1 Ahasuerus, reading in the chronicles of the good service done by Mordecai, takes care for his reward. 4 Haman, coming to sue that Mordecai might be hanged, unawares gives counsel that he might do him honour. 12 Complaining of his misfortune, his friends tell him of his final destiny.
The Persian Empire at its Greatest Extent
Esther 6:1 That night the king could not sleep. So one was commanded to bring the book of the records of the chronicles; and they were read before the king.
Literally, “the king’s sleep fled away.” Perhaps he was trying to divine what Esther’s request would be. Once before, she had hastened to Ahasuerus with startling information (ch. 2:21, 22). It is not likely that upon that occasion, either, Esther had been content to await a royal summons; the matter was urgent.
As the hours of the night wore on the king’s curiosity and imagination no doubt invented all kinds of possible plots against his life. To refresh his own memory of the incident, and perhaps in the fear that some of the conspirators had escaped detection, the king called for the reading of the record.
Furthermore, the fact that Esther had invited Haman strongly implied that he was in some way involved—but whether as friend or foe, the king could not tell. Little wonder that the king could not sleep!
Book of records. In chs. 2:23 and 10:2 the same book seems to be referred to, though the title is given more briefly as “the book of the chronicles.”
They were read. Possibly, the king himself could not read. More probably, however, special servants were assigned to the task of reading. In those days writing and reading were highly specialized arts, in which only those who devoted their time to them could hope to become proficient in them.
Esther 6:2 And it was found written that Mordecai had told of Bigthana and Teresh, two of the king’s eunuchs, the doorkeepers who had sought to lay hands on King Ahasuerus.
It was found written. See ch. 2:21–23.
Esther 6:3 Then the king said, “What honour or dignity has been bestowed on Mordecai for this?” And the king’s servants who attended him said, “Nothing has been done for him.”
In any country one discovering a conspiracy against the life of the king would be considered entitled to a handsome reward. In Persia, where “royal benefactors” formed a distinct class and had their names inscribed on a special list, it was especially incumbent on the monarch to see that such a person should receive a reward proportionate to the value of his service.
Though unable to recall what it was, Ahasuerus seems to have supposed that some honour or dignity must have been conferred on Mordecai. According to ch. 3:1, it was soon after this conspiracy—possibly in consequence of it—that Haman was promoted by Ahasuerus. It has been suggested that Haman may have in some way contrived to take the credit for bringing the conspiracy to light.
Esther 6:4 So the king said, “Who is in the court?” Now Haman had just entered the outer court of the king’s palace to suggest that the king hang Mordecai on the gallows that he had prepared for him.
Perhaps it was scarcely light when Haman arrived—light enough for his presence, but not his identity, to be detected. Early morning is a common time for the transaction of business at an Eastern court.
Haman’s anxiety to conclude his plan regarding Mordecai, ere the hour appointed for the second banquet should arrive, impelled him to come early in the hope of securing, if possible, the first audience.
It was his undue haste to effect Mordecai’s destruction that led to his being the person chosen by the king to do Mordecai the highest honour. How often pride precedes destruction, and a haughty spirit, a fall (Prov. 16:18).
Esther 6:5 The king’s servants said to him, “Haman is there, standing in the court.” And the king said, “Let him come in.”
Esther 6:6 So Haman came in, and the king asked him, “What shall be done for the man whom the king delights to honor?” Now Haman thought in his heart, “Whom would the king delight to honour more than me?”
Esther 6:7 And Haman answered the king, “For the man whom the king delights to honor,
Esther 6:8 let a royal robe be brought which the king has worn, and a horse on which the king has ridden, which has a royal crest placed on its head.
To wear a garment previously worn by the king was, under ordinary circumstances, a breach of Persian law punishable by death. It implied that the wearer thought to assume royal authority. The king, of course, could authorize an exception as a special mark of personal favor.
Esther 6:9 Then let this robe and horse be delivered to the hand of one of the king’s most noble princes, that he may array the man whom the king delights to honours. Then parade him on horseback through the city square, and proclaim before him: ‘Thus shall it be done to the man whom the king delights to honours!’ ”
Alas for Haman! Thinking to be the recipient of honours, he finds himself the “noble prince” appointed to bestow it—upon his worst enemy.
Esther 6:10 Then the king said to Haman, “Hurry, take the robe and the horse, as you have suggested, and do so for Mordecai the Jew who sits within the king’s gate! Leave nothing undone of all that you have spoken.”
Hurry up Haman! The king will brook no further delay in a matter that has already waited far too long.
Mordecai’s nationality and occupation were undoubtedly noted in the book of the chronicles from which the servant had read that night, and from which the king had probably learned the facts he now states. He may, indeed, have used the very expression that appeared in the account.
Esther 6:11 So Haman took the robe and the horse, arrayed Mordecai and led him on horseback through the city square, and proclaimed before him, “Thus shall it be done to the man whom the king delights to honours!”
There was no ground on which Haman could decline the duty the king had imposed upon him. Upon becoming prime minister, he himself should have read the chronicles to ascertain whether there was any unfinished business for him to carry out. Now he himself must do what he had told the king should be done by a noble prince.
Esther 6:12 Afterward Mordecai went back to the king’s gate. But Haman hurried to his house, mourning and with his head covered.
Mordecai returned to his former condition and employment. The king considered the honour thus shown Mordecai a sufficient reward. From an Oriental point of view, this would have been of more symbolic and practical value than a cash reward.
His head covered. A sign of mourning (see 2 Sam. 15:30).
How would you describe the emotions of the men as the move from one busy street to the next. Do you think Haman was a little hoars caused by the continual “Thus shall it be done to the man whom the king delights to honours!”
Esther 6:13 When Haman told his wife Zeresh and all his friends everything that had happened to him, his wise men and his wife Zeresh said to him, “If Mordecai, before whom you have begun to fall, is of Jewish descent, you will not prevail against him but will surely fall before him.”
Haman seems to have had his own Magian counsellors—his cabinet. Herodotus speaks of the supposed prophetic powers of the Persian Magians.
Esther 6:14 While they were still talking with him, the king’s eunuchs came, and hastened to bring Haman to the banquet which Esther had prepared.
Oriental courtesy requires a host to send an escort to accompany guests invited to a banquet or other entertainment.
Can you notice the body language of this once self-made celebrity?
One great purpose of the writer is to show that he who lays a snare for his neighbour’s life is in grave danger of falling into the snare himself. Men often meet with the very evils they have sought to inflict upon others
Matthew 7:1,2 “Judge not, that you be not judged. For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you.
NEXT TIME – CHAPTER 7
1 Esther, entertaining the king and Haman, makes a lawsuit for her own life and her people’s. 5 She accuses Haman. 7 The king in his anger, understanding of the gallows that Haman had made for Mordecai, causes him to be hanged thereon.