Esther's Banquet

Text: Esther 7

Understanding What You Read

  1. What did the king want to know?
  2. What did the queen request?
  3. How did Ahasuerus react to the request?
  4. Why did Haman stay behind when Ahasuerus went to the garden?
  5. What did the king see as he came back into the palace?
  6. What did Harbonah suggest?

As the king and Haman drank at Esther’s second dinner, he once again asked Esther what was her petition. Ahasuerus again refers to Esther by her title, “Queen Esther,” indicating that she has a right to make her requests to her husband. He even indicated that he would be willing to give up to half his kingdom to fulfill her request.

Esther starts with her hope that she still has Ahasuerus’ favor. So far, Esther has always spoken of the king in the third person, but here she gets more personal and uses the second person. Esther’s request was that she might retain her own life and that her people could be given their life. She reveals that she and her people have been sold to be killed. Here Esther is referring to the ten thousand talent payment Haman gave (Esther 3:9). Perhaps the king begins to show his anger because Esther continues by saying that if she and her people were just sold into slavery she would not have bothered the king about the matter.

Up until this time Esther has never mentioned that she is an Israelite. Even if the king at this moment knew about the decree against the Jews and remembered it, he would not have connected it as applying to his own wife. Ahasuerus demands to know who would presume to move against his queen. Esther states that the man is a foe and enemy of hers and her people and then names Haman as the man.

Haman’s day had been horrible up to this point, but this disaster made everything else seem mild. He was terrified and was unable to make a defense. The king stormed out into the palace gardens, but Haman figured his best course was to plead with Esther for his own life because he knew what Ahasuerus would order. Unfortunately for Haman, it appears he tripped as he approached Esther. He landed on top of her just as the king returned to the room.

Ahasuerus demands to know if his counselor would try to assault his wife even while he was in the house. As he spoke, his men covered Haman’s face. There is a possibility that if a single letter was dropped from the word “they covered” it means “and his face blushed.” One of his bodyguards, Harbonah, pointed out that Haman had built gallows for Mordecai, whom the king had just honored that very day. This just adds one more charge against Haman. Thus, the king simply says, “Hang him on it” and Haman’s death satisfied the king’s sense of justice (Proverbs 26:27).

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