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ESTHER AND THE KING AND HAMAN’S DELUSION
1. Esther before the king and her request (Esther 5:1-8 )
2. Haman’s delusion (Esther 5:9-14 )
Esther 5:1-8 . On the third day Esther put on her royal apparel, a significant day in Scripture as we point out in the typical application of this chapter. The days of fasting and agony were passed and she is seen no longer attired in sackcloth but in royal garments. It is of great interest that Rabbinical exposition (Midrash) gives a tradition that in her great anxiety and anguish of soul she uttered the opening sentence of Psalms 22:0 , “My God, my God, why hast Thou forsaken me?” She made use of the very words which the most ancient Jewish exponents understood as referring to the Messiah and which came from the lips of our Lord when He bore our sins in His body on the tree.
Clothed in her majestic robes, probably wearing the crown the king had placed upon her head, she entered in and stood in the inner court, which was the entrance gate to the pillared hall at the opposite end of which the king sat on his throne. The king saw her and she obtained favour--grace--in his sight.
And the king held out the golden sceptre which was in his hand. So Esther drew near, and touched the top of the sceptre. The beautiful typical meaning of this the reader will find at the close of this chapter. The royal sceptre, the emblem of royal power is extended towards her, the sign of the king’s favour, and she touched the sceptre. (The Latin translation--the Vulgate--translates “she kissed the sceptre.”) In touching the sceptre she expressed her need of it. She touched the royal sceptre of power and authority--because from this she seeks and expects deliverance. And it was the touch of faith. And so at once the king recognizing her action and what was behind it said, “What wilt thou, Queen Esther? And what is thy request? It will be given thee even to the half of the kingdom.” instead of asking for a big gift she requests that the king and Haman be present at a banquet she had prepared. The initials in the Hebrew of the sentence “Let the king and Haman come” spell the word Yahweh, which is Jehovah. This the rabbis used to prove that the name of God is mentioned in this book. While this is merely fanciful, we know that Jehovah is revealed in the manifestation of His power in behalf of His people. It must have mystified the king that such a request came from Esther. But she made the petition for she wanted Haman to be present when she uncovered the plot to the king. And the king urged haste upon Haman. He was hurrying to his doom. At the banquet he repeated his question to find out what her petition was. It was customary among oriental kings that petitions were offered and then easily granted at banquets. He repeats his offer also that even if it is the half of the kingdom, it is to be performed. This benevolence of the king proved to the queen his affection for her and hence the success of her great mission. She still holds back her petition. She invites to another banquet on the next day when she promises to make known her petition. In this she exhibited great wisdom. She made the king curious and expectant.
Esther 5:9-14 . Haman’s pride produces delusion. He congratulates himself over the honour the Queen has done him. It was a day of joy and gladness of heart. And how he was moved with indignation when he beholds again Mordecai standing up and not doing him the honour which in his delusion he thinks is now more due him than before. Why did he not kill him at once? According to Persian law one who sat at the king’s gate put himself under the protection of the king. As long as he was there he was safe. Now this being the case, if Haman had killed Mordecai, his enemies would have reported the matter to the king that he had murdered one who had placed himself under the protecting wings of the king, who had appealed for protection. Haman knew the possible consequences. Therefore he fetched his friends and his wife Zeresh. He gives a review of his riches and his honors including the latest of being invited by the queen. Then he tells of his vexation. “Yet all this availeth me nothing, so long as I see Mordecai the Jew sitting at the king’s gate.” Then comes from his friends and his wife the advice. The suggested gallows are made to hang Mordecai and Haman waits, perhaps impatiently, for the morrow when he would go in merrily to the king and request the execution of the Jew. In his delusion and pride he did not know that he built the gallows for himself.
This chapter is especially rich in its symbolical, typical and dispensational meaning. It was on the third day that Esther came forth to enter into the presence of the king. The third day throughout Scripture is the day of resurrection and life, the day of blessing and glory. On the third day in the first chapter of Genesis the submerged earth came out of the waters and brought forth its beautiful vegetation. This speaks of resurrection and it is the first time this type is found in the Word of God. Many times after that the third day in the history of Israel is mentioned, as well as the third time, and each time it carries with it the same lesson. (See 2 Kings 20:5 ; Jonah and his experiences, etc.) All these passages are blessed types of Him who was raised on the third day after He finished the work the Father gave Him to do. And so is Esther a type. She passed typically through a death experience in her fasting, with deep anguish of soul. “If I perish, I perish,” she had said; ready to sacrifice herself. When she stands in her royal garments before the king on the third day with her death experience behind she reminds us of Him who left the grave behind and is now garbed in resurrection glory. The golden sceptre tells of divine righteousness, power and grace. That sceptre is extended to all who come to God in that blessed and worthy Name. We can come with boldness to the throne of grace, obtaining mercy and finding grace to help in time of need. And there are other gospel applications which we can make. Esther’s entering in to the king was not according to law. Law excluded her from the presence of the king. So we are excluded from being in God’s presence, because we are sinners. But love has made a way through the Beloved One in whom we are accepted. And the banquet which Esther made for the king was for more than giving refreshment to him who loved her, as we can refresh Him also. It was a banquet to expose the enemy, to stop his accusation and take his power away from him. And all this is graciously accomplished in a spiritual way through the cross and the resurrection of Christ.
If we look upon Esther as a type of the Jewish remnant we see in her fasting and agony the tribulation through which this remnant passeth. But there comes a third day. This prophecy declares. “After two days will He revive us; on the third day He will raise us up, and we shall live before Him” (Hosea 6:1 ). The third day will surely come when Israel will rise out of the dust and when the golden sceptre will be extended to His earthly people.
In Haman we see the arrogant pride of the enemy of God and the final enemy of the Jewish people. “Pride goeth before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall” (Proverbs 16:18 ), was true of Haman, it is true of all who walk in pride and will finally be exemplified in the total defeat of him, who exalteth himself above all that is called God.
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Gaebelein, Arno Clemens. "Commentary on Esther 5". "Gaebelein's Annotated Bible". https://www.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 24 / Ordinary 29