The Fall of Haman.

ESTHER PLEADS FOR HER PEOPLE. — V. 1. So the king and Haman came to banquet with Esther, the queen, the drinking after the feast being regarded as the most important part of the entertainment. V. 2. And the king, being more anxious even than on the day before to find out Esther’s request, said again unto Esther on the second day at the banquet of wine, repeating his promise in practically the same words, What is thy petition, Queen Esther? and it shall be granted thee; and what is thy request? and it shall be performed, even to the half of the kingdom. She had but to name her desire, and the king would place all his resources at her command. V. 3. Then Esther, the queen, all her pent-up emotions breaking forth with a sudden rush of words, answered and said, If I have found favor in thy sight, O king, and if it please the king, let my life be given me at my petition and my people at my request; she pleaded with the king that her own life and that of her race might be spared, saved from the impending calamity; v. 4. for we are sold, I and my people, a very fitting expression, since Haman had paid a large sum of money into the royal treasury to bring about the extermination of the Jews, to be destroyed, to be slain, and to perish, the heaping of the words showing the depth of her own emotions, and being intended to awaken similar feelings in the heart of the king. But if we had been sold for bondmen and bondwomen, if the scheme had implied only slavery for herself and her people, I had held my tongue, unwilling to bother the king on that score alone, although the enemy could not countervail the king’s damage, that is, in the circumstances the punishment of the enemy must be considered less important than the averting of the damage which the king would suffer. Esther thus stated that all other considerations were secondary with her to the one great need of preserving the interests of the king, since all the gold which the enemy might pay would not compensate for the loss of the services which her people rendered to the empire. V. 5. Then the King Ahasuerus, filled with the greatest agitation on account of the condition revealed by Esther’s words, answered and said unto Esther, the queen, Who is he, and where is he, that durst presume in his heart to do so? literally, “Who has filled his heart to do so?” For it must have been a heart of extraordinary wickedness which could have thought out such a devilish scheme. V. 6. And Esther, now fully sure of her ground, said, The adversary and enemy is this wicked Haman. It was a moment of most dramatic intensity when Esther thus denounced the man who was filled with such enmity toward the Jews. Then Haman was afraid, he trembled for fear, before the king and the queen, for he had some premonition of what his fate would be. Thus Esther placed her position and her very life in jeopardy for the sake of her people. In the same way all believers who occupy positions of honor and, power have the duty to use their influence in the interest of their fellow-believers.

HAMAN HANGED ON HIS OWN GALLOWS. — V. 7. And the king, arising from the banquet of wine in his wrath, went into the palace garden, for he was so filled with agitation that he must needs take a turn in the royal park. And Haman stood up to make request for his life to Esther, the queen, for he realized that this was his one chance of salvation; for he saw that there was evil determined against him by the king, that sentence upon him had virtually been pronounced. V. 8. Then the king returned out of the palace garden, where he had gone to recover from the first burst of anger, into the place of the banquet of wine; and Haman was fallen upon the bed whereon Esther was. In his importunate pleading for his life he had kneeled down before Esther and had then fallen forward with the upper part of his body on the sofa on which Esther reclined at the meal. Then said the king, now altogether beside himself with anger, Will he force the queen also before me in the house? The king took this act of Haman‘s to be an outrage on the modesty of the queen and a serious offense against the respect due to himself. As the word went out of the king’s mouth, they covered Haman’s face, it being the custom to veil the face of a condemned criminal as no longer worthy of looking at the king. V. 9. And Harbonah, one of the chamberlains, said before the king, Behold also, the gallows, fifty cubits high, which Haman had made for Mordecai, who had spoken good for the king, in revealing the plot against the king’s life, standeth in the house of of Haman. His words suggested, of course, that it was more fit for Haman to be hanged on the high gallows which he had erected than for Mordecai. Then the king said, Hang him thereon. V. 10. So they hanged Haman on the gallows that he had prepared for Mordecai, his feet thus being taken in the net which he had hidden for another, Ps.9, 15. Then was the king’s wrath pacified. That is the final fate of the enemies of the Church, a dreadful and terrible end, in the depths of shame and disgrace.