Esther 5-6: Watch God’s Hand Work in this Ironic Reversal of Fortune

Irony – “A state of affairs or an event that seems deliberately contrary to what one expects and is often amusing as a result.” In these next 2 chapters, we have an ironic reversal of fortune. Furthermore, you can see God’s handiwork as the events play out. Let’s dig in…

Esther 5 – Esther’s Request to the King

On the third day of the fast, Esther put on her royal robes and entered the inner court of the palace, just across from the king’s hall. The king was sitting on his royal throne, facing the entrance. When he saw Queen Esther standing there in the inner court, he welcomed her and held out the gold scepter to her. So Esther approached and touched the end of the scepter.

Then the king asked her, “What do you want, Queen Esther? What is your request? I will give it to you, even if it is half the kingdom!”

And Esther replied, “If it please the king, let the king and Haman come today to a banquet I have prepared for the king.”

The king turned to his attendants and said, “Tell Haman to come quickly to a banquet, as Esther has requested.” So the king and Haman went to Esther’s banquet.

And while they were drinking wine, the king said to Esther, “Now tell me what you really want. What is your request? I will give it to you, even if it is half the kingdom!”

Esther replied, “This is my request and deepest wish. If I have found favor with the king, and if it pleases the king to grant my request and do what I ask, please come with Haman tomorrow to the banquet I will prepare for you. Then I will explain what this is all about.”

Haman’s Plan to Kill Mordecai

Haman was a happy man as he left the banquet! But when he saw Mordecai sitting at the palace gate, not standing up or trembling nervously before him, Haman became furious. 10 However, he restrained himself and went on home.

Then Haman gathered together his friends and Zeresh, his wife, 11 and boasted to them about his great wealth and his many children. He bragged about the honors the king had given him and how he had been promoted over all the other nobles and officials.

12 Then Haman added, “And that’s not all! Queen Esther invited only me and the king himself to the banquet she prepared for us. And she has invited me to dine with her and the king again tomorrow!” 13 Then he added, “But this is all worth nothing as long as I see Mordecai the Jew just sitting there at the palace gate.”

14 So Haman’s wife, Zeresh, and all his friends suggested, “Set up a sharpened pole that stands seventy-five feet tall, and in the morning ask the king to impale Mordecai on it. When this is done, you can go on your merry way to the banquet with the king.” This pleased Haman, and he ordered the pole set up.

Esther 5 NLT

Esther 6 – The King Honors Mordecai

That night the king had trouble sleeping, so he ordered an attendant to bring the book of the history of his reign so it could be read to him. In those records he discovered an account of how Mordecai had exposed the plot of Bigthana and Teresh, two of the eunuchs who guarded the door to the king’s private quarters. They had plotted to assassinate King Xerxes.

“What reward or recognition did we ever give Mordecai for this?” the king asked.

His attendants replied, “Nothing has been done for him.”

“Who is that in the outer court?” the king inquired. As it happened, Haman had just arrived in the outer court of the palace to ask the king to impale Mordecai on the pole he had prepared.

So the attendants replied to the king, “Haman is out in the court.”

“Bring him in,” the king ordered. So Haman came in, and the king said, “What should I do to honor a man who truly pleases me?”

Haman thought to himself, “Whom would the king wish to honor more than me?” So he replied, “If the king wishes to honor someone, he should bring out one of the king’s own royal robes, as well as a horse that the king himself has ridden—one with a royal emblem on its head. Let the robes and the horse be handed over to one of the king’s most noble officials. And let him see that the man whom the king wishes to honor is dressed in the king’s robes and led through the city square on the king’s horse. Have the official shout as they go, ‘This is what the king does for someone he wishes to honor!’”

10 “Excellent!” the king said to Haman. “Quick! Take the robes and my horse, and do just as you have said for Mordecai the Jew, who sits at the gate of the palace. Leave out nothing you have suggested!”

11 So Haman took the robes and put them on Mordecai, placed him on the king’s own horse, and led him through the city square, shouting, “This is what the king does for someone he wishes to honor!” 12 Afterward Mordecai returned to the palace gate, but Haman hurried home dejected and completely humiliated.

13 When Haman told his wife, Zeresh, and all his friends what had happened, his wise advisers and his wife said, “Since Mordecai—this man who has humiliated you—is of Jewish birth, you will never succeed in your plans against him. It will be fatal to continue opposing him.”

14 While they were still talking, the king’s eunuchs arrived and quickly took Haman to the banquet Esther had prepared.

Esther 6 NLT

Esther Takes Charge

  • Fasting may have weakened her body, but she sure showed boldness when approaching the king.
  • She displayed courage and self-sacrifice.
  • God softened the king’s heart at that moment.
  • It’s interesting that Esther doesn’t bring up the edict when she first meets with the king. In addition, it takes not one, but 2 feasts before she tells the king about Haman’s plot. (We’ll see that tomorrow. Subscribe so you don’t miss out.)
  • God’s timing is perfect.

Haman’s Evil Plot to Kill Mordecai

  • Happy Haman runs into Mordecai on the way home and he didn’t stand nor bow to him. This angered Haman.
  • It’s Haman’s wife who suggests that he have Mordecai impaled on a 75′ pole.
  • That’s a symbol of an inflated ego. We’ll see where that gets him.

A Sleepless Night

  • Everyone has sleepless nights. The worries of the world just harbor in our minds no matter what we do. This night, King Xerxes couldn’t sleep and sent for one of his attendants to read the historical accounts of his kingdom.
  • The reader just happens to pick the account of when Mordecai saved the king’s life.
  • The king wants to know if Mordecai was rewarded and found out that he wasn’t.
  • Haman comes in with the wild idea that his wife gave him, only to think that the king was honoring him, not Mordecai.

Mordecai is Honored

Haman is forced to honor Mordecai. Image by Sweet Publishing from FreeBibleImages.org, (CC BY-SA 3.0)
Haman is forced to honor Mordecai. Image by Sweet Publishing from FreeBibleImages.org, (CC BY-SA 3.0)
  • Ha, ha! It’s the start of the ironic twists of the Hand of God.
  • This is poetic justice scene 1. It has to be God. You can’t have irony without an author!
  • Riding on the king’s horse is like getting to ride on Air Force One. An extreme honor!
  • What Haman’s wife says at the end is a bit of Bible Prophecy. In the KJV, verse 13 reads…

13 And Haman told Zeresh his wife and all his friends every thing that had befallen him. Then said his wise men and Zeresh his wife unto him, If Mordecai be of the seed of the Jews, before whom thou hast begun to fall, thou shalt not prevail against him, but shalt surely fall before him.

Esther 6:13 KJV (bold emphasis mine)

The word, “seed” goes all the way back to Genesis 3:15, where God tells Adam and Eve right after the fall…

“And I will put enmity
Between you and the woman,
And between your seed and her Seed;
He shall bruise your head,
And you shall bruise His heel.”

Genesis 3:15 NKJV

Also, in the Book of Numbers, there’s also a prophecy

Water will flow from their buckets;
    their offspring have all they need.
Their king will be greater than Agag;
    their kingdom will be exalted.

Numbers 24:7 NLT

We talked about Agag, Haman’s ancestor yesterday.

Lessons for Us Today

  • Fast and pray before a big event. And ask God to show you His will for your life. Trust Him to guide you and follow His direction and wisdom.
  • God hates pride. Jesus said it over and over again… “But many who are first will be last, and the last first.” (Mark 10:31 NKJV)
  • If you sin, God will let you experience the ironic consequences of your actions.

For instance…

10 O God, declare them guilty.
    Let them be caught in their own traps.
Drive them away because of their many sins,
    for they have rebelled against you.

Psalm 5:10 NLT

15 They dig a deep pit to trap others,
    then fall into it themselves.

Psalm 7:15 NLT

A Quote on Irony…

“There is actually no such thing as atheism. There is no such thing as not worshiping. Everybody worships. The only choice we get is what to worship.

If you worship money and things — if they are where you tap real meaning in life — then you will never have enough. Never feel you have enough. It’s the truth.

Worship your own body and beauty and sexual allure and you will always feel ugly, and when time and age start showing, you will die a million deaths before they finally plant you.

On one level, we all know this stuff already — it’s been codified as myths, proverbs, clichés, bromides, epigrams, parables: the skeleton of every great story. The trick is keeping the truth up-front in daily consciousness.

Worship power — you will feel weak and afraid, and you will need ever more power over others to keep the fear at bay.

Worship your intellect, being seen as smart — you will end up feeling stupid, a fraud, always on the verge of being found out. And so on.”

David Foster Wallace, This Is Water: Some Thoughts, Delivered on a Significant Occasion, about Living a Compassionate Life

What or whom do YOU worship? If you worship a piece of stone or clay or plastic, even an icon or painting, you are worshiping NOTHING. Moreover, you’ll get NOTHING. God hates idolatry!

The Irony of Ironies

Jesus experienced the ironic consequence of OUR actions. Then, Jesus was raised to power from death.

There is nothing in this story and in the WORLD that is NOT in God’s Control.

As Paul wrote…

23 And we believers also groan, even though we have the Holy Spirit within us as a foretaste of future glory, for we long for our bodies to be released from sin and suffering. We, too, wait with eager hope for the day when God will give us our full rights as his adopted children, including the new bodies he has promised us. 24 We were given this hope when we were saved. (If we already have something, we don’t need to hope for it. 25 But if we look forward to something we don’t yet have, we must wait patiently and confidently.)

26 And the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness. For example, we don’t know what God wants us to pray for. But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words. 27 And the Father who knows all hearts knows what the Spirit is saying, for the Spirit pleads for us believers in harmony with God’s own will. 28 And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.

Romans 8:23-28 NLT

What Paul outlined there are just some of the benefits of salvation.

If you’re not sure if you’re saved or not, if you truly want to be born again and have the assurance of salvation, receive the Holy Spirit, and get a 1-way, non-stop ticket to Heaven after you die, or that you won’t be left behind at the Rapture, which can happen at any moment, this is what you have to do…

Invite Jesus into Your Heart and Receive the Gift of Grace and the Confident Hope of Eternal Life…

Top image by Sweet Publishing from FreeBibleImages.org, (CC BY-SA 3.0)

God is on the Move



Soli Deo Gloria! To God Alone Be the Glory!

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