5:9-14 – Haman’s Plot against Mordecai. The banquet seems to have pleased Haman in his own sight by suggesting to him that he was truly blessed to be privy to such a private and exclusive party. His high spirits were quickly altered upon encountering the obstinate Mordecai at the king’s gate. In fact, he became angry that not only would Mordecai not bow, but now he would not even rise in Haman’s presence or show fear. Despite his anger, Haman kept outward control, but the author of Esther informs us that Haman was so upset that he discussed his angst with his wife and friends stating that all the honor, power and wealth he possessed meant nothing to him as long as Mordecai was around. Haman could not wait for the assigned day for the killing of all the Jews, but wished to see Mordecai dead sooner. He was counseled to build a “gallows” that was approximately 75 feet high for requesting the king in the morning to have Mordecai hung on. Why should a gallows be erected that would be that tall since most of the important buildings of the era were rarely more than 30-40 feet high already? This would seem to be in order to facilitate Mordecai’s exposure before everyone for what he had done to Haman. So he built the gallows.
6:1-14 – The Day Everything Changed. A string of “coincidences” are noted throughout this chapter that alters the direction of the story up to this point (Karen Jobes calls this literary technique “peripety” which is “an unexpected reversal of circumstances” and provides several helpful diagrams for visualizing the reversals – 155-158; cf. Waltke 765). The king could not sleep and happened to have the chronicle read to him which contained the account of Mordecai’s foiling Xerxes assassination years before. Why should he at this time have suddenly had this particular chronicle read to him? Further, that he should think to ask if he had rewarded Mordecai for this. The string of coincidences continued as Haman entered the court of the king earlier than he had been advised and just as the king asked who was in the court might give him advice about the reward. Apparently Haman himself could not sleep with the thought of having Mordecai hung which would account for his early arrival to ask the king about this.
A conversation where the king and Haman fortuitously spoke past one another ensued. The king wanted to receive advice on how to reward “the man the king delights to honor” which Haman automatically assumed was himself according to the author. Haman’s advice was to essentially treat that man like the king by giving him the very clothes the king had worn, riding on the king’s horse and being publicly paraded about as the delight of the king. Haman was attempting to present himself as a “surrogate king” by actually masquerading as the king (Berlin 59-61). Haman’s pride could not allow him to think beyond himself as the “delight” of the king, but then the king commanded Haman to do all of these things for Mordecai “the Jew” (giving special emphasis to his ethnic identity). Haman was overwhelmed with grief and shame at what he had to endure publicly honoring as a king the very man who would not honor him. When Haman told his friends and wife what had transpired, their words in reply echoed the Jewishness of Mordecai as the very reason for this reversal and declared the destruction of Haman. How should we understand such a statement in the mouths of Haman’s wife and friends? Before Haman could even respond he was fetched for the next day’s banquet with Esther and the king. Haman was hurdling towards destruction unaware of what awaited him and unable to change the course that was about to befall him. Elsewhere the Scriptures declare, “Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall” (Prov.16:18). This would all pertain to the blinding pride of Haman and all who would fail to see things in the light of God’s covenant of grace.