The fact that Mordecai wore sackcloth and ashes and that many of the Jews fasted (4:1-3) shows that the Jews were crying out to God for salvation from their foe. From the passages of Scripture that we have studied together thus far, we know this. Now that you are aware that God is not mentioned, does it not seem that in his way the writer of this book screams the name of God loudly?
The amount of money that Haman had promised the king so he could kill the Jews (3:9; 4:8) was ten thousand talents. I assume this was silver. That would weigh 750,000 pounds ( 375 TONS!), and at $34 per troy ounce (at today’s writing the rate is actually up to $40) that would be 10,937,500 troy ounces or $371,875,000!! I am guessing that he thought he would get much more than that in plunder to pay not only the king and those troops working for him, but also a great surplus for himself. Then also, the king told him to “keep” his money and do the job.
Esther’s reply to Mordecai at 4:10-11 should bring to mind my words yesterday of the king’s temper. Mordecai is asking her to risk her life–very probably to die. Mordecai’s response again reflects his faith in God to right the wrong when His people cry out to him (4:13-14). Esther’s reply to Mordecai is “rally the troops, let’s have three days of fasting and then I’ll do it” (4:16). First item to note is that this is the first time that Esther has given Mordecai a command. He refused to obey the king’s edict to bow to Haman, but he hopped to it to obey Queen Esther! Secondly, fasting and prayer go hand in hand. To whom were all these Jews praying and expecting a satisfactory answer for their fasting?!
You HAVE to see God’s hand in all this! Particularly when Esther goes in to the king’s presence and then when she is asked what she wants she says, “For you and Haman to come to the meal I fixed for you.” God knows the sequence and timing. Esther is acting on the ideas in her mind that God has impressed upon her during the three days that she and her maidens and the rest of the Jews in the area were praying and fasting to God (5:1-4). Then at the meal she says that she’d really like to fix them another meal and that if they’ll come to that tomorrow, THEN she’ll tell them what is on her mind! (5:5-8). Meanwhile God is working out other details to fit the timing!
Haman leaves the meal VERY happy, but his mood soon sours because there is Mordecai giving him the raspberries, or so it must have seemed to him. He went home and called for his fan club and told them how great he was. Then he told them how upset he was with Mordecai. They told him that if he really wanted to be happy at the banquet that he should have a huge gallows seventy-five feet tall made and go get permission from the king to hang Mordecai on it (5:9-14).
Ah, but during the night God wasn’t sleeping, and he kept the king awake too. So the king thought that he’d have the royal chronicles read to him to induce sleep. And he read where Mordecai had been responsible for saving his life (2:21-23) and there was nothing written about a reward. By then it was morning and he asked who was in the court. Good old Haman was there to request to have Mordecai hung on the gallows he’d had built. So the king called him in for advice. And when he heard the king wanted to honor someone he assumed it was him. So he let out his secret dream of having a bigshot in the kingdom lead one of the king’s own horses through town with him seated on it, wearing one of the king’s dirty shirts, and sweaty crown and the bigshot proclaiming that this is what the king did for those who he wished to honor! And then the bottom fell out of Haman’s world, the king said, “Go, do as you have suggested for Mordecai the Jew, do it quickly and be remiss in nothing!” (6:1-10).
Haman obeyed and ran home with his head covered (see who’s mourning now!). He called the fan club together and the advice also had soured. “Ah, this Mordecai is a Jew, eh? Well buddy, you’re sunk.” While they were still talking boys from the palace arrived to hurry him to his luncheon. I’m sure that by the time he was seated at the beautiful banquet across from the lovely queen that he felt better. Until Esther told his plot to the king and answered his question with, “A foe and an enemy is this wicked Haman.” If you can imagine the fear and trembling that came upon Haman, you can perhaps begin to imagine that which goes through the God-hater on judgment day. The king was so mad he couldn’t stay seated and he stomped out into the garden. Remember that in this culture they reclined on couches to eat at a low table. Haman sought to beg for his life from Esther. But when the king came back in it looked like he might have been attempting something else. The king said, “Will he attempt to seduce the queen while I’m here at home?!” At that comment the king’s attendants placed a cloth over his face. I take this as their understanding that Haman was as good as dead. And as to the palace grapevine to which I earlier hinted, they told the king about the gallows that Haman had build on which to hang Mordecai who saved the king and then Esther added that this same Mordecai was her cousin who had raised her as his daughter. The king’s anger subsided then after they’d hung Haman (7:1-10).
Psalm 96: We are again commanded to sing to the LORD, ALL the earth, and this time it’s to be a new song! We are to tell everyone how wonderful He is, no one is to be left out. This reminds me of the command for the Jews to have God’s commands “before them” at all times and to tell of them to their children at all times (Deuteronomy 6:4-9).
For verse five my translation says, “For all the gods of the peoples are idols, But the LORD made the heavens.” The word idols should be understood as “insignificant” or worthless.” They are worth less than nothing, but He is worth more than all that we have ever seen or will see!!
Historical trivia: On this date in 1975 I tackled a car with a motorcycle. It is not something that I would have chosen to do, but the three weeks in the hospital was a much needed time of soul searching and asking God just what it was that he wanted of me. I was seventeen at the time and it took me another ten years before I began to let God do the leading in my life. I hope you won’t be as stubborn nor need so severe an attention-getter.