The Agora
Bible Commentary

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Esther 5

Est 5:1

ON THE THIRD DAY ESTHER PUT ON HER ROYAL ROBES: She had previously been clothed in sackcloth (Est 4:16).

THE KING WAS SITTING ON HIS ROYAL THRONE IN THE HALL, FACING THE ENTRANCE: In a Persian pillared hall, the throne was in the middle of the side opposite to that which had an entrance, admitting from the inner court. Thus, the king, sitting on his throne and looking down the vista of pillars, would be able to see those standing outside.

Est 5:2

AND HELD OUT TO HER THE GOLD SCEPTER: Touched by the unexpected appearance of his young and beautiful queen, he instantly held out to her the gold scepter (Est 4:11).

SO ESTHER APPROACHED AND TOUCHED THE TIP OF THE SCEPTER: This was a dangerous course of action, even for a queen. The king would obviously realize that some serious problem had compelled her to take such a desperate action.

Est 5:3

UP TO HALF THE KINGDOM: Cp also Est 5:6; 7:2. The same offer Herod made to his step-daughter, the daughter of Herodias, in Mar 6:22,23. Similarities between two incidents: feasting and drinking, plotting the death of others (ie Esther asking for the "head" of Haman, the Jews' enemy!).

Est 5:4

Vv 4,8: Four banquets in Esther: Vashti's deposing (Est 1:3); Esther's coronation (Est 2:18); Esther's petition (Est 5:4,8); and the Jews' celebration (Est 9:17).

IF IT PLEASES THE KING...: "The king's heart is in the hand of the LORD; he directs it like a watercourse wherever he pleases" (Pro 21:1). Likewise, cp Gen 39 -- 41; Ezra 1:1-4; Neh 2; Dan 2; 3; 4; 5; Acts 2:23.

Est 5:7

Vv 7,8: Esther must have had a very good reason for postponing her request of the king (v 8) since delaying it opened the door to any number of complications. The king's mood might have changed, or Haman might have discovered the reason for the banquet. The purpose of the first banquet was probably to ascertain the king's state of mind, before proceeding further.

Est 5:9

HE NEITHER ROSE NOR SHOWED FEAR IN HIS PRESENCE: Previously, Mordecai had only refused to bow (Est 3:2); now he does not acknowledge Haman's existence at all!

Est 5:14

HAVE A GALLOWS BUILT, SEVENTY-FIVE FEET HIGH, AND ASK THE KING IN THE MORNING TO HAVE MORDECAI HANGED ON IT:...So that Mordecai might be lifted up, and his shame and suffering be seen by all! It looks very much as though Haman intended to CRUCIFY Mordecai (cp Est 2:23). Haman is the embodiment and personification of the Sin Power: his determination was to destroy his great enemy, but in reality -- as it worked out through the providence of Almighty God -- the "cross" on which the enemy sought to kill the Jew became... the scene of HIS OWN DESTRUCTION!

This is plainly typical of Christ: "Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might destroy him who holds the power of death -- that is, the devil -- and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death" (Heb 2:14,15). "And so he condemned sin in sinful man [the flesh]" (Rom 8:3).

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