Summary: Esther now reveals Haman’s plot and causes the sentence of death for Haman. His day goes from bad to worse.
Pride goes before the fall
Esther Chapter 7
Discretion and wisdom accompany Esther as she approached the king. Haman however is still prideful. In Gilbert and Sullivan’s play “The Mikado”, the Japanese Emperor contemplates what it means to find the punishment that fist the crime. In this chapter our three characters are engaged in all three positions. Esther uses wisdom, Haman still full of pride, and the King searches for a just punishment. Haman unwittingly provides that answer.
In today’s society a lot of personal feelings, political motives are intertwined with corrupt governments and true justice is often skirted. Perfect justice can often get us in trouble when we apply it to ourselves as we do other people. We often fool ourselves into thinking how right we are in certain situations, when really we are promoting our own agendas, not God’s. A lot of injustice has been done God’s name. God’s perfect justice would mean an end to us all if it were not for His own intervention for those He loves.
His divine intervention has stopped the slaughter of His people. The Second Banquet could quite fittingly be called Haman’s Last Supper.
What is your Request? A third time the King asks Esther.
She shows humility as well as wisdom with her answer. If we were sold as slaves I would have kept quiet. Her humility is evident, she does not assume on the king or her position. Humility is a great quality in the eyes of God. Who are we that you are mindful of us?
Although the King was willing to be very generous in granting Esther anything she wanted, her request takes him by surprise. Her request causes a dilemma for the King on two scales. The first is that the Queen is Jewish not a Persian bred Queen, second is that the law of the Medes and Persians is irreversible. If he carries out the law, his Queen is to be killed as well. Did he love her? Some suggested that he must have, because she found such favor in his eyes. That too would cause him trouble.
This chapter is the beginning and the end of Haman’s reversal of his expected fortune. What started out to be a bad day just got worse. He has a complete reversal of fortune, he went from favored to enemy. His day started by having to escort Mordecai, his arch-enemy, through the streets announcing Mordecai as “The Favored of the King.” It was so bad that Haman went into a deep depression, covering his head.
Before he could recover from that he is whisked away to the second banquet. It is this banquet that turns out to be his last. His evil plot is revealed and now the King is angry. He leaves to the Garden to decide the fate of Haman.
Harem protocol dictated that no one but the king could be left alone with a woman of the harem, let alone, the Queen. Haman should have left Esther’s presence but where was he to go? He could not go to the King in the Garden, if he ran he would be perceived as guilty and inviting pursuit. Haman was in deep trouble. Even so, no one could approach a woman of the King’s harem or be within seven steps of such a woman.
Do we catch the irony here. Haman is angry at Mordecai because this Jew would not bow or fall prostrate before him, now falls before a Jew, but not just any Jew. He falls before a relative of his arch-enemy, not just a relative, but a woman. He wants to kill all Jews without mercy, now pleads for mercy from a Jew. Only God could bring such irony to the front. On the couch of this Jewish queen he “falls” all the way from his exalted position as second over the empire to the dishonorable death as a traitor.
In light of all his faults, Haman, really had no idea what he was getting himself into. Yet, he is responsible for all his actions. Even though the judgment brought upon him was beyond his control, he is still responsible.
Haman is sentenced to death, but what was he guilty of? Depending on who you read, in the eyes of the King he is guilty of forcing himself on the Queen, in Esther’s eyes he is guilty of trying to annihilate her people, in God’s eyes he is guilty of pride and envy.
Haman is hung from the gallows of his own making. The same day he honored Mordecai by taking him through the streets of Susa, then to a banquet for him and the King, he is hung, a humiliating death. My how the prideful have fallen.
We tend to be quick to assess the good or evil in others, but much slower to see it accurately in ourselves. Can we identify a time in our lives when we were convicted in what we were doing, only to realize it was not of God? Haman is an example of how human evil is self-deceptive. It allows evildoers to believe themselves as justified in their evil actions and clever enough not to be caught in their own web. Look at the events that lead to 9-11, they thought they were doing right, even though they knew it meant the lives of innocent people. Haman wanted revenge on Mordecai even if it meant the death of innocent others. King Herod did the same about 2000 years ago in Bethlehem. King David did a great job deceiving himself about the evil he did with Bathsheba and her husband until Nathan made him come to his senses.