From Esther 6-10
The king remembers he has to honour a man. When asked how he should be honoured, Haman thinks it is himself. He ends up publicly honouring Mordecai, his worst enemy. Jesus said ‘everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted’.
This post is part of my bible in a year series.
Passage and Comments
Haman has set in motion an event that he intends to be the end of the Jews. He has a particular grudge against Mordecai. Mordecai however has done some good for the king. Something that until now has been forgotten.
6 On that night the king could not sleep. And he gave orders to bring the book of memorable deeds, the chronicles, and they were read before the king. 2 And it was found written how Mordecai had told about Bigthana and Teresh, two of the king’s eunuchs, who guarded the threshold, and who had sought to lay hands on King Ahasuerus. 3 And the king said, “What honor or distinction has been bestowed on Mordecai for this?” The king’s young men who attended him said, “Nothing has been done for him.” (Est 6.1-3)
Behind the scenes the LORD is working to turn things his way. He gives the king a restless sleep. The king has something on his mind. Something he has forgotten, he now remembers.
Mordecai uncovered a plot against him and he has not been rewarded for it.
Enter Haman into the court. He knows nothing of what the king has found out or what he intends.
4 And the king said, “Who is in the court?” Now Haman had just entered the outer court of the king’s palace to speak to the king about having Mordecai hanged on the gallows that he had prepared for him. 5 And the king’s young men told him, “Haman is there, standing in the court.” And the king said, “Let him come in.”
6 So Haman came in, and the king said to him, “What should be done to the man whom the king delights to honor?”
And Haman said to himself, “Whom would the king delight to honor more than me?”
7 And Haman said to the king, “For the man whom the king delights to honor, 8 let royal robes be brought, which the king has worn, and the horse that the king has ridden, and on whose head a royal crown is set. 9 And let the robes and the horse be handed over to one of the king’s most noble officials. Let them dress the man whom the king delights to honor, and let them lead him on the horse through the square of the city, proclaiming before him: ‘Thus shall it be done to the man whom the king delights to honor.’ ” (Est 6.4-9)
Hubris. Haman is so over confident and proud he could not imagine anyone other than himself the king would honour.
Beware pride. It has led to the fall of many.
Haman gives a fitting way of honouring the man the king chooses.
10 Then the king said to Haman, “Hurry; take the robes and the horse, as you have said, and do so to Mordecai the Jew, who sits at the king’s gate. Leave out nothing that you have mentioned.” 11 So Haman took the robes and the horse, and he dressed Mordecai and led him through the square of the city, proclaiming before him, “Thus shall it be done to the man whom the king delights to honor.” (Est 6.10-11)
The tables are reversed suddenly. Haman is humbled before Mordecai. The man he wanted humiliated and killed was the man he had to honour as the king commanded.
12 Then Mordecai returned to the king’s gate. But Haman hurried to his house, mourning and with his head covered. 13 And Haman told his wife Zeresh and all his friends everything that had happened to him. Then his wise men and his wife Zeresh said to him, “If Mordecai, before whom you have begun to fall, is of the Jewish people, you will not overcome him but will surely fall before him.” (Est 6.12-13)
Mordecai returns to the king’s gate. Nothing more is said about him.
Haman on the other hand tells his friends and they predict his downfall. This was an early sign of what was going to happen. The LORD would save his people and destroy their enemies.
“Since Mordecai … is of Jewish origin, … you will surely come to ruin.” (Est 6.13) The author again inserted his principal theme:
God will take care of the Jews; their enemies will be confounded and destroyed.
Here it comes from the mouth of Zeresh, his wife, and Haman’s advisors. The “advisors” in Hebrew are called “wise men.” That may be ironic because they were only wise after Haman started to fall; earlier they advised him to make the gallows for Mordecai. They also must have been aware of the revival of the Jewish people since the time of Cyrus. If they were sensitive to the signs of the times, perhaps they were aware that divine providence was responsible for the Jews’ protection. (Breneman, M., 1993. Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther electronic ed., Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers.)
Haman is a classic example of one of Jesus’ sayings.
7 Now he told a parable to those who were invited, when he noticed how they chose the places of honor, saying to them, 8 “When you are invited by someone to a wedding feast, do not sit down in a place of honor, lest someone more distinguished than you be invited by him, 9 and he who invited you both will come and say to you, ‘Give your place to this person,’ and then you will begin with shame to take the lowest place. 10 But when you are invited, go and sit in the lowest place, so that when your host comes he may say to you, ‘Friend, move up higher.’ Then you will be honored in the presence of all who sit at table with you. 11 For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.” (Lk 14.7-11)
Haman was humbled, Mordecai was exalted. I think there is a warning to all of us in Haman. His pride caught him out. He was blind to see there were other people more worthy than him to receive the king’s praise.
Are you proud?
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