17 Nov. Esther 5:1-14

17 Nov. Esther invites Xerxes and Haman to a banquet

“On the third day Esther put on her royal robes and stood in the inner courtyard of the king’s palace, facing the king’s hall. The king was sitting on his royal throne in the hall, facing the doorway.”

“When the king saw Queen Esther standing in the courtyard, he was pleased. He held out to her the gold sceptre that was in his hand, so Esther went forwards and touched the end of it. The king asked, ‘What is it, Queen Esther? What do you want to ask me? I will give you as much as half my kingdom.’”

“Esther answered, ‘My king, if it pleases you, come today with Haman to a banquet that I have prepared for him.’ Then the king said, ‘Bring Haman quickly so we may do what Esther asks.’ So the king and Haman went to the banquet Esther had prepared for them.”

“As they were drinking wine, the king said to Esther, ‘Now what are you asking for? I will give it to you. What is it you want? I will give you as much as half my kingdom.’ Esther answered, ‘This is what I want and what I ask for. My king, if you are pleased with me and it pleases you, give me what I ask for and do what I want. Come with Haman tomorrow to the banquet I will prepare for you. Then I will answer your question about what I want.’”

“Haman left the king’s palace that day happy and content. But when he saw Mordecai at the king’s gate and saw that Mordecai did not stand up or tremble with fear before him, Haman became very angry with Mordecai. But he controlled his anger and went home.”

“Then Haman called together his friends and his wife, Zeresh. He told them how wealthy he was and how many sons he had. He also told them all the ways the king had honoured him and how the king had placed him higher than his important men and his royal officers.”

“He also said, ‘I’m the only person Queen Esther invited to come with the king to the banquet she gave. And tomorrow also the queen has asked me to be her guest with the king. But all this does not really make me happy when I see that Jew Mordecai sitting at the king’s gate.’”

“Then Haman’s wife, Zeresh, and all his friends said, ‘Have a 25-metre-high platform built, and in the morning ask the king to have Mordecai hanged on it. Then go to the banquet with the king and be happy.’ Haman liked this suggestion, so he ordered the platform to be built.”

          (Esther 5:1-14)

 

 

Although it was a capital offence to seek an audience with the king without being summoned, Esther courageously approached King Xerxes. Xerxes was pleased to see Esther and offered to grant her wishes. Esther asked that he and Haman attend a banquet with her, in honour of Haman.

At the meal, Esther requested that the king and Haman attend another banquet the following day. Suitably puffed up with pride at having been invited to dine by the queen, Haman left the palace overjoyed – until he spotted Mordecai sitting by the king’s gate. Haman was furious that Mordecai would not bow down and acknowledge his importance.

Arriving home, Haman shared with his wife and friends how he had been honoured by the queen, but ignored by Mordecai. Zeresh, his wife, suggested that he get his revenge by building a gallows and seeking royal permission to hang his enemy, Mordecai. So Haman ordered a 25-metre-high platform to be built in time for an execution to be carried out the following day.

The photo shows a painting of ‘The Feast of Esther’ by Jan Lievens (c.1625) (in the North Carolina Museum of Art).

You can read more of the story of Esther @ https://www.thebiblejourney.org/biblejourney2/35-the-exiles-return-to-judah/mordecai-uncovers-a-plot-to-kill-the-king/


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