Esther 7





PREPARED FOR HAMAN (vs. 1-10). Esther had promised to

make her true petition at the second banquet (ch.5:12), and now

kept her word. When the king for the third time put the question, “What is

thy petition, queen Esther? and what is thy request? It shall be performed,

even to the half of the kingdom, she opened all her mind. “If I have found

favor in thy sight, O king, and if it seem good to the king, let my life be

given to me at my petition, and my people at my request” (v. 3). My

supplication is for my own life and for that of my people — no less a

danger than this has moved me. “We are sold, I and my people, to be

destroyed, slain, made to perish.” Had it been anything less than this, had

we been merely sentenced to be sold as slaves, I had kept my peace (v. 4);

but that did not content “the enemy” — we are, one and all, to suffer

death. Esther’s answer must have made all clear to the king — that his wife

was a Jewess; that her life was forfeit, like those of her countrymen, by the

terms of the decree; that Haman was “the enemy” whom she feared. But he

will assume nothing, he will have all clearly set before him, and therefore

he asks, “Who is he, and where is he, that durst presume in his heart to act

so?” Then comes Esther’s final declaration, clear, direct, unmistakable:

The adversary and enemy is this wicked Haman (v. 6), this man here

before you, this man who eats our salt, and would take one of our lives.

Fiercely angry, but confused and hesitating, the king rises from the

banquet, and quits the room, stepping probably through an open door into

the palace garden, Now is Haman’s last chance. Can he excite the pity of

the queen? Can he prevail on her to intercede for him and make his peace

with the king? He entreats, he supplicates, he “falls upon the couch” on

which Esther reclines, in his eagerness to win her consent (v. 7.) At this

moment the king reenters the room (v. 8), and takes advantage .of

Haman’s breach of etiquette to accuse him of rudeness to the queen. The

attendants see in the accusation a sentence of death, and “cover Haman’s

face(v. 8). Then one of the eunuchs, who knows all the circumstances

of the case, anxious for that kind of retribution which is known to moderns

aspoetic justice,” suggests that the cross prepared for Mordecai will serve

well for the execution of Haman. The king readily consents to the

suggestion (v. 9), and Haman is impaled on the cross which he had

erected for his enemy in the court of his own house (v. 10).


1 “So the king and Haman came to banquet with Esther the queen.”

The king and Haman came to banquet (margin -  drink). In

Persian feasts the solid dishes were few, and the time was mainly passed in

drinking and eating dessert (Herod., 1:133).


2 “And the king said again unto Esther on the second day at the

banquet of wine, What is thy petition, queen Esther? and it shall be

granted thee: and what is thy request? and it shall be performed,

even to the half of the kingdom.”  And the king said again. Esther had

promised to let her real request be known at this banquet (ch.5:8). The king

therefore once more gives her the opportunity. On the second day. On the

second occasion of being entertained by Esther.


3 “Then Esther the queen answered and said, If I have found favor in

thy sight, O king, and if it please the king, let my life be given me

at my petition, and my people at my request:”  Let my life be given me, etc.

First of all, I ask at the king’s hands my own life, which is threatened (ch.4:13);

secondly, I ask the life of my people, in whose sentence it is that I am involved.

Some rhetorical skill is shown in separating the two, so as to make them

correspond to the two clauses of the king’s address ‘‘What is thy petition?”

and “What is thy request?”



Spare our Life!  (v. 3)


Was ever so unexpected a request presented as this? When the king in his

capricious favor offered his consort whatsoever she desired, even to the

half of his kingdom, she asked what might have been naturally enough

implored from the royal clemency by some wretched malefactor

condemned to expiate his crimes by death. Give us, me and my people, our

life! How strange a boon to beg! A queen high in favor, at a royal

banquet, to ask that her life should be spared, and her kindred delivered

from an unjust and violent end — in fact, a massacre! Thus were the eyes

of the king opened to the infamy of his minister, and thus was Esther made

the agent in the redemption of Israel. In this petition we have an example

of the request which, as suppliant sinners, we are bound to offer before the

throne of grace. It implies:


  • A SENSE OF DANGER. It is something to be alive to this. Esther had

only lately come to know of the peril in which she and her countrymen and

countrywomen stood. Awake to the impending danger, she was

emboldened to urge her plea. So with us. A worse enemy than Haman has

plotted against the children of men. A worse fate than massacre awaits

those who fall into the snare of the foe. The word of God comes to us as a

word of warning, urging us to “flee from the wrath to come.”   (Matthew

3:7)  Bondage is bad, but death is worse. And “the wages of sin is death.”

(Romans 6:23)


  • A HOPE OF DELIVERANCE. Esther had her fears; she had gone in,

saying, “If I perish, I perish!” Yet she was encouraged by the gracious

demeanor and the generous promise of the king. Therefore she said, If I

have found favour in thy sight, O king, and if it please the king.” We have

no need of such “ifs” in our approach and our prayer to the King of

heaven. He “delighteth in mercy.” (Micah 7:18)  “If we confess our sins,

He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all

unrighteousness.”  (I John 1:9)  Our hope in Divine mercy is well founded;

for it is founded both upon DIVINE PROMISES  and upon the

unspeakable gift”  (II Corinthians 9:15)  which is both the means and the

pledge of the gift of pardon and the gift of life.



so selfish as to ask that she and her kinsman, Mordecai, might be spared;

her desire was that the whole nation of the Jews might be delivered. Similar

was the attitude of Paul, who said, “My heart’s desire and prayer to God

for Israel is, that they may be saved!”  (Romans 10:1)  “For I could wish

myself accursed from Christ [although unnecessarily so since Christ died

to do the job!  - CY – 2014] for my brethren, my kinsman according to

the flesh.”  (Ibid. ch. 9:3)  When we seek salvation through

Christ we cannot seek it for ourselves alone; we shall pray:


Ø      for our households,

Ø      for our nation, and

Ø      for our race.


“Thy light, that on our souls hath shone

Leads us in hope to thee:

Let us not feel its rays alone —

Alone thy people be.

O bring our dearest friends to God;

Remember those we love;

Fit them on earth for thine abode,

Fit them for joys above.”


4 “For we are sold, I and my people, to be destroyed, to be slain, and

to perish. But if we had been sold for bondmen and bondwomen, I

had held my tongue, although the enemy could not countervail the

king’s damage.”  For we are sold, I and my people. Haman has paid our price,

has given ten thousand talents for us, and you, O king, have sold us to him.

The reproach is covert, but clearly contained in the words; and so the king

must have understood Esther. To be destroyed, to be slain, and to

perish. The use of three synonyms for one and the same thing is not mere

verbiage, but very expressive. “We are sold, all of us, to be overwhelmed

in one universal, promiscuous, unsparing destruction.” Although the

enemy could not countervail the king’s damage. “Although, even in that

case, the enemy (Haman) could not (by the payment that he has made)

compensate the king for the damage that he would suffer by losing so many

subjects.” So Gesenius, Rambach, Dathe, and others. But it is simpler, and

Perhaps better, to understand the passage as Bertheau does: “for the enemy

(Haman) is not worthy to vex the king,” or “is not worth vexing the king



5 “Then the king Ahasuerus answered and said unto Esther the queen,

Who is he, and where is he, that durst presume in his heart to do so?”

Who is he? Ahasuerus asks the question to “make sure,” as we say — not that

he could really be in any doubt. That durst presume. Rather, (ὅστις ἐτόλμησεν

hostis etolmaaesenthat hath presumed - Septuagint).


6 “And Esther said, The adversary and enemy is this wicked Haman.

Then Haman was afraid before the king and the queen.”  The adversary and

enemy. Esther adds a second term of reproach — “enemy” — stronger than the

one which she had used before (v. 4), to stir up the king to greater anger.


7 “And the king arising from the banquet of wine in his wrath went

into the palace garden: and Haman stood up to make request for his

life to Esther the queen; for he saw that there was evil determined

against him by the king.  8 Then the king returned out of the palace garden

into the place of the banquet of wine; and Haman was fallen upon the bed

whereon Esther was. Then said the king, Will he force the queen also

before me in the house? As the word went out of king’s mouth, they

covered Haman’s face.”  Ahasuerus rose up from the banquet “in his wrath”

he could no longer remain quiet — and entered the palace garden, on which

Esther’s apartment probably looked; partly, perhaps, to cool the first heat of

his fury in the open air; partly to give himself time for reflection, and consider

what he would do. Haman also rose from table, and standing near her, began

pleading with Esther for his life, which he felt that she, and she alone, could

save. Evil, he saw, was determined against him by the king; but a woman’s

heart might be more tender, and he might perhaps move the queen to allay the

storm that she had raised, and induce the king to spare him. He therefore

pleaded with all the earnestness in his power, and at last threw himself forward

on the couch where Esther reclined, seeking perhaps to grasp her feet or her

garments, as is usual with suppliants in the East. At this crisis the king returned,

and misconstruing Haman’s action, or pretending to do so, exclaimed aloud,

“Will he even force the queen with me in the house?” The terrible charge brought

matters to a conclusion — it was taken as a call on the attendants to seize the

culprit and execute him. They covered his face, apparently, as that of a

condemned man not worthy any more to see the light, according to a

practice common among, the Romans (Liv., 1:26; Cic. ‘pro Rabir., 4:13)

and the Macedonians (Q. Curt., ‘Vit. Alex.,’ vi. 8), but not elsewhere

mentioned as Persian.


To be condemned of God would render us unable to see Him.  As light dazzles,

so God’s purity alone would blind us. Our own sin will be the covering. When

death shall throw his black pall over us, unless mercy lifts it, our own hands will

never tear it away. We should examine our hearts, and see whether there is any

cherished sin which may eventually lead to our rejection and condemnation.

Let there be no “veil” on our hearts as on those of Israel (II Corinthians 3:13-18),

that there may be no covering our faces as Haman’s was covered.


A Crisis, a Plea, and a Deliverance (vs. 1-7)


We have here:


1. A most serious crisis. “So the king and Haman came to banquet with

Esther the queen” (v. 1). The culminating point in this great issue is now

reached. The lives of the chosen people of God throughout all Persia, in all

her provinces, hang on this interview between an arbitrary sovereign, his

wife, and his minister. Except the wife shall prevail over the crafty and all-

powerful statesman, the race must die by one cruel blow.


2. A powerful plea. At the king’s invitation (v. 2) the queen makes her

appeal in simple but forcible language. She appealed:


a.      to his affection for herself: “Let my life be given me at my petition,

and my people at my request” (v. 3);


b.      to his pity for a suffering people: “We are sold,” and sold not even to

bitter bondage, but “to be destroyed, to be slain, and to perish” (v. 4);


c.       to his sense of what was politic: the loss of so many subjects would be

greatly to “the king’s damage” (Ibid.).


3. A great deliverance (vs. 5-6). Having readily consented to the

slaughter of thousands of his subjects, the king with equal readiness

consents to their lives being spared. He appears to have been shocked at

the idea of what was contemplated; but he had not reckoned on the

sanguinary decree including his own wife in its evil range. We learn:



Divine Ruler should allow His Church to come into such terrible danger,

barely escaping from utter destruction; why He should sometimes permit

such fearful atrocities to be inflicted, not interposing, as here, to save them,

but allowing the beheadings, burnings, burials alive, imprisonments, etc. on

which so many skies have looked down in different centuries; why He

should allow a Haman of ancient times, or an Alva or Claverhouse of more

recent times, to wreak such cruelties on the people of God, and why He

should choose such instruments to avert and overthrow as one woman’s

beauty — this we cannot tell. God does and suffers many things which we

do not understand. He declines to interpose when we should have

confidently expected His aid. The truth is that HE IS TOO HIGH AND

TOO GREAT and we are too low and too small to understand Him.

“His way is in the sea, His path in the great waters, and His footsteps

 are not known.”  (Psalm 77:19) “His ways are past finding out.”

(Romans 11:33)  We are but very little children before Him, and must

wait awhile; we shall understand hereafter what we know not now

(John 13:7).



did Esther think, when she was first accepted as queen, that she would do a

good work for her race which should never be forgotten. But the hour

came for her to make a great attempt; she made it, and succeeded. Her

success was due to her courage and her charms and her address. But these

were the outcome of a life of virtue and piety. By the exercise of these she

had “bought up the opportunity” (redeemed the time), and “when the

occasion came she was equal to the occasion.” Wisely use the present, and

when the hour of opportunity comes you will be ready to speak, to strike,

to suffer, or to save.



WISDOM. Judging from the notion of mere worldliness, we should say

that Abasuerus occupied the most enviable position in Persia. As king of

that great empire, he held in his hand all that men usually desire. But

judging from a distance, impartially, and in the light of God’s truth, how

little should we care to be such as he was. How unlovely the haste and

passion of the man. Hungrily seizing the opportunity of reimbursing his

treasury, he makes a decree which would have the effect of slaughtering a

race, of ultimately weakening his resources, and of taking the life of his

own queen. Happily, but accidentally, in the right mood when the chance is

given him of retrieving his error, he turns with characteristic passion and

precipitancy on his favorite minister, and wreaks vengeance on his head.

Moral littleness in high places is very pitiable.



EFFECTS. How amazed was Ahasuerus to find that in striking at the Jews

he was aiming a blow at his own wife, and so at himself. All our actions,

good and bad, stretch further and come closer home than we realize at the

time when we do them.


9 “And Harbonah, one of the chamberlains, said before the king,

Behold also, the gallows fifty cubits high, which Haman had made

for Mordecai, who spoken good for the king, standeth in the house

of Haman. Then the king said, Hang him thereon.  10 So they hanged

Haman on the gallows that he had prepared for Mordecai. Then was

the king’s wrath pacified.”  Harbonah, one of the chamberlains, said before

the king. Rather, “Harbonah, one of the chamberlains (eunuchs) that served

before the king, said.” The “eunuchs that served before the king” were those of

the highest grade, as appears from ch.1:10. Harbonah was one of

them. Who had spoken good for the king. Or, “who spake good.” The

reference is to his detection of the conspiracy (ch.2:22). In the

house of Haman. This had not been mentioned previously. It adds one

touch of extra barbarity to Haman’s character, that he should have

intended the execution to take place within the walls of his own house.


As in the case before us, the time will come when the oppressor shall be

brought low, and the lowly and righteous shall be exalted.  If not in this

world; then assuredly in the general judgment.  (“Some men’s sins are

open beforehand, going before unto judgment; and some men they

follow after.  Likewise also the good works of some are manifest

beforehand; and they that are otherwise cannot be hid.”  (I Timothy

5:24-25)  The Lord reigneth;” and though He may have reasons we

cannot fully understand for permitting the temporary reign of

injustice, the Judge of all the earth shall assuredly do right.

(Genesis 18:25)  Whether in this life or the Final Judgment, the suitability of

the punishment to the sin of the life will clearly be seen!  It will be the outgrowth

naturally of our sin, and not an arbitrary infliction on the part of God. Despisers

of parents,  oppressors of the weak, the intemperate and sensual, will find how

fitting is the retribution to the sin, and will have to confess, as Haman must

have done in his heart, THAT IT IS JUST!



Wrath Pacified (v. 10)


Ahasuerus, unlike Jonah, “did well to be angry.” (Jonah 4:9)  Haman had

plotted against the life of his favourite queen, and one of his most serviceable

friends, and against an unoffending community. And he had all but usurped

the royal authority in causing the gallows to be reared on which be

intended that Mordecai should be put to death. A righteous anger led to

what would have been deemed in him, an arbitrary sovereign, a just act of

retribution. And only when the judicial sentence was carried out against the

offender was “the king’s wrath pacified.”




Ø      This is sometimes righteous. “Be ye angry and sin not.” (Ephesians 4:26)

Indignation against wrong and wrath with the oppressor are virtues,

without which man is scarcely human.


Ø      Anger is always to be treated with suspicion. We are all prone, like

Ahasuerus, to be angry with what hurts ourselves, and our sense of our

rights and dignity, rather than with what is evil in the sight of the Lord.

Let us ask ourselves whether our anger is justifiable — is sympathy with

the Divine righteousness, or is mere selfish passion.


Ø      Anger should not be compounded with personal revenge. Wrath may be

pacified by malevolent action, and then “sin lieth at the door.”




Ø      God is angry with the wicked every day.  (Psalm 9:11)  The Scriptures

represent Him as regarding the evil-doing of men with displeasure and

with wrath.


Ø      In the midst of wrath God remembers mercy.  (Habakkuk 3:2)  This is the

message of the gospel, which does not conceal God’s indignation at sin or

his displeasure with the sinner; but shows that He is just, and the Justifier

of the believer in Christ. He condemns the sin in pardoning the sinner.

“Thou wast angry; but thine anger is turned away, and thou comfortedst

us.”  (Isaiah 12:1)


Let us rejoice that God is pacified and reconciled.  Let us accept His offers of mercy.

Let us seek to share His placable and forgiving spirit.



The Terrible Consummation of a Wicked Life (v. 10)


Our first impulse on reading these words is to praise Ahasuerus for his

faithful administration of justice; for if ever a man deserved summary

vengeance at the hands of the law, it was Haman. But a little reflection

must correct our judgment. The whole transaction reveals the fickle,

passionate, unscrupulous disposition of the tyrant. Without any apparent

reason, or at least without any regard to his merits, he had made a special

favorite of Haman, and had lavished upon him all the honors at his

command; and now, in a fit of uncontrollable rage, he hurries him, without

any pretence of a trial, to a felon’s death. Flatterers are the most unreliable

of men. Those who lick the dust at your feet in prosperity are the most

likely to tread upon your neck in adversity. There is but one step between

“Hosanna to the Son of David,” and “Away with Him! crucify Him!” The

king’s servants, who vied with each other in their obsequiousness to

Haman while he enjoyed their master’s favor, were now so eager to

execute him that they could scarcely wait for the sentence. The text is in

many respects one of the most striking in the whole Bible, and is fraught

with weighty and permanent lessons. Note:



sometimes happens that the ungodly flourish in the world to such an extent

that our faith in eternal righteousness is staggered. We could point to men

whose road to power was paved with injustice, treachery, and bloodshed.

Many an upright heart, crushed for its very uprightness, has poured forth,

in contemplating such men, the despairing complaint of the Psalmist,

“Verily! have cleansed my heart in vain, and washed my hands in

innocency.”  (Psalm 73:13)  But a careful observation of facts would

doubtless show that even in this world excessive wickedness frequently

brings about its own requital. Pharaoh perished in the Red Sea; the dogs

licked the blood of Ahab in Samaria; Herod was eaten of worms upon

his throne. There are circumstances about the case of Haman which

separate it from all others, but in its essential features it is but one among

thousands. Three elements in Haman’s character may be mentioned which,

while they contributed to his temporary success, led to his final ruin.


Ø      Boundless ambition.

Ø      Boundless pride.

Ø      Boundless cruelty.



Some think that Haman was an Amalekite; and we are told that the

Amalekites, for their hostility to the Israelites, had been singled out for

retribution. The Lord said to Moses, “I will utterly put out the

remembrance of Amalek from under heaven.”  (Exodus 17:14)  The threat

was not carried out at once; for ages the footsteps of justice seemed to linger,

and the delay had only intensified their malignity. But here the last of the

race dies upon the gallows, for after this they disappear altogether from

history.  Piety runs in families, and so does wickedness. God’s blessing

rests upon families, and so does His curse. This is not due to haphazard,

caprice, or favoritism; but there is always a definite cause for it. Think of

the Stuarts of England, and the Bourbons of France. By trampling upon

the rights of the people, and seeking self-aggrandizement at the expense of

righteousness, they sinned no less against Heaven than against humanity.

But, as if pursued by an inexorable fate, they were hurled from the summit

of power to the ignoble obscurity which they so richly deserved. Let us

beware of committing “presumptuous sins,” lest they should taint our

families, and doom them as well as ourselves to eternal disgrace.



incident before us is one of those incidents which cannot be accounted for

except on the supposition of an overruling Providence. We perceive

cunning baffled, crime punished, impiousness abashed in such a wonderful

way, that to attribute the whole affair to mere chance would be the height

of folly.


Ø      Haman was degraded just when he thought of reaching the goal

of his ambition. The highest dignities of the kingdom, next to those

enjoyed by the king, were his already. His vanity, his love of authority,

his fondness for display had nothing to desire. And now the only

annoyance that disturbed him was about to be removed and the people

which he hated was about to be annihilated — and he was about to

become absolute master of the situation. Henceforth he would be

admired, courted, envied by all the world. But, alas, it was not to be.

“There are many devices in a man’s heart; nevertheless the counsel

of the Lord, that shall stand.”  (Proverbs 19:21)  Haman had left that

counsel out of his calculation; hence, when he thought of attaining

the climax of honor, he was plunged into the abyss of shame. Prosperity

is the worst thing that can happen to the wicked man. Adversity may

mellow his heart, and produce reflection, repentance, and reformation;

but a course of unbroken triumph only hardens his heart, and hastens

the inevitable catastrophe. “For when they shall say, Peace and safety;

then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman

with child; and they shall not escape.”  (I Thessalonians 5:3)


Ø      Haman perished on the very gallows that he had erected for another.

This was probably the bitterest ingredient in his cup of woe. Imagine his

chagrin, his confusion, his despair, when he found that the huge instrument

of death which he had set up at such great expense to punish his unbending

antagonist was to be employed for no other purpose than his own

execution! And who knows but that Mordecai himself was among the

crowd who witnessed the scene? There was an awful fitness about the

punishment.  Later ages have with one consent pronounced it just. No

utterance commends itself to universal approval with greater force than

this: “Whoso diggeth a pit shall fall therein; and he that rolleth a stone, it

will return upon him.”  (Proverbs 26:27)  We are reminded here that as

virtue is its own reward, so sin is its own punishment, Haman died on a

gallows of his own construction; so shall every impenitent sinner perish

through his own waywardness. Thine own wickedness shall correct

thee, and thy backslidings shall reprove thee.”  (Jeremiah 2:19)



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