After the banquet Xerxes was unable to sleep. We could speculate that perhaps he was wondering what his bride would request of him because obviously this was not going to be a small thing. However, Scripture does not tell us why he could not sleep, but it does give us the result of that insomnia. Xerxes has the chronicles of his reign brought in to be read. Perhaps he was hoping he would find it easier to sleep after listening a while or perhaps he thought he might as well get some work done. Either way it was read that Mordecai had saved his life.
Notice that Xerxes is the one who asks if Mordecai had been honored for saving his life. When the answer of “no” comes back to him he genuinely desires to honor Mordecai. He also wants to make sure he does just the right thing to honor him. He wants some input and ideas from others. So he asks if there is someone in the court and, of course, Haman had just entered to ask if he could hang Mordecai. However, unbeknown to Haman he will indeed be discussing Mordecai, but in terms of honoring him not executing him.
Xerxes wants an honest opinion to his question of how to honor someone that the king delights to honor; so he does not give Haman the name of the man. Haman being an egotist thinks that naturally the king is meaning him and so gives the king a very elaborate plan for honoring someone.
Xerxes knew he could count on Haman for this and likes his idea. Here’s the kicker to Haman’s gut, the man the king delights to honor was not him, but his enemy Mordecai. Not only did Haman come up with the idea of how to honor Mordecai, but he would be the one to carry it out and parade Mordecai through the streets.
I love the sense of humor of our God. Remember, that Haman is the antagonist in our story. Haman had intended to make an example of Mordecai with an execution. Instead, he would make an example of him as someone honored by the king. God is very capable of turning the enemy’s plans upside down and making His people shine as the stars instead of being extinguished by the enemy.
The enemy here is humiliated by having to parade Mordecai on the king’s horse while wearing the king’s robe. But that was not all. Haman himself would robe Mordecai. In other words, he would serve Mordecai. What a humiliation.
As we study this we must understand the theological truth within this passage. For the hearer it seems like all is lost. Haman is about to get his way and kill Mordecai. It is at that moment that the king steps in to honor him. Our King wants to see His people robed for His glory. He wants us to shine and be the light of the world, because the light we reflect is His.
Let’s break this down. We are to put on our new selves or the Lord Jesus Christ. Just as Mordecai was clothed in the king’s robe so when we put on our new selves we are putting on Yeshua our King. We are made into His image in righteousness and holiness (Ephesians 4 & Colossians 3). We are then lead by God Himself “in triumphal procession in Christ” (II Corinthians 2:14).
Mordecai is led through the streets in the name of the king. Granted, Haman leading Mordecai is not the same as God leading us, but then again even though we see truths in this account it is not a perfect parallel. I believe for Haman this was part of God making him His footstool (Psalm 110). For Haman set a trap that he himself was falling into and he would fall hard (Psalm 57:6 & Proverbs 28:10). The one who set out to destroy the Jews, God’s people, was indeed to be made the servant of God’s people, a sign of cursing.
This was a sure sign that God was working and about to deliver His people. But notice that Mordecai does not proudly declare victory yet among his people. Instead he returns to the city gate where he had gone to fast, pray and mourn. He did not stop appealing to God, but persevered in his appeal. Allow me to give an example. Let’s say you are in a strange town with your family and having car trouble. Your husband must go into a potentially dangerous situation to get the car to the place that can help, so you begin to pray. Once you hear from him and know that God is answering your prayer for his safety do you stop praying or continue until you see him walk in the door? You continue to pray for God’s protection until he walks in the door. That is what Mordecai is doing. He does see God working, but still continues to pray and watch.
Meanwhile, Haman and those connected to him definitely see the writing on the wall. They know the reputation of the God of the Jews and know His hand is against Haman. Here we see the enemy experiencing the fear of the Jews and knowing he is in real trouble and will come to ruin. When something happens in the book of Esther through God’s people, the Jews, it is clear that it is God doing the work. Again, God’s people are a reflection of the One True God. Their actions, the actions of God’s people, are not seen as their own, but as those of their King.
And the king’s eunuchs come and quickly take Haman into the presence of the king.
Esther had asked Mordecai to have all the Jews of Susa fast for her for three days. She would also fast for three days along with her maids. At the end of this time of fasting she would go before King Xerxes. She was resolved that if she perished, she perished. This is where chapter 5 of Esther picks up.
“On the third day Esther put on her royal robes and stood in the inner court the palace, in front of the the king’s hall. The king was sitting on his royal throne in the hall, facing the entrance. When he saw Queen Esther standing in the court, he was pleased with her and held out to her the gold scepter that was in his hand. So Esther approached and touched the tip of the scepter.” (NIV)
Did you catch it? Esther had asked Mordecai to fast for three days and it was on the third day that she adorns herself in her royal robes. Allow me to point out that it was also on the third day that Jesus rose from the dead and thereby was adorned in His royal robes. What a picture! Especially considering the time of year it was, right around Passover and Pentecost and what is after Passover, Feast of First Fruits or Resurrection Sunday.
Yes, Esther approaches King Xerxes with boldness and fear, knowing her life is in the hands of God alone. She approaches him in her royal best on the last day of the fast. She comes to the court and waits to be noticed by Xerxes. She is not pushing her way in past other royal officials, but quietly stands and waits for her husband to notice her. She has approached the throne with dignity and grace.
The king does notice his bride. He see his Queen standing in his court and that pleases him. Xerxes holds out the scepter and in that moment Esther’s life is spared. She approaches her husband, her king, and touches the scepter. God is revealing Himself to her. God does have a plan and He is setting it in motion, and doing it through her.
I want to discuss what Esther has just done. She has taken great care in approaching her king. Here is the question, do we take such care in approaching our King? After all, our King is King of kings and Lord of lords. In discussing this I want to look at Daniel 7:9-14 to see what it says about the throne room of our God. Beginning in verse nine it says,”As I looked, thrones were set in place, and the Ancient of Days took his seat. His clothing was as white as snow; the hair of his head was white like wool. His throne was flaming with fire, and its wheels were all ablaze. A river of fire was flowing, coming out from before him. Thousands upon thousands attended him; ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him. The court was seated, and the books were open. Then I continued to watch because of the boastful words the horn was speaking. I kept looking until the beast was slain and its body destroyed and thrown into the blazing fire. (The other beasts had been stripped of their authority, but were allowed to live for a period of time.) In my vision at night I looked, and there before me was one like a son of man, coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient of Days and was led into his presence. He was given authority, glory and sovereign power; all peoples, nations and men of every language worshiped him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and his kingdom is one that will never be destroyed.”
Now does this courtroom sound like a place where one can be cavalier? You are absolutely correct, it is not that kind of place. This is the ultimate courtroom and it is no mortal king who sits on the throne. This throne is occupied by God himself. He is the only One who can hold out that gold scepter and his scepter is His Son at His right hand. We may only approach the throne if we have held out our hand to touch Yesuah. In other words, to take Him as our Lord and Savior.
Then comes the next point. Esther approached her king very carefully and in her royal best, but how do we? In Revelation 19 the bride is given her royal robes to wear at the wedding of the Lamb. The royal robes are fine linen and represent the righteous acts of the saints. In other words, our royal robes represent our obedience to the acts He has prepared in advance for us to do (Ephesians 2:10). Thereby making our obedience to our King equivalent with wearing our royal best.
Hebrews 4:16 says, “Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. The word here for “confidence” means to have all outspokenness, frankness, bluntness, publicity, assurance, bold, confidence, freedom, openness, and plainness. We are to approach the throne with boldness and assurance so that we can freely and openly speak to our God. However, it does not mean we can do this in a cavalier way.
Ephesians 3:12 says, “In him and through faith in him we may approach with freedom and confidence.” The word in this verse for “freedom” is that same word used for confidence in the Hebrew passage above. However, the word used for “confidence” is another word, which means reliance, confidence or trust. We have this reliance or this sacred trust to know that when we come before God and we are in Him and our faith is in Him He hears us.
I want to look at some more verses, so please bear with me today. I truly believe this is an important topic because we far too often approach God casually and really with very little thought as to whom we are approaching and where we truly are, His courtroom. The first one I want to look at is John 14:12 – 16 which states,”I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it. If you love me you will obey what I command. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever”.
I love these verses and the truth is that in most of our Bibles such as the NIV, which I have quoted here, separate these verses right in the middle. When these verses are separated we do not get the importance of the second part, which is to obey His command. Yes, we do have confidence and freedom in approaching our King, but we are also to put on our best, and what is our best? It is our obedience.
Now let’s look at another verse and John 16:23-24 that says, “In that day you will no longer ask me anything. I tell you the truth, my Father will give you whatever you ask in my name. Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete.”
Know this, that in order to ask in the name of Yeshua we must not be disgracing or taking His name in vain. This is foundational. We can not expect to receive what we ask if we are disobedient children who also blaspheme the name of Yeshua. And to be sure that we all understand what this means, let me be clear. We often think of blasphemy or taking the Lord’s name in vain as something we say and yes, it can mean that. We must also keep in mind that it is also about how we live the life we say belongs to Him. If we are living a disobedient life as His child we take His name with us into disgrace, let it never be. If we live that life of disobedience we can be sure He will not hear our plea in His court until we allow Him to deal with the topic of our disobedience.
There are many other verses on this subject in Scripture that I would hope you would take the time to look up. As you look at more verses you will find that in coming to the throne room we approach God with rejoicing and confidence in him, asking in his name and will. The requirement is always our obedience to all that He has commanded, which is to believe in Him and to love one another.
So, before we get back to Esther let me recap a little. When we approach our King we must realize that we are in the courtroom of The King and that His court is in session. We may approach Him with confidence and freedom. We must also be in our best, true obedience or humility ready to confess our disobedience. And as I Peter 4:7 says we must “be clear minded and self-controlled” so that we can pray.
Now, let’s get back to Esther. The fast Esther called Mordecai and the Jews to participate in was a fast with a purpose, it had a focus. It was not just a general mourning, wailing, fasting and call for deliverance, but it was very focused and specific on where the deliverance would come from. There was now a plan for deliverance in place or at least the person, Esther. So she approaches the King. She is clear minded and self-controlled about who she is to be in his presence and what she wants from him. She makes her request. She asks for Xerxes and Haman to come to a banquet that she has prepared.
Xerxes had told her that even up to half the kingdom it would be hers. This was not, as we will see later, just a euphemism, but dare I say it, a limitation. Keep this in mind for later in the book. However, she does not ask for half the kingdom, but for him and Haman to come to a banquet.
So the question is, why did she need to go to court to invite Xerxes and Haman to a banquet? It was necessary because what she would eventually discuss with Xerxes was a matter of official Persian business, the edict to annihilate the Jews. However, she knew that she must handle the situation with care and love. Yes, it was a matter of official Persian business, but it was also personal in that she was about to reveal something about herself to her husband, that up to this point she had kept secret. She would have to tell Xerxes that she was a Jew. Do you see the problem? She had to tell her husband in a loving way that he had made a big mistake, dispatching the edict to annihilate her people, and at the same time not point the finger at him. I believe that is why she also invited the enemy. She needed someone else to point the finger at.
However, at this banquet she does not reveal her petition, but states,”If the king regards me with favor and if it pleases the king to grant my petition and fulfill my request, let the king and Haman come tomorrow to the banquet I will prepare for them. Then I will answer the king’s question.”
Can you hear it? She is basically saying that if Xerxes really loves her then he needs to give careful thought to whether or not to grant her request because this ones going to be a doozy. Xerxes must be resolved to answer her request, her petition, with a resounding yes if at all possible because this request will by no means be a small thing.
It is at this point that Haman goes home to brag, but is again confronted with the presence of Mordecai at the king’s gate and Mordecai does not acknowledge him at all. This riles him to no end. He wants to brag about his day and yet he cannot get Mordecai out of his mind. So his wife, whose name we ironically have, Zeresh, along with his friends and relatives tell him to hang Mordecai on the gallows. So Haman has them erected.