Friday, November 19, 2010

Esther 5-6

The Facts (Chapter number: Verse)

Esther 5 - Esther goes to have an audience with the king. As soon as the king saw Esther standing in the court she won his favor and he held our the golden scepter to her. Esther approached and touched the top of the scepter. The King asked her what it was she requested, even if it is half the kingdom he will give it to her. Esther requested that he and Haman come to a banquet that she has prepared. The king commanded Haman be brought quickly so that they could do as Esther desired. So the king and Haman had their banquet, and while they were drinking wine the king again asked Esther what she requested, even if it is half his kingdom he will give it to her. Esther only requested that the king and Haman once again come to a banquet that she will prepare tomorrow.

Haman left in high spirits, but he saw Mordecai by the king's gates as he was leaving. Haman saw that Mordecai neither trembled nor rose before him, and he became infuriated. Haman went home and called for his friends and his wife Zeresh, and Haman recounted the splendors at the king's palace and the honors and promotions the king had honored him with, even advancing him above his officials and ministers. Haman added that even Queen Esther let no one but himself come to the banquet that she had prepared, and tomorrow there would be another banquet. He lamented that this did him no good as long as the Jew Mordecai sat outside the king's gates. So Zeresh and all his friends suggested he construct a gallows to hang Mordecai on before the banquet, then he could go on in high spirits. This advice pleased Haman and the gallows were made.

Esther 6 - The king, reading annals and records, found that Mordecai had been the one to save him from the earlier assassination attempted and wanted to honor him for the deed. Haman went to the king and the king asked him, "What shall be done for the man the king wishes to honor." Haman thought he was speaking of him so he said that the man should be clothes in royal robes and be paraded around on a horse borrowed from an official. So the king told Haman to quickly take the royal robes and do just that for Mordecai. After this was done, Mordecai returned to the king's gates but Haman ran home. Haman told his wife and friends what had happened and they replied, "If Mordecai, before whom your downfall has begun, is of the Jewish people, you will not prevail against him, but will surely fall before him."

My Comments

So... Esther's big plan was to hold a couple of banquets? Really? I'm tempted to believe that she planned the entire scheme, that she accurately predicted everything that Haman and Mordecai and the king did and thus the banquet was the key to it all...

But that doesn't make any sense. The only thing the book says she actively did was propose the banquet. She did not suggest that the king lavish Haman with promotions and honors, which was an essential part to Haman getting all high and mighty and believing he was suddenly the king's favorite. The banquet helped that, yes, but without the honors and promotions I don't think the banquet would have had the same impact. It's possible Esther asked the king to honor Haman like that, but we are given no indication of this.

It is possible that Esther and Mordecai planned for Mordecai to sit outside the gates and rile Haman up, but to what end? I find it hard to believe that they could accurately predict that the very next day the king would decide to go through the record books and just happen to notice that Mordecai was the one who saved him from assassination. Or that then the king would decide to honor Mordecai but at that moment Haman would walk in and the king would decide to vaguely ask him how to honor Mordecai simply because Haman was just there. I mean seriously, you just CAN'T predict that without more pushing and prodding done to move things along. No one suggested the king look at the records. No one stalled or rushed Haman along so he'd get to the king at the right time so he could be asked about honoring Mordecai. No one asked the king to be horribly vague about whom he was planning to honor. You could possibly predict Haman's hubris and the fact that Haman would try to kill Mordecai, but outside of that this does not seem planned or devised at all. Shit just happened to work in Esther and Mordecai's favor.

Although I'm not sure things worked in their favor since nothing seemed to happen other than getting Haman all pissed off and presenting Mordecai as the one who will destroy him. I wouldn't think making Haman MORE pissed off at Mordecai would be helpful to the Jew's. Haman's anger at Mordecai was the reason this started, it makes no sense to think that MORE anger would be beneficial here.

But the funniest part here is if Mordecai is the one that is supposed to defeat Haman then that would make Mordecai, not Esther, the person who saves the Jewish people. It seems Mordecai is supposed to be the hero, not Esther.

Unless, you know, you consider Esther making two banquets for men a heroic deed. Or take great leaps in logic to assume that somehow Esther actually orchestrated the entire thing and the Bible just felt like not including those important bits of plot information.

How did this story that was supposed to be about Esther saving the Jews suddenly turn into a story about how Mordecai is supposed to save the Jews? I seriously hope this does not end up being the case, but since Chapter 6 had no mention of Esther whatsoever I'm not very hopeful in that regard...

Monday: Esther 7-8

I seem to have no tag for this post... perhaps I need to make a new one... like "disappointment" or "How is cooking a banquet a heroic deed?" Ugh...

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