Although Esther did not plan it that way, the time between her first banquet prepared for the king and Haman and the second produced some events that benefited her. Those events served her cause, but only because it was in harmony with God’s cause, and because enlargement and deliverance were coming from another place than the one which she and Mordecai expected. It came down from out of heaven, whereas they were looking for some earthly relief and protection.
The first event was not at all to Esther’s liking. She did not know that it was taking place and that it would serve her cause. But had she known it she would have been very apprehensive. Questions arose in the mind of the king, and so disturbing became his thoughts that he could not sleep all night. Questions arose in his mind such as, What does Esther want? Is there something going on in the kingdom that she knows and Haman and I do not know? Why is she so hesitant to tell me her request? Why must there be two banquets, and why must Haman, my right hand man, be at these banquets? It must be important because she risked her life to ask me for the first banquet. Does Haman’s presence mean that there is something politically wrong? Another plot to kill me?
At any rate we read in Esther 6:1 that the king could not sleep the night between the banquets. Esther’s actions must have troubled him after the wine had lost its power over him. And that he feared some political problem is evident from the fact that he called for the book of records of the chronicles. He wanted to review the past to see whether it would give a clue as to Esther’s petition and hesitancy to express it. It was not indigestion that kept him awake. It was a delicious meal, and though he may have overeaten, Scripture reveals, by pointing out that he wanted to review the records to soothe himself, that he was concerned about the kingdom, and perhaps even about his own life.
The king is reminded of a somewhat recent plot to kill -him, which plot was exposed by a man whom he did not know any further than that his name was Mordecai. This happened while Esther was preparing for the beauty contest that brought her to the queenship. But she had not yet revealed that Mordecai was her uncle-father. The king also learns that nothing had been done to reward Mordecai for his good deed. And whether the king knew his nationality is not revealed. Whether it dawned on him that here was proof that Haman’s charge about the Jews was false and that there were Jews who were very loyal to the king likewise is not revealed. But here was the evidence that all the Jews should not be killed. Mind you, the very man whose actions provoked Haman to seek the death of all the Jews was so loyal to the king that he saved the king’s life. It was not to the king’s profit that men like that be put to death. It is far more for the king’s profit that men like Haman, who plotted the death of the king’s protector, should be put to death.
The king, as we began to say, was surprised to find that no recognition of Mordecai’s deed had been given. Impetuously he decrees that great honour shall be bestowed upon him. And entirely apart from Esther’s craftiness and Mordecai’s pathetic and debasing behavior in the sackcloth wherewith he clothed himself, the hand of God brought Haman into the court the same moment that the king decided on honoring Mordecai more highly—it turned out to be—than Haman had ever been honored.
What a day it was to which Haman woke up after a good night’s sleep, due to his wife’s suggestion of getting Mordecai on the gallows. He would get his revenge! On awaking that morning he stood, figuratively speaking, facing the rising sun and looking for a bright, beautiful day in his life: the second banquet and a way to get Mordecai out of his hair. Little does he realize that behind him is a storm cloud that contains a tornado that will not only destroy all his dreams but destroy him as well.
He had a warning, or, better stated, he had found a fly in his ointment that bothered him. He had left that first banquet elated and in high spirits. He was on cloud nine. And he was eager to get home to tell his friends and his wife what honours had been bestowed upon him. Politically he had climbed as high as a citizen could. -He was next to the king. Socially he had now advanced to where he belonged to the elite. The queen, that beautiful woman, had invited him to a banquet with the king. And get this, my friends and wife, was his thought, I alone was invited!
But momentarily all his joy was gone when he came out and left the royal estate. There sat Mordecai in his sackcloth, refusing to stand up when this dignitary, who was so high socially and politically, appeared before him. He would not even move out of the way. Haman had to go around him as he sat on the ground. He found a fly in his ointment that made him furious so that he saw red! He wanted to give Mordecai a swift and powerful kick to get him out of his way. Yea, the urge to kill was strong in him. But we read that he refrained himself, that is, refrained from doing what at the moment he wanted to do, namely, kill Mordecai on the spot. He is therefore so ready later on to take the advice of his wife that he build a gallows for Mordecai and to get permission from the king to hang Mordecai on it.
Now he enters the king’s court to get his approval for Mordecai’s death. This should be no problem, for it had already been decided that all the Jews must be killed in the twelfth month, that is, in the month Adar. This would only be hurrying the matter up for one man, and then one who insulted the king’s right hand man. And since he now belonged to that elite group that might banquet with the king and queen this should pose no problem. Stepping briskly, confident of what would happen, he enters the court of the king little prepared for the king’s command that he honour Mordecai. Little does he expect that there is another man in the kingdom “in whom the king delighteth” other than himself. Did not all the recent events show that he was such a person?
Boldly he therefore prescribes all the honor and glory that he can imagine when the king calls him in for advice as to what should be done for the man who had exposed the plot of the two chamberlains to kill the king. Haman quickly prescribes royal honor for himself! He will wear the king’s apparel, ride on his horse, and wear the royal crown. Once again it is the hand of God that turns the king’s heart so that Ahasuerus does not object to all this. Here is a request far beyond what the king promised Esther, namely, even to half of the kingdom. Here is a request to be accepted by the public in the king’s place. The people were to do to him even as they were required to do to the king.
Truly “Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall” (Proverbs 16:18). And yet how many are there not today in the church who boast of having prophesied in Christ’s name, in His name cast out devils and done many wonderful works? They “saved” so many souls, added souls to the church, really set the church on fire with spiritual enthusiasm and zeal. And yet Jesus will say to them, “I never knew you; depart from Me, ye that work iniquity” (Matthew 7:22-24). It is not what we think of ourselves or of our works. What counts is what God thinks of them. Do they conform with the whole of Scripture, or with a few selected verses?
But what a humiliation for Haman! It is one thing for a proud man to have someone else be given the honors which he sought for himself. It is one thing to have a nobody, picked up off the streets, elevated above you after all the service you rendered to the kingdom. It is one thing to prepare carefully and thoroughly for your advancement, and then have something unexpected and unforeseen happen that makes it all impossible. But it is another thing to be made a lowly servant to the man who is given the honors you earned. It is another thing to have the man you hate with all your being be given higher honors before the public in whose eyes you were known as a dignitary. It is another thing to be required to take a man off the streets who has publicly despised you, and then tell everyone within hearing distance that this is the man wherein the king delighteth.
How much Haman wished he had not advised the king to bestow so much honor on the man in whom he delighted. What a shock it must have been to him to hear the king tell him to give this honor to Mordecai! Here was the man he wanted dead by a public hanging on high gallows. Instead he must be a humble servant to cause the public to bestow high honors on this man. He wanted him high in shame; and now he must lift him high in honor.
Those must have been hours of sheer agony for Haman. It must have taken hours for him to parade his worst enemy through the city streets in royal honor, because he hardly got home and they came to rush him to that second banquet. But the thought of that banquet put a bad taste in his mouth. How could he face the king who had humiliated him that much? How could he enjoy the meal? And the queen, would she be as attractive now that his eyes were clouded with shame and disappointment?
Before he went to the banquet his wife and friends prepared him for a complete downfall before Mordecai. There just was no way that a man passed by that way by the king could be restored to his former position. Haman had prescribed too high an honor for Mordecai to return to his own position and respect in the eyes not only of the other political dignitaries but also of the citizens in Shushan. These friends and his wife did not need to be told by an angel of God what was coming. They could feel the direction from which the wind was blowing. The king had passed him by—they did not probably know that Haman had prescribed such an high honor—and elevated his enemy. Unbelief and not faith made them draw the conclusion that he would fall before the Jews. They knew Jewish history but not the God Who made it. And is it not wonderful how in an atheistic and unbelieving world God does not leave Himself today also without a witness? Men deny Him. Christ they reject as the Son of God, and teach that He was a mere man. And yet, go where you will in the world, east or west, north or south, and you will find that unbelievers and atheists as well as believers say that today is A.D. 1985. They will teach Ancient History and give dates that are this or that year B.C. The whole world reckons time from the birth of Christ. The date is either so many years before His birth, or so many in the period that began after He came into our flesh.
Now, although Haman’s friends and wife did not say it that way, their statement that he was beginning to fall before the Jews reveals that they knew the history of God’s people, and that the Seed of the woman was going to crush the serpent and his seed. They know that to that day no one succeeded to destroy the nation in which God’s church was to be found, and out of which the Christ would come. They are now sure that Haman shall “surely fall” before Mordecai.
We, however, because God has given us faith in His Son, know that all the enemies of Christ and of His church will fail, and fall into the lake of fire. We know, because God in His grace has spoken to us in our hearts, that the honorable and rich of this world will lose it all, while the church will be lifted out of its sackcloth and ashes to walk the streets of gold in the new Jerusalem in white robes of righteousness, to be Christ’s royal bride and to know the joy of being those who for Christ’s sake are the ones in whom THE King delighteth.