“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. 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. 3 Then the king said, ‘What honor or dignity has been bestowed on Mordecai for this?’ And the king’s servants who attended him said, ‘Nothing has been done for him.’ 4 So the king said, ‘Who is in the court?’ Now Haman had just entered the outer court of the king’s palace to suggest that the king hang Mordecai on the gallows that he had prepared for him. 5 The king’s servants said to him, ‘Haman is there, standing in the court.’ And the king said, ‘Let him come in.’ 6 So Haman came in, and the king asked him, ‘What shall be done for the man whom the king delights to honor?’
“Now Haman thought in his heart, ‘Whom would the king delight to honor more than me?’ 7 And Haman answered the king, ‘For the man whom the king delights to honor, 8 let a royal robe be brought which the king has worn, and a horse on which the king has ridden, which has a royal crest placed on its head. 9 Then let this robe and horse be delivered to the hand of one of the king’s most noble princes, that he may array the man whom the king delights to honor. Then parade him on horseback through the city square, and proclaim before him: ‘Thus shall it be done to the man whom the king delights to honor!’ 10 Then the king said to Haman, ‘Hurry, take the robe and the horse, as you have suggested, and do so for Mordecai the Jew who sits within the king’s gate! Leave nothing undone of all that you have spoken.’
“11 So Haman took the robe and the horse, arrayed Mordecai and led him on horseback through the city square, and proclaimed before him, ‘Thus shall it be done to the man whom the king delights to honor!’ 12 Afterward Mordecai went back to the king’s gate. But Haman hurried to his house, mourning and with his head covered. 13 When Haman told his wife Zeresh and all his friends everything that had happened to him, his wise men and his wife Zeresh said to him, ‘If Mordecai, before whom you have begun to fall, is of Jewish descent, you will not prevail against him but will surely fall before him.’ 14 While they were still talking with him, the king’s eunuchs came, and hastened to bring Haman to the banquet which Esther had prepared.“
There is a song out right now by Toby Mac called “Help is on the Way.” One of the lines in the song is, “It may be midnight or midday, He’s never early and never late.” This is the testimony of how perfect God’s timing is; He is never early and never late. As we explore this passage here in Esther, we will see that God always has the upper hand, He is never caught off-guard, and He is always several plays ahead of any man and certainly ahead of Satan. God allows things to seemingly go unnoticed for His timing, for His glory, and for His purpose. If you recall, back in chapter 2:21-23, Mordecai found out that two of the king’s servants wanted to kill the king.
“In those days, while Mordecai sat within the king’s gate, two of the king’s eunuchs, Bigthan and Teresh, doorkeepers, became furious and sought to lay hands on King Ahasuerus. So the matter became known to Mordecai, who told Queen Esther, and Esther informed the king in Mordecai’s name. And when an inquiry was made into the matter, it was confirmed, and both were hanged on a gallows; and it was written in the book of the chronicles in the presence of the king.”
Mordecai told, and they were executed. The incident was recorded in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Persia, much like we have the chronicles of the kings of Israel in the Bible. The king himself did not know about the incident personally; however, that was all about to change. Esther had made a move, Mordecai had prayed, and the Jews had fasted; God was about to show up and take on the enemy of Israel, Haman. Haman was about to experience the Lion of Judah in a way that he and the whole world would never forget.
- Sleepless Nights, verses 1-4
God knows just when you need a sleepless night. He keeps you up and gets His point across. This was the case with Ahasuerus; he could not sleep this night before the banquet that Esther had proposed. He is pacing the room, and unlike our time where we have TVs and Netflix, the king had the book of the chronicles of Persia read. As the steward was reading, he comes to the event that includes Mordecai and how he had basically rescued the king from an assassination attempt, and the king is astonished that he did not know about it. He is further astonished that nothing had been done to honor Mordecai. This was a serious matter; Mordecai was to be honored for his actions.
It would appear that Haman has a sleepless night as well. He was in the palace, and the king summoned him to get his opinion. It is kind of cool that God did not allow the king to divulge who he was speaking about to Haman. Haman, in his pride, thought that there was no one in the kingdom save he that deserved to be honored, and he went big. He dug down into his bucket list and pulled out all that he wanted for honor. The Bible tells us that pride comes before a great fall (Proverbs 16:18). Many people caught up in pride have no clue that their end has come, and they are not able to see the ‘writing on the wall.’
Haman had no clue that he was about to be destroyed, but before he ever got there, God was going to turn up the heat on him by first making him honor the man he hated the most. I do not think that Haman was unaware of what Mordecai had done. After all, he was closer to the regular folks of the palace than the king.
Haman was filled with himself, and here is the question he asked in his head: “Now Haman thought in his heart, ‘Whom would the king delight to honor more than me?'” It was impossible for Haman to think that anyone other than himself could have deserved any kind of accolades. If it were me, I would want to wear the king’s robe, ride the king’s horse, and have the whole town cheer me on. Haman wanted to be king for a day. I cannot imagine the shock he felt when he was told to take Mordecai, his enemy, and do all these wonderful things to him. Oh, man, talk about your worst day ever!
Haman’s day was not getting off to a good start, and maybe someone not so full of pride may have seen the hints from God that this was not going to turn out your way. But Haman was blind. Pride makes you blind to God’s warning. Pride makes you think that you are above God and that He will never show up to call you out.
- Haman’s reluctant obedience, verse 10-12
Haman would have honored anyone other than Mordecai. But he did what he was told and obeyed the king. He took Mordecai and gave him Haman’s dream day. Haman had to watch or maybe even help Mordecai put on the Royal robes, mount the Royal horse, wear the Royal crest, and be paraded in town for all to see and cheer on.
This must have been a waking nightmare for Haman. I cannot imagine how he must have felt thinking that Mordecai, this dirty Jew, was getting all the accolades that he, Haman, deserved. This was supposed to be his best day, and it turned out to be his worst so far. But God has more plans for him, plans that make this day look like a walk in the park. Soon a day would come that would make Haman long for this day. There is a title to a great sermon called Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God, preached in 1741 by Jonathan Edwards in the US. All too often, we forget that sin is hated by God. We the sinners are loved, but if we refuse God’s love and kindness, if we turn our minds and hearts away from His grace and mercy, then we are left with an angry God who hates sin, and we have to suffer the consequences.
Haman was not an idiot. He knew the history of the Jews, and he knew that no army, no nation, and no one had ever successfully eradicated the Jews. They thrived even in captivity and prospered in every nation they lived in. The same happens to this day in 2021. Haman knew that he was shaking his fist at the God of Israel, but he was too filled with pride to realize that he could not win. If you mess with the Jews, you are messing with God. Do not provoke God; you cannot win. Haman was about to find that out; sadly, his education would be at the University of The Hard Way.
In contrast, Mordecai was still in mourning, and he was reluctant as well in receiving the accolades. We are told that as soon as the ordeal was over, he went back to mourning. The issue at hand was more important than some swanky trip down the middle of town wearing clothes and riding a horse that he did not own. It was just pretend. Mordecai had the life of a nation to deal with, and he needed to be back praying and fasting for the safety of his people and asking God to help. Mordecai may not even have known that God was already working, that the situation with Haman and the parade was all a part of God’s plot, and ‘the game was afoot’ as Sherlock Holmes would say.
- Others can see the end, verse 13-14
Remember, a few moments ago, I mentioned that pride blinds us to the dangers around us. Well, it would appear that everyone in Haman’s household understood what was happening. They could see the handwriting on the wall. His wife, upon finding out what happened and that Mordecai was a Jew, immediately drew the conclusion that Haman was in big trouble. They knew that he would not prevail against the Jews. These word from verse 13 must have haunted him all the way to the palace:
“When Haman told his wife Zeresh and all his friends everything that had happened to him, his wise men and his wife Zeresh said to him, ‘If Mordecai, before whom you have begun to fall, is of Jewish descent, you will not prevail against him but will surely fall before him.'”
Let me say that this proclamation is just as true today. We need to be very careful when we elect political leaders regarding where they stand on the relationship with the nation of Israel.
The Abrahamic Covenant from Genesis 12:1-3
“Now the Lord had said to Abram: ‘Get out of your country, From your family And from your father’s house, To a land that I will show you. I will make you a great nation; I will bless you And make your name great; And you shall be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, And I will curse him who curses you; And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.'”
This covenant predates the Law, and it has not been ended by Jesus’ New Covenant. As well, if you take a look at Genesis 15, you will see that God makes a covenant with Himself to preserve and protect Israel. Abraham was asleep for the whole ceremony. God, Yahweh, is the protector of Israel. Over the centuries, God has allowed and, in fact, has used other nations to punish Israel. From the Philistines to the Egyptians, the Babylonians, the Assyrians, and yes, even the Germans in the modern era were used by God, but they could not destroy the nation. They were only allowed to go so far in the matter of harming Israel. Haman was not even going to get there. He was going to be squashed like a flea, and God would bring great victory.
That trip to the palace would have gone by quickly, and he reluctantly went to the banquet not knowing what would happen next, but with a foreboding sense that all was not well in ‘Hamanville.’ Just to refresh your memory, no one knew that Esther was a Jew, and in obedience to Mordecai, she had kept her heritage a secret. Add to that the fact that Ahasuerus loved Esther, and Haman had been checkmated by God before the game was even begun. Haman was about to fall into the hands of an angry God.
What about you and me? Do we defy God? Do you defy God’s love and reject the loving sacrifice of His Son? Then you, too, one day will fall into the hands of the angry Living God, the same one who took down Haman. Repent; the end is near. Jesus is the ONLY WAY of salvation for all men everywhere (Acts 4:12).
“Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.”
God bless you,
Dr. Sean Gooding
Pastor of Mississauga Missionary Baptist Church
How to Connect with Us