1) That night the king, unable to sleep, asked that the
chronicle of notable events be brought in.
all know that moment, I’m sure, in the middle of the night. Lying there in the dark, doing nothing, you
suddenly find yourself without any distraction from anything that you might
have neglected or left unresolved—and now you can’t think of anything else, and
it drives all hope of sleep away.
Ahasuerus might have a blast by day with his pomp and his parties, but
he can’t hide from himself or his responsibilities by night.
While this was being read to him, 2) the passage occurred in which Mordecai
reported Bigthan and Teresh, two of the royal eunuchs who guarded the entrance,
for seeking to assassinate King Ahasuerus. 3) The king asked, “What was
done to honor and exalt Mordecai for this?” The king’s attendants replied,
“Nothing was done for him.”
COMMENTARY: Aha! He knew
that he’d forgotten something!
4) “Who is
in the court?” the king asked. Now Haman had entered the outer court of the
king’s palace to suggest to the king that Mordecai should be impaled on the
stake he had raised for him.
is so eager that he arrives in the middle of the night to wait for the King to
5) The king’s attendants answered him,
“Haman is waiting in the court.” The king said, “Let him come in.” 6) When Haman entered, the king said to
him, “What should be done for the man whom the king wishes to reward?” Now
Haman thought to himself, “Whom would the king wish to honor more than me?”
7) So he replied to the king: “For the
man whom the king wishes to honor 8)
there should be brought the royal robe the king wore
and the horse the king rode with the royal crest placed on its head. 9) The robe and the horse should be given
to one of the noblest of the king’s officials, who must clothe the man the king
wishes to reward, have him ride on the horse in the public square of the city,
and cry out before him, ‘This is what is done for the man whom the king wishes
cultures believe that one can partake of a great person’s power by touching
something that this one has touched. We
see this elsewhere in the Bible with 2 Kings 13:21:
while some Israelites were burying a man, suddenly they saw a band of raiders;
so they threw the man’s body into Elisha’s tomb. When the body touched Elisha’s
bones, the man came to life and stood up on his feet.”
For the record, this is why Catholics like to keep
relics of saints.
10) Then the king said
to Haman: “Hurry! Take the robe and horse as you have proposed, and do this for
the Jew Mordecai, who is sitting at the royal gate. Do not omit anything you
proposed.” 11) So
Haman took the robe and horse, clothed Mordecai, had him ride in the public
square of the city, and cried out before him, “This is what is done for the man
whom the king wishes to honor!”
Oh, the richness of the irony! I would
assume by this that the king had stayed up all night, and that by now morning
had broken. Otherwise we’ve got Haman
rushing out to try and dispense with this onerous duty before anybody can wake
up to notice—although of course with him forced to holler the king’s will in
the streets, in a dense urban environment, he’d wake people everywhere he went,
stumbling out to see what all the commotion was. I’m not sure which outcome to prefer.
returned to the royal gate, while Haman hurried home grieving, with his head
COMMENTARY: I tried to see if covering one’s head, in
this context, had any cultural meaning.
I couldn’t find any, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t there. Until such surfaces, though, I shall have to
conclude that this was the ancient version of pulling up your hood and hoping
that nobody recognizes you.
13) When he told his wife Zeresh and all his friends
everything that had happened to him, his advisers and his wife Zeresh said to
him, “If Mordecai, before whom you are beginning to fall, is of Jewish
ancestry, you will not prevail against him, but will surely be defeated by
they start to remember old stories, like what happened to Holofernes at the
hands of Judith.
14)While they were speaking with him, the
king’s eunuchs arrived and hurried Haman off to the banquet Esther had
Oh well, at least he has this honor to look forward to...or so he must