“This advice pleased Haman, and he had the gallows made.” (Esther 5:14b)
The great king of Persia searched far and wide for the next queen of the land, a vast empire that stretched from Greece to India.
Around 480 B.C., many of the Israelite people were living in Persia. A search for a wife was made all throughout the Persian kingdom and a plain Jewish orphan, Esther, was chosen. Overnight Esther went from the simple life of a peasant to the substantive life in the palace.
Haman, second in command to the king, became hateful of all the Jews in the land because Esther’s cousin, Mordecai, would not bow to him when he passed by. Haman apparently did not know the connection between Esther and Mordecai and their common Jewish heritage. Haman devised a plan to exterminate all the Jewish people – an ancient holocaust!
Mordecai was heart broken over this news and immediately went to Esther. Esther held a personal three-day fast (withholding food to spend time in prayer to God) to ask the Lord to intervene in this terrible national situation. From this time of fasting, Esther knew she must approach the king. However, no one approached the ruler without being summoned or it was certain death. Esther, courageously, chose to go before his majesty.
The Scripture tells us: “As soon as the king saw Queen Esther standing in the court, she won his favor…” (Esther 5:2a). The impossible had happened. Now what will Esther do? She requested for the king and Haman to attend a banquet feast in honor of her husband. They agreed without Haman’s knowledge of Esther’s plan. The banquet was held and Esther asked both of them to return the next day for another feast in the king’s honor. Haman returns home filled with great joy that he was chosen by the queen to join the king at this special celebration. As his hatred for Mordecai intensifies, Haman’s wife suggest he builds a 75-foot high gallows in which to hang Mordecai. “This advice pleased Haman, and he had the gallows made.” (Esther 5:14b)
That same evening the king discovered that Mordecai had foiled a recent plan of two conspirators against him. Soon after this Haman tells the king of his preparations to hang Mordecai for not respecting his position. The banquet with Queen Esther follows and she reveals Haman’s evil plan to exterminate all the Jews in the land. Esther saves her people from certain annihilation because of her trust in God and her unwavering courage.
The Scripture records that Haman was hanged on the same gallows that he had made for Mordecai. Haman’s pride, his hatred for others, and listening to the misguided advice of his wife had resulted in his death sentence.
You and I have opportunities every day to choose to be like Esther or like Haman in our relationship to God and others. May we have the courage of Esther and avoid the destructive example of Haman!