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Bible Commentaries

Expositor's Dictionary of Texts

Esther 5

Verses 1-14

Esther 5:13

The story of Haman was one of immense and rapid success. He had climbed high till he was the greatest man in the Persian Empire next to the king. But his pride had been wounded by the neglect of a certain Jew named Mordecai to bow before him and do him reverence. He could easily crush the insolent Jew with one word, but the insult had so mortified his pride that he could not be content with merely punishing the culprit. He could only appease his fretful irritation and revengeful pride by superintending the erection of a high gallows. Mordecai was the black spot in his sunshine. Do we know enough of our own hearts to be able to make any modern interpretation and any personal application of the story? Is there no wounded pride that can be as bitter as Haman's though not on so large a stale?

I. Thus notice for our own learning that malice makes a man lose perspective. It magnifies the one petty thing, and blinds the eye to everything else. It is like the lust of curiosity, which makes the whole wide world open to inspection as of no account compared to the one hidden thing as in the Bluebeard type of story familiar from nursery days, in which every room of the spacious house is open, but there is one locked door, and nothing but that counts.

II. Further, notice how it leads to self-deception, even in the things where a wily worldly man like Haman would be supposed to be wideawake. If he had not scorned and hated Mordecai so much he would have found out something more about him, and would have found out that the queen's favour was his ruin and not his protection. Seneca's word has had many an illustration in history and experience. 'Anger is like rain: it breaks itself on what it falls.'

III. What can save us from it, guard us from giving way to it, rescue us from its deadly grip if it already has hold of us? No mere negative precaution can prevail much. At the centre of that circle whose circumference is the whole universe of God there stands a Cross. At the Cross we bow in penitence of self and pity of others. We cannot keep our malice there.

H. Black, Edinburgh Sermons, p. 101.

References. V. 13. J. C. M. Bellew, Sermons, vol. iii. p. 150. Nicholson, Communion with Heaven, p. 242. V. A. Raleigh, The Book of Esther, p. 106.

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Bibliographical Information
Nicoll, William Robertson, M.A., L.L.D. "Commentary on Esther 5". Expositor's Dictionary of Text. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/edt/esther-5.html. 1910.