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Bible Commentaries
Esther 6

Old & New Testament Restoration CommentaryRestoration Commentary

Introduction

Esther Chapter 6

Esther 6:1 "On that night could not the king sleep, and he commanded to bring the book of records of the chronicles; and they were read before the king." The prayers of those who had been fasting have been heard of God. This was the only explanation for the king to suddenly want to look at the book of records, because he could not sleep. The king had the historical record read to him.

Esther 6:2 "And it was found written, that Mordecai had told of Bigthana and Teresh, two of the king’s chamberlains, the keepers of the door, who sought to lay hand on the king Ahasuerus." Mordecai had saved the life of the king, when his two chamberlains, who kept his bedroom door, had plotted to kill him.

Esther 6:3 "And the king said, What honour and dignity hath been done to Mordecai for this? Then said the king’s servants that ministered unto him, There is nothing done for him." The king would certainly want to reward the man, Mordecai, who had saved his life. He found no record where that had been done and after asking the reader of the record about it, he said nothing had been done to reward him.

Esther 6:4 "And the king said, Who [is] in the court? Now Haman was come into the outward court of the king’s house, to speak unto the king to hang Mordecai on the gallows that he had prepared for him." God has a sense of humor, as we will see in these next few verses. The intentions of Haman were to hang Mordecai, not to honor him. Haman was a friend of the king, and was in the palace at the time.

Esther 6:5 "And the king’s servants said unto him, Behold, Haman standeth in the court. And the king said, Let him come in." The king brought Haman in for an entirely different reason than what Haman supposed.

Esther 6:6 "So Haman came in. And the king said unto him, What shall be done unto the man whom the king delighteth to honour? Now Haman thought in his heart, To whom would the king delight to do honour more than to myself?" Haman was so self-centered that he never once thought that the man the king wanted to honor could be anyone, except himself.

Esther 6:7 "And Haman answered the king, For the man whom the king delighteth to honour,"

Esther 6:8 "Let the royal apparel be brought which the king [useth] to wear, and the horse that the king rideth upon, and the crown royal which is set upon his head:" Haman really went to the extreme in the blessings he told the king to bestow upon this man, because he believed he was the man, himself. He told the king to dress him as a king and put the king’s crown upon his head, as if he were king. You can see, from this, that Haman really wanted to be king, himself.

Esther 6:9 "And let this apparel and horse be delivered to the hand of one of the king’s most noble princes, that they may array the man [withal] whom the king delighteth to honour, and bring him on horseback through the street of the city, and proclaim before him, Thus shall it be done to the man whom the king delighteth to honour." Haman was so conceited, that he could see himself as king. For him to be led around town by a high official of the government, was the height of pride. He was about to fall to the lowest ebb of disgrace. The very man he wanted to hang was to be honored the way he wanted to be honored himself.

Esther 6:10 "Then the king said to Haman, Make haste, [and] take the apparel and the horse, as thou hast said, and do even so to Mordecai the Jew, that sitteth at the king’s gate: let nothing fail of all that thou hast spoken." Haman hated Mordecai. The king had waited too long already to honor Mordecai, so he told Haman to hurry. This proud Haman would have to lead the horse carrying his worst enemy.

Esther 6:11 "Then took Haman the apparel and the horse, and arrayed Mordecai, and brought him on horseback through the street of the city, and proclaimed before him, Thus shall it be done unto the man whom the king delighteth to honour." Haman had no choice in this. He had to do it because the king had commanded him to. This was the most humiliating thing that could possibly happen to him. He gave no reply to the king for fear of being demoted.

Esther 6:12 "And Mordecai came again to the king’s gate. But Haman hasted to his house mourning, and having his head covered." He had no sympathy, when Mordecai had been mourning, now it was his turn. He hung his head in shame, and went home.

Esther 6:13 "And Haman told Zeresh his wife and all his friends every [thing] that had befallen him. Then said his wise men and Zeresh his wife unto him, If Mordecai [be] of the seed of the Jews, before whom thou hast begun to fall, thou shalt not prevail against him, but shalt surely fall before him." His wife and his friends could see the hand of God in this. The wise men, here, are Magicians, or star gazers. They realized that Haman would not win this battle against the Jews. Mordecai was the friend of the king. If he was a Jew, the king would turn this edict back against Haman. He was doomed. Everyone, who he thought would say something good to him, have said he would surely fall.

Esther 6:14 "And while they [were] yet talking with him, came the king’s chamberlains, and hasted to bring Haman unto the banquet that Esther had prepared." This was the second banquet that Haman and the king had been invited to attend by the queen. These chamberlains were working for Esther, and they came for Haman. Esther, or the king, were not aware of the embarrassment that had befallen Haman.

Esther 6 Questions

1. When the king could not sleep, what did he command to be done?

2. What does the author believe the reason for him not being able to sleep was?

3. What did he find in the records?

4. Mordecai had saved the life of the ________.

5. What question did the king ask his servants?

6. What was the answer to the question?

7. What makes the author believe that God has a sense of humor?

8. Who did the king ask about what honor should be paid to Mordecai?

9. Who did Haman think the king was trying to honor?

10. What was Haman’s suggestion for the king to do, to honor the man?

11. What was Haman having the king to do, to this man that would make it appear that he was king?

12. Who had to lead Mordecai around town and honor him?

13. After Haman had led Mordecai through town what did he do?

14. Who did Haman tell of his embarrassing situation?

15. What was a Magician?

16. What did Haman’s family and friends and the Magicians tell Haman would happen to him?

17. Who came to get Haman?

18. Why did they come?

19. ________ or the _________ are not aware of Haman’s embarrassment.

Verses 1-3

Est 6:1-3

Introduction

HAMAN GETS THE SHOCK OF HIS LIFE;

THE HIGHER THEY ARE THE FARTHER THEY FALL

There is hardly anything in the literature of mankind that presents a more dramatic contrast of the highest status and the lowest ever attained by a man on one single day than that which is here revealed in the person of Haman the great Prime Minister of the Persian Empire under Xerxes.

On the morning of that crucial day, he was at the very pinnacle of his power and glory, anticipating that within that day he would execute his most hated enemy, enjoy a banquet along with the king himself in the apartment of the queen of Persia, supposing, as his advisers had suggested, that he would hang Mordecai and then "go merrily with the king unto the banquet" (Esther 5:14).

However, during the previous night, God had been at work to frustrate the purpose of this evil genius of the devil, whose purpose was to destroy the Israel of God from the face of the earth. Before the sun went down, Haman would be hanged on his own gallows, his hated enemy Mordecai the Jew would be appointed in his place, and his posterity of ten sons would be destroyed. Zeresh would see a crucifixion all right, but not that of Mordecai.

Where in the literature of all nations is there anything else that compares with such a dramatic reversal of one’s status as that which is here recorded? Haman knew that Mordecai was a Jew, of course; but considering it beneath his dignity to gratify his spirit of hatred upon a single individual, he had determined to destroy the whole Jewish race. Several things the fool did not know. He did not know that the foolish edict he had maneuvered Xerxes into sending forth would also result in the murder of the queen. He might have been able to bring that about, however, if he had refrained from his lust to murder Mordecai at once.

He did not know that Mordecai had saved the king’s life, nor that the record was written in the chronicles of the king, nor that the king had encountered a sleepless night, nor that the king would be interested in rewarding Mordecai at the very moment when he would appear for the purpose of asking the king’s permission to hang Mordecai. Speaking of surprises, where was there ever anything that matched the one that confronted Haman on his way to "go merrily with the king unto the banquet"?

Esther 6:1-3

THE KING’S DECISION TO REWARD MORDECAI

"On that night could not the king sleep; and he commanded to bring the book of records of the chronicles, and they were read before the king. And it was found written that Mordecai had told of Bigthana and Teresh, two of the king’s chamberlains of those that kept the threshold, who had sought to lay hands on the king Ahasuerus. And the king said, What honor and dignity hath been bestowed on Mordecai for this? Then said the king’s servants that ministered unto him, There is nothing done for him."

The king was resolved to reward Mordecai; but even before he had time to announce his decision, Haman had arrived for the purpose of asking the king’s permission to hang Mordecai! What an inopportune moment for Haman’s request!

E.M. Zerr:

Esther 6:1. Any person is likely to have wakeful nights occasionally. Darius passed such a night (Daniel 6:18). But we can understand the cause in his case, for be had just signed a decree that he felt was unjust. In the case of Ahasuerus it was different. It is true he also had authorized a decree that was unjust, but he had not learned of that as yet. There was no apparent reason for his sleeplessness, yet we are sure it was just another item in the wonderful drama being carried on by the Lord. When a person is unable to sleep, and no reason for it is known, he naturally seeks something to "pass the time." In the case of a king the most natural subject of interest would be the records of his kingdom, so this king called upon his servants to read them to him.

Esther 6:2. The servant "happened" to read the account of an attempt upon the life of the king. Now I will request my readers to turn to Esther 2:21-23 and note the comments on those verses. In the present paragraph we see the "loose ends" of the story being gathered up. The account showed the plot of the conspirators and their exposure. It told also of the patriotic service of Mordecai in getting the information to the king that saved his life. But no further action was taken as far as the record went. It has always been the custom at least to give a "reward of merit" of some kind to one who has performed an unusual service to another, and especially to as important a person as a king. But the one doing the reading said nothing along that line while pronouncing this chronicle from the official document.

Esther 6:3. The king evidently thought the full account had not been read. His question, then, as to what had been done in appreciation of Mordecai’s action, was in the nature of request for the complete story. But he was told that he had heard all of the story, that nothing had been done for Mordecai.

Verses 4-6

Est 6:4-6

Esther 6:4-6

THE KING ASKED HAMAN’S SUGGESTION ON HOW TO REWARD THE MAN WHOM THE KING DELIGHTED TO HONOR

"And the king said, Who is in the court? Now Haman was come into the outward court of the king’s house, to speak unto the king to hang Mordecai on the gallows he hadprepared for him. And the king’s servants said unto him, Behold, Haman standeth in the court. And the king said, Let him come in. So Haman came in. And the king said unto him, What shall be done unto the man whom the king delighteth to honor? Now Haman said in his heart, To whom would the king delight to do honor more than to myself."

As a consequence of Haman’s egotism in thinking that his suggestions would be applied to himself, he really went all out with what he proposed.

E.M. Zerr:

Esther 6:4-5. The king was determined on supplying what had been neglected in the case, and prepared to show his appreciation by bestowing some honor on Mordecai. Naturally he wanted to use the proper method and would employ some trusted servant for the purpose. So the king asked to learn who was available and who was in the outer court. Anyone would be permitted to come that far uninvited. Haman "happened" to be there at the very time the king made his inquiry. He had come, however, to seek the lawful entrance to the inner court, to ask for the slaying of Mordecai. When informed that Haman was there, the king gave order to have him brought in. Doubtless this invitation came before Haman had asked for it, and it must have been a joyful surprise. Under such an impression he came into the immediate presence of the king with great expectations.

Esther 6:6. We should keep in mind that up to the present point, the king knows nothing of the connection Mordecai has with the decree that Haman had caused to be sent out. He knows only that it was against "a certain people," but does not know that Mordecai and Esther would be involved. Therefore, when he makes his proposal to Haman, the king will be perfectly "innocent" of its relation to the divine plan. As far as the king was concerned, this affair which he was about to carry out would be only an incident to complete the routine of honorable reward of merit, so that the royal chronicles would show a regular form. And since Haman was one of his more important servants, he would be an appropriate person to suggest the procedure and also to put it into effect. In the light of all this he asked Haman for his suggestions. We would expect Haman to take just such a view of the case as he did. Had the king not recently promoted him? Had not the royal decree been signed at his request? Had he not been the only guest invited to the queen’s banquet with the king? And now, had he not just been invited to come into the inner court even before he had asked for it? No wonder, then, that he said to himself, To whom would the king delight to do honor more than to myself? Everything indicated that he was the very one to receive the honor.

Verses 7-9

Est 6:7-9

Esther 6:7-9

HAMAN’S ADVICE ON HOW TO HONOR THE MAN

"And Haman said unto the king, For the man whom the king delighteth to honor, let royal apparel be brought which the king useth to wear, and the horse that the king rideth upon, and on the head of which a crown royal is set: and let the apparel and the horse be delivered to the hand of one of the king’s most noble princes, that they may array the man therewith whom the king delighteth to honor, and cause him to ride on horseback through the street of the city, and proclaim before him, Thus shall it be done to the man whom the king delighteth to honor."

None of the writers we have consulted has dealt with the possibility that Ahasuerus might have discerned Haman’s supposition that such honors would be done to himself, and that he detected in that egocentric minister the ambition to sieze the crown itself. Certainly, a man’s riding on a horse with a royal crown on his head was a very powerful symbol of royal authority. Such would most certainly have been an effective way of reminding Haman that he was not the most noble prince, but one of the most noble princes.

"On the head of which a crown royal is set" (Esther 6:8). "The practice of setting crown-like head-dresses on horses is attested by Assyrian reliefs."

Only the king seems to have been ignorant of the feud between Mordecai and Haman; certainly everybody in Shushan must have been aware of it. "Thus the king had no idea of the irony of the situation in which he placed his favorite minister." However, the whole city of Shushan would have been astounded at this development.

E.M. Zerr:

Esther 6:7-9. With the impression just described as his motive, Haman would naturally make the scene as dignified as possible. The procedure he suggested would place a man about second to the king in the point of show and pomp. There are no less than six items in the formula that he prescribed for the man to be honored. I shall briefly note the items from the text: Royal apparel, crown royal, arrayed by the most noble prince, on horseback through the city, proclaim before him, horse the king rideth, etc. What a display of glory that Haman thought he was arranging for himself!

Verses 10-11

Est 6:10-11

Esther 6:10-11

HAMAN ORDERED TO HONOR MORDECAI THE JEW

"Then the king said to Haman, Make haste, and take the apparel and the horse, and do even so to Mordecai the Jew, that sitteth at the king’s gate: let nothing fail of all that thou hast spoken. Then took Haman the apparel and the horse, and arrayed Mordecai, and caused him to ride through the street of the city, and proclaimed before him, Thus shall it be done unto the man whom the king delighteth to honor."

The most significant words in this paragraph are the words. "Mordecai the Jew" on the lips of the king. There is no evidence whatever that the king knew that Mordecai was a Jew prior to that sleepless night and his hearing the reading of the record of the chronicles. With that information in hand, the king might also have become aware that Esther was a Jewess, her connection with Mordecai would have guaranteed that. Therefore, we believe that, contrary to what some writers have written, Ahasuerus had already made up his mind to put the hook in the nose of Haman, even prior to that second banquet. His order for Haman to honor Mordecai certainly did that very thing.

E.M. Zerr:

Esther 6:10. With our knowledge of the whole background in mind, it would appear that Ahasuerus had the idea of punishing Haman by the order he gave him. That it was done as if he was saying to himself: "I will teach Haman a lesson that will humble him." Such was not the case, for he was still wholly ignorant of the true state of affairs. He did not know the connection that Haman and Esther and Mordecai had with the edict sent out. Instead of being a rebuke to Haman (which we can see that it was), the king would rather consider it something of an honor to him, to be entrusted with this important service for the king of such a great realm as Persia. But this very motive of Ahasuerus would make the order given to Haman all the more a sharp rebuke.

Esther 6:11. Of course Haman could not do otherwise than obey the order of the king. Even to have protested would have forced an issue into the limelight that he was not ready to meet. So he faithfully carried out the procedure suggested by himself and directed to be applied to the very man he hated most. It gives us an instance of the lesson taught by Jesus in Luke 18:14.

Verses 12-14

Est 6:12-14

Esther 6:12-14

THE REACTION OF THE PEOPLE TO MORDECAI’S HONOR AT THE HANDS OF HAMAN

"And Mordecai came again to the king’s gate. But Haman hasted to his house, mourning and having his head covered. And Haman recounted unto Zeresh his wife and all his friends everything that had befallen him. Then said his wise men and Zeresh his wife unto him, If Mordecai before whom that hast begun to fall, be of the seed of the Jews, thou shalt not prevail against him, but shalt surely fall before him. While they were yet talking with him, came the king’s chamberlains, and hasted to bring Haman unto the banquet that Esther had prepared."

Haman’s mourning and covering his head indicated that he fully understood the horrible demotion he had already received at the hands of the king. We attribute that demotion to the fact of the king’s recognition of Haman’s secret desire to take the crown.

Everyone in Susa knew the providential blessing of the Jews, beginning with Cyrus’ edict for their return to Jerusalem; and the people, including Haman’s `wise men,’ were aware of the hand of God in Jewish history.

Joyce Baldwin’s remark that, "Most commentators, other than Jews, see all of the coincidences in this narrative as more characteristic of fiction than of real life," should be rejected as incorrect. All Christians see the hand of God in every line of this remarkable history.

The historical proof of everything written here is seen in the influence of Esther which prevailed in the Persian Empire throughout the times of Ezra and Nehemiah, whose work, in both instances was doubtless made possible by the influence of this great queen. In a very real sense, the Book of Esther appears here, following Ezra and Nehemiah as an explanation of how their ministries came to be possible.

The historicity of Esther receives presumptive proof in the very fact of God’s name being omitted. That means that no Jew could possibly have written it. Then who did write it? Someone who had access to Persian court records; and it is impossible to imagine any kind of motivation that could have led to writing a fictitious yarn with the cosmic dimensions of the Book of Esther. It therefore is most certainly history, not fiction.

Esther 6:14 here relates that the chamberlains came to take Haman away to the banquet. "Haman went to Esther’s second banquet like a sheep to the slaughter."

E.M. Zerr:

Esther 6:12. When the march through the city was over, the procession ended where it began which was at the king’s gate, since that was where Mordecai had been keeping himself most of the time. What feelings of mingled hate and shame Haman must have been having as he deposited the despised Jew in his accustomed place after this triumphant march through the city; a march of triumph for the Jew who had consistently spurned the haughty Haman. But it was a triumph of honor that he had not sought. And it was no wonder that Haman hastened to his home, with his head covered with sackcloth or some other article that indicated his utter dejection.

Esther 6:13. Haman received no comfort from his wife, as he did the first time he appealed to her. She evidently knew about the general history of the Jews, and that in all of their troubles they were successful in the end. But she must have been unaware of the full relationship between Mordecai and them, even though he was called a Jew. She finally suspected the truth about it and concluded that Haman was doomed to be the loser in any conflict with Mordecai. She stated this thought to him, and the same was agreed to by the wise men attending on him.

Esther 6:14. The affair of giving Mordecai an honorable conduct through the streets of the city took place between the two banquets given by Esther. Haman likely forgot about the second invitation because of his terrible shock at the exaltation of Mordecai. So he had to be reminded of his "social engagement," and urged to fulfill it.

Bibliographical Information
"Commentary on Esther 6". "Old & New Testament Restoration Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/onr/esther-6.html.
 
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