ESTHER CHAPTER 6.
Mordecai Rewarded by Ahasuerus.
THE KING ASKS HAMAN’S ADVICE. — V. 1.On that night could not the king sleep, literally, “fled away the sleep of the king,” and he commanded to bring the book of records of the chronicles, the annals of the kingdom, in which all events worthy of interest were entered by scribes or chroniclers appointed for that purpose; and they were read before the king, the reading evidently continuing through the entire night. V.2. And it was found written that Mordecai had told of Bigthana and Teresh, two of the king’s chamberlains, the keepers of the door, porters at the royal threshold, who sought to lay hand on the King Ahasuerus, chap. 2, 21. 22. V. 3. And the king said, What honor and dignity hath been done to Mordecai for this? He implied that it was self-evident that a royal reward should be assigned to Mordecai. Then said the king’s servants that ministered unto him, There is nothing done for him, he had not in any manner been requited for his special service. V. 4. And the king said, Who is in the court? that is, what officer of higher standing is on duty or present at this time? Now, Haman was come into the outward court of the king’s house, thus early in the morning, to speak unto the king to hang Mordecai on the gallows that he had prepared for him. He had come practically at the dawn of day, since his hatred of Mordecai would not permit him to rest. V. 5. And the king’s servants said unto him, Behold, Haman standeth in the court. And the king said, Let him come in, namely, into the apartments of the king, since he was probably reclining on his bed. V. 6. So Haman came in. And the king said unto him, What shall be done unto the man whom the king delighteth to honor? This was done in accordance with the Oriental custom which lets the royal courtiers name the rewards for special services. Now, Haman, puffed up with his own vanity, thought in his heart, To whom would the king delight to do honor more than to myself? The Hebrew implies that Haman thought it impossible for the king to go beyond him, to slight and disregard him at this time. V. 7. And Haman answered the king, stating what he desired for himself, For the man whom the king delighteth to honor, V. 8. let the royal apparel be brought which the king useth to wear, a dress which he had actually worn, the wearing of which by any other person was the very highest honor, and the horse that the king rideth upon, and the crown royal which is set upon his head, the royal steeds wearing an ornament upon their heads which had the shape of a diadem or crown; v. 9. and let this apparel and horse be delivered to the hand of one of the king’s most noble princes, that they may array the man withal whom the king delighteth to honor, the prince acting as a servant in this instance, and bring him on horseback through the street of the city, riding up and down through the chief thoroughfares, and proclaim before him, Thus shall it be done to the man whom the king delighteth to honor. The unbelievers have only the honor of this world before their eyes, but even in these hopes they are often disappointed and brought to disgrace.
MORDECAI HONORED. — V. 10. Then the king said to Haman, who himself was a prince of the realm, Make haste and take the apparel and the horse, as thou hast said, and do even so to Mordecai, the Jew, that sitteth at the king’s gate, whose nationality was hereby openly stated, in spite of the decree which looked toward the destruction of the Jews, the hand of Providence thus appearing throughout the story. Let nothing fail of all that thou hast spoken, not a single point was to be omitted in all the excessive show of honor which Haman had sought for his own person. V. 11. Then took Haman the apparel and the horse, surely with inexpressible bitterness in his heart, and arrayed Mordecai, and brought him on horseback through the street of the city, and proclaimed before him, Thus shall it be done unto the man whom the king delighteth to honor. The humiliation was all the greater, so far as Haman was concerned, because he now had to act as servant to the despised and hated Jew. V. 12. And Mordecai came again to the king’s gate, the entire city knowing of the honor which had been bestowed upon him. But Haman hasted to his house mourning and having his head covered, in token of the deep shame and disgrace which, he felt, was resting upon him. V. 13. And Haman told Zeresh, his wife, and all his friends, the men who usually hover about a powerful person while he is in the good graces of the sovereign, everything that had befallen him, the report differing materially from that made the day before. Then said his wise men and Zeresh, his wife, unto him, if Mordecai be of the seed of the Jews before whom thou hast begun to fall, namely, by being obliged to act as his servant, thou shalt not prevail against him, but shalt surely fall before him. This conclusion they drew from the trend of circumstances, for they could not be blind to the fact that the Jews were under special divine protection. V. 14. And while they were yet talking with him, came the king’s chamberlains and hasted to bring Haman unto the banquet that Esther had prepared, for the Oriental custom required a special message to be sent to the guests just before the hour appointed for a feast to announce that all things were now ready. Cp. Matt. 22, 3. 4; Luke 14, 17. That is the final reward of the unbelievers, particularly of those who persecute the Church of God: they fall before His might and will finally sink into everlasting destruction.