Esther 2:19-23 Esther’s cousin, Mordecai, uncovers a plot to assassinate the king. He reports the details to Queen Esther who passes on this information to the king. The plotters are arrested and hanged.
Esther 3:1-15 Later, Xerxes promotes Haman to be his chief councillor. Haman is a descendent of the Amalekites, the traditional enemies of the people of Judah. Mordecai – as a Jew who worships only the one true God – refuses to bow down and honour Haman.
In 474BC, Haman devises a plan to exterminate all the Jews throughout Babylonia and to confiscate their possessions. Xerxes (who doesn't know about his wife Esther's Jewish origins) agrees to Haman’s plan.
Lion on a decorative panel from Darius I's Palace at Susa (Louvre Mueum) (Jastrow)
Esther 4:1-17 Mordecai urges Queen Esther to beg the king to spare the lives of the Jews.
Esther 5:1-8 Although it's a capital offence to seek an audience with the king without being summoned, Esther courageously approaches King Xerxes and asks that he and Haman attend a banquet with her the next day.
Esther 5:9-14 Meanwhile, Haman builds a gallows intending to get royal permission to hang his enemy, Mordecai.
Esther 6:1-14 That evening, when reading through the royal chronicles, Xerxes is reminded that he has not yet rewarded Mordecai for exposing the assassination attempt. Consequently, the next morning, Mordecai is rewarded for his loyalty. Haman is ordered to dress Mordecai in a royal robe and parade him through the streets of Susa on one of the kings’ horses.
Esther 7:1-10 At the banquet, Esther pleads for the king’s mercy for herself, a Jew, and all her people. Xerxes grants her request. Haman's evil intentions are exposed, and he is executed on the gallows he had erected to destroy Mordecai.