Esther 7 – Haman’s End
A. The second banquet.
1. (1-4) Esther finally makes her request: please spare my life!
So the king and Haman went to dine with Queen Esther. And on the second day, at the banquet of wine, the king again said to Esther, “What is your petition, Queen Esther? It shall be granted you. And what is your request, up to half the kingdom? It shall be done!” Then Queen Esther answered and said, “If I have found favor in your sight, O king, and if it pleases the king, let my life be given me at my petition, and my people at my request. For we have been sold, my people and I, to be destroyed, to be killed, and to be annihilated. Had we been sold as male and female slaves, I would have held my tongue, although the enemy could never compensate for the king’s loss.”
a. Let my life be given me at my petition, and my people at my request: Esther, even when she finally made her request, showed great tact. She did not immediately identify herself as a Jew, targeted for massacre – even as Haman also hid the identity of the group he targeted when he made his request (Esther 3:8).
b. Let my life be given me at my petition: Esther also showed wisdom in how she framed her request. She appealed on a personal basis, knowing that she had never done anything but please the king.
2. (5) The king’s reaction: who is this wicked man?
So King Ahasuerus answered and said to Queen Esther, “Who is he, and where is he, who would dare presume in his heart to do such a thing?”
a. Who is he, and where is he, who would dare presume in his heart to do such a thing? Ahasuerus perhaps should have known that it was actually he himself who authorized such a plan. He was the one who gave authorization to Haman to carry out this plot (Esther 3:10-11), though he did it in ignorance.
3. (6) Esther identifies the guilty party.
And Esther said, “The adversary and enemy is this wicked Haman!” So Haman was terrified before the king and queen.
a. The adversary and enemy is this wicked Haman! Esther exposed the truth about Haman – that he was not a faithful servant of the king, he was instead an adversary and enemy, more interested in his own fame and status than the benefit of the king.
b. So Haman was terrified before the king and queen: Haman never imagined that Esther was a Jew; now he stood before the king being rightly accused of plotting the murder of the king’s wife.
i. Now the wisdom of Esther’s strange request to invite Haman to these banquets can be seen; it maximized the impact upon both the king and upon Haman himself.
B. Haman’s wretched end.
1. (7-8) Haman’s doom is sealed.
Then the king arose in his wrath from the banquet of wine and went into the palace garden; but Haman stood before Queen Esther, pleading for his life, for he saw that evil was determined against him by the king. When the king returned from the palace garden to the place of the banquet of wine, Haman had fallen across the couch where Esther was. Then the king said, “Will he also assault the queen while I am in the house?” As the word left the king’s mouth, they covered Haman’s face.
a. Then the king arose in his wrath: The king was filled with wrath; probably because he now realized that Haman had deceived him as if he were a fool in getting this decree to kill the Jews into effect.
b. Will he also assault the queen while I am in the house? For all of Haman’s pleading, he only got himself into deeper trouble – now he was accused of personally assaulting Esther!
i. A Jewish writing says that the angel Gabriel pushed Haman, so he fell on Esther’s couch just as King Ahasuerus was coming back into the room.
c. They covered Haman’s face: Haman’s head was covered as a preparation for execution.
2. (9-10) The execution of Haman.
Now Harbonah, one of the eunuchs, said to the king, “Look! The gallows, fifty cubits high, which Haman made for Mordecai, who spoke good on the king’s behalf, is standing at the house of Haman.” Then the king said, “Hang him on it!” So they hanged Haman on the gallows that he had prepared for Mordecai. Then the king’s wrath subsided.
a. Look! The gallows, fifty cubits high: As in the case of the people executed in Esther 2:23, Haman was probably not hanged with a rope around his neck; he was impaled on a huge stake in an ancient precursor of crucifixion.
b. Which Haman made for Mordecai: Haman found his end on the same instrument he had intended for the death of Mordecai; he was caught in his own trap against Mordecai.
i. God often works this way and we should pray as the Psalmist did: Behold, the wicked brings forth iniquity; Yes, he conceives trouble and brings forth falsehood. He made a pit and dug it out, and has fallen into the ditch which he made. His trouble shall return upon his own head, and his violent dealing shall come down on his own crown (Psalms 7:14-16).
ii. Perhaps the greatest example of this was when Satan thought that he had won by getting the crowd to crucify Jesus, but the cross turned out to be the instrument of Satan’s defeat.
c. So they hanged Haman on the gallows that he had prepared for Mordecai. Then the king’s wrath subsided: The death of a substitute satisfied the wrath of the king. In the case of Mordecai and Haman, it was the guilty dying in the place of the innocent; in the case of Jesus and us, it is a matter of the innocent dying in the place of the guilty.