Feasting and Sharing

Key Verse: “For the Jews it was a time of happiness and joy, gladness and honor.”
—Esther 8:16, New International Version

Selected Scripture:
Esther 8 and 9

IN THE LAST LESSON, Esther asks for fasting before she risks going into the inner court of the king. After the three days of fasting and prayers she went into the inner court, and the king held out the golden scepter to her. She touched the top of the scepter and, when the king asked what her petition was, she said it was to ask the king and Haman to come to a banquet she would prepare for them. They came as requested and at the banquet the king again asked what her petition was. Esther said that it was for both of them to attend another banquet, and that at that banquet she would tell of her petition.

Haman, who represents the epitome of pride, took these invitations as a sign of growing favor. He was very happy, but everytime he saw Mordecai it infuriated him. At home he told his family and friends about his position of favor and how happy he was, but also how the sight of Mordecai interfered with this happiness. They advised him to make a high gallows to hang Mordecai. This pleased him and he arranged to have this done.

By coincidence (or God’s providence) the king could not sleep that night and asked to have the chronicles read to him. They read of the plot (revealed by Mordecai) to take the king’s life and how it was foiled. The king asked what honor had been given to Mordecai for this good deed? His servants said nothing was done. It was at that moment that Haman had come to get permission from the king to hang Mordecai. The king asked Haman what should be done for the man that the king delights in. Haman, thinking of himself as that man, suggested that he be arrayed in the king’s apparel, crown and be placed on the king’s horse for display to the people. The king thought it was an excellent suggestion and commanded Haman to do so to Mordecai.

The scripture says, “Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.” (Prov. 16:18) No sooner had Haman completed the embarrassing duty with Mordecai, when he was summoned to attend the second banquet Esther had prepared. It was at this banquet that Esther revealed her petition, telling the king that she and her people were pleading for their lives because they had been sold to be annihilated. When the king asked who was responsible for this, the queen said it was the wicked Haman.

The king was so enraged that he went out into the palace garden to meditate. When he returned he found Haman on the queen’s couch pleading for his life. As they took him away, one of the servants told the king about the gallows prepared by Haman for Mordecai. The servants were told to hang Haman on the gallows.

Mordecai’s relationship to Esther was revealed, and the king gave Moredcai and Esther complete authority to write a new edict, which gave all Jews in the empire the right to protect themselves against those who would destroy them. When the day originally designated by Haman for destruction of the Jews came, the tables were reversed and the Jews were able to destroy their enemies. The house of Haman was destroyed.

When the new edict was dispatched, there was among the Jews happiness and joy. After their victorious defense there was feasting in all the Jewish communities, which is observed to this day. These events were prospective of that yet to come.

Dawn Bible Students Association
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