The Facts (Chapter number: Verse)
Esther 7 - The king and Haman went to feast with Queen Esther. On the second day, as they were drinking wine, the king asked Esther, "What is it you petition, Queen Esther? It shall be granted you. And what is your request? Even to the half of my kingdom, it shall be fulfilled." Queen Esther answered him, "If I have won your favor, O king, and if it pleases the king, let my life be given me - that is my petition - and the lives of my people - that is my request. For we have been sold, I and my people, to be destroyed, to be killed, and to be annihilated. If we had been sold merely as slaves, men and women, I would have held my peace; but no enemy can compensate for this damage to the king." The king asked whom it was who presumed to do this and Esther named Haman. And Haman was terrified before the king and queen. The king rose from the feast in wrath and went into the palace garden, but Haman stayed to beg his life from Queen Esther. When the king returned Haman had thrown himself on the couch where Esther was reclining. "Will he even assault the queen in my presence, in my own house?" said the king. Haman's face was covered and Harbona, one of the king's eunuchs, mentioned the gallows that Haman had constructed for Mordecai. The king said to hang Haman on those gallows. So Haman was hanged and the king's anger was abated.
Esther 8 - On that day King Ahasuerus gave to Queen Esther the house of Haman. Mordecai came before the king, for Esther had told him what he was to her. Then the king took off his signet ring, which he had taken from Haman, and gave it to Mordecai. So Esther set Mordecai over the house of Haman.
Then Esther spoke again to the king; she fell to her feet, weeping and pleading for him to avert the evil design of Haman the Agagite and the plot that he had devised against the Jews. The king held out the golden scepter to Esther and she rose and stood before the king. Esther asked that an order be written to revoke the letters f Hammedatha the Agagite, which he wrote giving orders to destroy the Jews. The King Ahasuerus said to Queen Esther and to the Jew Mordecai, "See, I have given Esther the house of Haman, and they have hanged him on the gallows, because he plotted to lay hands on the Jews. You may write as you please with regard to the Jews in the name of the king, and seal it with the king's ring; for an edict written in the name of the king and sealed with the King's ring cannot be revoked.
Okay, at least now Esther's banquet plot makes a bit more sense. I assume the multiple banquets was to give Haman a sense of security so it would be easier to surprise him when she revealed to the king what he had planned. She's even treated like basic people in these chapters. She has her own ideas, she's able to speak these ideas to the king without any negative repercussions and she's given leave to put her plan in motion. Of course because of the way the plan works out, it seems none of the Jewish people will ever associate her with their salvation. The king's name and seal is on all the written mandates and Mordecai went out into the people with the king's honors. Doesn't seem like anyone will have any clue what Esther had done for them. Whether she ended up as the queen by accident or not it does seem she put her fortunate circumstances to good use and even used them to her advantage. She knew she had the king's favor and she used it the best way she knew how. That does count for something, especially in a book that loves to vilify its women.
And it would have been easy for the Bible to make this story about just Mordecai and the king, and given them all the credit for this deed. And especially at the end of Friday's post it certainly seemed like that was how the whole thing was going to work out.
So props to the Bible for its decent handling of Esther's story. I don't get to give the Bible props very often so it's kind of a nice change of pace when it all ends and I don't have any major complaints. Even though I had my issues while I was reading the book I kinda take some of that back now, mostly just the issues I had with her plan last two chapters. Of course when you're only reading it a piece at a time those kind of confusions can happen.
Let's hope Esther ends on a decent high note as well.
Wednesday: Esther 9-10