Haman’s Plot and Esther’s Intercession (Esther 3:1 – 4:17)

Haman was promoted by King Ahasuerus, and received homage from everyone per the king’s order.  Everyone bowed before him, except Mordecai.  When asked why, Mordecai would not bow, for he was a Jew.  When Haman found out that Mordecai would not bow, he was furious.  Haman deceived the king into decreeing that all Jews would be killed by offering to pay ten thousand talents of silver into the hands of the assassins to be put in the king’s treasury.  The decree was sent out, and the word was given to destroy the Jews on a certain date.  

When Mordecai heard of the decree, he tore his clothes and put on sackcloth and ashes.  He cried out with a loud and bitter cry, and stopped in front of the entrance to the king’s palace.  There was great weeping and wailing among the Jews in each province.  Word came to Esther, and she was deeply distressed.  She tried to send clothes to Mordecai but he would not receive them.  She sent a servant out to him to find out what was wrong.  Mordecai spelled out the plan to eradicate the Jews.  He asked her to intercede, but she reminded Mordecai that no one could come to the king without an invitation.  If she appears before him, and he did not receive her, she would be killed.  Mordecai helped her understand that she would not be immune to the genocide, and that if she did not intercede, God would raise up another deliverer.  He then uttered the famous words, “Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” Esther then told them to gather all the Jews and fast for her, and that she would go to the king, “and if I perish, I perish!”  And Mordecai did what she asked.

This well-known story shows two major things:  the work of evil men, and the courage of righteous people.  Haman, a pompous politician, was appalled that a subservient national would refuse to follow pomp and circumstance and bow before him.  His evil pride led him to seek to eradicate an entire people group.   However, as righteous people are threatened, they can seek the face of God for help and know that He will receive them.  Ahasuerus is a type or shadow of God, and Esther is an image of God’s people.  She could be intimidated by the king’s political power, or she could boldly enter his presence and intercede for her people.  When evil comes against you, go to the King!

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