Esther 6

ESTHER CHAPTER 6

The King Honors Mordecai and Executes Haman (6:1 – 7:10)

Haman Must Honor Mordecai

    • That night the king could not sleep, so he ordered for the book recording daily events to be brought. As it was being read to the king, they found the report of how Mordecai had exposed Bigthana and Teresh, two of the king’s eunuchs who guarded the entrance, when they had plotted to assassinate King Ahasuerus.

      • NET Bible points out a difference between the opening of this chapter in the MT versus the Septuagint, “Heb ‘and the sleep of the king fled.’ In place of the rather innocuous comment of the Hebrew text, the LXX reads here, ‘And the Lord removed the sleep from the king.’ The Greek text thus understands the statement in a more overtly theological way than does the Hebrew text, although even in the Hebrew text there may be a hint of God’s providence at work in this matter. After all, this event is crucial to the later reversal of Haman’s plot to destroy the Jewish people, and a sympathetic reader is likely to look beyond the apparent coincidence.”

      • NIV Cultural Backgrounds Study Bible writes, “The form of the Hebrew verb implies continuous, extensive reading rather than a short recitation. Evidently, Xerxes listed to the royal chronicles all through the night, until Haman arrived to present his request…”

      • On the book recording daily events, the ESV Archaeology Study Bible adds that it is…”presumably the same book mentioned in 2:23.”

    • The king asked, “What honor and special recognition have been bestowed upon Mordecai for this?” The king’s attendants answered, “Nothing was done for him.”

      • NLT Illustrated Study Bible points out, “The Persian kings were known for generosity to their supporters, so the king was probably surprised that nothing had been done.”

      • ESV Archaeology Study Bible adds historical examples, “Herodotus gives five examples of such rewards, three from Darius I (History 3.138, 140) and two from Xerxes (History 8.85; 9.107). Xenophon mentions that Persian kings were very generous to their benefactors.”

    • Then the king asked, “Who is that in the court?” Now Haman had just come to the outer court of the palace to ask the king to hang Mordecai on the gallows he had prepared for him. His attendants answered, “It is Haman standing in the court.” The king said, “Let him enter.”

    • So Haman came in and the king asked him, “What should be done for the man the king wants to honor?” Haman thought to himself, “Whom would the king want to honor more than me?” So Haman replied, “For the man the king wants to honor, have them bring royal attire which the king himself has worn, and a horse on which the king himself has ridden, with a royal crest on its head. Have the clothing and the horse be handed over to one of the king’s noble officials. Then let him clothe the man the king wants to honor, and lead him on the horse through the city plaza, proclaiming before him, ‘This is what is done for the man the king wants to honor.’”

      • ESV Archaeological Study Bible says, “Haman’s response shows both the extent of his vanity and his total unawareness of the trap- illustrating the truth of Prov 16:18: ‘Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.’ While robes were a typical gift from a Persian king, it would have been most unusual to give a royal robe worn by the king. In carvings, Persian kings are depicted wearing robes with concentric circles and images of lions. Reliefs on the east stairway of the Apadana at Persepolis depict an arrangement of horse’s hair forming a topknot between the ears.”

    • Then the king told Haman, “Hurry, and do just as you have suggested. Get the clothing and a horse for Mordecai the Jew, who sits at the king’s gate. Don’t neglect a single thing of all that you have said.”

    • So Haman took the clothing and the horse, clothed Mordecai, and led him around the city plaza on the horse, calling out before him, “This is what is done for the man the king wants to honor!”

    • Afterward, Mordecai returned to the king’s gate, but Haman hurried home mournful with his head covered. Then he told his wife Zeresh and all his friends everything that had happened. His wise men and his wife Zeresh told him, “If indeed Mordecai, before whom you have begun to fall, is Jewish, you will not prevail against him. No, you will surely fall before him.”

      • ESV Study Bible writes, “Now it is Haman’s turn to do as his intended victims had done when the decree of destruction was first published. These [wise men] are normally associated with kings…and therefore serve as a subtle reminder of the heights from which Haman has begun to fall.”

    • While they were still talking with him, the king’s eunuchs arrived and hurried Haman away to the banquet Esther had prepared.

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