For we have been sold, I and my people, to be destroyed, to be killed, and to be annihilated. If we had been sold merely as slaves, men and women, I would have held my peace; but no enemy can compensate for this damage to the king.” Then King Ahasuerus said to Queen Esther, “Who is he, and where is he, who has presumed to do this?” Esther said, “A foe and enemy, this wicked Haman!” Then Haman was terrified before the king and the queen. The king rose from the feast in wrath and went into the palace garden, but Haman stayed to beg his life from Queen Esther, for he saw that the king had determined to destroy him. When the king returned from the palace garden to the banquet hall, Haman had thrown himself on the couch where Esther was reclining; and the king said, “Will he even assault the queen in my presence, in my own house?” As the words left the mouth of the king, they covered Haman’s face. Then Harbona, one of the eunuchs in attendance on the king, said, “Look, the very gallows that Haman has prepared for Mordecai, whose word saved the king, stands at Haman’s house, fifty cubits high.” And the king said, “Hang him on that.” So they hanged Haman on the gallows that he had prepared for Mordecai. Then the anger of the king abated.
This book is so weird. Again, Esther is no paragon of virtue or model woman. She sleeps with the King to get ahead, is completely self-interested (has to be convinced to say her people because she might get caught up in the slaughter!), and she refuses to give mercy. This particular story of Haman’s condemnation, in both structure and language, seems to mirror David’s condemnation by Nathan. And yet, David gets mercy. Haman does not.
So what are some Christian take-aways from the book? A couple of things off the top of my head: life for God’s people only comes through a substitute, putting Death to Death, and something becoming a curse. Further, it’s the King who deals the death blow, even as the Enemy assaults us. Lastly, Salvation for God’s people is found when the King’s anger abates.
See other Marginalia here. Read more about the series here.