Esther 6

The Word Made Fresh

1That night the king could not sleep. He sent for the book of records, the national annals, and it was read to the king. 2It was written how Mordecai had given the warning about two of the king’s eunuchs, Bigthana and Teresh, guards of the doorway, who had plotted to assassinate King Ahasuerus. 3The king asked his attendants, “What was done to honor Mordecai for this service?”

They replied, “Nothing, sir.”

4“Who is in the court now?” the king asked. And it so happened that Haman had just entered the outer courtyard of the palace to speak to the king about having Mordecai hanged on the gallows he had built. 5So the attendants answered, “Haman is here, sir, standing in the courtyard.”

“Let him in!” said the king. 6So, Haman came in and the king greeted him with, “What should be done for the man whom the king wishes to honor?”

Haman thought, “Whom would the king wish to honor more than me?” 7So, he said to the king, “For the man the king wishes to honor, 8Let him be dressed in royal clothes the king has worn, and bring a horse the king has ridden, with a royal crown on its head. 9Let the clothes and the horse be put in the hands of one of the king’s highest-ranking officials and dress the man in the king’s robes and mount him on the king’s horse and lead the man on the horse through the city square, calling out before him, ‘This is the man whom the king wishes to honor!’”

10The king said to Haman, “Hurry, then, take the robes and the horse and do what you have said for Mordecai the Jew who sits at the king’s gate. Don’t leave anything out!”

11So, Haman put the robes on Mordecai and led him on the king’s horse around the city square, calling out, “This is done for the man whom the king wishes to honor!”

12Then Mordecai returned to his place at the king’s gate, and Haman rushed home groaning with his head covered. 13When he told his wife Zeresh and his friends all that had happened, they said, “If Mordecai is Jewish, your downfall has begun, and you will not prevail against him. You will surely fall.”

14While they were talking the king’s eunuchs arrived, and hurried Haman off to the banquet that Queen Esther had prepared.


1-11: Ahasuerus can’t sleep. What does a king do when he can’t sleep? Why, bring in some scribes to read from the book of records; that ought to knock him out pretty quickly. However, before he slips into subliminal bliss, they get to the part about Mordecai saving the king’s life by uncovering an assassination plot, and he jerks wide awake. What has been done to honor Mordecai, he asks, and is told that Mordecai has so far gone unrewarded for the good deed – no surprise in an administration run by Haman. Casting about for ideas on what to do, the king is told that Haman has arrived in the outer court, so the king invites him in and asks him what the king should do to honor someone he wishes to honor. If anyone should know such a thing, you would think it would be the king, but this king has been found to be oblivious to pretty much everything but his harem. Nevertheless, Haman naturally thinks he is the one the king wants to honor, so he lays out an elaborate scenario of parading the lucky fellow around the city wearing some of the king’s hand-me-down garments. Ahasuerus tells Haman to make it so – for Mordecai the Jew! Haman has to lead Mordecai around the city shouting, “This is done for the man the king wishes to honor!”

You know, if I save the king’s life and in return the king dresses me up in some fancy old clothes of his, plants me on top of a horse and trots me around the city with some idiot hollering about how honored I am, I’m not at all sure I would feel very honored. But how do you say “no” to a king?

12-14: Haman goes home humiliated, and his wife and friends correctly see the event as a bad omen for Haman. With those concerns ringing in his ears, Haman is led away to the queen’s private chambers for lunch with her and the king – not knowing, by the way, that she is Jewish, too.


If Ahasuerus is as incompetent as the story paints him, it is no wonder that such a character as Haman could rise to such a position of power. The king let Haman issue a decree to annihilate the Jews, apparently not knowing any of the details of Haman’s plans, including that the fact that Esther’s and Mordecai’s lives are now in imminent danger. How did such a fool become the king of what was then the most powerful nation on earth? When God is ignored, ridiculous and hurtful things are always on the menu.