Chapter 6

Esther 6:

1) That night the king, unable to sleep, asked that the chronicle of notable events be brought in.


COMMENTARY:  You 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.


COMMENTARY:  Haman is so eager that he arrives in the middle of the night to wait for the King to rise!



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?”


COMMENTARY:  Ah, hubris!



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 to honor!’”


COMMENTARY:  Many 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:

21 Once 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!”


COMMENTARY: 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.



12Mordecai then returned to the royal gate, while Haman hurried home grieving, with his head covered.


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 him.”


COMMENTARY:  Now 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 prepared.




COMMENTARY:  Oh well, at least he has this honor to look forward to...or so he must think.

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