’s gate, and that he did not stand or tremble before him, he was filled with indignation against Mordecai.
10 Nevertheless Haman restrained himself and went home, and he sent and called for his friends and his wife Zeresh. 11 Then Haman told them of his great riches, the multitude of his children, everything in which the king had promoted him, and how he had advanced him above the officials and servants of the king. 12 Moreover Haman said, ‘Besides, Queen Esther invited no one but me to come in with the king to the banquet that she prepared; and tomorrow I am again invited by her, along with the king. 13 Yet all this avails me nothing, so long as I see Mordecai the Jew sitting at the king’s gate.’ 14 Then his wife Zeresh and all his friends said to him, ‘Let a gallows be made, fifty cubits high, and in the morning suggest to the king that Mordecai be hanged on it; then go merrily with the king to the banquet.’ And the thing pleased Haman; so, he had the gallows made.”
Last week we explored the importance of Christians being willing and ready to stand up for the freedoms that we have to speak about Jesus. And, we should be preparing both spiritually and mentally for the chance that we will be arrested or suffer various kinds of persecution for the name of Jesus and the cause of the Gospel as we get closer and closer to the return of Jesus. Esther found herself in a dangerous position. She, a Jew, had been put in place by the Lord, and now it was her turn to stand and be counted. She had asked the Jews in the kingdom to fast and pray with her, and they did.
We get the feast of Purim from this event. Many Jews still celebrate the feast today. Esther was about to use a roundabout way to get to deliver the Jews, and it was time for her to become the one who stood for the many. This young woman, maybe still in her teens, was about to deliver, by the grace of God, but with her obedience, thousands of Jews and maybe even put to an end the fight between the Amalekites and Jews that has persisted for centuries.
Often, we do not realize that God allows unconventional methods to be used for His Glory; what He is actually looking for is obedience. Go back and read the story of the walls of Jericho and see how God is unconventional. Obedience will always be more important than ability; God already has the ability, what He seeks from us is obedience to act when called upon.
- Esther’s Plot verses 1-8
God is always way ahead of us. We see time in past, present and future. God oversees time. Think of Him as the Universal Chess Master. He has already completed the game in His head, and He is just waiting for us to catch up.
Esther was concerned that she would face death by approaching the King. One, even his wife, could only approach the king if you had been summoned by him, and she points out in the previous chapter that it had been thirty (30) days since he had called for her. Maybe he had lost his feeling for her. But God has already gone ahead of that, and we see that Ahasuerus loved Esther. Loved her. This is so rare in this part of history as far as marriages were concerned, especially on the political level, that God made a point to mention it. Many, if not most marriages, were financial. A father would seek out a man that could financially care for his daughter and arrange the marriage.
We find a few love stories in the scriptures such as Jacob and Rachel. Also, David and Bathsheba had a good loving marriage (they had a lot of troubles of their own making). The Song of Solomon is about one woman that Solomon was head over heels with; Joseph loved Mary, we are told, and there may be a few others. But marriages in the political realm were more often arranged and did not come with the guarantee of being loved. In our modern times, we can think of Prince Charles and Diana, an arranged marriage that was loveless as far as we could tell. He loved someone else, and for the optics and the politics, the marriage was arranged with the Queen and Diana’s father. It did not end well.
Esther was loved by her king. This gave her power, and as a godly woman, she did not take advantage of it, but she was humble and submissive to her king. Nonetheless, the danger to her people was afoot, and she needed to act. And so, step out she did. She went all out; she dressed in her royal robes, made sure that she was the best she could be and approached her husband. He was glad to see her; it had been thirty days since they had seen each other. I cannot imagine going thirty days without seeing my wife, but the king did. It would appear that the affairs of the state kept him busy.
Ahasuerus greeted Esther with a good greeting, she had a request, and she was allowed to ask for up to half the kingdom. This was not to be taken literally, and for the most part, Esther had no need for half the kingdom; she was queen over all of it. If you are a student of the New Testament, you will see the same kind of greeting made to Herodias’ daughter after she had danced for Herod in Matthew 14:5 and Mark 6:23. This particular greeting was used to kill John the Baptist. In Herod’s case he was driven by lust, but here in Esther, her king Ahasuerus is driven by love, and his offer is safe in Esther’s hands. Are your husband’s words and offers safe in your hands? Even the rash and spontaneous ones, or are you one to take advantage of his love?
Esther simply asked for the king and Haman to attend a banquet that she was hosting the next day. We do not have any details, and there is no guarantee that Esther has any plan either; she was just stepping out, and God would open the doors for her to walk through. But she needed to make a move. She did. What about you? What are you doing as far as obeying the Lord? Do the small things, forget about the big picture, take small steps and see what God will do with a little bit of obedience.
- Haman’s Plot verses 9-14
This was a sinister plan. He hated Mordecai, and I am sure that Mordecai was not too fond of Haman either. Haman was invited to the banquet, and he was on his way home to see his wife and tell her the news. He was full of joy, and then he saw Mordecai. Haman was upset that Mordecai did not fall and worship him. He wanted men to be afraid of him, and Mordecai was not. This simply burned his pride.
Nevertheless, he, Haman, had a more pressing issue at hand. He was going to a private banquet for him and the king, and he needed to celebrate. He would get to Mordecai soon enough. I mean, he was like the second in command in the kingdom; he had the plot to kill ALL the Jews, and Mordecai was one of them. He needed to be ready for the banquet. His wife was happy for him; she also understood his hatred for Mordecai, and it was her idea to build the gallows.
The gallows spoken of here, according to David Guzik in his study guide on Esther, was not for hanging as we see in the old western movies. Rather, they were designed for displaying the victim. It was a pointed stake that was upright in the ground, and the victim was taken and placed on the sharp point, then pulled down until the stake went into the body and came out through the neck. Often the victim would live for a considerable time in excruciating pain.
Haman’s wife was one tough lady. A cubit was about 18 inches, so this would have been built 75 feet tall. Haman intended to make an example of Mordecai and to strike fear in the other men who might defy him. He was pleased, we are told, with this idea from his wife, and he had the gallows built.
- God’s Plot, the whole book
What neither Esther nor Haman knew was that God also had a plot for each of them. Esther would be able to help save the Jews, and Haman was building the gallows for himself. Neither knew the outcome at the time, but God had plans for them, and those plans were going to be executed as He willed them to be.
Often, we (I) can get overwhelmed by the circumstances around us. We see the open attack on the Bible, free speech, and the local church. Pastors here in Canada are arrested for having church services during the COVID lockdowns at the same time that the liquor stores and Walmart stores are open. We see them denied bail when actual criminals get bail and get out. We see the encroachment of the homosexual agenda being pushed by the governments, forcing religious organizations to hire gay people, and forcing sexual perversion in the name of sex ed on our kids – all the while dumbing them down in education. They are no longer able to think for themselves, and even many churches have very liberal views on abortion and feminism. It is easy to think the battle is lost. But GOD has a plan, a plot, and everything will turn out just the way He says it will.
God knew the king would catch Haman in a compromising position with the Queen, and God knew that the gallows were for Haman. God had a plot to keep the king awake one night and have him read the archives; we will get to that soon. But make no mistake, God is moving all the time, never stagnant; always moving forward to the end. God is always making a way and forging a plan, and we are called to trust and obey. God did not fail Esther and Mordecai, and He will not fail you and me either. The world will not outsmart God; He has already completed the game and won. Read the Book of the Revelation, and you will see. We serve a mighty God; One who paves the way and sets the stage for victory even when it seems all is lost. Stand in confidence with Jehovah. David put it this way in Psalm 37:25,
“I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread.”
God bless you,
Dr. Sean Gooding
Pastor of Mississauga Missionary Baptist Church
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