Today: [Esther Seven] How to Defeat Your Haman. In this chapter the villain Haman finally is exposed and dispatched by the king’s sentence. Every life at some point will have a Haman to deal with. When you are threatened the wisdom of Esther and Mordecai give you a strategy of exercising wisdom and discretion to provoke your enemy to move the hand of the king against their own plans to destroy you.
[Est 7:1-10 KJV] 1 So the king and Haman came to banquet with Esther the queen. 2 And the king said again unto Esther on the second day at the banquet of wine, What [is] thy petition, queen Esther? and it shall be granted thee: and what [is] thy request? and it shall be performed, [even] to the half of the kingdom.
Queen Esther was requested by her cousin Mordecai to intercede for the Jews before king Ahasuerus. At the risk of her own life she goes to the king’s court without invitation and mercifully the king extends clemency to her and allows her to approach his throne before all his courtiers and officials of the kingdom. To many in the realm this was a show of indulgence and weakness that could put the king at risk of overthrow – so we cannot dismiss the danger the king put himself in at receiving Esther instead of banishing her as former queen Vashti or worse.
When Esther appeared at court her nemesis Haman is present and she could have easily informed upon him but to do so would have impugned the wisdom of the king for appointing Haman chief prince in the realm second only to himself. Instead she exercises great wisdom and invites the king and Haman to a banquet in Haman’s honor. The king agrees and Haman is thrilled but before coming to the banquet the villain in our story plans to first hang Mordecai on a gallows he has constructed outside his home first. Meanwhile the king cannot sleep and arises in the night to read in the royal library. He sees there is a man named Mordecai who was not rewarded for exposing an assassination plot against the throne. He calls Haman and asks Haman’s advice on “what shall be done for the man the king finds pleasure in…” Haman wrongly things he is the man in question and to his horror and great dismay the honors he suggested were heaped upon Mordecai instead of himself. His wife and household advisors counsel him to quit while he is ahead but before he can respond the royal coach arrives to whisk him away to Esther’s banquet.
At the banquet and now in a private setting with only the king and the antagonist Haman present the king again asks Esther to reveal what it is she requests. He promises to give her whatever she asks to the half of the kingdom. This was the king’s way of saying whatever she asks will be given although reference to the half of the kingdom was merely understood to be a figure of speech.
3 Then Esther the queen answered and said, If I have found favour in thy sight, O king, and if it please the king, let my life be given me at my petition, and my people at my request: 4 For we are sold, I and my people, to be destroyed, to be slain, and to perish. But if we had been sold for bondmen and bondwomen, I had held my tongue, although the enemy could not countervail the king’s damage. 5 Then the king Ahasuerus answered and said unto Esther the queen, Who is he, and where is he, that durst presume in his heart to do so? 6 And Esther said, The adversary and enemy [is] this wicked Haman. Then Haman was afraid before the king and the queen.
Queen Esther no doubt surprises the king with her requests. She asks for clemency as though she and her people were condemned criminals. The king has no idea that it is his own hand that has signed the death warrant and inquires what scoundrel has threatened his royal queen, the apple of his eye. She could have pointed the finger not only at Haman but himself but she does not. She accuses Haman and exposes his duplicity and instantly the king realizes he has been manipulated by a lesser man. He rises in great anger and showing tremendous restraint instead of killing him on the spot he leaves the room to cool his temper.
Now Haman realizes what has happened and that he has been bested by a mere slip of a girl whom he has grossly under estimated. Up to this point Haman had not realizes that Esther was a Jew nor that Esther was related to his enemy Mordecai. He instantly reverts to trembling and fear begging for his life.
7 And the king arising from the banquet of wine in his wrath [went] into the palace garden: and Haman stood up to make request for his life to Esther the queen; for he saw that there was evil determined against him by the king. 8 Then the king returned out of the palace garden into the place of the banquet of wine; and Haman was fallen upon the bed whereon Esther [was]. Then said the king, Will he force the queen also before me in the house? As the word went out of the king’s mouth, they covered Haman’s face. 9 And Harbonah, one of the chamberlains, said before the king, Behold also, the gallows fifty cubits high, which Haman had made for Mordecai, who had spoken good for the king, standeth in the house of Haman. Then the king said, Hang him thereon. 10 So they hanged Haman on the gallows that he had prepared for Mordecai. Then was the king’s wrath pacified.
Haman is begging for his life as Esther retreats from his advances to her royal bed. Haman knowing no boundaries climbs upon the bed in desperation begging for his life when the king returns. Ahasuerus sees Haman as an interloper in his wife’s secret chamber and assumes the worst. Instantly he orders Haman removed to be condemned to death and the chamberlains put a cover over his face symbolizing that the king will see the villain’s face no more. In a fitting irony the chamberlain suggests that Haman be dispatched on the same gallows that he had built for Mordecai. It is carried out and the king’s wrath pacified.
What is the lesson of this chapter? This chapter and for that matter the entire book is a treatise on trusting in the sovereignty of God and refusing to take matters into your own hands. Had Mordecai approached the king directly his entreaty for mercy would have gone unheeded. Had Esther appealed to the king in front of the court she would have been denied. Both Mordecai and Esther moved in great wisdom and at great risk to themselves to provoke their own enemy Haman to move the hand of the king to dispatch justice in due course. The restraint on Mordecai and Esther’s part was remarkable and an example for us to follow.
On another note the question might be asked how do you identify a Haman in your life? Notice what Haman does in Esther’s private chamber. He defiles her personal space by climbing up on her bed. Any other person would have known to do so was a gross offense. Over the years Kitty and I have watched certain individuals who by word or deed demonstrate that they respect no personal boundaries. To a man these people have turned out to be disreputable scoundrels at best and criminals and closeted perverts at worst. When you have someone who violates your personal space, or shows no restraint in their words, conduct or demands this is a strong indicator you are dealing with a Haman – a person who given the chance will work treachery in your life.
The value of the story thus far is incalculable as an example of moving in the wisdom of God to see an enemy defeated. The church of the living God sadly acts largely without such discretion before her enemies and time and again in recent decades has been duped and manipulated by her enemies in society. We have been defeated in the courts and in the political realm time and again but like the punch drunk boxer keep going back for more little realizing the massive defeats that are being suffered. We need to seek God for the wisdom of Mordecai and Esther through fasting and prayer in order to prevail at long last over those who desire our destruction.
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