Back to cousin Mordecai
Read Part One here.
Cousin Mordecai “sat at the gate” of the king’s palace – this was a place of importance. Legal matters and business transactions were handled at the gate. Whoever sat at the gate was privy to plans and plots and one day two of the king’s eunuchs were angry and sought to kill the king. Mordecai heard all the commotion and told Queen Esther – and she reported it to the king and was sure to tell him it was Mordecai who reported it.
It is imperative to remember that Mordecai AND Queen Esther’s Jewish ethnicity was not known at the palace nor did anyone know Mordecai was Esther’s cousin. The kingdom of Shushan loathed Jews and only tolerated their presence in the district.
The king had inquiries made and sure enough he found out that the plot to kill him was real and true – these two eunuchs were hung on gallows for all to see and know…
DON’T MESS WITH THE KING.
Enter Haman and his conspiracy
Haman hated the Jews and now king Ahaseurus has just promoted him over all the princes of the kingdom. This is not good news for Mordecai or Esther.
Prince Haman was not a good man and he demanded that everyone in and around the palace bow before him – Mordecai refused to do this because he knew Haman hated the Jewish people. The king’s servants took notice that Mordecai refused to bow to Haman and asked him why he would not bow and Mordecai told them that he was a Jew. Those servants reported Mordecai to Haman. Haman became filled with wrath and unstoppable.
Haman conspires to eradicate ALL Jews in the kingdom. He went to the king and told him that there was a certain group of people scattered throughout his kingdom that were different and they refused to follow kingdom laws and Haman suggested to the king that these people be destroyed. The king handed over his signet ring to Haman and said,
The money and the people are given to you to do with them as seems good to you. Esther 3.11
The letter was written, sealed, and distributed to all the king’s provinces to destroy, to kill, and to annihilate all Jews, both young and old, little children and women, in one day, on the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, which is the month of Adar, and to plunder their possessions. (Esther 3.13)
The decree was signed, sealed, and delivered
Mordecai tore his clothes and dressed in sackcloth and ashes – he stood in the middle of the city and cried out with a loud and bitter cry. He took his bitter grief and tears all the way to the king’s gates. Throughout the provinces there was great mourning among the Jews with fasting, weeping, and wailing, and many lay in sackcloth and ashes. (Esther 4)
Queen Esther got word and sent her servants to Mordecai with clean clothes for him to wear but he refused. The queen called upon Hathach, one of the king’s eunuchs who had been appointed to serve her, and commanded him to go out to Mordecai and find out what all the commotion was about. Hathach did that and Mordecai told him everything and gave him a copy of the decree to kill all Jews and asked him to take it to Esther and show her. Mordecai also asked Hathach to command Esther to go into the king to make supplication to him and plead before him for her people.
Queen Esther’s Response
Please tell my cousin Mordecai…
There is a palace rule, one with a death consequence, if one goes into the inner chamber of the king uninvited, he or she will be immediately put to death UNLESS the king holds out his golden scepter to the one. And, cousin Mordecai, I have not been summoned into the king’s presence for 30 days.
Please tell Esther…
Do not think you will escape the decree for all Jews to be slaughtered – you and your father’s house will be annihilated, if you remain silent. And, Esther, who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such as this? Esther 4.13-14
Esther’s reply to Mordecai
Go and gather all the Jews now in Shushan and fast and pray for three days – my maids and I will fast and pray also and then I will go into the king. And, if I perish, I perish! Esther 4.15-17
Esther in the inner court
Three days passed and Esther knew it was time. She dressed in her royal robes and stood in the inner court of the king’s palace, across from the king’s house, while the king sat on his royal throne in the royal house, facing the entrance of the house and the inner court. (Esther 5.1)
Holding her breath, Esther stood, and waited. This was do or die – if her husband, the king did not raise his royal scepter tradition says she would have been immediately killed by the guards swords.
One – two – three…how long did Esther stand there? With the eyes of the guards glaring, their swords quivering, and then…
And when the king saw Queen Esther standing in the court, she found favor in his sight, and the king held out the golden scepter that was in his hand. Esther went near and touched the tip of it. (Esther 5.2)
The king’s response
This man loved Esther – there is no doubt in my mind of that – I believe he knew he had a treasure of great value.
What is it my lovely one? Name it – it’s all yours, up to half the kingdom!
I mean y’all this is love! Esther did not blurt it out she was calm and collected and had probably rehearsed this moment 999 times in the last three days. You know what she asked for? She invited the king and Haman to dinner that very same day at her house.
A banquet or two – fit for a king
The king immediately sent for Haman and they went to house of the Queen and as the wine was being served the king once again promised Esther anything her heart desired up to one-half of his kingdom. But the only thing she wanted? For the two of them to return the next day for another banquet!
Haman left that dinner feeling on top of the world – he went on his way and saw Mordecai sitting at the gate and became infuriated that Mordecai did not bow, salute, or give him any royal acknowledgement. Haman was fit to be tied and went home. He was feeling a mixture of braggadocious and anger – he called for his wife, Zeresh, and a group of his friends.
Haman’s plot against Mordecai
Haman told his wife and guests how he had found great favor by the king and had been promoted and given great wealth and power. He boasted how the Queen had invited no one else to her royal dinner beside him and the king! Haman was so full of himself he was about to burst…
Yet, all this avails me nothing as long as that Jew Mordecai sits at the king’s gates. (Esther 5.13)
Wife, Zerish, pipes up with a plan. Haman darling why don’t you erect gallows 75 feet high so all of Shushan can see and have Mordecai the Jew hung before you go to dinner at Esther’s house?
It didn’t take much for Haman to be in favor of that and he had the gallows made.
The king honors Mordecai
To be continued next week…