- After her three days of prayer and fasting were complete, Esther
aproached the king. (v. 1)
- Notice that Esther took a lot of care to prepare herself for the king.
She spent time in prayer and fasting. Additionally, she made sure to
prepare herself physically and took care to ensure that her appearance
was the best it could be.
- The king welcomed Esther. (v. 2)
- Remember how much Esther fretted about the possibility of being put to
death by approaching the king uninvited? We would expect the moment
where the king decides if she lives or dies to be a moment full of
drama, but the author essentially passes over this moment quickly. It
is important to see that the real drama is in Esther's decision to try
to help her people.
- Instead of continuing the drama from the last chapter, we move to brand
- The king asked Esther what she wanted and offered her as much as half
the kingdom. (v. 3)
- The offer of half the kingdom was obviously an exaggeration, and Esther
knew it. Apparently, it was common for Persian kings to make extravant
offers such as this, with both the offerer and the offereree knowing
that it was an exaggeration. Esther shows her political savy by not
taking advantage of the king's offer.
- See also the story of the beheading of John the Baptist (Mark 6:23,
e.g.) for another Biblical story of a king offering up to half his
kingdom on a request.
- Esther asked the king and Haman to come to a banquet she had prepared
for them. (v. 4)
- Esther creates more drama and positions herself to be in a position
more likely to achieve her results by holding a banquet and prolonging
- The king and Haman went to Esther's banquet. (v. 5)
- While they were drinking wine, the king once again asked what Esther's
real request was. (v. 6)
- Esther told the king that if he and Haman came back tomorrow for another
banquett, she would explain what it was all about. (v. 7-8)
- It would be intrepreted as a great honor for Haman to be the only person
asked to attend the private banquet with Esther and the king.
- Haman was very happy when he left the banquet, but when he saw Mordecai,
he became furious. (v. 9)
- Notice that Haman's hatred toward Mordecai kept him from being able to
enjoy the great honor that was bestowed upon him by being invited to the
queen's banquet. See, for example, Hebrews 12:15 for a warning: "watch out
that no bitter root of unbelief rises up among you, for whenever it
springs up, many are corrupted by its poison."
- Haman's hatred caused his plans to backfire against him. This is a
warning to us.
- When Haman got home, he gathered all his friends and wife together
and bragged about his accomplishments, including the fact that Esther
invited him for a special banquet with the king. (v. 10-12)
- However, even with Haman's blessings, he was frustrated and thought it
meaningless since Mordecai wouldn't pay him the respect he felt he
deserved. (v. 13)
- Haman's attitude toward Mordecai is a very unhealthy attitude. If Haman
were a more humble man, he probably would not have even noticed Mordecai's
actions. This is especially the case since Haman had a much higher
position than Mordecai.
- Haman's wife and all his friends suggested taht Haman build a gallows
and ask that the king hang Mordecain on it the next morning. Haman
thought this was a great idea. (v. 14)
- See Proverbs 16:18 - "Pride goes before destruction." - for a commentary
on Haman's desire to build the gallows.
- Don't let the little things in life bother you.
- That night, the king was having problems sleeping, so he asked that
someone come read a history book (about his own reign) to him. (v. 1)
- God uses small things. The fact that the king can't sleep seems to be a
small matter, but it turns out to be the catalyst that saves the Jews!
How might God be working in small ways in your life right now?
- In the book, they discovered about how Mordecai had uncovered the plot
to assassinate the king. (v. 2)
- These couple of verses bring together a lot of "cooincidences." 1) Mordecai
had saved the king's life all that time ago. 2) Mordecai was not honored at
the time. 3) The king decides to honor Mordecai at the exact moment that
Esther is planning to plead a case for the Jews. Is this really a
cooincidence? Of course not. Once again, the author is plainly showing
the extent to which God is in control of the situation without actually
saying that it's God. The reader is left to recognize that fact for
- King Xerxes asked what honor was given to Mordecai and he was informed
that nothing was given to him. (v. 3)
- When the king heard that, he asked who was in the court. His attendants
told him that Haman was in the outer court and the king ordered him in.
- King Xerxes asks Haman what he should do for a man who he wants to honor.
- This is quite an ironic twist in the story, due to the fact that neither
Haman nor the King know what the other one is thinking. The king has no
idea that Haman has an intense hatred for Mordecai and Haman has no idea
that the king is planning to elevate Mordecai! The reader is the only one
with all the information about the character's motives.
- Haman thinks that the king is talking about him. (v. 6)
- Haman describes several elaborate and honorable things that the king
should do, thinking that the king would honor him like that. (v. 7-9)
- Haman makes several mistakes here. He is making an assumption about who
the king wants to honor. Instead of thinking about what the person should
really deserve, Haman thinks about what he wants. Haman allows his lust
for respect and power blind him. This eventually proves to be his downfall.
- The king commands Haman to do everything that Haman recommends - but to
honor Mordecai! (v. 10)
- Haman did as he was commanded. (v. 11)
- What do you think Mordecai is thinking when Haman - his enemy - is parading
him about town with high honor? How do you think Haman felt?
- Mordecai returned to the king's gate and Haman returned home in disgrace.
- Note that Mordecai's reward was not immediate. So it is with how God
treats us. God promises us that our good deeds will be rewarded. Sometimes,
however, we have to wait for the reward to be in heaven. Knowing that we
might not be rewarded immediately for our good works should encourage us
to cultivate an attitude of doing good for the sake of doing good -
without regard to reward.
- Haman told his friends and family about this turn of events and they warn
him that his downfall will come of this, since Mordecai is a Jew. (v. 13)
- While they were still discussing this issue, the king's eunuchs arrived
to escort Haman to Esther's banquet. (v. 14)
- The king and Haman went to dine with Queen Esther. (v. 1)
- Remember how we were supposed to be watching for the important roles
that banquets play in this study? Esther's banquet has ramifications
that are felt throughout the entire kingdom, starting at Haman's house.
- Once again, the king asks Esther what her wish was. (v. 2)
- Esther lays out the situation that she and the other Jews are in - ripe
to be destroyed. (v. 3-4)
- Esther speaks highly of the Jewish people, saying that they are so
valuable that the king could not be compensated for their loss. (v. 4)
- Esther says that she would have held her tongue if the plan were
simply for the enslavement, not the extermination, of the Jews. Had
the Jews been enslaved, it would have been a decision that could have
been reversed if it were later found to be a bad idea. However, once
the population were exterminated, there would be no reversing that
- The king demands to know who has put a price on the heads of the Jews.
- Esther revealed that Haman was the man who had orchestrated it and
Haman was terrified. (v. 6)
- The King Causes Haman to be Hanged on his own Gallows
- The king was very angry and went into the garden. (v. 7)
- The king provides us an excellent example of how to act when angry:
take time to carefully consider the situation and do not make
decisions in haste.
- Do you have a place where you go to be alone and think about things,
especially when you're angry? For me, I enjoy a ride on my motorcycle.
We can find quiet places in our own gardens, in our houses, or anywhere
that we can "get away" from the normal routine and take time to meditate.
- Perhaps the king was also a bit embarrassed by his part in this matter.
Remember that he gave Haman the authority to create and carry out the
order to kill the Jews.
- Haman started begging for his life to Queen Esther. (v. 7)
- Look at how earnestly Haman pleads for his life. Do you plead for things
from other people, from people in authority? What about your pleadings
before Jesus - the King of Kings. We know that God wants to give us the
best, even more than we can comprehend for ourselves. We should seek the
best, but we often neglect to ask God for things that we can ask for.
Why? Is it because we feel that we're not worthy? We are not worthy, yet
God continues to offer us the best anyway. If Haman can plead for his
life to Esther, if we can plead for things from people in authority here,
we can certainly put our pleadings before God. Haman is pleading for his
own salvation. We can, and should, plead for the salvation of ourselves,
our relatives, and our friends.
- When the king returned, Haman had fallen across the couch where Esther
was and the king thought that he was attacking Esther. (v. 8)
- One of the eunuchs pionted out the gallows that Haman had built for
Mordecai and the king commanded that Haman be hanged upon it. (v. 9)
- They covered Haman's face. This was an indication of his sudden
degradation of status. As a criminal, he was no longer worthy of
looking upon the king's face.
- They hanged Haman and the king's anger subsided. (v. 10)
- Haman was destroyed by his own gallows. Often, when we embark on a plan
conceived in anger or hate, we find that the plan backfires on us. It
might not cost us our lives, as it did Haman, but it is still a painful
situation to find ourselves in.
- Haman reaped what he had sown.
- King Xerxes gave Queen Esther the estate of Haman. (v. 1)
- Esther told the king how she was related to Mordecai. (v. 1)
- This is the first time Esther has revealed that Mordecai is her adopted
father. Finally, there are no more secrets, no more intrigue. All of the
characters have access to the same information.
- The king promoted Mordecai by giving him the signet ring that he had
reclaimed from Haman. Esther put Mordecai in charge of Haman's estate.
- Notice that everything that Haman had build up for himself - riches,
social position, etc. - have now been placed upon Mordecai. This serves
as a reminder to us that when we build up things, we don't always know
who will gather them. Haman heaped up piles of earthly riches and
Mordecai gathered them.
- This also serves as a final ironic twist for Haman in that the man whom
he despised most is now in charge of his entire estate.
- Esther pleaded with the king, begging that he put an end to Haman's
plan. (v. 3-6)
- Why does Esther beg with the king again? The immediate danger of
Mordecai's life being taken away has passed, but the bigger picture of
the threat to all Jews still remains. Esther is reminding the king that
Haman's decree will outlast Haman's death.
- Notice that even in her pleading, Esther continues to remain in control
of the situation. She has never failed to move the king to act in the
way she wants action to take place.
- Notice also Esther's coyness, especially in verse five where she
alternates phrases between calling attention to the king and calling
attention to her desire to please the king.
- King Xerxes replied that he had already given Haman's estate to
Mordecai and Ester and that he had Haman executed. The king further
goes on to tell Esther and Mordecai to write another decree in the
king's name in behalf of the Jews. (v. 7-8)
- Mordecai wrote an edict in the kings name and it was written to be
distributed throughout the entire kingdom. (v. 9-10)
- The edict gave the Jews permission to protect themselves from their
enemies. It also gave them permission to attack and kill any armed
force that rose against them and to plunder the property of their
enemies. (v. 11)
- Notice that the new order does not cancel the old order. Official orders
that are sealed with the king's ring cannot be cancelled or altered.
Instead, this order provides a way to counteract the previous order.
- Is the new edict an order forged out of revenge? No, it was a defensive
one. The order gave the Jews permission to do to their enemies exactly
what their enemies were preparing to do to them, nothing more.
- The day appointed for the Jews to do this was on the thirteenth day of
the twelfth month. This is the same day that Haman's original order was
to be carried out. (v. 12)
- The edict was published throughout the kingdom. (v. 13-14)
- Mordecai left the king's presence wearing royal clothing and jewelry.
(No longer in sackcloth.) There was great celebration on behalf of the
Jews throughtout the kingdom. (v. 15-17)
- What is the "fear of the Jews" mentioned in verse 17? It is probably not
fear of their aggression, for they were granted permission to defend
themselves, not to become an attacking force. More likely, the "fear"
was a respect or an awe - remember that the Jews were scheduled for
essentially a slaughter, now they have the protection of the king and
the authority to fight back. The people would have realized that there
is some sort of divine protection upon the Jews and they want to be a
part of that.
- People should be able to see how God is a part of our lives and want to
learn more. Some of the most effective Christian evangalism is found in
the simplicity of living a good Christian life and being a good example
to everyone who sees you. You never know who might be watching what you
do, so it is always the best policy to life your life as though you are
being an example to those around you at all times.
- On the appointed day the enemies of the Jews had hoped to overpower them,
but the tables were turned and the Jews got the upper hand. (v. 1)
- No one could stand against the Jews because the people of the other
nationalities were afraid of them. (v. 2)
- The government officials all helped the Jews because of Mordecaiıs power
in the royal court. (v. 3-4)
- The Jews defeated all their enemies. (v. 5)
- The Jews also killed Hamanıs sons. (v. 7-10)
- The Jews did not lay their hands on the plunder. (v. 10)
- The king asked Esther what else she wanted. (v. 11-12)
- The king appears to be more concerned with Estherıs wishes than with
the well-being of his own subjects (many of whom were slaughtered).
- Esther asked that the edict be allowed to be carried out one more day
and that Hamanıs sons be hanged on the gallows. (v. 13)
- Throughout the kingdom, the Jews were victorious against their
enemies. (v. 14-17)
- The Jews in Susa assembled on the 13th and 14th, celebrating on the
15th. The rural Jews celebrated on the 14th. (v. 18-19)
- Mordecai recorded the events and said that the celebration should take
place every year. (v. 20-22)
- The story of the decrees is recapped. (v. 23-25)
- The reasons the celebration is called Purim are discussed the name is
taken from ³pur,² the lots used to decide on the day for the edicts.
- Purim was established throughout the land. (v. 29-32)
- By writing down the story and instituting an anual celebration, the
events recorded in Esther are more solidified in the minds of the
people. Be establishing this celebration, Godıs providence is
remembered every year.
- Purim is the only major Jewish festival not specified in the Pentateuch.