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©Bonnie LaBelle

Chapter 5 (ESV)

Posted on November 29, 2023  - By Chris LaBelle  

Chapter 5 (ESV) - On the third day Esther put on her royal robes and stood in the inner court of the king's palace, in front of the king's quarters, while the king was sitting on his royal throne inside the throne room opposite the entrance to the palace. And when the king saw Queen Esther standing in the court, she won favor in his sight, and he held out to Esther the golden scepter that was in his hand. Then Esther approached and touched the tip of the scepter. And the king said to her, “What is it, Queen Esther? What is your request? It shall be given you, even to the half of my kingdom.” And Esther said, “If it please the king, let the king and Haman come today to a feast that I have prepared for the king.” Then the king said, “Bring Haman quickly, so that we may do as Esther has asked.” So the king and Haman came to the feast that Esther had prepared. And as they were drinking wine after the feast, the king said to Esther, “What is your wish? It shall be granted you. And what is your request? Even to the half of my kingdom, it shall be fulfilled.” Then Esther answered, “My wish and my request is: If I have found favor in the sight of the king, and if it please the king to grant my wish and fulfill my request, let the king and Haman come to the feast that I will prepare for them, and tomorrow I will do as the king has said.”

And Haman went out that day joyful and glad of heart. But when Haman saw Mordecai in the king's gate, that he neither rose nor trembled before him, he was filled with wrath against Mordecai. Nevertheless, Haman restrained himself and went home, and he sent and brought his friends and his wife Zeresh. And Haman recounted to them the splendor of his riches, the number of his sons, all the promotions with which the king had honored him, and how he had advanced him above the officials and the servants of the king. Then Haman said, “Even Queen Esther let no one but me come with the king to the feast she prepared. And tomorrow also I am invited by her together with the king. Yet all this is worth nothing to me, so long as I see Mordecai the Jew sitting at the king's gate.” Then his wife Zeresh and all his friends said to him, “Let a gallows fifty cubits high be made, and in the morning tell the king to have Mordecai hanged upon it. Then go joyfully with the king to the feast.” This idea pleased Haman, and he had the gallows made.

Question to consider: Why do you think Esther asked for them to attend a second feast?

The fast for Esther and her people was for three days. At the end of the fast on the third day, Esther came before the king in her royal robes. This would be the true test of whether she was still favorable to the king, for she had not been called in to him for a month. It must have taken all she could muster to keep from breathing a sigh of relief when the king extended the scepter to her and listened to her request.

Personally, I have never gone three whole days without food or water and can’t even imagine what it would have been like to endure this along with preparing a feast and maintaining poise and confidence while doing so. The phrase “even to the half of my kingdom” appears to be an idiomatic expression that was used by kings to express to someone that they were loved and trusted above all others. While the offer may have been for half of the kingdom, the king obviously did not expect her to make such a request as his beloved and trusted wife.

When king Herod extended the same expression to his step-daughter (and niece) more than four hundred years later, it demonstrated that he was an idiot. His step-daughter used it as an opportunity to request the head of John the Baptist which was not something he would have granted had he not foolishly granted her the request. In this case, Esther used the trust extended to her to invite the king and Haman to a feast.

When the time of the feast came, Esther used the opportunity to invite both the king and Haman to an additional feast. The text doesn’t say why she extended the second festal invitation in lieu of requesting that the Jews be spared, but the implication was that it was not the right time. They had all prayed and fasted, and the sense she received was to delay the request for another day.

We find out from the narrator that Haman considered the second request a confirmation that he was a very important person, and therefore it doubled his rage over Mordecai who still refused to bow down to him. The reaction of his wife and friends was to suggest that Haman build a grand gallows to make a big production of hanging Mordecai on it. A cubit was about a foot and a half so the gallows would have been 75 feet high. Everyone would be made to understand that it was a mistake to disrespect Haman.


Dear heavenly Father, thank You for leading us according to Your good will. Help us to seek first Your kingdom and righteousness and leave our successes and failures in this world in Your capable hands. Amen.